I’ve known about Niagara falls since forever it would seem. It’s a sight that anyone traveling into that part of the world never misses. So, over the years I’ve been listening about it a lot. My friends have seen it, my family saw it and my hubbs had seen it. But not me and I was excited to finally add this to my list, to see it for myself.
The day we headed towards the falls was beautiful, with the sun shining while not being too hot and the big crowds have already winded down. It was less than a two hour drive, giving us the whole day to explore. And I loved the falls the minute I saw them. They were magnificent and grand and so many other great words could be used to describe them and all be true. The sheer size, the amount of water, its color, everything, blew my mind. Still, I had this nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right with this picture. And later when I had the time to think things through it hit me. There was no wilderness, no remote pathways you had to overcome to reach them, no slippery slopes, it was just there. Handed to you on a plate. While I enjoyed the sight of so much water pouring down I was constantly being pushed around by people trying to squeeze their way through to the fence. And there was no crowds. I can’t even imagine how this must look when it’s busy.
But that was my problem, because in my mind I imagined it differently. Like the falls around here or all the falls I’ve seen so far, when you have to strain your neck to see from a far or work up a sweat to reach them. So, in my mind it kind of made sense that the bigger the fall the harder it is to reach it. Despite hearing so much about them I never paid attention to anything besides how the falls looked like. And here we all agree – wonderfully, and all you have to do is watch and enjoy. I found it hard to immerse myself with it as it took so much effort to shut off everything else around me. As there is so much going on in Niagara falls; huge hotels, cars, people and busy streets that reminded me of the Las Vegas strip. It would have been nice to see how it looked when it was first discovered. Still, once I got over my expectations I had fun in this tourist mecca, because the falls are truly unique and in the end it doesn’t matter how you get to see them, as long as you do.
On our way back home we went to visit this charming, quaint town called Niagara-on-the-lake. And I fell in love with it. It is often called the loveliest town in Ontario and it’s true. Beautiful streets, many historic sights, old cobblestone houses, cozy B&B’s, just about everything that gives it so much character. We walked down the main street, got an ice cream and tried some of the great local wine.
Here is another thing I didn’t know. The whole region around Niagara has quiet a reputation for producing an array of exceptional wines. I love a good glass of wine and if asked before this trip which countries make good wine I’d probably name half of Europe with a few South American states but Canada would never even cross my mind. Sorry. I admit. I was wrong. During our drive from the falls to the town I watched beautiful wineries and wished we could hop from on to the other and try some of the wine they make. No such luck but throughout our stay in Canada we enjoyed its great wines (in moderation, and occasionally, as we also found great beers:). But in Niagara-on-the-lake we also got to try its famous ice-wine, just a little bit as it has such a rich, sweet, flamboyant taste it’s way too decadent to be consumed in great amounts or too often. And too expensive for our budget as well. Ice-wine is made from grapes that have been left to freeze on the vine and are harvested and pressed while still frozen. That is why there is so little of the juice and it takes a lot to make one small bottle, hence the high price. We visited Wine Country Vintners store in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is as we found out, also the place to taste and buy Wayne Gretzky wines in Niagara. Yes, the famous retired hockey player decided to wind down with wine making.
Our day turned out to be full of surprises and discovering new things. Once again I learned about the importance of having an open mind, no prejudice. Yeah, in the evening when we were sipping the wine we bought in Niagara region, Bacco Noir – the first time I’ve tasted it, I was glad to be proven wrong.