Up slowly again
Breakfast with eggs for a change
Horse drawn carriage ride
Shopping for gifts and souvenirs
More about Quebec City
Taxi to airport - the only way ? $ 34.10
Delay - broken down plane
Missed connect 1, 2 but got 3
8 hours flying - good start
Meeting Andy and Jemma
Walk around Vancouver - Greek diner
Home tomorrowRead more
Hop on hop off again
Start with a full trip and river cruise - museums etc tomorrow
Blue region - shops and lanes - perfect lunch
Cruise - hot - view of waterfall
Hydro and lakes
Trip around town - France winning WC celebrations
A walk on city walls
Concert at night
Tomorrows plansRead more
We only had one day in Toronto - fly in on Sunday evening and then leaving on the train Tuesday morning. Emma Bugg said that we should do Niagara Falls, so I booked a day trip from Toronto [the Canada side] before leaving Hobart to ensure we didn’t miss out.
Trip advisor generally just brought up the tour operators one at a time - I read the reviews. Prices are cheap from $55 to $125 for the bus only. Most had 4 or 5 reviews, but when I look at the Chariots of Fire Tour they had thousands - almost all positive. I choose them. As I received confirmation I noticed that they were a Christian based organisation and did a lot of youth group tours - I hoped that I had made a good choice.
As we were leaving Calgary - at the airport I received an email saying that we were the only ones booked for Niagara on Monday and would we consider another day? Without a phone to contact them - I could only say No via email and advise that I could not be contacted until late Sunday night. Bit of a panic, but when we got to Toronto I had another email saying then other bookings had come through and so the tour was on - what a relief - I was going to go crazy.
We walked to the city square on Sunday night to find the bus departure point. Toronto has a brilliant skyline of high rise building, curious shapes and a mix of old and new grand buildings - something to see everywhere you look. They also have a vast underground full of shops - we went for a troll through the biggest one - sure neat and eye catching window displays. The city square is a mine Time Square with huge neon and video signs all around - most impressive. Like all big cities there we homeless everywhere - a real shame.
The next morning we walked to the bus stop again. Tourists are easy to spot - I could tell there were others waiting for the same bus - no signs to show where theses would stop. Our bus came, a black Mercedes mini bus with blackened windows nada very small sign “Chariots of Fire”
The driver was a very softly spoken man, very clean and neat. There were 12 passages and so the bus was full. Off we go, the driver put on his headset and stared to give a commentary [after asking if we wanted one] and rolled off facts and figures non stop for the next hour at least. Its about a 2 hour drive. Talking about the recent history of the First Nation people, the French and the English helped me realise how the American [USA] citizens would still feel they need guns and independence - fascinating really. More research for me to do on our return - even to watch "The Last of the Mohicans”.
You can judge the prosperity of a city by the outskirts - Toronto looks like it is doing well. All the major car manufactures have factories on the way to Niagara. The steel mills, the shipping and the huge locks on the St Lawrence Seaway were very impressive.
For the tour we added the Skyline Tower and the Hornblower cruise. First stop is the Tower - our guide gave us some biscuits [cookies] and impressed that we be back at 11:15 am exactly. The view from the tower was worthwhile - good photos of all 3 falls - 2 on the USA side and the large one on the Canadian side. Down in good time we purchased over priced photos, including an image of Mary and me going over in a barrel, had a coffee and were back on the bus in time.
Next stop the cruise. Our tour guide briefed us on the best place to be on the boat and how to get off quickly and avoiding the delays on the lift that takes us back up the cliff. Needless to say we got very wet - but it is the best way to see the size of the falls and the power of the water going over [2,800,000 litres per second or an Olympic Swimming pool per second].
More photo opportunities around the lake and along the river and gorge were enjoyed before we headed off to Niagara on the Lake - a sweet little village which has been use as the set for many movies, the most notable being Trapped in Paradise … an ideal place for a movie like this.
We had lunch in the park, as organised by the tour, watch kids playing in the fountain - Council not afraid of being sued I assume and had a stroll around the village. Most places have a Christmas Shop - the one here had everything you could want for a white Christmas - made us think that one year we would like to do Christmas in the northern hemisphere.
The next stop was a winery. We had a very informative presentation of local wine - not much chop if you ask me - little character and lacking flavours. They did however have Ice Wine. Picked after 7 consecutive days of grapes frozen on the vine when ripe … both red and white - so impressed I bought a better of Red Ice Wine - cost $50 for 500ml and while very sweet, is a style worth having once in a while. Good for nightcaps on our remaining nights on holiday.
The drive back was a sleepy affair after all the wine and food and sightseeing. Plenty of Canadian music on the CD on the tour bus helped me go to sleep.
Back at the hotel - and it was in the down side of downtown - Mary asked if there were local eateries - the answer was yes - plenty.
This was the start of a long, hot, fruitless and frustrating look for somewhere to have diner. We did go into a Japanese Restaurant sat down, were delivered water - but the menu was uninteresting and the place was so dirty that we just walked out - something I never do !!
Back at the hotel we just went to bed without eating, looking forward to the business class trip on the train tomorrow to Montreal.
A big day - lots of memories.