Bordering on Brilliance

I wasn’t sure whether it was a bad omen to be attempting to cross the border into Canada on Friday 13th, but we decided to give it a go anyway.  First we had to finish our trip across the US.  Just a couple of hours travel today, along the New York Thruway, which sounds and looks on paper as if it’s a major road (and certainly the toll rates would also make you think so) however in reality it’s another one of those piddly small interstates that actually makes you feel like you’re on the A30 through Cornwall.  We passed a great number of those proper service stations again today but I’ve already become blasé about them.  Sigh.

On reaching the Canadian border we were expecting to be waylaid for a short while by the customs officials but after a cursory look at our passports (and finally a lovely shiny Canadian stamp to go alongside my St Lucia one) we were waved through with no questions, no searches of our belongings and no further paperwork required.  We’re so used to all the rigmarole that surrounds a flight to a foreign country that we hadn’t thought how easy it could actually be when air travel is not involved.  Can’t wait to see how easy (or not) it is to get back in the US again.

Very pleased that we could check straight into our hotel despite being three hours early, and even more ecstatic when we opened the door to our hotel room and remembered that we’d booked a room with a whirlpool bath.  Oh happy days.  Add in the free wifi, free parking and 24 hour limitless coffee, and that was practically all my needs met.

We managed to tear ourselves away from the room and out to see Niagara Falls.  We started with the White Water Walk, which is a boardwalk running alongside a really fast section of the falls, accompanied by lots of stories of those crazy people from times gone by who either walked a tightrope across the falls or went over the side in a barrel.  Not surprisingly, most of them died in their attempts.  We opted to just take a few photos from behind the safety barriers.

We then made our way up to the Falls proper, where it’s really easy to just stand and stare for hours on end at this amazing force of nature.  As the waters cascade over the edge they create a huge spray which then seems to manufacture its own cloud permanently hanging above the Falls.  I’m sure that’s probably nothing like the real scientific explanation, but that’s exactly what it looks like.  Then, just a few feet further on, the waters are as smooth and quiet as a millpond.  A little further along the water, you could close your eyes and not realise there’s any water flowing past at all, it’s so quiet.

We also made it into Niagara’s Fury which is a 4D experience of the Falls.  What this means is that you get to stand and watch a film and then get soaked in the process.  We’d opted to see Niagara’s Fury because it was somewhat cold and rainy outside, so as an attempt to keep warm and dry it was not entirely successful.

At this point we were totally chuffed to get back to the hotel and jump into the hot tub with some freshly purchased Canadian fudge.  Did I mention that the tub was heart-shaped?  Not only romantic but also highly practical as it is ergonomically designed for two people to stretch out and relax in it.  Heaven.

We managed to drag ourselves back out for a spot of dinner and a quick look at the Falls after dark but we’re saving that for tomorrow night really.  After dark it has a very Blackpool/Las Vegas feel about it, with all the neon high rise buildings and casinos, but you still can’t drag yourself away from the sight of the Falls themselves.

So, first day in a foreign country went well then.  Canadians are brilliant. They understand our accents and our sense of humour (and even crack a few jokes themselves) and they don’t think we’re Australian. Oh and I got some Canadian coins and they even have our Queen on them.   I haven’t been this excited about a currency-related issue since, erm, Wednesday.

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