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Visiting Niagara Falls


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large_5550_14734704453228.jpgLeaving Isabella Hotel in our upgraded vehicle.
Breakfast at the hotel didn’t start till 0800. We would have liked to eat and get going earlier but this was a limitation. There were people already eating when we turned up on the dot at 0800. We ate, checked out and walked to Budget rent-a-car about 15 minutes away.

The man at Budget gave us an upgrade from our little car to a small SUV (he said). In the parking building, it turned out to be a big black SUV, blocked in by several other cars which had to be shifted before we could leave. It suited them to have us take it to Quebec [Quebec-travel-guide-204411] as it had a Quebec plate and "needs to go home". As petrol is cheap in Canada (about half the price of New Zealand), we were fine with the upgrade.

We returned to our hotel to collect our luggage before setting off in earnest around 0930.large_5550_14734704479681.jpgThe Niagara Falls area is very commercialised and touristed.Kim’s old Tomtom GPS had intermittent disconnects with the satellite. My phone GPS (like all phones) work best with a data connection which we didn’t have; with the high-rises around us it didn’t really help us till we were past our most crucial minutes getting to the motorway.

It was an easy 90 minutes on the motorway to Niagara Falls [Niagara-Falls-travel-guide-203957] where we found cheap all-day-parking ($5 per hour or $10 all day) on vacant land manned by an Indian man. It was about 5 mins to the casino and town, and another 15 minutes to the best part of the falls.

We walked to the casino, grabbing a free cuppa tea there. We did have to explain “white coffee” and “white tea” to the barman as these don’t appear to be terms used in Canada? We had a short play on the slot machines, losing $5.large_5550_147347044850.jpgOverview of the Niagara Falls. American on the left and Horseshoe (Canadian) on right.I guess it was a small price to pay for two free hot drinks and two toilet usages.

Around midday, even though I was still full from breakfast, I felt a strong need for food. We shared an overly-stuffed Subway before continuing or walk to the banks of the Niagara Falls.

The American Falls came into view first as we walked along the waterfront. We could see the grander Horseshoe Falls further along, but decided we would do the boat trip below ASAP as the ticket queues weren’t too long.

We walked down the ramp, then took the elevator before joining the queue to the board. We had a red poncho each. The 20 minute trip took us past the American Falls where we got damp, then continued to the middle of the Horseshoe where we paused. It was like being in heavy rain/wind and rather pointless for any photography.large_5550_14734704534430.jpgBoat going past the American Falls.It was actually hard to see; the view was far better from terra firma. But the experience was awesome!

Back on the bank, we walked to the Visitor Centre at Table Rock. The bank was built right up to the running water. The viewpoint provided an awesome into the centre of the Horseshoe where the boats paused. It’s great that such a vantage point is free to all visitors.

We were feeling rather hot and parched by then and returned to the casino for another free drink, this time an icy one each. It was 1530 when we started driving to our nightstop, Oshawa.

With a snack break, traffic in Toronto [Toronto-travel-guide-205344], we arrived around 1830 at the awesome La Quinta motel. The drive past the northern edge of Toronto truly showed the size of the city. Even though we were far from the centre the high-rises were still aplenty. And each time when we thought we would have past the concentrated areas, more high-rises popped up.

We had Chinese at a halal Hakka Chinese Restaurant (run by Cantonese and the food wasn’t anything Hakka). It started pouring torrentially as we sat down. I took my time with a very nice cheap white wine, finishing at the same time as the downpour.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA

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