Canada day 9

We had decided to take an early morning so that we’d have as much daylight as possible on our trip to Niagra Falls, one of my “See before you die” locations. We had a few stops on the road planned as well and the driving time to Niagra (on the Canadian side) is about 7 h and 20 m, without stops. So wheels up at a couple of minutes to 6 a.m. Outside temperature 19 C.

As soon as we turned on the radio, they played our song: The Proclaimers – 500 Miles. It was kind of a good sign I guess 😉 And also that was pretty much 500 miles to our destination of Niagra Falls.

Andy’s parents thought that it was a really long trip to Niagra Falls to do on such a short period of time, but since we are quite used to a lot of driving, to us it wasn’t to bad. From Montreal to Toronto it is about 550 km and then another couple hundred km from Toronto to Niagra Falls.

The weather was sunny but as we started going west we realized that the clouds were getting grayer and darker. We started eating our breakfast, brought from home, Baby Bel Cheddar and egg sandwiches that MiL (Mother-in-Law) had made for us the night before.

Then it started to rain cats and dogs. There was no stopping, but we didn’t really care. We had breakfast and were on our way to a magical place. At around 7 a.m. We passed the border from Quebec to Ontario (another Canadian province, English-speaking). We stopped at the On Route Service Area (kind of like a chain of rest stops in Ontario) where they usually have several restaurants and usually a Tim Hortons. We bought coffee and a 20 box TimBits for the road. The great thing about the On Route Service Areas is that most if them have Free WiFi. Which is really nice for checking e-mails and checking in at Gowalla stops. Also our new iDofdaa to check maps and so on.

After a while we stopped in Prescott to use the restroom at McDonald’s and realized that there were 2 caches in a couple of hundred meters. We grabbed O’Really easily but We Were Once Here was harder because of a cruiser (police) that came our way. And attracking attention from the police seems like a bad idea.

Then we drove into the Thousand Island region, a sort of archipelago on the St-Lawrance river that is shared by Canada and the US. About 2/3 of the islands are Canadian and 1/3 American however there are no shared islands, they are all either or… This area is very similar to the Swedish landscape and it’s really beautiful.

We were recommended to stop at the Skydeck tower overlooking the Thousand Island region along the route 137/US81. It’s a 400 ft tower built in 1965 with a 40 sec elevator ride to the top. There are three observation decks and we were totally alone. It sure was worth the detour because the view was spectacular over the two countries. The price per person was 2.50 Can.

We passed back over the bridge and reconnected on the 138 towards Toronto. When we reached Napanee, we stopped at a On Route and bought Burger King for lunch. We both had the Steakhouse burger. We don’t have it in Sweden so it was nice to try something new. A very moist burger with great BBQ taste. I really liked it, too bad we don’t have it at home.

Then we continued towards Toronto and our meeting/fika/coffee date with Andy’s high school friend Nathan. He was an exchange student in Sweden and became great friends with Andy. They hadn’t seen one another for 16 years. So we made our way to a Starbuck’s on Yonge St and met Nathan. It was a really nice reunion and it was so nice to meet someone from Andy’s past. We had lots of laughs and it was too bad that we didn’t have a whole evening to spend together. Nathan had to go back to work and we speed on to Niagra Falls. Thanks Nathan for the quick coffee!

It’s about 90 km between Toronto and Niagra Falls so we just buzzed through on the high way.

Once we arrived in Niagra Falls (on the Canadian) we searched for our Hotel the Four Points by Sheraton. We valleyed the car and quickly checked in to the really great room on the 17th floor, room 1718. Our view over the falls was magnificent. We pretty much just dropped our bags and then walked down towards the Falls. We found the The Incline Railway and took it down the hill towards the visitors center and into the large center to buy tickets for the Maids of the Mist, the boats that go into the falls.

The tickets to the Maids of the Mist could be bought at the elevators about a 15 minute walk. But first the magitude of the Falls… Breathtaking!

It probably took us a good hour since we stopped and watched and photographed every inch of the Horse Shoe Fall. Ah I couldn’t wait, I was soooo excited!

We bough tickets 16.50 CAN per person and went out to the boats. There we were given our beautiful blue rain coats and lots of photography. We were really lucky since we were very few on our boat so we had lots of space. I’ll tellyou more about the boat ride another time but all I’m going to say is WOW!

We took lots of pictures in the the falls and we were all wet! But it was brilliant! I’m so lucky to be able to do things that I’ve always wanted to do. What an amazing adventure!

After the amazing ride, we took a taxi back to the hotel. Let’s just say that we were somewhat wet ;-). At the hotel we decided that it was time for dinner and called The Keg to book a table. They wanted us there in 15 minutes so it was just to change and cross the road to The Key for our booking at 8.15 p.m.

The Keg is a steakhouse & Bar that the In-Law recommended us to go to. They have one of the best views over the falls and the lightshow during the evenings. We were seated and were introduiced to our waitress Penny, who was a really great help. Andy and I had quite a hard time deciding what to order from the multitude of choices on the menu.

First out some really nice sweet roll with butter.

Then we ordered starters, both of us chose seafood in pretty much the same way. Andy ordered the lobster and I ordered the scampi. Ah, so good!

My baked garlic shrimp with garlic, herbs and melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses.

Andy’s Lobster Gratinée with garlic, herbs and melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses.

The starters were really tasty, creamy and buttery and with a couple of drops of lemon the balance was made.

Since The Keg is a Steakhouse it did feel like we had no other choice but to have meat. Not a problem for us since we love meat, an excellent piece of prime meat.

I ordered a Bleu Cheese Filet. A piece of prime filet Mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and covered in a golden brown Bleu cheese crust and sprickled with rosasted garlic cloves. Served with double baked baked potatoes, 7 oz.

Andy ordered a New York Classic – a tender New York Serloin, 12 oz, grilled medium rare. Served with fries.

To the beautiful food we drank a bottle of Mazi Valpolicella 2009 Bonacosta. A red wine bottle with great taste that really suits meats. We talked quite a bit with Penny and had told here that it just happened to be our “official” wedding aniversery the day after, and eventhough we had told her that we were stuffed and just wanted the check, she came with a large piece of Mocca cheesecake with an Oreo base.

Such a lovely thing to do for us. We were really surprised! That is what you call customer service. Such a nice gesture to make us feel special. Thank you Penny and The Keg.

The view from the restaurant. Beautiful huh!

After dinner we strolled back to the hotell and watched the lightshow from our hotel room. Such a great day!

Location:Niagra Falls

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