Monday 1 October 2018

Canada trip September 2018. Part 2. Niagara Falls

Tuesday 18th September

We struggled out of our hotel room at 4:45 am trying not to wake up all the other guests and took the lift to the lobby for the 5 am airport shuttle. All was on time and we were at the check-in for a 7:30 take off with Air Canada to Toronto. A 3 hour flight landed us in Toronto, Ontario and warmth! It was 25 degrees and quite a change from the 3 degrees we’d left in Calgary.

We had a private sedan transfer booked as part of the travel package and the Niagara Airbus Company had a super black limo waiting for us and our driver took us the hour and a half ride around the shores of Lake Ontario to Niagara.

We checked into the Crowne Plaza hotel right on the side of the Niagara Falls tourist area, an older style hotel built in the 1920’s and oozing style, character and decadence.

Despite being told by our Trailfinders representative that “all rooms have a Falls view” ours had a view of the car park!
So it was back down to the lobby and see if we could change rooms, sadly none available that night but the promise of one tomorrow morning so as all we wanted was a shower, meal and a sleep we just pulled the curtains on the car park before having a table for two at their Steak Primehouse restaurant on the 10th floor. This time we were treated to a table in front of a huge window overlooking both Falls …. Amazing!

Evening meal with a view from the Crowne Plaza "Prime Steakhouse" restaurant on the 10th floor.

Wednesday 19th September

After breakfast at another table with a view we had a Bellboy call at the room to take us to our new room … this was all very well organized and he even had our new electronic key passes in his pocket. He took all our cases and whispered to us that this was going to be a fantastic room!
We now moved to the 11th floor, a Penthouse Suite with 2 rooms, a bathroom and a balcony all with one of the best views in Niagara. In fact I think it was the best in the hotel and we had till 11 the following day to “milk it”!

Knowing we were settled we had coffee in the sunshine on the balcony and watched the tourist boats going up to the falls. Our rooms also looked directly across the Rainbow bridge to the Customs booths at the US border.

The view from our balcony... room 1107.

We decided we’d get down there in the early afternoon for the boat trip. The “Maid of the Mist” boat with its people dressed in their blue coveralls runs from the American side of the river whilst the Hornblower Cruises and their red coveralls run from our Canadian side.

Totally geared up to the needs of the millions of tourists they serve we bought our tickets at an electronic terminal and took the elevator down to the river level.
Handed our red waterproof coverall we joined the boat, me with my camera wrapped in a Tesco bag along with numerous hankies and towels to keep it dry and the lens clean.

It was another glorious day and as we boarded the boat the sun was shining against a blue sky.
The boat first went up alongside the American Falls before going head on into the mist and spray of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
It didn’t disappoint!

The power of the water despite it being the end of summer was incredible and it took a huge amount of power to hold the boat into the falls for several minutes before turning and letting the other guests see the American Falls on our return.

In typical Canadian style when we went ashore we sat in a café area, drank a beer and listened to a live act singing in the sunshine…. Class!

The rest of the day saw me running around taking photos from every conceivable angle whilst Linda watched from the balcony enjoying the downtime and the opulence.

One of the tunnel lookouts from behind the falls.

A final shot from the balcony.

The evening followed with our last meal of the trip and we didn’t go any farther from the hotel Prime Steakhouse restaurant… and boy what a meal!
I went for the fillet steak and Linda had the lamb chops, a nice bottle of red Pinot Noir, finished off with a desert of Southern Comfort on the rocks!

Thursday 20th September

Awoke to an incredible view of the Falls from the bed!
Breakfast again on the 10th floor and then some time drinking coffee on the balcony of our room 1107.
Highly recommended…. Forget the credit card bill till I get home!

Sadly had to vacate our room at 11 am and then hang around till 1.35 when our guy from Niagara Airbus came to collect us and transport us to Toronto airport for our flight home.
The driver was Dimitrious, a Canadian Greek who was such a nice guy and a gentleman!
An uneventful trip back to the airport where we checked in and flew back to Heathrow at 6:35, landing back in the UK at 6:30 on Friday morning, as we were 5 hours behind time the flight was just over 6 hours … a mere hop for us!

Friday 21st September

Landed at 6:30 ish, collected our cases and caught the hotel shuttle back to the Crowne Plaza and fired up the car and then drove the 4 and a half hours home!

Good to be home!