Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cross Canada Trip - Day Three – Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls
Previous Post: Cross Canada Trip - Day Two – Toronto
Today, the day started with the usual pancake breakfast and we were ready to start our Niagara Falls adventure. We have booked with Magic Bus company through our hotel because... well, it was cheaper than others. That day we met John from Chicago who stayed in the Canadiana Backpackers Inn and joined the Niagara Falls trip. The drive to the falls takes about 1 and a half hours and there is nothing spectacular along the way. We passed Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton before reaching the Niagara Falls city.
First, we boarded “Maid of the Mist” boat which took us closer to both American and Canadian (much prettier) falls. You can summarise the whole experience as “getting wet”; although we were given ponchos, everything that was not properly covert got really wet. We spend another two hours in the Niagara Fall city (had too) which is another soulless breed between cheap restaurants, wax museums and amusement park.
After all boarded the bus, we drove through a Niagara Falls parkway to a Niagara on the Lake. It is a traditional town that kept the 1900 look and feel: no chain shops are allowed, no large vehicles drive through and all the signs written using old style. It is considered to be the prettiest town in Canada! As to the parkway itself, Winston Churchill said that driving through Niagara Parkway is the best Sunday drive ever.
Our last stop with Magic Bus was the “20 Bees” vinery for a wine tasting. The pinnacle of it was the ice wine. There are only 20 places on earth suitable to produce ice wine and Canada producing 80% of all. The process (in the nut shell) is to leave the grapes on the vine till January when temperatures are between -15 and -20 Celsius when the water in the grape freezes and when crushed it leaves pure concentrated grape juice. It takes 15 times more grapes to produce the same quantity of wine, which explains the price: average bottle of white ice wine cost around $50. The wine itself is very sweet and usually served as a desert.
Two hours after, when finally in Toronto, we went to meet the “family”: apparently, there are quite a few Markhs living in Toronto. After being dined and wined, and given 5kg (I kid you not) of different types of sausages and meats (those guys are running a very successful sausages business) we ended up having a drink in the Yorkville with our cousin Sarah and her friend.
Tomorrow, Montreal!

Travellers Tips:

  • Shop around for the best deal (We paid $45 plus £13.5 for Maid of the Mist).

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