Masa and Masi taking us down to Niagara today for an overnight stay. He had organised it all and arranged hotel accommodation for us as well !
Up early, all packed up and ready by 9 am – good timing.
Was around 5 degrees outside, yet we were not feeling a thing indoors, homes here seem to have great heating. And not just any heating, these humidify the air so as not to dry your skin – which is what my air conditioning does back home.
Stepping outside – greeted by a nice clear day, and a crisp cold morning!
Smooth drive to Niagara, no road traffic – a welcome relief from Chicago traffic! Highways in Canada were just as good and big as USA, we were mostly driving on a 4-6 lane road ways (on each side).
Arrived into Niagara around 11am. First a quick car tour of the place, onto the Niagara Parkway, and what a sight before us, the amazing Niagara falls. It was a quick glimpse but more than enough to get us excited for the afternoon. Masa found parking near the new Casino (yes for readers like me who do not know, there are two Casinos @ Canadian Niagara).
A nice water fountain took up centre stage of the new Casino entry, that does call for pics!
Headed to the food court, unfortunately half the food outlets were closed for refurbishment, settled for Subway – always a reliable choice when limited for options.
Lunch done, now for viewing of the falls, headed out to the rear Casino courtyard, this area provided an amazing view of the falls from high up, the Casino being a significant way up the hills, there is an incline rail cart to transport people down quickly, we were going to use that to get down.
The view from high up was simply breathtaking, what a sight of natures marvel.
Seeing these falls from up top was impressive, however was totally blown away by its vastness when being up close, the size, sound and just seeing the volume of water running through the falls – just amazing.
First stop “Journey behind the falls”, a chance to see and feel the falls from a close vicinity. The Journey behind the falls tour requires taking a lift down to half way down the falls. Being already a cold day, the underground environment was even COLDER!! Everyone was given ponchos – yep we were going to get wet. Stepping outside, it is unreal to be standing next to the torrential falls, not on top but directly next to the falling water. Millions of litres of water falling directly next to us, with no sign of slowing down, some things are simply hard to comprehend, so much water coming over the falls – continuing day and night.
Next viewing was a trench leading us directly BEHIND the falls, they had safety gates to ensure you did not reach the water – which is a good thing, the force of water would have simply washed anyone away if they did get too close.
Back up from Behind the falls, Masa was waiting for us, he pointed us to our next to do sight, the cruise to the falls. From here, we split up, Masa took masi back to the hotel, unfortunately her knees were causing her too much pain and making walking difficult, told them to relax and we would find our way back to the hotel later in the afternoon.
Walking to the Hornblower Niagara cruise terminal was a fair walk, lucky for the amazing sights making the walk feel much SHORTER!
Walking past the small American falls, it simply does not compare to the HorseShoe Canadian falls.
Arrived at the Hornblower cruise terminal, got our tickets,
another walk down the ramp, another lift down to the bottom and finally onto the catamaran. This time we had red ponchos. The top deck was already full, got lucky on the lower deck, front of the catamaran was still empty, good position to see the falls upfront.
There are around 4 boats doing this tour, and I like how they all have spaced each apart as not to interfere with the other. Boat horns sounded and off we went.
The American falls that looked small from the top was far from that, down at the river you realise its size not soo small, generating enough spray to cause a few to take shelter in the covered area on the catamaran. The Captain was good, allowing enough time for all to snap lots of pics.
Next headed towards the star of the show, the Horseshoe Canadian falls. WOW, the noise and sight of millions of litres water falling around you is simply incredible! Nature at its best. The spray from the falls was too much for me to risk taking pics with my Camera, it is times likes these when the smart phone camera’s come so much in handy , managed to get a few good shots and selfies as well with my phone/camera.
What an experience, seeing and feeling the falls from up close – WOW! I would highly recommend this to all visiting.
Niagara falls all done, except for night viewing, this will have to wait for a few more hours.
Out of the Cruise terminal, the old Casino was close by, so why not a quick tour of it now, save the time in the evening. Am so glad I visited this place now and not allocate time in the evening. This casino is soooo OLD and run down, we were out of that place in a matter of minutes. Noticed a Starbucks around the corner, time for a much needed break & my Chai-latte fix. The starbucks was inside the Sheraton lobby and hence the nice lobby comfy sofa’s. Nita taking full advantage of that, took a power nap which lasted close to 40 minutes – she was very tired from the early start and also still sort of recovering from the jet-leg, there had not been much time for sleep-in at Chicago, tiredness was now catching up.
Post the rest, made our way back to the Falls viewing area. Passed the Queen Victoria place along the way, could not resist a stop over at its upper level restaurant, the place had a nice view of the falls from the outdoor balcony seating, and I also need a drink.
Got a nice table overlooking the falls, wine for Nita and beer for me, along with some bread – well I thought it was simple herb bread, turned out to be a full bruschetta, not complaining as it was very nice and tasty but we could not finish it all – this was only supposed to be a light snack, we were catching up with Masa and Masi for dinner soon.
(Views from Queen Victoria place restaurant)
Wrapped up at Queen Victoria place around 5pm, grabbed a cab to go back to our accommodation, unfortunately it was not meant to be easy. I knew the name of the place – Days Inn, what I did not realise were there were 6 Days Inn in the area!! Time to call Masa and ask for directions. Finally made it there.
Problem no.2, the NON-SMOKING room we had (which did have the non smoking sign on it) smelt more like a SMOKING room. Reception promptly moved us into another room – phew much better – thumbs up to the Days Inn staff.
Met up with Masa in his room just after 6 pm for some drinks and “bhuja”
Around 7pm we hit the town for Dinner. Masa suggested Boston Pizza, I was all for it, after all they also served Buffalo Wings! Dinner was good, pizza’s and wings both were very tasty.
Back on the street, Clifton Hill was alight with neon lights, lots of colour everywhere, very different indeed at night.
Walked down hill to the falls area, where we split up again, I wanted to do the falls viewing at night and Masi’s leg pain was restricting here movement, Masa Masi headed back to the hotel, me and Nita carried on to the falls.
It was aroound 9 pm when were got to the falls area, and COLD it was – around 10 degrees. Must have been good timing, apparently the falls rainbow lights come alight at 9pm daily. The lights did give the falls a different feel. If possible, you should see the falls both in the day and night.
Could not stand the cold too long, decided to head to the new Casino and tour that. Quite a walk up the hill to the Casino, a good 15 minutes of uphill battle! Finally there, a quick visit to the Casino, unlike our Casino’s back in Brisbane, the majority of the floor space was given to SLOT machines, not much fun with only a limited number of tables.
Time to get out of there, was still not too late and I did not want to go to the hotel and simply sleep early, what else is better than a good ice-cream / dessert on a cold night. Coming out of the Casino building, noticed a line of restaurants across the street, looked good, fingers crossed. Got lucky at PRANZO Italian, place had some desserts on the menu – that would do. Ordered an Ice-Cream wrap and Tiramisu. Was not sure what to expect of the wrap, turned out to be a winner! Both desserts were fabulous – Dharma was very happy , happy tummy = happy Dharma .
We spent a good hour there just chatting, then it was time to head back. Looked up google maps, our hotel was a 15 minute walk, I wanted to take a CAB, but Nita wanted to burn off the dessert, great, now to walk back in the COLD just to burn off the dessert we paid for . Turned out the walk was not too bad, walking in the cold is soo much better then walking in the heat. Did not feel much and arrived soon after. Time to call it a night,
It had been a great day – Niagara falls was simply brilliant.