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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO,, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria:; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders,, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air,, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Tuesday, 3 June 2003
--> Toronto, Ontario, Canada (day 1)

As Shawn is a real white collar business man working in the sky scraper district of Toronto, he had to go to work today. But my stay at his place did not bother him a bit. He let me sleep in, gave me directions and told me I should contact his good friend Karen who would love to take me around in the city. Shawn even left 50 bucks on the table!
I did some necessary writing on my laptop in the morning – of course I had a sleep in after last night's party - and had cereal for breakfast. Outside the rain was ticking against the window and making the streets of High Park glimmer.

In the afternoon I contacted Karen and we met up half an hour later in the subway to the Spadina Station where we got on the street car to College Street. And suddenly we walked in the Little Italy district of Toronto.

Karen is "between jobs" as she said it herself, that's why she had all the time to take me around today. She works in the marketing industry and is always looking for new challenges.

She has been following my travels on the web for a quite a long time.
"Ramon, you remember being in Glasgow, Scotland?"
"Yes, I do."
"You went to a pub there."

"Yes, that's right." She referred to the Counting House Pub where my host Alan Shield took me in 2001.
"I was in Glasgow and in that same pub that same day as you were!"
She already followed my travels but never saw me as I came in later that day. What a coincidence. It's a small world isn't it?

From College Street we walked through the Kensington Market. This is the cutting edge of Toronto, where the streets are packed with anything that suits the second hand market.

Those place really disappoint me because I see so many fascinating things for such a cheap price, BUT I CAN'T BUY THEM. Maybe that might be good thing too….

From the Kensington Market we walked down Dundas Street West to Yonge Street and ended up at the Eaton Centre, the big city mall. At the new awarded and most-criticized square in the world, the Yonge-Dundas Square, I enjoyed the big screen televisions displaying the latest news.

We had a quick walk through the Eaton Centre. Some say this is an architectural model for shopping malls around the country. I myself think that if you have seen one city mall, you might well have seen them all? Karen took me along to the Salad King, a small Thai restaurant on Yonge Street, where we had our excellent late lunch bite.

Powered with these bites we walked all the way to the Gay and Lesbian Village of Toronto, just another flamboyant area of the city, where Karen treated me on Explosive Blue Berry Ice Cream, which basically did not explode but did make my mouth turn blue for the rest of the day.

It was already nearing the end of many people's working day and before we knew the streets were packed with city dwellers heading from their offices to the subways or their concrete apartment towers.

From Yonge Street we walked all the way back south, passing the City Halls again. Down the streets we met up with Shawn, who finished work and would take the job of hosting me over from Karen. I thanked Karen for her support and followed Shawn as he took me to the apartment complex of his girlfriend Keri.

With the Thai food still floating around my belly, I wasn't into a very big meal. I just needed some rest for my feet. I crossed the entire downtown district today and my feet actually heard a bit.

For dinner Keri had prepared three sticks of meat on a stick and Shawn helped out with a salad. The couple was eager to show me to roof top barbeque area. So we got up the building, I think up the 15th floor, and enjoyed the view on the darkening city while Keri put the meat on the barbeque.

It was a nice experience, but I wouldn't do that everyday, because it still was a bit cold to fully enjoy this experience up there. Back in Keri's apartment again, we had some drink until Shawn and I got ready to go back again to the house at High Park around 10 pm.

Good night Toronto!