NIAGARA FALLS

Trip Start Apr 01, 2013
1
45
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Trip End Jun 28, 2013


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What I did
Horseshoe Falls
Rainbow Bridge
Goat Island
Terrapin Point
Kelsey's

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Today my plan was to explore one of the wonders of the world, the Niagara Falls.

I had heard that the Falls are best viewed from the Canadian side but that the US side had a nice State Park which included great viewing platforms next to both the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls. Furthermore, from the US side you can also go on the 'Maid of the Mist' boat trip and check out the 'Cave of the Winds'.

I had decided to check out the US side first and made my way to the Rainbow Bridge which crosses the US / Canadian border. I wandered across the bridge, admiring the falls on the way, and bowled into the US Border Station. I was questioned about my citizenship, my intentions and what I was carrying across the border. Once I'd answered the questions, they waved me through and I headed to the Visitor's Centre.

The lady at the Visitors Centre suggested I do the Observation Tower and the 'Maid of the Mist' boat ride first, before things got to busy. I started on the Observation Tower which gives a great panoramic unobstructed view of both the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls. I also saw a large amount of birdlife ranging from gulls to falcons to eagles.

I then decended 86m to the base of the tower to the Niagara River and the dock where the 'Maid of the Mist' boat trip departs. I was given a lovely blue plastic poncho and looked like a big fat smurf once I'd put it on. I was first on the boat and headed up to the upper deck and positioned myself just in front of the wheel-house on the bow.
 
The boat starts off at a calm part of the Niagara River, near the Rainbow Bridge, and travels past the Niagara Falls (sometimes called the America Falls) and Bridal Veil Falls, then heads into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls. Now this bit was awesome as we were buffeted by the sheer volume or water surging into the river from above. You truly have to respect the power of the water. Needless to say I got soaked. I was asking a lot of the poncho to keep me dry through that !

I got back to the dock, both wet and extremely cold. I thought about giving up and heading back to the hotel and some warmth but took a concrete pill and hardened the f@#k up instead. 

I decided lunch would be a good option but unfortunately the food in the cafe was junk so I just starved and boxed on. I jumped on the Niagara State Park Trolley, crossed the Niagara River on to Goat Island and got off at the stop for the 'Cave of the Winds' attraction. This attraction allows you to view both the Niagara and Bridal Veil Falls, up close and personal. If fact you are right in front of them and damn near under them !

To partake in this attraction, you have to don some special sandals and a bright yellow poncho. You then proceed 53 metres down a lift to a series of wooden walkways which you can walk around. I assume that's why they called them walkways. 

As I stood at the railing, I was a mere 6 metres from the billowing torrents of the Bridal Veil Falls. The rushing waters loomed above me, dousing me with a generous spray as I faced the thundering falls head-on. I can see why it is called the 'Cave of the Winds' because it sure as hell was blowing 40 bastards. 

The uppermost deck is called the 'Hurricane Deck', because of the wind and spray of the falls. You can pretty much stand within 3 metres of the base of the falls. It was wicked and again I got wet. Stupid feckin poncho ! That being said, this part was the highlight for me.

By now, as you can imagine, I am starting to suffer from symptoms of exposure but I guts it out a while longer and headed over to a place called Terrapin Point which offers a great view of the Niagara River and an up-close view of the Horseshoe Falls.

After snapping a few more hundred pics, I decided it was time to head back into Canada. Same process when crossing back into Canada although the border patrol dude was a bit more friendly than his US counterpart. He had trimmed his nails :)

I stopped off at a bar around the corner from my hotel and grabbed a bite to eat for a late lunch. I had the nicest buffalo wings I have ever had. 

Now that my hunger was sorted I headed back to the hotel to sort a few things out including packing and doing my blog.

Around 8.30pm, I decided to head out for a couple more drinks and a late dinner. I popped into a bar/restaurant called Kelsey's in the middle of all the tacky neon that is the Niagara Falls township. I grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered me a pitcher of Molsen's Canadian. After all, I needed something substantial to help wash down the Caesar Salad I had also ordered. Not a bad drop either. 
 
A couple from somewhere in northern Canada came in and joined me at the bar. They were good value and very keen to travel to New Zealand. After a drink, they headed off to some haunted house thing but were back half an hour later just as I was finishing my pitcher and salad. I had a couple more drinks with them and they bought me a shot of something awful so I returned the favour with Jaegermeister :)
 
With a slight glow-on, I headed back to my hotel. I reached into my pocket to grab my room key and.... no room key. Shit ! I headed over to the hotel reception to get another one but it was all locked up and nobody was there. Double shit ! There were a couple of emergency phone numbers on the door of the reception but my cell phone was in my room. Triple shit !!!
 
I was now cold and starting to panic. I spent half an hour banging on the reception door to no avail. Not long after, a bloke from Quebec with a strong French accent who spoke feck-all English arrived at the hotel. I explained my circumstances and he offered to ring the emergency numbers from his room. He tried each number twice and got no answer. By this time it was nearly one in the morning. He let me have a go at calling one of the numbers and the manager answered the phone straight away. Dumb frog obviously didn't know how to use a phone. I explained the situation to the manager and he was fair pissed off ! He said if he wasn't there in 20 minutes then I would just have to find a room at some other hotel.  Meanwhile his wife was chirping away in the background telling him not to bother. What a bitch.
 
I sat and waited....and hoped.

Thankfully he turned up and was a bit calmer although he was still not whistling dixie. I offered him $40 for the inconvenience but he wouldn't take it. He let me in, I thanked him, and he buggered off. Crisis averted.
 
Sleep time, thankfully.
 
Over and out !
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