#37 Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

You know you have the most amazing best friend, in the entire world, when her birthday present to you is a trip out of the country to one of your most desired destinations. It was by far the best trip I have taken in my life; a much needed vacation and a very enjoyable one.

Bus Rides

As we left in the middle of the night, we slept the entire bus ride there. We woke up in the morning somewhere near Buffalo, NY. Soon after we were on our way into Ontario. It all seemed very fast as we were passed out, but it was uncomfortable as heck.

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Our trip back was a bit annoying as it was crowded on the bus. We were also wide awake and had to face 12 long hours of feeling like we were on an episode of Dr. Phil. All in all not a bad trip and it was totally worth it for the experience.

Customs

Customs was kind of scary. Kept thinking I would mess up on one of their interrogation questions that would trigger a loud siren followed by an onslaught of heavily armed guards to escort me to a nice jail cell somewhere. It wasn’t as horrible as I envisioned,  however, as they asked all of six questions while looking at our passports and rushed us back to the bus.

It was not such a pleasant event on our way back to America. For starters, we were help up there for more than an hour due to four buses ahead of us. Then there was the slight scare I would lose my best friend to the aforementioned jail cell as her four bottles of peanuts where almost mistaken for bottles of drugs. Never buying peanuts out of the country again. Ever.

Currency

At first it did not really hit me that I was in a different country. It seemed like I just went from one state to another. It started to dawn on me when I had my first run in with trying to use foreign currency. So confusing, especially as they had no pennies. Everything was rounded! At first I just handed them large bills and accepted what ever change they gave me to avoid figuring it out on my own. Later on I got a hang of it though. Side Note: Loved the fact that their money was made out of plastic. 

The Falls

As Joy put it “You cannot come here and NOT see them everyday!” So … we visited the falls every single day in every single way we could afford.

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For people who traveled all night long, we were pretty energized that first day. We checked into the hotel (Ramada), exchanged our money at the Fallsview Casino Resort (most accurate exchange), and strolled down to see the Niagara Falls. The American Bridal Veil Falls were the first I set eyes on. Magnificently beautiful waterfall. It all seemed so peaceful. We walked slowly, talking and enjoying the view while picture taking until we made it to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Heaven on earth that one. Tremendous roar and mist, continuously pouring down. Never seen anything like it before. We sat and enjoyed the environment for a while before we made our way back towards the American Falls.

On the second day we started off at the Canadian Falls and walked our way down to the American. We also managed to get tickets to the Hornblower Cruise (formerly known as Maid of the Mist) to get to the falls up close. Probably my favorite part of the trip. It was fun the way we were reaching out and screaming like little kids, as the cold water showered over us. I did not realize the boat got that close to both falls (especially the Canadian one).

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Later that night we decided to head out for a night time view of the falls. Not only did we take a stroll by the falls to see the night time lights flashing and changing colors on the water, but we decided to get another point of view of the falls. The Sky Wheel. By far the most hilarious moment of the trip. Neither of us realized just how high up the wheel went. As we moved closer and closer to it, it quickly became very apparent that we were mistaken. None the less we had already purchased the tickets so we headed on up. At first I was okay while Joy was freaking out, but I quickly joined her in the panic when I looked back at the falls. It felt like the wheel was going to drop you into oblivion, right into the black abyss under the falls. It was like looking into a dark nuclear bomb explosion crater. It did not help the situation that the cart was made entirely of glass/clear plastic, so we felt like there were no walls, and it also rocked when the wheel moved. One heck of a thrill. The wheel went around about five times though so by the third turn I had calmed down and was enjoying the view while Joy was still hyperventilating and screaming “When is this thing going to stop?!”

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The third day by the falls was one of the best days, weather wise. Most of the week was gray and gloomy. The falls were definitely ten times more beautiful in the sunlight. Especially with the added touch of rainbows.

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Activities

Clifton Hill

The best possible way for me to explain Clifton Hill would be to say it was Las Vegas and Coney Island smooched together and rolled into one big playground on a hill. And what a hill it was. I’m telling you I was out of breath by the time I got to the top of that thing. Full of restaurants, museums, entertainment, and activities, this is the best place for fun at the Falls.

Oakes Garden Theatre / Queen Victoria Park

Did not spend much time here. We wanted to take a quick rest before our next adventure so we came to sit in this park. We had a quiet peaceful view of the falls, gardens, and a theater where concerts and special events are held throughout the summer (none while we were there).

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Botanic Gardens

Heading to the Botanical Garden was a great idea. Some of my best photos on this trip came from this gorgeous place. We strolled along the trees collecting chestnuts, named familiar herbs in the herb garden, and literally smelled the roses in the beautiful rose garden.

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Make Time Save Time. While Time Lasts. All Time Is No Time. When Time is Past.

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Souvenir City

On our way back from the Botanical Gardens, we saw a “Chocolates of the World” sign from the bus, rang the bell, and got off. Very random pit stop but we got to shop around Souvenir City. I also had a bit of fun with their gigantic souvenirs out front!

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Niagara Falls Museum 

We decided to check out the Niagara Falls Museum and found out that it was free on Thursday nights after five. Really cool. We got to have fun and didn’t even have to pay for it. There was a Food for Health exhibit where we got to work off a chip on a exercise bike and learn about the safe food of Canada. The Gale Family War of 1812 Gallery was a fun experience. Acting like little children, again, we played dress up with props while we learned about a pointless war. Then up to the second floor Niagara Falls Community Gallery we learned about Niagara, its people, geology, and daredevils such as Wallenda. We even got to try and walk a tight rope as he did (We failed).

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Food

Canada has forever ruined food for me. Nothing tastes good enough since I have come home. I need yummy Canadian Food … right now! We tried to cut corners on food as we did not have much cash to spend, so mornings were spent eating mushy microwavable grits and oatmeal from a hotel cup. But man lunches and dinners were superb! Here were the highlights of the trip!

Tim Horton’s 

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Turkey Bacon Sandwich

Smoke’s Poutinerie

Try Poutine

Thanksgiving Poutine and Traditional Poutine

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Berry Lemonade Jones Soda

Queen Charlotte Tea Room

Go to the Queen Charlotte Tea Room

Chicken Pie, Salad, Homemade Bread, and Scottish Caramel Tea

Il Gelato Di Carlotta

Eat Gelato

Crema di Carlotta and Cherry Gelato

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