Rosie & Jim's Travel Blog

A blog of all our travels

A Really Old Castle

So Much Water!!

  |     |   Canada 2017   |   Canada, Toronto

We were on the road again yesterday morning, but this time it was only 1½ hours down to Niagara Falls :smiley:. It has been my experience that quite often, some of these incredible sights can be a bit of a let down when you see them in real life. Niagara Falls is definitely not one of those! They are perhaps the most breathtaking natural wonder I have seen! There is no way to appreciate the insane power of them without seeing them up close and personal!

We pulled into Niagara Falls late morning and dropped off our car and bags at the hotel. At this point, we had no real plan so we walked down to the falls themselves to take it all in. :open_mouth:! It was just incredible to see the falls in all their glory. Not only are the main Horseshoe Falls epic, but the American Falls are also an amazing sight!

Once we had our Adventure Passes we went straight down to the ‘Maid of the Mist’ dock, only to find that the ‘Maid of the Mist’ has only operated from the American side since 2013! Thankfully, there is still a boat that does the trip from the Canadian side and that is the ‘Hornblower’. The queue was tiny so we joined and got straight onto the next boat, complete with our awesome red ponchos! The actual trip is only 20 minutes long, but it’s actually perfectly adequate to see the incredible power of all 3 sets of falls. You set off past the American Falls, with massive amounts of rock debris at its base. Then you scoot past the Bridal Veil Falls, a much smaller set of falls between the American and Horseshoe Falls. Finally, you arrive in the middle of the horseshoe surrounded by the Horseshoe Falls as ≈2,500m³ of water falls down the face of the 50 metre drop every second! The noise is just phenomenal and you get absolutely soaked whilst the boat slowly turns around for the return trip. So the boat trip was only 20 minutes, but what a fantastic experience! Getting so close to the Falls really brings into sharp focus the true power of nature. Amazing!

After that experience, there was only really one thing we could do, hunt for food :smiley:. Rosie noticed previously that there was a Hard Rock Café somewhere in town so began our mission to find it. Although Niagara Falls is a massive tourist attraction, the town isn’t really that big so we headed to the ‘strip’ and our mission was accomplished. Given we were planning on eating at the fancy steak restaurant, The Keg Steakhouse, at our hotel in the evening, it would have made sense to have a light lunch, wouldn’t it? Well, we’re obviously not that sensible because we ordered full meals, oops!

The afternoon drew us back to the falls, but this time we took a ‘Journey Behind the Falls’ where we got yellow ponchos :grinning:. It’s definitely an experience! The tunnels were originally carved into the hillside behind the falls approximately 130 years ago and they take you to two viewing areas that look out through the falls. The first thing to strike you when you enter the tunnels is the noise of the water, then as you get closer to the openings you can actually feel the ground beneath your feet vibrating with the sheer force of the water falling over the edge. At each of the openings, there are barriers to stop you getting too close, but the wind, spray and noise do a pretty good job on their own. There is no way to hear what anyone around you is saying. At first glance, the falls just look like a curtain moving in the breeze, but when you look properly you can see the immense volume of water that is moving past the opening every second.

Once you’ve seen the falls from behind, there is then the option to view them from the side from an observation platform at the end of the tunnels. This is the real reason for the ponchos! Almost everywhere on the platform, it felt like it was raining heavily because of the amount of spray generated by the falls, but the view was spectacular. George struggled a little with the noise, but he really wanted a picture with the ‘Go Jetters’ in front of the falls so we got that sorted and got him out of there :smiley:.

We finished the day with a trip to Niagara’s Fury. This is a 4D cinema experience describing the history of Niagara Falls from about 12,500 years ago. We were given more ponchos on the way in, then shepherded into a circular room and onto a platform above a shallow pool of water. Rather than spoil the experience for anyone else going, I’ll just say that it was a brilliant, and very much immersive, experience that was perfectly geared to kids. If you are in Niagara, then I would highly recommend it :grinning:.

Given Niagara is a reasonable drive away from Toronto, we had decided to book a hotel for the night. We chose the Embassy Suites Hotel based on Karlene’s recommendation and it couldn’t have been a better choice! The view from our room on the 39th floor was stunning. The entire end wall of the room was glazing and we looked straight down on the Horseshoe Falls and across to the American and Bridal Veil Falls. We also got to eat in The Keg Steakhouse which is on the 9th floor of the hotel and also looks out over the falls.

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