Friday, September 11, 2015

Room with a View

This was the view that greeted us from our hotel room at Niagara.  Pretty amazing, huh? That's obviously the Horseshoe Falls on the right, and (unknown to me), the American Falls and the Bridal Falls in the background on the left (US side), all three of which collectively make up "Niagara Falls".

We took a late afternoon stroll along the waterfront, taking advantage of the light and lack of crowds to get some photos.

The sheer power of the Horseshoe Falls, and the volume of water continuously pouring off the edge was awe-inspiring.  We got our first glimpse of the famous "Maid of the Mist"" (US side) and "Hornblower" (Canadian side) boats which perfectly synchronised their alternating tours to and from the falls every 15 minutes.  We also got our first taste of "Niagara Rain" - perfectly dry pavements at the Falls themselves, and then 250m down the road it "rained" - from a fine spray to a full-on down-pour, as the "mist" from the Falls fell to earth!

The following day we did the full tourist thing.  First was a "Walk Beneath the Falls" - a tour through the tunnels beneath the Horseshoe Falls, looking out onto the full force of the ever-tumbling water, and also a glimpse into the brave Victorians who dug the original tunnels. The tour ended with a balcony walk at the bottom of the Falls.  Very wet - hence the lovely yellow ponchos!

Who knew that Niagara had a tackier side?  We found it when we walked further round to Clifton Hill and fell upon a tourist trap filled with amusement arcades, chain fast food restaurants, about a dozen haunted houses (why?), an upside down house (again, why?) and the "Niagara Sky Wheel".  We didn't linger long...   But we did have a lovely meal at the Wein Keller restaurant / craft winery round the corner.  On the walk back to the hotel we could see the ghostly plume of Niagara mist rising into the sky.

We couldn't go all the way to Niagara without experiencing the boat tour, so we donned the compulsory ponchos once again.  From the boat we got a much better view of the American Falls, and then right up to the Horseshoe Falls themselves, and a proper soaking from the roaring waters.  Impossible to keep anything dry, including a camera lens, even with the ponchos!  

Finally, to get some proper high rise views, we went to the top of the Skylon Tower for a 360 viewpoint and some good panorama opportunities:

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