Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Great White North, Day One



We got away for a week and headed to Niagara Falls and Toronto, eh?

I love that expression, eh?

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We stopped on the American side of the falls before crossing the border. I was horribly unimpressed. Traffic was not fun. The main strip looked tacky. And parking for any amount of time was $20. We were there for about an hour.

We paid $20 to park for an hour. But we also got a coupon for a free gift at one of the local shops.

K and the Man went in to get the gift.

A free magnet! Can you tell how excited K is?! And how unexcited the Man is?! Or J?!

I'd rather have my $20 back, thank you.
We rendezvoused with Sissy and her family before seeing the falls.

Excitement. Anticipation. Giggles.

I love vacation-land.
The falls are not quite as spectacular on the American side. 

But the Canadian skyline is fabulous.
You can see the American falls in the front. 

Bridal Veil falls are behind the American falls. You just see a little sliver of those in the photo.

The Horseshoe falls, which are on the Canadian side, or way in the back of the photo. You get to see those much better from the Canadian side.
After an hour or so, and twenty dollars, we headed across the border. Canadian customs officials were very friendly and welcoming.

We found our hotel, went out to dinner, and got ready to go to the fireworks. All summer long, they have fireworks on Fridays, Sundays, and holidays over the falls. 

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So we asked the concierge at the hotel to point us towards the best place to view the fireworks. She pulled out a map, circled a few locations, and said some vague words about heading over this way, turning that way, and going down some steps to the park near the falls. Great place to see the fireworks! she said, giving us the map and a jaunty send-off.

Hmmm, I think she's done this before. 

We followed the map and promptly got turned all around. We couldn't find the steps. Anywhere. We saw a path through a field that looked promising but after about half way, we noticed that everyone else was walking in the opposite direction. Uh-oh. We better turn around.

We went into Skylon Tower, shown above, and asked directions. The sales clerk looked at me and said, "You don't want to go down the steps. The City doesn't really take good care of them. You should go this way." And showed me yet a different way to go.

But that way was the long way around the barn. When you look at the map, the steps looked much more efficient. So we headed back outside, determined to find the steps.

We saw some people going into the woods at the end of the cul-de-sac near the Tower. 

I wonder if those are the steps?

Yup. Found 'em.

We started down the steps and got sucked into the deep, dark woods. With no lights. And crooked stone steps. That were wet and a bit slippery. And dark. Did I mention that there were no lights?

Swipe, swipe, swipe - out came all the flashlight apps on our iPhones. They saved the day. It was a crazy walk down to the park. Steep. Long. And lots and lots of steps.

Gulp. We have to come back up after the fireworks.
When we got down to the park, we watched the Horseshoe falls for awhile. They are completely lit up and gorgeous.
Then the crowds started coming out.

It was like a big party, waiting for the guest of honor to appear.
The fireworks did not last very long but they were spectacular.

It was drizzling a little bit but we found a canopy to stand under and watched from there.
A heart.

How cool is that?
I love fireworks.

The colors, the explosions, the trails.

I feel like a kid when I'm at a fireworks show.
When the show finished, we made our way back up the steep, dark steps and walked back to the hotel. Along with hundreds of other people. Despite the dark trail, it was pretty safe. Sketchy looking, but safe.

Once back at the hotel, we fell into bed, completely exhausted but smiling.

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Day one in the Great White North - satisfying and memorable.

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