Day 1: NIAGARA FALLS AT LAST!
Today was the very first day of our Iceland/New York trip. We began the day in the air as we caught a red-eye flight from LAX to JFK. Julie managed to upgrade us with our frequent flyer miles to Business Class. It was nice and roomy and made it rather easy to sleep on the plane. However, being the Business Class rookies that we were, we didn’t know about the footrests so we weren’t totally comfortable throughout the night. Julie’s foot got swollen and my knees were sore. Oh well, we live and learn for the next time…
The connecting flight to Buffalo went without any problems. We got over our anxiety about lost luggage when we did pick up our stuff at the very clean Buffalo airport. We then drove over to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to stay in the very expensive Falls View Hotel.
We paid a premium for a room with a view of the falls. Personally, I think this was a bit contrived, but Julie insisted that this was central to the Niagara Falls experience. In any case, here we were taking photos right from the hotel room. Eventually, we’d make our way down to join the “ants” down there by the brink of Horseshoe Falls after getting settled.
The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling along the walkways getting all sorts of views of all the components of Niagara Falls – the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Needless to say, the falls were impressive!
The temperature was in the high 80s, but the spray from the falls were welcoming (albeit a nuissance for taking photos). With the blue skies around us, it wasn’t hard to get rainbows in our shots of the falls. You could easily get mesmerized watching the Maid of the Mist Boats shuttling back and forth along the Niagara River with a pause at the turbulent waters beneath Horseshoe Falls.
Slowly, we made our way downstream along the crowded walk skirting the Canadian side of the Niagara River. It probably took us another two hours just to get far enough to start seeing people below at the viewing platform from the Journey Behind the Falls excursion. I kept imagining to myself how much force must be in the falls since it was clearly dwarfing the people down there even though the falls was about 167ft high.
As we continued to make our way downstream, we started getting more direct views of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Based on their names, it’s not surprising that they’re on the American side of the river. However, it’s obvious the views were Canadian. Nonetheless, we took hundreds of more photos of the rocky American Falls dwarfing the Maid of the Mist Boats passing before it. We also had a blast comparing how the smallest component of Niagara Falls (i.e. Bridal Veil Falls) still dwarfed the folks in the rain gear on the Cave of the Winds Tour.
Eventually, we got to the ticket office of the Canadian side’s Maid of the Mist, but it was closed for the day. I guess we took too much time taking photos. Never fear though, we knew we still had tomorrow to check out the falls this way. In the mean time, we took advantage of the additional elevated overlooks here providing contextual views of all the components of Niagara Falls looking upstream.
At this point, we were quite tired. I guess all that flying we did plus the additional walking and photographing under the hot sun drained us. So we returned to our hotel and looked for an early dinner. Unfortunately, everything was a rip off (we braced ourselves for this) so we settled on Johnny Rocket’s which wasn’t much better price wise. Then, we headed back to our room and Julie started to nap. I joined her thereafter.
Apparently, we overslept because when I awoke (Julie was still asleep), it was well into evening, the falls were floodlit with nice colors, but it was already 10pm! Eventually Julie woke up and we tried to seize the moment by walking back down by the falls. Thus, we were back down there at around 11pm and took that opportunity to force our tired bodies to stroll some more and snap long exposure photographs of the colorful falls. Unfortunately, the floodlights were turned off at midnight and most of the time, the floodlights were ugly white. I guess we missed our window of opportunity earlier in the evening.
All in all, it was quite an impressive photo day. I know I took 357 photos on my camera. Who knows how many Julie took on hers? Anyhow, tomorrow’s going to be a busy day for us. We’ll spend the morning on the American side before returning to the Canadian side in the afternoon. It’ll certainly be a more interactive (and wet) experience than today as we expect to get even closer to the mighty Niagara Falls…