Behind the Falls. Infront of them too! Part 1


I arrived home from my trip to the falls late last Sunday afternoon. It has been ten years since I’ve last been and nothing really has change. The falls are still huge and beautiful. Clifton Hill still manages to pack every tacky tourist attraction up and down that steep hill. A few new sights for me was the Niagara Sky wheel, and the Ten Thousand Buddha Sarira Stupa a Buddhist temple across the street from the entrance of the White Water Walk, things I’ve never did on past family trips to the falls. I relied on the “People Mover” to take me to the major attractions in the Niagara Park. A two day pass was included in my adventure pass which I recommend one look into getting if you are spending some time at the Falls. Maid of the Mist, Journey behind the falls, White Water Walk and their new attraction, the 4D ride Niagara’s Fury are all included in the price of the adventure pass along with coupons for ½ price admissions to 6 other Niagara Attractions such as the aero car. Getting into Niagara Falls shortly after one I took a taxi to my hostel Lyons House Hostel (5741 McGrail Ave; 905-354-6425; http://www.hostelniagara.com). I was greeted by Shelly, who as well as Patrick were the warmest, kindest hostel host I have ever met. She gave me a fantastic rundown of some of the things to do in the Niagara. I can’t say I have ever stayed in a hostel that clean before nor one that offers a free breakfast and internet and remember the guests’ names. Check in wasn’t until 4pm, Shelly locked my luggage up and sent me on my way with a suggestion. “If there is one thing you do while at Niagara Falls that is to do the Maid of the Mist”. Which advice I took to heart and headed straight for the boat after activating my adventure pass and eating lunch at the Secret Garden. The maid of the mist was one of the things my family had done on our family trip to the falls. Somehow over ten years later I happen to forget how wet you get on the boat and how little good those blue plastic rain coats do. I walked up Clifton Hill back to the hostel to check in. After checking in, changing my haft drenched haft dry clothes and made my now matted hair presentable I walked back down the hill and took the people mover to Table Rock to descend down an elevator shaft to see the falls up close. My Father and Mother have raved for years about how wonderful it was. I am kind of on the fence about it. The closest you actually get to being under the actually the falls are three small “ports” blocked off with black iron gate, with water crashing over them. Then you walk back the way you come and exit out onto a deck where you stand next to the Horseshoes falls. Back at Clifton Hill I got on the Niagara Sky wheel. On any other occasion I would not be getting onto a ferriest wheel type especially not by myself. But yet there I was sitting in car 31 all by self for an early pre-sunset ride to view of the city. It wasn’t so bad, nice views. That night I ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Why? I don’t other then it was there, and one of the places as a family I have been and why not. What I seem to notice on this trip is vegetarian options are slim picking at major tourist restaurants beyond salads and veggie burgers. I’m not a huge fan of veggie burgers other than the ones from A&W and Yves. I ordered onion rings and steamed season vegetables; Season vegetable only being broccoli apparently. Afterwards I head down to see the Niagara Falls illuminated. I listen momentary to the band playing on the stage in Oakland Garden Theatre overlooking the falls before heading back to my room before the Friday Night fireworks at 10pm started. Saturday morning I woke before anyone else in the hostel, and even before the breakfast had been laid out. I reactivated my people mover pass and took the bus to the White Water Walk past several handsome bed and breakfasts and vast views of the Niagara Gorge. The elevator down to the walk way is inside the gift shop. Down a few hundred feet in least then 30 seconds, the elevator operator tells me this is one if not the closest you can get to a class 6 rapid. Professional kayakers and rafters only attempt class 3-4 rapids. His trainee had mentioned that only one person has attempted kayaking here and survived. The senior operator was quick to interject that hydro had raised the water levels so he could clear the rocks for the National Geographic photo shoot. I had planned on visiting Ten Thousand Buddha Temple, unaware at how close it was to the white water walk. When the bus pulled up to the White Water Walk across the street rose up a beautiful traditional style Buddhist temple adorn with unique and interesting as well religious statues. What caught my eye was a computer printed sign that said “You are not at Jurassic Park, this is not a ride” reminding people that they are in fact at a religious institution and should show respect. Where was that in San Marcos Basilica? Next was the Whirlpool Aero Cars which takes you across the area where the Niagara Falls original were millions of years ago and is now a whirlpool. The Aero cars have been in operation since 1910. It doesn’t seem like it though. It ran much smoother then the Niagara Sky wheel built in 2006, almost 100 years after it. The view from the red and yellow car is amazing. Down below I watched a jet boat full of passengers’ crash through the whirlpool. The next time I am in town I will make sure to head to Niagara on the Lake a city as Patrick referred to it as, a city like the one on Gilmore Girls and try out the Niagara Jet boat. My plan for the day was to make it across the border to Goat Island and some possibly some outlet shopping in the states. However by the time I got back up the stairs to yet another gift shop dark clouds were threatening to open up and pour. I decided to head back to Table Rock for lunch and wait out any possible rain. I wouldn’t be traveling if I didn’t eat at least once slice of pizza. Unfortunately mine was neither local nor cheap as I chow down on a slice from Pizza Pizza. It had begun to spit and I had decided to stay in the area and get onto the Incline railway. Before this I was quite sure where the railway went or actually what it did. To top it off I had no idea how to get there. I wonder around the mall trying to find how to get onto the bridge that crosses the street. I eventually sucked up my pride and asked at the people mover info booth. “I’m sorry; this is probably going to be a stupid question.” I began; she smiled at me and stopped me there. “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” “Okay, good. How do I get across the bridge to the incline railway?” Perhaps it was the way I worded it, but her smiled wavered and she looked at me in such a way letting me know I had indeed asked a stupid question. “Inside to the escalators, go upstairs and walk all the way to the end through the doors.”

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