We started christmas with preparing the last things for the Christmas breakfast which we had planed for Christmas Eve at our Condo. Danielle worked on the Lemon Pie and the Apple Cinnamon Muffins while I was setting the table for dinner. It’s an extendable one which we fully utilised.
Besides the breakfast we also had some gifts under our tree for the four of us ranging from sugar to Noise-cancelling Bose headsets and Socks, sweaters and T-shirts. The food was delicious and most of it was gone before we went to a Christmas Eve Mass in the Eglinton St. Georges United Church. Yes we went to a church for the first time in years and we had some expectations since the building looks great from the outside (I borrowed the following picture from here).
At 9 o’clock the mass should have started but shortly after we a drunk woman started calling us out for all kind of things because her Christmas was ruined 3 years ago and then she didn’t want to leave and started drinking from the wine and playing with the bread.
After about 45 minutes the priest decided to continue the service downstairs in the gym but 5 minutes after we started the drunk woman had finally left the church after an Emergency Medical Support unit took care of her.
And so we all went upstairs again to continue the service without going to the communion since the wine was gone and the Hostia (bread) wasn’t usable anymore since the drunk woman touched it. But the part that took place was good, especially singing Silent Night together while everyone hold a lighted candle…
When the mass was over we walked back through the pouring rain to continue eating, drinking champagne, beer and wishkey. And in the meantime we were watching the Movie A Christmas Story while playing Monopoly “A Christmas Story-edition”. That was one of the gifts we unpacked.
In the beginning it did”t look too good for me but in the end I won the game with have the green and the blue streets with houses on them in my hand. We finished the game at 2 o’clock. And after we took this last picture together with Suzy it was time to call it a night.
The day after we had a lazy start and walked around, found a GeoCache, had FaceTime calls with most of our family and in the evening it was time for dinner at Martin & Sabrina’s place. Martin decided to buy a piece of Salmon for dinner and he selected a 1.600 Gram piece. Sabrina did her magic with the “Techno-Thermomix” (A French kitchen machine) and we had a delicious dinner starting with a Squash soup, some vegetables, salad and a delicious potato gratin. That all combined with some Belgian White’s from the Mill Street Brewery made it a perfect Christmas dinner.
After dinner we went to bad a bit earlier as usual during a vacation since it was Boxing Day the next day. At Boxing Day the biggest sale of the year starts in Canada. And off course as the shopaholics we are, we needed to be there. Together with Martin and Sabrina we left our parking garage at 7:00am sharp and drove to the Yorkdale mall. And it was crowded already…but we ended up with some good deals like a 7-for-all-mankind jeans 40% off, a nice shirt for Danielle at Tommy Hilfiger from the new collection (40% off) and 2 nightstand lamps from Crate & Barrel.
The weekend after we walked a lot through and around Yonge & Eglinton since the weather was really nice. And we decided to try out a new restaurant the Mandarin Buffet Restaurant across the street. And one thin I can tell you every buffet restaurant you’ve seen in Europe cannot be compared with this one there was so much food to pick from and it was always available…
Needless too say we left there with stomach-ache and rolled back to the authorised of the street were we got back on the couch to watch a movie.
The original plan was to visit Tokyo Disneyland again but due to the weather we’ve changed this. We’ve decided to stay in bed a bit longer and explore Tokyo by Metro today. At 9:30 we got in the first metro thinking that it won’t be really crowded anymore but we were wrong it was as crowded as the last 2 days.
The first metro brought us to Ginza, an upscale area in Tokyo. We wandered a bit through the area but nothing was opened yet and while the rain came pouring down we decided to go to a Japanese Donuts place called Mr. Donut near Shimbashi. We took the metro to get there to make sure we didn’t have to walk through the rain too much.
After having a couple donuts for breakfast we decided to go to the biggest Tommy Hilfiger Store of Asia in Meiji-Jingumae. We took the Tokyo Metro line Ginza towards Omotesandō and then changed to the Chiyoda line towards Meiji-Jingumae. For everything there are signs, you always know where to walk when you go up or down the stairs as you can see on the pictures below, it’s quite easy but you have to look at it because sometimes the direction are the other way around. On some stations the platforms are secured by automatic gates probably for safety reasons if platforms get to busy to ensure none is pushed from the platform.
