So all the other travelers we meet always seem to pack more into a day than we do. I’ll be the first to admit, that we have a slightly sloth-like approach when it comes to getting ourselves in gear and out of the door. In fairness, we have more time to do things and can’t have our foot on the gas for the whole 9 months. Day 23, however, was a pretty full on day by anyone’s standards! We’d taken the overnight bus the night before and asked the Niagara Falls tour driver to pick us up from the station. The driver had a bit of a shock when he saw our bags, but we had to explain that we were ‘between addresses’ at that time.
So after 13 hours on one bus, we spent the better part of two hours on another bus. Again, we found ways to pass the time, and one of them was to start talking to an Irish couple nearby – both teachers, but claim that they have a good work-life balance and are given two years sabbatical so come on Wales, keep up! Once we arrived, we were told very strictly that we had two and a half hours to enjoy ourselves at Niagara falls and the people going on the boat trip had to go with him right away. I was bursting for a wee at this point, having drunk the biggest cup of tea at the bus station, so I had to rebel to this and make a run for it. Once I returned, we got on the boat that took us right into the middle of this beautiful scene.
The Danish couple we meet up with in New York warned us that this would be a different experience to visiting the waterfalls in Iceland. In true American style (though I know its in Canada), there were chain shops, restaurants, amusement parks and Starbucks surrounding the area. I didn’t mind though because, once on the boat, you were definitely in the hands of nature. We were all given matching pink ponchos, which made us all look very fetching, and we all packed ourselves onto the top deck of the boat. It wasn’t long before we were given the full experience of the tumbling water by being drenched in the spray from the fall. Some were tightening the strings on their poncho in a vein attempt to save their hair. A few of us didn’t for two reasons. One, it would never work and the falls will drench us however hard we try. Two, how many times in our lives would we have the chance to say that Niagara made us wet?! So, in true Shawshank Redemption style, we lifted our arms and embraced the rain.
After we were all given a good soaking, we got back on the bus and were taken to various photo stops, including the Niagara Clock which, apart from the mechanical hands telling the time, is made up of flower arrangements which change every year.
We were also taken to Niagara town in order to do some sightseeing there. We never actually got there because this happened.
Whilst we were walking towards the town, I saw a fountain where children were playing and people were bathing their feet. I have the choice of two pairs of shoes every time I leave the door – a pair of dolly shoes which leave my feet sore within half an hour, and a big bulky pair of walking shoes which aren’t designed for this weather. I usually choose the walking shoes, so the chance to take them off was too tempting. Dan didn’t seem to understand my need for this until he tried it himself.
So that is what happened for the next hour. I apologise for the fact that I cannot tell you what Niagara town is like, but I hope that next time you are sweating up to your eye-balls, you’ll appreciate why we did this.
Our final destination of the tour took us to do some wine tasting. Did you know that the word ‘Icewine’ is owned by Canada and any other country that uses that name is breaking a patent. It was seriously sweet stuff that gave me the impression it would give you a sugar headache before it got you drunk. I’ve never got on too well in wine tasting. To be completely honest with you, I’ve always found them a little boring. I like wine and I like hearing about it for about ten minutes, but after that I just feel I’m being given a surplus of information about a drink. Much to my relief, our guide was much quicker when telling us about the wines, but she compared the wine to men a little too much in my opinion. She made me feel so bad for her at one point that I considered loaning her Dan to regain her self esteem.
I loved Niagara falls. I’d say not any more or any less than the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. They were just different, and I didn’t begrudge the fact that tourism had cashed in on Niagara, as they were using it for the benefit of the local people as well. They built one of the first hydro-electric plants and continued to used the water to make renewable energy for the surrounding area. It’s just the western way to stick a Starbucks next to every monument and natural wonder. I’d feel in a better position to mock this, had I not run to their toilets as soon as we got there.