Thursday, February 13, 2014

#Travel // Niagara Falls

To say that we were excited to see Niagara Falls would be an understatement. If you don't recall, This road trip was originally planned to go out west, stopping at several different National Parks and Monuments. Well we had to change our plans drastically when the Government Shutdown became official a week into our trip. We were in Minneapolis when we heard the news and decided to reroute around all five Great Lakes instead, with the biggest highlight being Niagara Falls. 

The reason the falls were our most anticipated part of our trip was because it was really the only stop that we had prior knowledge of. With that, we really hadn't planned to do anything other than simply look at the falls from various different viewpoints, sans expensive attractions. As mundane as that may sound, the sheer volume of the rushing falls is really enough to be impressed with! 

Niagara Falls lie on the border of Canada and the U.S., with stark differences on both sides. Surprisingly, the Canadian side is way more touristy and flashy, with so many attractions that it was overwhelming walking down the main roads to the actual falls. You could easily spend a week here and never get bored!

En route to the viewing area, the sky was omniscient. When we first reached sight of the magnificent falls, we thought we lucked out with no rain.. Torsten was prepared with packing a practical jacket, I on the other hand had nothing. We'd park at least a mile away to avoid paying and had planned to hang around the falls until nightfall. I was in such excitement to see the falls I didn't bother looking at the sky or bringing anything other than my camera. I just hoped our luck would hold out! 

Naturally, about 15 minutes into view the falls, it started raining. It was tolerable, though enough to soak me. We planned only a night for the Canadian side and a day for the American, meaning the rain was not going to get in our way of seeing the falls light up! These photos were next to one of my favorite spots, right next to the horseshoe falls. 

We hid out from the rain in the information center until the sunset, waiting for the the falls to show their colors. Though it was still raining, and getting chilly, it was worth the soggy wait! Even on a random autumn weekday, with soggy conditions it was still busy with bodies admiring the beauty, we still had to fight for ideal spots to take photos of the falls. After about an hour of watching the colors change, we headed back to the van to van to dry and warm up before heading over the bridge, back into the States.

 Before leaving Canada, we debated if we wanted to check out any of the gazillion attractions. Torsten was really curious about the haunted houses, being October I assured him there would be far better options available just about everywhere we'd be going in the States! 

Fortunately, the next day made up for the damp day before it. Nothing but the warm, autumn sun as we ventured around the American side of Niagara Falls. Much unlike Canada, this side of the falls was really just a large, open park and green space. It was kind of odd to see locals strolling along with families and pets as if this was like any other city park. 

We opted out of having a Pam and Jim moment of the Maid of the Mist and instead only paid $1 to use their view platforms, with views both above and alongside the American Falls. As far as views go, the American side trumped. Seeing the rushing waters, the eerie mist rising before the Canadian skyline and the falls from all sorts of angles exceeded our initial expectations of how amazing the Niagara Falls would be! 

Out of all honesty,  I preferred the American side over the Canadian. Going to both is definitely a must, though I liked the expanse of green with paths to along all the best spots over the crowded strip of the Canadian side. Then again, I'd probably reconsider if we'd actually gone the typical route of getting a hotel for a few nights and had the money to preoccupy ourselves with all the flashy attractions!

This post is part of an never-ending series about the road trip my German boyfriend, Torsten, and I took around the Great Lakes this past autumn. Catch up with the rest of the trip by clicking here!
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