Hop on Hop Off city tours in Toronto

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Dad and Mom cannot go with us in the US because they have not secured a US visa yet. So while we are at Irvin and Faye's Housewarming Party, my parents will be touring around Toronto by themselves thru the Hop On Hop Off City tours. These red double decker buses are all over Toronto downtown during summer and it would be a great opportunity for my parents who are in their seniors to just ride the bus and listen to the tour guide and savor the city. It is already summer and the view at the top of the double decker is perfect.

I got this tip from our friend who availed this tour and she said that it was worth it. The tour even included a tour around the centre island and the validity of the tour is for one whole week. So you can come back anytime for the week to cover all of the spots. I just called them and the customer rep said i can avail discounts when I purchase thru the internet. It's going to be a busy week for Mama and Dadilo. Let's hop on / hop off soon....in London.. hahaha.

What to do in NY on Christmas Holiday

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My family had a Christmas Holiday in New York City where my brother in law and his wife are based. It was not the best time to go because of the blizzard that came a day after we arrived so we had no choice but to stay home. We were there for almost 10 days but the 3 days spent going around the city on a cold winter was memorable. It was an unusual New York City tour. While others would have gone to 5th Avenue (and Canal Street) for sightseeing and shopping, we went on a Christmas Tree tour:

1. Explore American Museum of Natural History. The Holiday Origami Tree was decorated with folded paper ornaments. We were told that these ornaments were made by volunteers from an organization called Origami USA. Of course the kids enjoyed the dinosaurs exhibit and they were ecstatic upon seeing Dum-Dum from the movie "Night at the Museum". It was a hit among the museum spectators because the line for the photo opportunity was long. Although this was the second time Lito and I have been here, it was another adventure for us because the museum is really big and has a lot of attractions to offer. We enjoyed the video booth where you can send a video of you with the dinosaurs and send to your loved ones. After a long day, snack time would be best from the nearby Shake Shack or eating hotdogs from the famous New York food carts. I saw some families who brought sleds and did Tobogganin in Central Park. I'm sure there are lots of hills to try there.

2. Watch the Holiday Train Show. This is a must-go-attraction on Christmas week. The New York Botanical Garden lights up Christmas trees at the garden in the Bronx borough of New York. The NYBG is best-known this time of the year for its annual holiday train show, which showcases model trains amid replicas of New York landmarks, all made of plant materials. Of course, the garden also hosts a display of lit-up fir trees.

We enjoyed the Train Puppet show and the Gingerbread house exhibit at the kids garden.

3. The angel of our Christmas tree, Liberty is still the top attraction even on a chilly winter day. We just wanted to see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park thinking that there were no boats going to the island, but we were surprised that the long queue leads to the security line going to Liberty. We decided to go the next day so that we can still go inside the museum. The kids especially Miggy were excited as we board the boat. It was fun to see her again this time with snow surrounding her.

The following were part of our itinerary but we were not able to go because of time constraints. Also the kids and Faye got sick so we decided to skip this. They are still worth going to on a December trip to New York City:

4. Rockefeller Center is home to what is probably New York's most famous Christmas tree and no trip to NYC should be without it. The 22-meter-tall Norway Spruce is in the center of ice skating rink and you can't miss it. From here, you can go to Radio City Music Hall, Sixth Avenue near 50th street; St. Patrick's Cathedral, Fifth Avenue near 51st street and the Museum of Modern Art, 53rd street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Of course there are the famous buildings and stores as you walk up 5th avenue toward Central Park; Macy's, Tiffany's, FAO Schwarz Toy Store and the Apple all glass building.

5. We were given a Metropolitan Museum of Art pass and it was also a must-go destination. The Christmas tree at the MET is adorned with angels and a Nativity scene. Its colourful, lifelike figures, 15 to 51 centimeters tall, were made in 18th-century Naples and depict shepherds, townspeople, animals and the three wise men.