Niagara Falls is a truly horrible town near an awesome (in the biblical sense of the word) waterfall. We were there for three full days and did just about every single thing there is to do in the area. Besides the actual falls – which you can hardly see past all the tourists – we discovered there are many wonderful corners. One of those that we found especially impressive was the rapids a few kilometres downstream of the falls, which are some of the most dangerous in the world:
Equally recommendable, if arduous, are the hiking trails at Niagara Glen. They’re not very well marked, so you might not always end up where you meant to go and you’ll definitely break a sweat along the way, but no matter where the trails take you, it will be worth it. Did I mention that it’s for free? If you don’t suffer from vertigo, the Aero Cart
, which takes you across the famous Niagara whirlpool, is also a must-do:
We also visited the Butterfly Conservatory, which turned out to be exactly like every other butterfly conservatory in the world. Niagara’s Fury, a show «for all senses», we found absolutely horrible. After watching a confusing cartoon about a timetraveling rodent, you get to stand on a vibrating platform where you have water sprayed at you while nigh unidentifiable images of the geological history of the falls are projected all around you. There’s also a somewhat sub-par botanical garden which you could absolutely skip. The Hornblower tour, which takes you very close to the falls on a ship is a must but didn’t exactly grab us.
Worst of all was when we decided to go into the town to grab a bite to eat. Turns out that Niagara Falls is essentially a would-be Las Vegas without any charm, who knew? We did however end up finding some good food at the edge of the city.
When we arrived in Halifax, the weather left a great deal to be desired. So we decided to kick the day off by walking to and subsequently paying a visit to the Public Library. This hyper modern library is located in the heart of the city and contained an eatery which offers a fantastic piece of cake. And since it was the weekend, we also got the opportunity to play some pinball. Yes, pinball, in a library. On the third floor, where you can find all kinds of media for kids and teenagers, there is a room with pinball machines from all decades which you can play for free on the weekends.
We were making our way to the citadel when we were surprised by a rain shower. As entrance into the citadel was free, as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birth year, we used the opportunity to visit the citadel and the museum inside it. By midday, the raining had stopped and we could step outside to see – and hear – a historic canon being loaded and fired at 12 exactly. If you ever visit Halifax, we can recommend making sure you’re there for this midday ritual.
In the afternoon we took it upon ourselves to shed some of the Calories we consumed on the cruise. In two hour kayak tour, we explored the harbor and the nearby Georges island. Tons of fun was had! The weather got a lot better as the tour progressed and by the time we got back to shore, the sun was beaming down on Halifax where the ongoing busker festival had really kicked off. Myriads of food stands, musicians and acrobats lined the streets. Luckily we had time until 11:30 to board the ship.
The Opera House, the Harbour bridge, the Queen-Victoria building – Sydney, Australia is known accross the globe. Sydney, Canada slightly less so. And it’s not particularly surprising. The city has a few nice houses and the largest fiddle in the world. And… that’s about it. We also visited the Brenton Centre for Crafts and Design centre, which had a very interesting exhibition featuring two photographers’ perspective on Japan. Though that didn’t kill much more than 20 minutes of time either.
Luckily enough, the day we were in Sydney happened to be Pride Day. This meant that we were witness to an incredibly colorful and cheerful Parade celebrating all things LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). It really brightened up the somber town and the even more somber weather.
Crossing the Atlantic by ship – twice
For the first time ever my boyfriend Rik and I will be travelling for almost two month this summer. As you can see on the map above we’ll fly to Iceland first and spend a few days in the capital Reykjavik. There we will board the cruise ship Oceania Insignia which will take us to Greenland and Canada before disembarking in New York.
As I dislike driving and Rik does not have a license we’ll be using the train to get to Niagara Falls (Ontario), Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Québec. From there we’ll fly back to New York and after a week we’ll join the last true ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2 to cross the Atlantic.