Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cave of the Winds

Our second very wet experience at Niagara Falls was called 'Cave of the Winds' (see note in comments below) and involved taking a lift down 170 feet to the bottom of the Niagara Gorge.

From the path which ran alongside the river, this was our view back towards the Horseshoe Falls and the Canadian side of the river.

We were heading for a wooden staircase with a series of platforms, built at the side of the American Falls.  The water was rushing past us - and much of the spray and splash straight over us! 

 It soon became obvious why we had been issued not only with waterproof ponchos but also special rubber sandals.  We were carrying our shoes in a plastic bag!

As we climbed, the noise of the water got louder and the splashing stronger, until we reached the 'hurricane deck', where all hope of keeping anything dry was lost.

David decided this would be a good place for a photo and I was gradually backed into the water..

Two freshwater rinses in one day, what more could I ask for?

Friday, 15 July 2016

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist is the boat trip - running both from the US and Canadian sides of the river - to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls and back past the American Falls.

The first photo above was taken from the observation tower.  Once we had travelled down in the lift to river level to get on the boat, the tower looked rather high!

The Maid of the Mist is aptly named.  Still dry and smiling at this point but it didn't last long!  As you can see from my stylish garment, the tradition of boat tours to the bottom of the Falls dates back to 1846 when the boats were smaller and trips less frequent.  It is a big operation now!

It was sunny, cloudy and quite windy this morning so there were clouds of spray coming off the Falls.

It didn't take long to turn us into a couple of drowned rats..

When we arrived back at the dock we were so wet that we didn't think that we had anything to lose by walking up the rocky steps at one side of the American Falls. 

But we soon found out that there is wet and then there is completely soaked to the skin..

At least the weather was fairly warm and as we walked back down there were wonderful rainbows..

Look at the pot of gold at the end of this one..

PS  Having dried out in the sun and wind, taking more photos at the top of the Falls..

...we then embarked on a further trip which went 'under' the Falls - rather more literally than we had realised...will share the pics another day!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Niagara Falls

This afternoon we drove from Buffalo to Niagara Falls, where we are staying for one night on the US side of the river.

This is the Rainbow Bridge, just downstream of the Falls, where you can cross into Canada.

We looked down from the observation platform to the boats doing the 'Maid of the Mist' tour.  There was plenty of mist coming off the Falls in the wind today and those who had done the tour were pretty wet despite their waterproof ponchos!

The boat looks very tiny in the river!  We are taking this tour tomorrow so if the waterproof camera works we may have some interesting photos.

This evening we walked to a few different viewpoints and saw some of the quieter parts of the river above the American Falls.  

As the light faded the views changed and finally the Falls were illuminated by coloured floodlights.

Tomorrow we will visit and photograph the larger Horseshoe Falls - although the views of these are said to be better from the Canadian side of Niagara.

We may also make a second attempt at a 'selfie'.  Today was a little blowy...

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Exploring Buffalo

The city of Buffalo 'downtown' area plan was largely laid out by Pierre l'Enfant, who was the architect responsible for the design of Washington DC.  Hence there are squares and impressive vistas.

The buildings themselves - the work of many different renowned American architects - have some echoes of those in New York City - particularly the City Hall, above, and many others with 1920's/1930's Art Deco features.  Here it is possible to stand back and view them from a distance.

Sadly some of the Art Deco buildings are no longer in use but, because of their size will be a challenge to redevelop.

There are some very modern buildings alongside the old.

(Unfortunately although it was very hot, it was cloudy during the walking tour, which makes for rather dull pictures - although that did mean that looking skyward was easier!)

Adjacent to this intricately decorated terracotta building was a church - St Pauls - of similar colour stone but earlier date - unfortunately somewhat in the shadow of its tall neighbours.

This building from the 1880's was the original City Hall and is now the County Hall for Erie County.

At the end of the walking tour I used the tram to get to the Erie Canal Basin - a formerly very industrial area which is being regenerated.

From there I took an afternoon boat tour which explored Lake Erie, the Erie Canal and the Niagara River..

By this time the sun had chased away the clouds, the temperature was rising and our guide suggested that with the breeze blowing off the lake, this was probably the coolest non-air conditioned place in the area!

More about the boat trip another day...