What an experience to shop in Japanese store, all clothing is resized so I’m back to XL again, for woman they only carry S-M-L and the sizes do not compare to the size in Europe/US at all. The employees spoke perfect english and were really helpful, no questions kept unanswered and if we asked something which they could not answer they went to the manager to check. And they never used the word no! And we were lucky because we saved a bit because Tommy Hilfiger is a registered Tax Free shop.
After this shopping adventure we both were a bit hungry and we looked in foursquare for a sushi place, we found a lot but one looked really interesting, it wasn’t an old-fashioned conveyor belt sushi, it was the modern version a so-called bullet train sushi restaurant. We needed to order the food on a touchscreen and within a couple of minutes the ordered food stopped in front of you. Beside the fact that it was a really funny experience it was also inexpensive, 2 pieces of Nigiri costed 105 Yen (0,75€).
After the lunch we walked through the area before we headed to Akihabara by metro, we all found out that there are not so crowded metro’s in Tokyo.
Akihabara is an area which is also called Electric Town and is famous for the electronics & anime/manga shops. In Akihabara we looked around in the Yodobashi Camera Store which is a huge Electronics store. And afterwards we explored the area.
Due to the heavy rain we decided to go back to the hotel and rested a bit before we went out for dinner. We looked at some places I’ve been before during business trips and Danielle selected the Miyako a small japanese restaurant at the Takanawa exit (north). Danielle went for a noodle with pork and seafood, I went for a hot plate with baked eggs, a piece of pork (japanese style schnitzel) with rice and miso soup.
Today was the usual one day bad weather we have during our vacation, at least we hope it stays to one day only with still two days to go. Usually we go out shopping in the local indoor malls but we’ve done this already and have pretty much seen everything. So we decided to drive to a somewhat bigger mall in Miami about 220 miles from our hotel, that’s about 350 kilometer.
The destination was the Aventura Mall where one of the bigger Macy’s stores is located as well as one of the 2 Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Florida. To make the trip worth it we got a 50$ gift card from the Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Miami due to a complaint I filed in the first week of our vacation which we needed to pick-up.
Yes we know that’s about the same amount of dollars we would spend on the roundtrip Lake Buena Vista – Miami – Lake Buena Vista so where are the benefits? Well besides the in general 25-40% lower prices compared to Europe we got a 10% off on our entire purchase as a returning customer and there was an action with 25% off of every woven shirt and blouse in the store.
We woke up early to make sure we would leave on time and at exactly 8:00 we drove to the 7eleven across the street to fill the car with gas. At the first Starbucks along the route with stopped to get coffee and a small breakfast. From there Danielle took over the steering wheel and drove without a single stop to the latest stop of the turnpike Florida while Sander was surfing, sending whatsapps, sending mails and gaming on his 2 phones and iPad. After the driver change we arrived at the Aventura Mall at 11:30 and we went straight to the Tommy Hilfiger Store.
Shopping was as amazing as the last time, we got helped some great new items and Danielle was really lucky since the first items from the brand new women’s holiday collection arrived today. After a solid 2 hours we left the store and saved $244,75 together with the gift card this was $294,75, in Euros that would be about €220, so I think the trip was well worth it since the gas costed $63,79.
After the shopping we where hungry and we decided to visit the Grand Lux Cafe, this was a deception. It should be the better version to the Cheesecake Factory and we think it can be but we where just unlucky wight the table we got and our server. The Kobe Burger we picked was delicious. The server already knew his service wasn’t the best and he already apologized a couple of times when handing over the bill, so this was a first time for me tipping clearly less than what is usual in the States.
After lunch we walked through this huge mall but except for checking out the new iPad Mini with the Retina screen and the faster processor, checking out the Macy’s we only bought something at the Victoria Secret. And then it was time for his to drive back to our hom…hotel.
As soon as we were back in the Greater Orlando area we decided to go to a pizza place Yelp suggested, we ended up by a very small New York style pizza place where we ordered a MEDIUM-sized pizza with two different toppings. One side had Hawaii and the other half was BBQ Chicken.
After having this one finished we drove the last 20 minutes to our hotel where Danielle checked out our luggage situation. We might not need a 3rd suitcase this time but that is something we will figure out on friday evening after we have bought a new suitcase since one of our suitcases is in a bad state and might not make it back to Europe without falling apart.