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West: Day 19 – Travel to Ottawa (via Toronto)

7:15am for breakfast and morning class in the hotel. It’s minus 31 degrees outside with a wind chill that takes it to minus 42 degrees. As soon as you step outside, you feel your nostrils crystallise and your breath shorten. It’s quite something to experience cold of this nature but enough is enough.

Our flight to Toronto is delayed. This puts our connection onto Ottawa at risk and leaves us hanging around another airport for a few hours. This is the part of touring that sucks – hanging about in airports. It’s just as well that we’ve got such good company in each other.

We landed in Toronto with 30 minutes to go before our scheduled connection was due to leave. However, Air Canada refused to allow us to board and have bumped us onto two different flights to Ottawa. It’s all rather chaotic to say the least. More hanging around in airports. Massive doubts about what will happen to our luggage now also. Another new time zone – at least that killed an hour!!

We have managed to rearrange ourselves into the same (later) flight rather than get split up mid-transit. Derek has also negotiated a $20 food voucher in compensation, so we’re having dinner at the airport rather than our planned restaurant tonight. Despite the setback, spirits remain high.

6pm. We have all boarded now and are just awaiting a slot in the de-icing unit before takeoff. For the plane geeks, it’s a nice shiny new Airbus 220 – plenty of room and very nicely specced out. Finally got in the air at 7:15pm. This has been one long day.

9pm. Leaving the airport now to check into the hotel. Some of our bags haven’t made it to Ottawa and critically none of the brush bags. Air Canada seemed confident that they would get them to us by tomorrow morning but we’re supposed to be on the ice at 9:15am. We don’t share their confidence at all given some of the carry on we’ve experienced today.

At least we will be meeting up with the East Tour tonight, so that should be fun.

Stephen McClymont