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Niagara Falls

I get going with leisure, I told Bruno I’d be with him at elevenish and it is only going to take me a couple of hours. Bruno was at school with my dad back in the village of Lama and, while he has my same surname I do not think we are closely related. In a small village in the mountains it is perhaps inevitable that if you have the same surname if you go a few generation back there might be some sort of relationship, but none that either Bruno or my dad are aware of.

He moved to Kingston in Canada almost by chance in 1968 when he came to visit his sister and ended up staying. He is a chef and for a time had a restaurant and for a longer time runa conference/convention/function centre. Now he’s semi retired and just does boutique catering which I got to taste in the shape of the splendid muffins and banana loaf that I had with my coffe.

We spent a lovely couple of hours getting to know each other and also Helen, his Canadian wife. It is remarkable to me how, regardless of the country or the age, the experience of the emigrant is similar. The way he was talking about his life it was almost hearing myself talking about mine. The only bit of slight melancholy of the situation is that I caught myself a couple of time thinking how Bruno and Helen were like what Tarn and I would have been in a bunch of years, but that will not come to pass.

Me, Bruno and Helen
You know he could be my father and he does not look twenty four year older than me.
Great hosts and people I hope to see more of, who knows, the world is such a small place now.

The stop in Kingston also broke the long stage I had for the day. The objective is to get to Niagara fall where I will spend two night and have a good fill of this wonder of nature.

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The long route to Niagara.

It takes me a very long time to get to Niagara Falls in particular getting through Toronto is an absolute pain with the Expressway being nearly choc-a-block. Never mind, I get to the hostel, and having been told that the waterfalls are only one mile up the road and there is a firework display at ten, I head up the road for some of the most magical views of the trip so far.

Skylon Tower by night

Splendid light show on the water
One more
I mean two more
The town at night is red hot.
And in bits it feels a bit like Vegas

Of course the view of a couple of pints of beer in the Niagara Brewing Company was magical too and made the walk back to the hostel all that much better in the early hours of the morning.

I’m in a shared dorm and the two girls I’m sharing are ver quiet, which is a good change from the snoring monster I had as a roomy in the jail in Ottawa, but the room is very hot and I do not sleep that well. In the morning it was just the case of doing the proper Niagara experience tour but for something rather epiphanic that happened in the night.

My old friend from the archery days Josie posted the note below on Facebook so I just had to look into it.

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Unbelievable coincidence
USA only across the bridge
USA falls are impressive, but the Canadian horseshoe is more.
Amazingly I got them both in a shot.
Starting point for the Zip Wire
Very constrictively strapped in
And going nowhere near the falls
Also not very fast at all

I got very excited about it from the writeup on the webpage but I did not book electing to do so after I had seen it. I did well, the “thrill for bucks” ratio was all wrong. Short, not steep or fast, and without any capacity to do anything even remotely stupid on it, and we all know how this is a clincher for people like me. I did not do it and decided to go and explore the horseshoe waterfall from close up, it’s not right to come to a place like this and not leave them some not-hard-earned money.

I went for the “behind the waterfall” experience, and as well as walking in a tunnel behind the main waterfall and have a peek from a hole in the wall, allowed the reaching of a platform near the middle height of the fall at the right hand site. Below the posters that were in the runnel as well as some pictures from the platform and the tunnel behind the waterfall.

Poster 1
Poster 2
Poster 3
Poster 4
Poster 5
Poster 6
Poster 7
The view of the waterfall, naturally uninspiring, the secret here was to hear the roar, hard to be captured by a camera. 
We were all wearing these fetching yellow things.
This is how close you get to the action #1
This is how close you get to the action #2
A rare break in the mist.
Blue means american boat.
How many pictures of the waterfall is too many?
Building the tunnels.

Interesting and wet. The waterfalls are spectacular, without a doubt the most spectacular i have ever seen. My Argentinian friends will probably say that their are better and I’m sure at some point I’ll get to see the Victoria falls in Africa too but for now these are the number one.

A few observations are necessary though: First if you want to see Niagara Falls, come to the Canadian side, way better. Second, it’s a shame that the town, on both side of the river have been turned into mini Vegas, it would be more impressive if nature was left to do its thing.

The Horseshoe from above
Imagine rafting it.
Spectacular change of color as the cliff ends.
American side of the falls not quite as impressive.
Also non attractive is the scum generated by the water, all natural but not exciting none the less.
The famous table rock.
Red means Canadian.
That’s the platform where I was.
America just on the other side of the border.

After these few hours of waterfalls I get back to the hostel where I make two new friends: Paddy, guess from where… Ireland, and Michele from Belluno (Italy). We spend the rest of the afternoon and evening chatting away and eating and in between all that chatting I also manage to almost get on top of the much neglected blogging.

All in all Niagara was much better than what I expected and meeting Bruno and Helen made this section of the trip really special.

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