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Old 4 Jun 15, 07:18 PM  
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jocat
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Our first taste of Canada - Day 2 - Niagara Falls

Our first taste of Canada - Toronto and Niagara Falls

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Day 2 Ė Monday 25th May 2015


We had to set the alarm this morning, so woke up at 6:30 am. While Martin jumped in the shower, I struggled to get moving initially. I eventually got up and looked out of the window, to find thick clouds outside. We had breakfast from the fridge again, which consisted of a Danish and orange juice, while watching the weather forecast - rain for today apparently. Never mind, weíd get wet from the spray of Niagara Falls anyway.

We decided to forego the sun cream from the bag. We definitely wouldn't need that today. Can you see the flaw in the plan already? Instead we packed the bag with things we would need - umbrella, blister plasters, Canadian guide book (none of which we used of course).

We arrived at the Enterprise office, which was just a block away from our hotel, at about 7:45 am. We were dealt with very quickly and efficiently, then taken down to the parking garage to our car. We signed the paperwork, then found out we could return the car to the garage at any point over the next 24 hours. There was even a drop off box for our keys if the office was shut. I had heard before our trip that this was a possibility at some Enterprise locations, so had emailed Enterprise from home to ask if this facility was available at this branch, but were told no. Thankfully it was available - it would save us about $45 in overnight parking fees at our hotel, and also meant we could have a lie in tomorrow. Bonus!

At just after 8am, we headed out of the garage and onto the Gardiner Expressway towards Niagara.



We had spells of slow moving traffic, but nothing too bad. We had arrived at Table Rock and parked by 9:45am.




Our first glimpse from the car

The view was simply fabulous, and the cloud had lifted a little by the time we got there.










We started by Horseshoe Falls, then nipped into the Welcome Centre to grab a cold drink from Tim Horton's, before taking a steady walk down to American Falls. We stopped at lots of places along the way to take more photos - why take just one photo when several hundred will do! Here goes.

















We carried on towards the Hornblower Cruise centre. We had purchased Adventure Passes before we left home which included entrance to the Hornblower boats, Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara's Fury and White Water Falls. It also includes unlimited travel on the Wego buses for 48 hours.

There was a sign saying if you have the adventure pass, head straight down in the elevators, so we did. When we got close to the boat, there was an adventure pass check in desk, where we soon discovered we had to exchange our confirmation for a plastic card and lanyard at one of the Welcome Centres. We had to go back up in the elevators, but luckily there was one just through the gift shop and at the top of the stairs, rather than heading back to Table Rock.

Once at the Welcome Centre, they asked if we wanted to do all of the attractions that day, then proceeded to allocate us a timeslot for each of them. The boat was scheduled for 11:45 am.

We headed back down towards the boat again, they scanned our plastic passes, then we were able to collect our rather fetching pink ponchos. We only had a short wait before we boarded. We first went towards the American Falls, where there was a fair bit of spray.





We then headed towards Horseshoe Falls, and to say we got wet is an understatement.





Somehow, despite having my hood up, my hair was completely wet by the end of it. That didn't matter though - the boat was a real highlight of our trip and I would thoroughly recommend doing it. It was fantastic to get so close to the falls.

We left the boat, headed to the gift shop again, where this time we bought another fridge magnet plus a drink. As we left, it just started to spit with rain, but by the time we'd made the short walk to the bus stop at Clifton Road North, it had stopped and the sun was coming out again. We'd only been waiting a minute or two, when the bus turned up. We scanned our adventure pass, then travelled the couple of stops to get to White Water Falls.

This was about 4km from the Hornblower Cruise, and we went past some lovely looking houses and B&Bs on the way. I do like to have a nose at houses wherever we are!

As we hadn't had much of a wait for the bus, I was worried that we would be too early for our slot at the Rapids. This didn't matter though - it seems you can turn up at any point.



The rapids were class 6, but it hasnít stopped people trying to cross them over the years, usually forfeiting their lives in the process.







We walked down the boardwalk at the side of the rapids and back again, before crossing the road to catch the bus back towards the Falls. We were getting hungry by now, as it was past lunchtime, so we decided to get off at the bottom of the main street in Niagara to grab a bite to eat.



There's not much to say about this street, except it's the complete opposite to the natural beauty of the Falls. We walked past all of the buildings such as Ripleys, Rainforest Cafe and lots of other amusement type places, then saw a sign for IHOP. That would do and give us some respite from the sun.

We ordered a diet coke plus a BLT sandwich each. You could choose to have that with fries, onion rings, a side salad or fruit. Trying to be healthy for a change I ordered fruit and Martin chose a salad.





While we were eating, Martin felt a bit lightheaded. It was then we noticed the colour of his head changing as he'd obviously had too much sun, despite the cloud for most of the morning. Once we finished our meal, we crossed the road to a gift shop, where Martin proceeded to purchase a cap. It was not the most fashionable item he's ever owned, and I was tempted to walk several steps in front or behind him, but it did the job and gave him some protection as we headed back towards Table Rock for the next things on our agenda, while thinking about the sun cream left in our hotel room.

Once there, we went to Journey Behind the Falls, and this time were given a lovely yellow poncho each. We went through the tunnels, hearing the Falls crashing by us. We only got slightly wet this time!







