13.06.2007 - 16.06.2007 25 °C
On Wednesday morning - early - we left Seattle and flew back into Canada, to Toronto. We checked in and went for the customary wander, devoured a Subway (sandwich, not a Mass Transit System) and had a poke around The Eaton Centre, a big Shopping Mall. That evening we organised our day trip to Niagara Falls for the following day.
The next morning, Thursday, we found our tour group in a local square and boarded the Chariots of Fire minibus bound for the Falls. The tour guide gave us a quick commentary of the city as we drove out, which was interesting once you got past the fact he sounded like Stephen Hawking (the mic, and the monotonous tone of phrases used every single day, probably didn't help).
We arrived at the Falls (Impressive in the flesh) and made straight for the 'Maid of the Mist', a boat tour along the river downstream of the falls. The Falls themselves are made up of the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. Between them is a big island covered in tourbuses, carparks and tourist shops. In fact, most of the banks are covered in the same kind of stuff.
The boat tour advertises itself as a trip into the gentle mist at the base of the falls. In reality the boat enters a deluge of rain, from all directions, easily finding every hole in the skimpy plastic ponchos handed out. But the weather was fine and we were largely dry after a little while. The view is good though, and the roar as the water pounds everything is pretty impressive.
We rung out our socks, got back on the bus and ran down the road to the Skylon Tower, a poor mans Space Needle, to get a look at the falls from above. This too gave crackin' views. Lastly we walked to the edge of the river, watching the water hurl itself down the ravine from up close.
We got back on the bus and drove past the Whirlpool (no real explanation needed apart from to say that currents in the river can keep things underwater for 4 hours - scary!). We also passed the "Floral Clock' - another random tourist stop with no particular point to it, really. It's probably the biggest clock made of begonias, or something. Further on we stopped at Niagara-on-the-Lake, a picturesque little town, very colonial in style, rammed full of tourists who had been offloaded for an hour, like us, to wander the streets and buy an ice-cream (or hunt out a 'real English Pub'!). Our last stop was at a Winery for a free wine tasting (The Niagara region is full of vineyards, due to a favourable micro-climate don't-ya-know.)
We slowly drove back into Toronto, through god-awful traffic, and had another nose 'round the shops, before Dave whined loud enough and we went back to the Hotel.
The following day we got up pretty late and headed for Brekky downtown. Afterwards we went to the CN Tower, apparently the tallest building in the world. It is big. There are two viewing levels, the big disc one at the bottom (only about 1100 feet up) which has a glass floor (strong enough to hold fourteen hippos, even though they'd never fit in the lift) and the little pod nearer the top (about 1500 feet) Good views, obviously, over the city and the Lake.
Next we walked down to the waterfront, enjoying the sun, took a little harbour cruise around the islands just offshore and made a meandering walk back through the city, picking up some more Greyhound tickets on the way, back to the hotel.
This morning we dragged our oh-so-heavy bags back to the bus station and boarded our bus for Buffalo, NY. We arrived mid-afternoon and now relax within sight of the airport, waiting for out flight tomorrow to take us back to New York City, and where it all began!
See everyone very soon
Dave and Sarah XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX