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Monday, 22 October 2012

Niagara Falls once more


Wednesday 17 October

With the planning done, it’s a matter of getting out of bed, have breakfast, pack and water the plants.  Since the weather has now really turned we have dried the outside cushions, stored them in the basement and stacked the chairs outside, because the wind is shifting them all around the backyard.  That done we have morning tea and leave.  We’re at Niagara Falls by eleven and move quite quickly through customs.  We find a parking spot near Dufferin Islands and walk the 15 minutes back to Table Rock Welcome Centre and enjoy again the beautiful autumn colours, now even more spectacular than before.  









This time we want to do all the “touristy” things, so we get an Adventure Pass.  We are right on time for the movie and experience of Niagara’s Fury, explained as follows: ”The experience starts with an 8 minute animated Pre-show, where charming woodland characters explain how the Ice Age formed Niagara Falls.  Then, in a specially designed, 360 degree theatre, witness the Creation of the Falls in a 6-minute, multi-sensory extravaganza!”  As we were not allowed to take pictures, we'll have to do without for this one.

Next we go for the Journey Behind the Falls, described as: “The sound is like thunder; the sight is awe-inspiring! Take a journey deep below and behind the heart of Niagara, and stand in the mist where the mighty Horseshoe Falls tumbles from 13 storeys above! At Journey Behind the Falls, you'll experience the awesome spectacle of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. During summer daylight hours, over 2,800 cubic meters of water thunders over the brink every second, travelling 65 kilometres per hour!”  The pictures speak for themselves.  Raincoats were very necessary, umbrellas were no good! “Standing in the mist” means literally: “getting soaking wet if you’re not careful.” J

Right at the edge of the Falls

the lower observation deck

too wet to take proper pictures

one of the two observation tunnels behind the falls -
here you hear the thunderous sounds of the water coming down
After all that it was time for lunch, which we had outside, since the weather wasn’t too bad.  Dry, but windy and the sun peeped through the clouds now and then.  





The boat trip was included too, so we walked way down to the departure point of the boats.  There were bus trips included in the pass, but we prefer to walk everywhere we can.  If we thought we had gotten wet before, we had to re-think again.  The mist was being blown over the road today, so umbrellas were needed and on the boat….  we were drenched!  Our tops were dry, because of the raincoats, but our pants and shoes and socks were quite wet, to say the least.  However, it was a great experience, not to be missed.  It’s hard to describe, the feeling when you are in a boat at the bottom of the falls, in amongst the thundering sound of all that water coming down from far above you….

Pictures taken from the boat













A regular downpour down below :-)



After the boat trip we still had plenty of time to see and do things, so we wandered towards the Rainbow Bridge.  We noticed people walking on the bridge, and went to investigate.  And yes, it was possible to walk onto the bridge, even towards the United States on the other side.  We had to search for 50 cents each to pay the toll and once through the turnstiles we walked onto the bridge.  We kept going and since we had our passports we decided to go straight through customs back to the States.  

On the bridge to the USA
American side


Canadian side




Crossing the border at the flags
There we walked towards the large observation tower, with the intention to wander a bit through the parks.  However, when Frank stopped at the rest rooms I happened to be waiting near the entrance of the American Maid of the Mist departure point, which also happened to be the entrance to the observation deck.  A kind staff member asked me if I needed help and I told him I was only waiting for my husband.  Then he saw my pass, which was still hanging around my neck and told me that with our passes we could walk onto the observation deck and also down to the bottom of the Falls to experience them from close by.  So, that’s what we did.  The view from the observation deck was of course awesome, but we also wanted to go down to the bottom part.  Wrong move! J  We had just dried up somewhat from our earlier experiences, but this one was even worse.  Since we had thrown out the raincoats after the boat trip we had to fish some used ones out of one of the bins and put them on.  Then we walked towards the American Falls.  “Mist” is not quite the word I would use for the water that come down upon us.  A regular “downpour” at times was a better description.  But……., we wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for the world….

Views from the observation tower




The walking track to the bottom of the American Falls

Observation tower from from the walking track
 We also walked through the park to enjoy the surroundings on land...




A little rabbit enjoying the park too




The funny thing is, that later we realised that we hadn’t really been entitled to all these extra attractions.  The man must have thought that we had bought passes on the American side.  They look the same, but give entry to different attractions.  Ah well, it hadn’t hurt them and we had some extra fun!

By then it was getting a bit cool with the sun going down, so we walked back towards the bridge.  We saw again squirrels galore and I couldn’t help, but take some pictures and film them before we walked back towards the Canadian site. Customs was a bit stricter this time, with lots of questions (stupid Dutch people who came to Canada in the morning, walked back to the States and then back to Canada again later in the day…..).







Back to Canada again


As we hadn’t seen a lot of the town yet we kept walking straight ahead and came onto Clifton Hill.  It is one of the weirdest places I have ever seen.  It’s more like a Sideshow Alley then anything else: loud, bright and colourful, but good fun to walk through.  (Sideshow Alley is zoiets als een kermis met allerlei attracties).  













By the time we had seen most of the attractions and taken pictures we were getting a bit peckish again, so we made our way back to Table Rock Welcome Centre and to the restaurant, because we wanted to see the lights later on after dusk.

The American Falls catching the last sun rays of the day
We got a table at Elements on the Falls with a nice view.  It came with a price of course, but the steak we’d ordered was a real melt-in-the-mouth one, so that made it worth while.

At Elements on the Falls
By dusk, at about 7pm, the lights came on and we saw the Falls in the various colours of the rainbow.  Unfortunately it didn’t photograph well, because of the mist which was blowing our way, but we enjoyed the sight and that was what we had come for.







After the meal and the pictures we walked back to our car to make our way to Beamsville, where we had arranged B&B for the next two nights.  Unfortunately we didn’t get there until close to nine, because we discovered too late that our GPS didn’t cover Canada, nor did we have a map that covered the area beyond Niagara Falls.  On the other hand, our host had given us clear enough directions, so once we were on the Queen Elizabeth Way we had no difficulty finding the address.  We met again with nice people and talked till late into the evening.

  

3 comments:

  1. bedankt dat ik mocht mee genieten , het ziet er allemaal prachtig uit!!!

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    Replies
    1. Graag gedaan, Margriet. :-) Het is idd erg prachtig, vooral als je nooit meer herfst meemaakt in het land waar je woont.

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  2. Hier zijn de bomen nu ook prachtig met al die kleurtjes! Jammer dat je dat mist in Australië...nu dus maar even extra genieten er van :-)

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