Friday, July 27, 2007

London Calling

It may have been easier to visit the UK's London. On the way in, we got lost and wound up in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto that seems to have collected leftover apartment buildings from East Berlin. This would not have been so bad if we hadn't seen the Mississauga sign just as Karen said "y'know, last time I was here I took a wrong turn and wound up in Mississauga."

But once we settled into London, and our previously mentioned lovely hotel, everyone was very happy. We found out that we were sharing a hotel with participants in a rock festival, so the dogs were petted by a bunch of old guys with long hair, and we think our leftover pizza found a place on Deep Purple's bus. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell the difference between aging long-haired rockers and aging long-haired fans, so I didn't get any celebrity pictures with the dogs.

We didn't find time to see much of London, but it seems to be a lovely city, and the dogs were very popular. They even put up some dog-friendly public art - metal trees all over town.

I'm not sure Oscar was convinced. This one is neatly labeled to let the viewer know it's some sort of elm, but that doesn't help much for dogs who can't read. Karen, on the other hand, was thrilled to see such educational art, but as a forestry major her relationship to trees is rather different from the dogs'.

Our chosen lunch destination was one Oscar Taylor's, which seemed appropriate. But they wouldn't let dogs on the patio - the embarrassed hostess said the cowardly wimp of a manager feared the dogs might "scare other patrons." (I offer the link to their webpage only for information - not a recommendation!) Since we were having lunch at 3:00, and the only person on the patio was a woman more interested in smoking than ordering, this seemed a bit of a stretch. So they're definitely not on our "nice places to eat" list! But we made our way to the very dog-friendly (and patron-friendly) Tenenbaum's hamburger restaurant, where we were assured that the dogs were welcome at the outdoor tables as long as they didn't smoke. Not only did they refrain from smoking; they didn't get into any trouble at all. I was stunned.

So we left London, and headed out of Canada. I never found a yarn store. In spite of having addresses for three coin shops, I never got my poppy quarters (one was gone, one we never found, and one was closed). But, glory hallelujah, I had my first taste of Tim Horton's donuts and coffee. And my second. Wow.

The dogs wanted to find a way to stay.

And I got my first buttertart. Canada is a very cool country.

But we can't live on buttertarts alone, so we headed west, then south for home. The traffic was slow enough that for awhile, we were in the U.S. and the dogs were in Canada. That's the sign marking the border behind Max. But we kept them in the car with us - even after they barked at the customs inspector. They settled down to lick his hand and make friends, so I think they're happy to be home.

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