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Monday, August 12, 2013

Niagara Falls

So, from our quiet secluded edenic tranquil retreat, we were heading to another big city - Niagara Falls. Have you been to Niagara Falls? I always imagined it to be on the countryside (like most waterfalls are) but this is like a mini version of Las Vegas that just happens to be next to the most spectacular waterfalls known to man. But, how did we get there?
It was 563kilometer drive to Buffalo, NY, where we dropped the car off. Its about a six hour drive.
We decided to stop at ...... McDonalds for breakfast (dont judge). There were some ...... different items on the menu, so being as adventurous as we are, we decided to try them. Kylie tried a McGriddle. Maybe we should have googled what it is beforehand?
She took one bite - 'What is this?' According to Wikipedia (what doesnt Wikipedia know about?) "The "standard" McGriddles sandwich consists of bacon, egg and American cheese served on a small pancake made with maple flavoring. Both the top and bottom griddle cakes are embossed with the McDonald's logo." 
Just WEIRD!!!!!

I had a breakfast burrito.
What is it? I know you are dying to find out. Thanks Google "Spice up your morning with peppers, onions, fluffy scrambled eggs, sausage and melty cheese all wrapped in a soft tortilla." Just weird! 

Back on the road again. I wont tell you about the time when I looked at the petrol bowser and I said "I think we should get petrol" and Kylie said "Nah, we'll be fine" and then shortly thereafter the petrol gauge started flashing because we were so low and there was no petrol station in sight. It all worked out fine ...... JUST!

At about the five hour mark, there is a place along the way called Rochester. Here lives some relatives of ours. We had arranged to meet ours cousin Kate (whom we had never met in person) at her place of work. It was a FLYING visit. What we DIDNT know was that she had arranged to bring Mary (who I met many years ago in Australia) along with her niece Kayleigh (sorry if that isn't spelt right). It was great to see you all!
Of course, Mary is Italian. The first thing she said was 'Why didnt you tell me? I could have cooked for you!!!' Italians are the same everywhere! Mangia, Mangia!!!!! Kate works at Rochester University and its a BEAUTIFUL campus!
It was just like being with Mum! Thanks for making time to see us (at very short notice). One more hour along the way, and we arrived in Buffalo and dropped the car off! Fortunately, there was no issues. We found a shuttle transport that would drive us across the border. I wasnt sure about how the border crossing works as the only border crossings I've ever done are by plane. The driver just said 'They will ask for your passports. Be clear when they ask questions. Be sure of your answers. You should have no problem.' So, we approached the border. Niagara Falls NY is ........ well ........ not a very nice place. Its right on the border and it seems to be quite a run down town. The shuttle driver told us lots of stories about corrupt politicians from the area that mostly end up in prison after their terms end (or during their terms) that have taken lots of money off the town. 

I could clearly see the border and the checkpoints - looked like it was about 100m away. He said 'So, we have about a 2 hour wait now!' WHAT? 2 hours? Are you kidding? Turns out, the traffic moved faster than he expected and it was just over an hour that we had to wait. And, then we arrived in Niagara Falls, Ontario CANADA!
These are SPECTACULAR!!!! These are the Canadian Horseshoe falls. These are definitely the more impressive of the 2 falls. 

These are the American Falls, adjacent to the Canadian Falls. 

We checked into our accommodation. This was the view from our room;
We had direct unobstructed views of the falls. When we checked in, we were offered a $50 upgrade to get a corner room will full views of the american and the canadian falls. We accepted. After a long journey to get there as well as a long border crossing, we ate dinner and crashed.

Next morning, first on the agenda was the Maid of the Mist.
We bought an Adventure Pass. This entitled us to access four of the most popular tourist attractions in town - Maid of the Mist, Journey BEHIND the falls, Niagaras Fury (a cool 4D movie - it sprays water and moves and things like that) and White Water Walk (its a boardwalk down by the rapids). The rapids are Grade 6 - whatever that means.

Here is a sampling of photos from the day;
Canadian Money (like Australian Money) is polymer. Its cool because unlike US money, they are different colours. And, even better than that is that there are $1 and $2 coins. When we were travelling in America, I always felt like I had a stack of money because I always had heaps of notes in my wallett, but in actual fact, I only hd seven or eight dollars.

All ready to go on Maid of the Mist. They give you ponchos because you get fully satched!!!!

Waiting in line. There are Maid of the Mist boats that leave from both the Canadian and the US sides.

Still had the camera out as we hadnt yet gotten TOO wet. That was to come.

 Panorama - its just the most spectacular view from the boat. You get VERY close and VERY wet.

OK, its time to put the camera away. We got the camera its own rain jacket because we (well, Me) were paranoid about the camera getting wet.

OK, one last shot.

American Falls from up close.

Canadian Falls from up closer (as close as i was willing to have the camera out)

A pic taken from inside the cameras rain jacket.

Quick, take the photo

They wouldnt let me keep the ticket for the This and That book! Spew!

Then we went to the journey behind the falls. We had a yellow poncho for this one.

Now, THIS was close!!!!

Us BEHIND the falls.

You can get very close to the top of the falls. This was taken just behind the barricade.

Its just the most beautiful view

We found this cool new setting on the camera. This was taken at the rapids.

My honey at the rapids.

Us having fun waiting to get out of the rapids.

This was the view from breakfast. Just spectacular.

And that was the end of the day. Durung the day, I had something that was a small shadow over us. I tried to not let it spoil my day. We had a to arrange a one-way rental from Niagara Falls to Quebec. I googled, I called - it really was not going to be possible. We were asking Taxi drivers - and one of the BUS drivers said 'There is one just down here - you should be ok with this one.' So, we got dropped off on the corner and we walked. Just a side point - away from the main flashy streets, the city is ...... well, its almost like the US side of the city. Its rundown, its old and its completely not what we expected. Anyway, we walked to the rental place and asked. Like all of the rentals the response was 'Yes, of course we can help.' And then when we said 'Into Quebec?' The response ? No! Then he explained that Quebec was like a different country. So, that idea was discarded. Spew! OK - how are we going to get to Quebec (Brome, in fact)? We looked into flights, train and bus. Bus was the only reasonably priced. However, it was an 11 hour journey with two stops. Just to give you an idea for comparison - it was 13 hours to fly to North America. Here is a map of where the bus took us. 

First leg - Niagara Falls to Toronto

Second Leg - Toronto to Ottowa

Third Leg - Ottowa to Montreal

Then, Grant and Wanda (and Hannah) came to pick us up and take us to Brome.

So we arrived grumpy and smelly after a long journey! But, WE ARRIVED! Yay!


  1. I feel like I start every comment with wow but WOW. Those falls shots are amazing. I can't look at that one from just behind the barricade too long - feels like I'm going to fall in! Hope you've gotten a rest and refresh in Brome.

  2. Another awesome blog - PS what kind of camera do you have BB?
    - Liz P


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