Decent enough night’s sleep, and checked out early, leaving our luggage behind at the hotel as we walked to the UP Express Union station just across the road.
Got ourselves a coffee and a croissant, and boarded the train to Toronto Pearson Airport, 4 stops down the line. 25 minutes later, we were in the terminal. Would that all public transport was this quick, efficient and cheap.
Found the Alamo car rental booth without too much difficulty, and the gent behind the desk was brisk, efficient and friendly. Going well so far…..
Got the necessary paperwork and was greeted by an attendant, who gave us a choice of cars, a Toyota Camry and a Nissan of some sort (both decent sized saloons). I preferred the look of the Nissan and it was lower mileage, but the Toyota was more comfortable for us both and was more familiar. We opted for the latter. It had Android Auto, thank goodness.
I managed to fight my way through the dreadful Toronto traffic back to the hotel, whereupon we loaded up our bags and set Google Maps to the Hilton Fallsview Hotel in Niagara Falls.
Once we were out of downtown Toronto, it was a straightforward journey south, save for one episode when the satnav locked. Usual I.T. solution – turn it off, then on again – solved the problem and we continued along Queen Elizabeth Way.
On the way, we had our first rain of any consequence since leaving Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer. This dissipated as we drew into Niagara itself.
First impressions of the actual town were rather depressing. Apart from the expected tower block hotels, it looked dirty, sleazy and unkempt. This did nothing to lift our spirits, as our destination was a Hilton, which tend to be rather soulless boxes.
Got the car parked under the hotel for some horrendous price, then checked in.
Or tried to. They couldn’t find our booking. We, of course, had documentary evidence, but it was worrying just the same. After consulting with colleagues and a long phone call, the very worried receptionist generated a new booking into a room of the same standard.
So – up we went to the 25th floor (!). And had a nice surprise on entering. A very decent sized room, queen bed each, jacuzzi bath, separate shower and – this view.
My mood distinctly lightened at this vista.
We hadn’t booked any tours of the falls, so we aimed to put that to rights. The concierge desk at the hotel did a superb job in selling us a pretty full-on package for tomorrow, which was duly booked. Should be some great pictures….
Went for a stroll around this extraordinary complex. It’s massive. Tacky as hell, in keeping with Niagara’s reputation, but weirdly compelling. Induced a sense of unreality at times.
Back to the room for Jean to sample the jacuzzi bath, which went down well.
Thence to an Italian restaurant within the hotel itself, booked on our behalf via the concierge. A truly excellent meal, and remarkably reasonably priced. Great service too. Feeling very full now…..
The next big idea was to get a couple of G&Ts at the bar, take them back to the room and watch the fireworks that happen every night here at 10 p.m. To my astonishment, I wasn’t allowed to take the drinks back to the room – no alcohol allowed outside of the bar, sir. Many apologies. I had to stay in the bar listening to an indifferent band playing mainly soul classics, and Jean joined me later. The fireworks lasted about 5 minutes apparently and weren’t bad. Now I know the rules, I’ll try and watch them tomorrow night.
All very exciting, but it’s time for bed in advance of our Niagara Falls extravaganza tomorrow. Join me for that if you can.