THE FALLS!!

Trip Start May 07, 2008
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86
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Trip End Jan 06, 2009


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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hi everyone
 
Well, Niagara Falls is only about 1.5 hours driving from Toronto. And obviously our first priority was to get somewhere to stay. While in our Toronto Hotel room and watching some tv at night, we saw many ads (many!! Every flaming 2mins!!) plugging various products and services. But then one night, this lone ad flashed up advertising 'The Fallsview Casino Hotel, Niagara Falls' and we never ever saw this ad ever again in 3 days. I said "we're staying there David. It's a sign". David, thankfully just went along with my loopiness as usual. (David: Why not? means I don't have to think about it.)
 
On the road out of Toronto and towards Niagara, there were billboards by the highway advertising all sorts of products and educational services. But there was one sole billboard advertising the only Hotel in Niagara: The Fallsview Hotel, Niagara Falls. No other Hotel was advertised through these billboards. I knew it was a sign. (David: It was a billboard. But then billboard or sign... they're all the same really.)
 
When we got to Niagara, we caught a glimpse at the bottom of a road, of the Tsunami of Niagara Falls smashing down to the river so we drove down to have a look. I was squealing in the car and deafening David with my excitement. It was absolutely magnificent (well, from what we could see in the car anyway!). Everything was smothered in deep white snow with icicles drooping under roofs and street signs swathed in icy snow, leafless trees stood frozen with their icicle arms outstretched begging for some warmth. It was all like a film set! It was early afternoon so following this brief drive alongside the river, David decided to play along with my 'it's a sign' theory regarding The Fallsview Casino Hotel and we drove up to at least ask about prices for 3 nights. (David: One selection theory is as good as any other...) My 'it's a sign' theory proved to be very accurate. We got a fantastic Queen-sized room on the 20th floor OVERLOOKING NIAGARA FALLS!!!!!!!!!!! Plus because it was our honeymoon the gorgeous Erin on reception slipped us 2 cards which would give us access to the Regency Club Lounge (where normally only VIPs can go!) on the 30th floor which had free non-alcoholic drinks and canapés ever day from 6-8pm, free continental breakfasts and free afternoon tea and cake. All of this we got for the price of a B & B in Brighton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Hotel was huge with it's own small selection of retails shops, a massive Las Vegas type casino, a huge spa with Jacuzzi and pool, a big area with restaurants and coffee shops and a stonking car park (which we also got a discount on). HOW JAMMY ARE WE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
We dumped our bags, wrapped up like arctic explorers and power-walked outside to Niagara Falls to see the magnificent waterfall, this time more closely. My God! Is all I can say. If this blog had sound effects, all you would hear would be me squealing (again!) Niagara Falls is BEAUTIFUL!! Loud, roaring and terrifyingly turbulant!!!!!! We walked along the long promenade and just stared in wonder at the view. We had to change the camera battery twice for all the photos we took!
 
I didn't realise but there are actually two waterfalls: The Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and The American Falls on the USA side. I thought it was just one big waterfall called Niagara Falls.  The border between Canada and USA runs through Niagara Falls which is an umbrella name for both waterfalls. The American Falls looked just as magnificent but observation there seemed trickier with just an observation platform beside it. However, below the American waterfalls was the most incredible frozen water sculpted to the cliff face with lethal sized icicles. Stunning. Whereas the Horseshoe Falls on our side (Canadian side) had this long promenade you could walk along and look down into the river and the smashing Falls at the end of it. Also, on this side there was an attraction called the 'Behind The Falls Journey' which was basically a series of tunnels that ran right underneath Horseshoe Falls with three openings where you can first of all go out onto a platform and get right beside the thundering Falls (in the summer there is an additional platform below this which takes you out even closer to the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls and this is where you are given free rainmacs to wear. During the winter however, because this additional lower platform is completely snowed in and frozen over it's too dangerous to open to the public). Then the 2nd opening in these tunnels takes you out to right behind the waterfall itself but during the winter it's just a sheet of icicles at the tunnel as is the 3rd opening in the underground tunnel too. Because the 2nd and 3rd openings are completely iced up, it is eerily silent within the tunnels but we soon got talking to a guy from Yorkshire who told us that in summer the noise is absolutely deafening and you get soaked as obviously being behind the waterfall spray shoots in!  The tunnels are long and dimly lit and much like any metro tunnels connecting you to various platforms. Because you can't hear the whooshing water of the Falls though, it really is quite spooky down there.
 
Back 'up top' on the promenade, we saw some blinding rainbows which made your heart stop beating. So flaming stunning. And from our Hotel bedroom window?? Oh My God! We saw the sun set over the Falls, the sun rise over them and at night, they switch multicoloured lights on behind the water so it's a bit tacky and Las Vegas but the waterfalls did look spectacular.
 
There was snow, snow, snow everywhere all around and again it was freeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzing. -30 again. The trees by the Horseshoe falls were covered in snow and had icicles hanging from them. They looked like they were out of a Disney film set or something, they were just magical. You could imagine a Disney Ice Queen cackling from underneath. They were just surreal. The firs were sparkling white and standing proud on the other side of the river. And the river itself had icebergs floating along and joining together to form one big mass. It was all so serenely stunning and blindingly beautiful. To see Niagara Falls smothered in such white icy beauty was probably something far more memorable than just seeing it in saturated in sunshine.
 
One day, we went out for a walk along the promenade again. It was so freeeeeeezing cold. After 30mins walking, my thighs started to feel really numb and 10mins later I was getting really alarmed when I prodded them and I really couldn't feel any sensation in my thighs whatsoever. I could walk fine, no problem but the fact that I no longer had any sensation in my thighs was slightly worrying. I prodded really flaming hard and didn't feel anything. Nothing. David and I decided to walk back to the Hotel to warm up. There was a slight hill back and then my asthma started really playing up and I was finding it impossible to breathe. I took 2 puffs of my ventolin (asthma inhaler) and then 2 more shortly afterwards and it just wasn't doing anything. I really couldn't breathe. The air was so freezing cold, it was quite scary. As soon as we got into the warm I started to 'thaw' out and I got pins and needles and felt really odd. It soon passed though as my body got used to it. I have never ever felt cold like that before and I hope to never again. Admittedly, David and I were only wearing jeans with nothing underneath them but we were wearing about 4 layers of jumpers and t-shirts under our coats but still, we didn't have floor length coats or thermals to keep us extra warm. Such a weird sensation.
 
We went for a drive to Niagara on-the-lake one day. This is a beautiful small town of Niagara, surrounded by vineyards. The houses are absolutely stunning, clapperboard houses with huge front gardens and big front porches. In 1996, it was actually named as Prettiest Town in Canada and not surprisingly. There are endless bike and walking routes you can take. It is just so scenic and stunning. Even in snow. We went down to the lake to have a look (where Ontario lake meets Niagara River). It was stunning and smothered in icebergs! Well not like towering Titanic sized icebergs, more like ice cubes actually but you get the picture! There was snow everywhere and we walked around and the snow came up to our knees in some places. In fact as we were walking back down to the car, my foot suddenly disappeared in snow and I was up to my thigh!! The snow was so fluffy and soft. Useless for making snowmen. In England it is quite thick and mushy so perfect sculpting material but here it was just like baking powder, soft and fluffy. Only good to walk about in.    
After Niagara on the lake, we went for lunch at The Flying Saucer Restaurant. It is literally what it is. A flying saucer diner!!! A big, round diner, red and black leather and silver metal inside with menus made of pretend 'Shock-Horror' UFO headline newspaper. The food was actually really good. Again, like Vegas Hotels, there was no consistency. All very well having a Flying Saucer Diner but the waitresses should be dressed in futuristic silver dresses or something instead of white aprons and black t-shirts! And the music should be mad future-space songs like David Bowie's "Major Tom" (even though it's not actually about space!) or Randi Crawford's 'One Day I'll Fly Away". There's just no imagination at all. "We've got the spacecraft diner....so sod the themes, now we've got the customer through the door". It was good fun anyway. (David: Maybe it started out like that in the 60s... but then cynicism and apathy kicked in, so this is all that's left.)
 
So, we finally said a sad goodbye to Niagara and made our drive back to Toronto to catch our train to Quebec to meet up with Ashley and his family. We had a really long day ahead of us involving approx 9hours on a train! But we were excited about going to Quebec as it was supposed to be stunning! (David: Pah... 9 hours? I had an Ipod full of Top Gear and 24... bring it on!)
 
Love, us xx
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