Day 39 – 17th August (Niagara Falls)

Breakfast was “included” at this hotel, but only by way of a voucher. Gets more like Las Vegas every day.

Got seated reasonably quickly, but had to wait a while to get served. Neither of us were particularly hungry after last night’s blowout, so we weren’t really able to do it justice. It was mediocre at best, to be honest.

Checked in for our Niagara Falls tour today. We were to wait for Dave, our tour guide and driver. So we did. And waited some more.

Eventually, Dave turned up and led us to his rather antiquated bus across the street. Stopped to pick more passengers up, and a very full-on day started.

First – of many – stops was at “the movies”. We were issued with blue plastic ponchos, because we were going to “get wet” as part of the experience.

The first bit was a film about how the falls were created. All done Disney cartoon style – beautifully created, but one didn’t actually learn a lot. More oriented to a younger audience.

We then shuffled into another room to experience the “birth” of the falls. Great cinematography and special effects – one got squirted with water and had the sensation of a helicopter ride along the Niagara River – but a bit naff, really. Enjoyable in its own way, I suppose. I got slightly damp, is all.

Dave was an absolute mine of information, but his delivery was much too quick for us to pick up the details of what he was saying.

Next stage was far better – a view of the falls from many angles, right up close as we filed along some old tunnels to an observation deck. Yellow ponchos this time….

American Falls
We will be on one of these later
Rubbish selfie
Alongside the Horseshoe Falls
American Falls
Sweep of both falls. Amazing.

We then took another tunnel to a place where you really were right behind the falls. Massive queue, and a bit disappointing when you got there.

Still, it is the Niagara Falls

Quite something.

On the bus – not the supermarket chain!

Back to the bus, and a short trip to a lovely boardwalk alongside the Niagara River. This is 37 miles long (the river, that is) and flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The other side of the river is the USA – the border runs down the middle of the river.

Green due to the silt being carried along by the river

There was also a lot of very interesting information along here, not only about the river itself, but the stunts carried out by the nutters over the years, e.g. going over the falls in a barrel, tightrope walking, etc.

One piece of info that really caught my attention was about Captain Matthew Webb, well-known as the first person to swim across the English Channel, a feat he performed many times in the mid to late 19th century. He heard about the challenge of actually swimming across the Niagara rapids, which nobody had accomplished thus far. It should be said that the river was faster and deeper then than it is now, and it is classed as unrunnable by expert white water rafting experts today. What must it have been like back then…..

He attempted this in 1883. His body surfaced 2 days later with a broken back, probably from hitting rocks with enormous force.

God knows what motivates people to do these crazy things. Fame and possibly fortune, I suppose. Tragic story.

We then moved further down the river to a whirlpool vortex, where the fast flow of the river had carved through the softer rock and caused a curve before heading off in a different direction.

Beautiful spot. It is also where a cable car, built in the early 1900s, crosses the river.

Early 20th century aero car

All this had taken up the morning and the early part of the afternoon. So, time for lunch. Dave stopped the bus at a suitable eatery called Moose River, at which we bought a wrap and a glass of wine. Sat outside in the sunshine, but were plagued by wasps, which were dealt with by the simple expedient of covering them with the wrap packaging. Walkers 3, Wasps 0. Result.

Dave then led us, within the same building, to a maple syrup tasting experience. All for the benefit of the tourists and I dislike the stuff, so wasted on me.

Another very short drive – we’ve been on and off the bus in short order so many times already – took us to the Robert Moses dam, a truly impressive construction which uses 13 turbines to generate a huge amount of hydroelectricity for the New York Power Authority. It began transmitting alternating current in 1961.

This was followed by a very short visit to a floral clock, which changes its design twice a year and no two designs are the same.

Then yet another very short trip to the falls boat terminal. Here we set foot on a Hornblower vessel, along with several hundred others, all in red ponchos, which took us close to both the American Falls and the Canadian Falls. This proved to be the highlight of the day. A fantastic, and very, very wet, experience.

American Falls
Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls
Thr Bridal Veil fall on the American side
Canadian Horseshoe Falls
American Falls
American Falls – much rockier at the bottom

Really difficult to convey how dramatic this all was. Tremendous.

The Canadians use red ponchos, the USA blue ones.

On the way back to the bus, got a shot of a black squirrel, a genetic derivation of the more familiar grey squirrel.

Nothing for it after that but for Dave to take us back to the Hilton hotel. Even though his delivery left quite a lot to be desired – he talked so fast the words tripped over each other at times – he was a real enthusiast and worked really hard on our behalf. He got a decent sized tip.

A drink in the hotel bar was called for and taken after a memorable day.

For our evening meal, we went to a local smokehouse restaurant, as we had a voucher (yes, another one) entitling us to a $15 credit.

I wasn’t expecting much, but it was divine. We had a combination of beef ribs, brisket and chicken accompanied by an all-you-can-eat buffet and a very decent bottle of a local red wine. The meat fell off the bone and was so, so tasty. Service was top quality also and a remarkably reasonable price. Absolutely cracking.

The very last thing on the agenda was the fireworks that happen every night here at 10 p.m. Why, I don’t know, but they make a good show.

The casino roof and the falls also change colour at night. The video I took was rubbish, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, but I’m sure you can believe it after seeing all the neon, or whatever they use these days (LEDs, probably) that this place displays. Besides which, I’ve been going on quite enough already and it’s time for bed.

6 responses to “Day 39 – 17th August (Niagara Falls)”

  1. Goodness me! I didn’t realise that Niagara was such a varied and full day!

    1. Neither did we! It was knackering, but well worth doing.

  2. That was all quite amazing. Loved the 2 “classic” falls photos best and of course the selfies(!) but you have given a wonderful account of the whole experience. Thank you.

    1. You’re more than welcome, Wendy. I do very much appreciate the kind comments. Thank you.

  3. wow what a day you both had
    I think in your next life you should be a tour operator!

    1. That’s a pretty tough gig, Adele! Wouldn’t fancy that much at all!

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