Another pit stop for a bottle of water, then we went to our final stop of the day - the 4pm showing of Niagara's Fury. Didn't really know what to expect for this, but as I suffer from motion sickness, I imagined it to be far worse than it was in reality.

We headed back towards the car, then decided to head back to Toronto, driving though Niagara on the Lake on the way. We went the scenic route, and saw some fab houses. Even saw the floral clock, which I hadn't heard of until Bonzo's trippie, so of course we had to pull over a take a photo of it now it was planted, before continuing on our way.




We only drove through the middle of Niagara on the Lake, but it was a quaint looking town that reminded us a lot of England.

We were then very thankful of the Here app, which we'd downloaded prior to our visit thanks to Bonzo's recommendation. I'm not sure we'd have made it back to the Expressway without it. Our route had taken us through some very narrow roads, and the middle of a housing estate, and there seemed very few signs in this neck of the woods. Some lovely sights though.



Finally we were back on the QEW towards Toronto, and had parked back in the Enterprise garage by about 7pm.

If anybody is worried about whether itís worth the hassle of hiring a car and driving to Niagara, please donít. It was just two roads really, and even I could have probably done it if I had to. It was great to have the freedom to do what we wanted, without having to be watching the clock Ė Iíd been worried about this if we had to take a coach tour. It was a bargain too - £39 which included the extra insurance, and the petrol cost was roughly an extra £10.

We were both feeling shattered after weíd dropped the car off, and contemplated heading straight back to the hotel. However, as we were both starving at this point, we decided to grab a bite to eat while we were out, knowing that if we went back to the room, it was very unlikely we'd make it back out. At the intersection of the roads that the parking garage and our hotel was on, there was an Italian place called Joe Badali's. We had a quick look at their menu, decided it looked quite nice, so went inside.

Martin ordered a Peroni, while I had a glass of wine. We ordered mains each - a salmon and a chicken dish. The meals came with a side order included - we both chose the Caesar salad, which they bought out as starters, along with some bread plus dipping oil and balsamic vinegar.







When our mains meals came, I was amazed at the size of mine. The chicken was the size of a massive piece of fish. It also came with half a plate of pasta and 4 different vegetables. I was barely going to make a dent in it. Had to offload some of the chicken onto Martinís plate, in case they thought I didnít like it.





Martin ordered a second Peroni, which took its time to arrive. The waiter offered us a free dessert to make up for his 'tardiness', but we declined. We couldn't move and definitely couldnít eat another morsel.

I donít seem to have made a note of the cost of our meal tonight, but Iím sure it came to about $80, including tip. Much more reasonable, but I did only have one glass of wine!

We headed back to the hotel, where I had a lovely bath and got into my pyjamas. It had been such a lovely day and one we will never forget.
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Edited at 11:36 PM.
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Old 4 Jun 15, 07:28 PM  
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charlieangels
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Fab great pics x
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Old 4 Jun 15, 07:36 PM  
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sunshine99
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Sounds like you had a fabulous time! Great pix!

Edited at 07:42 PM.
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Old 4 Jun 15, 07:41 PM  
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stupet11
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Thanks for posting - I went in 1990, and It's as fresh in my mind today as it was then, the undesirable power and beauty...and tackiness of the shops! Can't wait to go back with my wife one day. (Sorry kids!)
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Old 4 Jun 15, 07:43 PM  
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Rob & Jan
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Great day your photos are amazing, we took a day trip to Niagara Falls when we visited New York, we really enjoyed it, DD still says it was one of the best days of her life.
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Old 4 Jun 15, 08:07 PM  
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Another great day really enjoying this trippie
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Old 4 Jun 15, 09:16 PM  
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jocat
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Originally Posted by charlieangels View Post
Fab great pics x
Thank you. I've only included a fraction of what we took.

Originally Posted by sunshine99 View Post
Sounds like you had a fabulous time! Great pix!
We really did have a great time and would really like to see more of what Canada has to offer.

Originally Posted by stupet11 View Post
Thanks for posting - I went in 1990, and It's as fresh in my mind today as it was then, the undesirable power and beauty...and tackiness of the shops! Can't wait to go back with my wife one day. (Sorry kids!)
Good to know we're not likely to forget this day. The beauty is indescribable really, but those shops are so wrong in a place like that! Saying that, we made use of IHOP, so they obviously have a place there. Yes, take your wife!

Originally Posted by Rob & Jan View Post
Great day your photos are amazing, we took a day trip to Niagara Falls when we visited New York, we really enjoyed it, DD still says it was one of the best days of her life.
It was such a fabulous day and pleased you felt the same when you visited too.

Originally Posted by P&S View Post
Another great day really enjoying this trippie
Thanks for reading along. Glad you're enjoying it.
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Old 4 Jun 15, 09:36 PM  
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I have a similar set of photos! We hired a car too - it makes for a more relaxed day!

Glad you had a fab day!
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Old 5 Jun 15, 01:16 PM  
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What a difference a month or so makes after we did our trip. Nice to see the ice had gone from the falls and the flowers were out. I guess we'll have to go back sometime to complete the falls experience properly. Glad that the Here app worked out for you.
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Old 5 Jun 15, 09:39 PM  
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Another awesome day... You're making me really excited for our trip
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