We boarded an early morning flight from Boston and headed north to Buffalo where we would travel to see the Niagara Falls. From Buffalo airport we took a shuttle to the bridge which extends between the two towns (and countries) of Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. With backpacks on we walked across the bridge, from the United States to Canada - our first time walking into a country. With passports stamped we eagerly headed to our motel to dump our bags and explore Niagara town and the Falls.
Walking through the main streets of Niagara we were rather surprised at how tacky and tired everything looked! Big bright billboards, gaming arcades, amusement rides and chocolate gift shops were not quite what we had expected to see alongside an incredible natural wonder of the world. A far cry from how it would be done in NZ, with a DOC info centre and perhaps a tasteful tourist shop or two. But alas once we adjusted to our surroundings we enjoyed walking around the family packed streets soaking up the atmosphere and closely inspecting the Hersheys and candy stores.
To get up close and personal with the Falls we boarded the famous Maid of the Mist boat. This tour has been operating since 1854 and is a must-do when visiting the Falls.
The boat is loaded with lots of eager tourists donned in blue ponchos and cruises past the American Falls and then through the dramatic spray of the Horseshoe Falls.
This is just spectacular; the sheer power of 2,800 m3 per second of water over the Falls made for an exciting and soaking wet experience!
In peak summer season the Falls are lit up at night, which is quite pretty and a fireworks display is provided three times a week. We enjoyed our evening in Niagara, but one night here was definitely enough. Once you have seen the Falls from all angles and walked the main street there is not a lot left to do.
On Saturday morning we bussed a couple of hours up the road to Toronto. We stayed with Chris, a friend from NZ and Melissa in their lovely apartment in High Park, Toronto. On Saturday night we hit town with Brendan another kiwi mate living in Canada.
We had a blast and the following day enjoyed checking out Toronto city. Toronto has a similar feel to Auckland with the waterfront and the similar-looking CN Tower, though Toronto had many more beautiful trees and parks.
We had such a fun weekend, it’s always a highlight visiting some familiar faces from home and to see our friends settled in their life outside of NZ. Thanks so much to Abo, Mel and B for the great weekend! From the little time we have had in Canada it has made us very eager to return (of course) and explore the depths of this mighty country. With the stories we have heard of the beautiful trees in Fall and the crazy coldness in Winter, this place just demands to be travelled!! It seems the more places we visit the more places we want to go...
Early Monday morning we crossed back over the border into the States, though this time by bus where the customs process turned a two hour journey into four.
Next we fly to Dallas the big T. We are both very excited about this part of the trip, and are not quite sure what to expect!