So, we've now been away two weeks and it still feels like being on holiday. We're approaching the longest time Dan and I have ever been on vacation (16 days) maybe then it will sink in that we're away for the rest of the year!
Niagara Falls were exceptional. Seeing that amount of water is mind blowing, nature is incredible! We arrived on Sunday evening and found our b&b fairly easily. This was to be the second cheapest accommodation we had stayed in so far and by far the most comfortable. It was also just a ten minute walk away from the main attraction, result! After freshening up from our 18 hour journey we walked down to the falls and instantly fell in love. There are two separate waterfalls names the USA falls and the Canadian or Horseshoe falls. The latter were by far the most impressive. The river outlines the border with Canada facing the falls. America lying on the same side as the falls so tourists staying there only get a side view of these amazing things. Pedestrians can walk across the bridge and so cross the border but they have to pay to do so, and queue ... A hundred photos later and we went to find something to eat.
Now for the negative and quite surprising part of this location; Niagara Falls is a mini Vegas, and it is absolutely horrible. Imagine you're walking along a road that runs along the river, you've got beautiful detached wooden houses on the right hand side and a clear turquoise wide river on the left, you turn a bend and you start to see the mist ahead ... and several skyscrapers (hotels) straight in front of you. If that's not bad enough, at the next right hand turn you've got a small hill, filled with neon flashing lights, and every brand you can possible think of glaring at you: Hard Rock Cafe, TGI Fridays, McDonalds, Burger King, Ripleys etc. There must be about a dozen arcades in the space of 200 yards, It's awful, and rammed full of kids and families. We were very disappointed and surprised that the Canadians let this happen.
Anyway, we went and got something to eat and headed back to the River Road to watch the firework display over the water. In the summer they have fireworks every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and it was very spectacular. The two elements did battle to see who was the loudest, the pounding water or the exploding gunpowder. I think the fireworks had it, just.
We slept in to both of our dismay the following morning. Two iPhone alarms failed to rouse either of us. I guess walking all day followed by four hours of broken sleep does that to you! So we missed our first breakfast, but we made up for it. We walked back up the road to find, thankfully, that it was quieter than it had been the night before. We decided to be proper tourists and so purchased the attraction pass, which got you entry into the four tours, Maid of the Mist boat ride, Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara's Fury and White Water Walk. We started off on the boat absolutely soaked! I was quite surprised at how quickly the queue moved and we were on the boat within 15 minutes of joining. The ride lasts only 15 minutes but it is definitely worth the money. On one hand it's quite scary to be that close to so much water but it is amazing to be just a stone throw away. The falls tower way above your head to the point where you almost can't see where the water starts and the sky ends. You're on a boat that is floating above a pool that is as deep as the falls are high and the noise is deafening - as I said, it can be quite scary, but we all know how much I love water, ironically.
After a pit stop (brunch) we went and did the Journey Behind the Falls tour. This seemed to be the busiest and there were quite a few queues. The best thing about the attraction pass is you get to pre-book what time you want to do all of things and then you jump the queue, you just walk straight in (and join a different queue!) This attraction was quite amazing. At the beginning of the twentieth century they drilled these tunnels knowing that one day the falls would erode so much that the tunnels would open at the back of the falls and you would see the water pouring down; you were literally behind the falls. Our guess is that in another few years they will have to close the existing tunnels and start again. Dan did nothing to reassure me when I asked "How do they know that the sheer weight of the water won't collapse the tunnels?" He said "They don't". OK then!!!!! There was also a platform right beside the Canadian falls so you could stand at the side and watch the water cascade down, and again get wet (but not as much as in the boat!)
Straight afterwards we did Niagara's Fury, one for the kids! It's an animated film that tells you how the falls were formed, but it's one of those theme park visual rides where the ground shook when the ice on film cracked, and when it started to melt and water started to fall, yep, water poured through the ceiling of the room we were in and sprayed us. And I just happened to be in the wettest spot! Lovely!
We then made our way down the road (on the bus that you can hop on, hop off as part of the attraction pass) to our final destination, White Water Walk, where the rapids are. This is exactly as it sounds, a boardwalk along the edge of the river, where grade 6 white water rafting would be possible. It was quite mesmerizing watching the water's fury, sucking anything that got caught up in it down and releasing it elsewhere. It was a lovely way to end the day, again, nature at it's best, and apart from fifty or so other people, and the man made platform, there was no evidence of urbanisation, just you and this river, and any rattlesnake that may be lurking nearby.
After a quick change at our b&b we went back up to the town for some dinner. We ate at one of the Niagara Park restaurants that offered fall view dining, and it was worth it. Nothing like a romantic meal with a picturesque setting with your new husband ... who is glued to his camera! Surprisingly the restaurant was not any more expensive than it had been to eat in urban hell the night before, and about the same price as a similar standard of restaurant in New York.
We then headed up to the casino to take a look around and have a cold beverage. We wandered around the tables watching the action, one of us itching to join in but not confident enough to do so (I could never be a proper gambler, sorry Nat, Dass and Bro!) It was an entertaining hour and I almost sat down at a blackjack table ... but lost my nerve.
That's all folks, on the move again tomorrow!
Take care, Elles xx