(This is my second episode today, so scroll down to see round Banff and Lake Louise first)
Sunday 11 October 2009
It was an early start from Lake Louise village in the morning, as I had to catch the 7.00a.m. bus to Calgary airport, so it was just before crack of dawn when we set off. The grandeur of the Rockies wasn’t as in evidence till we reached Banff, which is surrounded by mountains as you saw in the last blog, and the views were pretty spectacular for quite a way – and I think those two peaks to the right on the horizon could be the Hoodoos I wanted to see from nearer at hand in Banff!.
The flight to Toronto took nearly 4 hours,and the time had changed by another couple of hours to Eastern Daylight Time. My friend Jean was waiting for me, and her hubby Jimmy was outside in the car. So, luggage stowed in the trunk – see, I’m getting into Canadian speak – we were on our way to the flat where they live, the basement of their elder daughter’s house.
Next day, Monday, was Canadian Thanksgiving, so a public holiday for most. Jimmy and daughters Amanda and Jane had things to do, so Jean took me out to try out a forest trail for the autumn – sorry, fall - colours . Tea and a muffin at Oakville – Tim Horton’s, a Canadian institution - then the walk.
Most of the trees were maple thought some were oak, and others weren’t!
Once at the falls I discovered a bonfire burning and several families toasting marshmallows and cooking sausages on sticks over the fire. Thanksgiving in the great outdoors. Marvellous!
The falls themselves were pretty, once used to power a mill-wheel in the 1850s/60s.. A couple of young children were holding breadcrumbs out on their hands and before long some little birds that had been tweeting away in the trees above flew down to peck and fly off again. I thought I got a photo of one but by the time the shutter clicked the bird had flown, and is only a blur! The birds were chickadees, I found out later.
The barbecue had made me realise that breakfast had been a good while ago so I headed off down the track again to meet Jean who had turned back earlier. We ate at a branch of “Swiss Chalet”, and had our Thanksgiving meal of chicken pasta soup, chicken and fries followed by pumpkin pie – pumpkin pie was a first for me and I found it was …. OK. I think it must be an acquired taste, really. Jean’s not fond of it She had caramel pecan pie instead of pumpkin pie - all for the special price of $12.99……plus tax – everything has tax added to it over here, so the prices you see in shops, on menus, etc, aren’t the prices you pay! It’s pretty confusing!
Back at home we found the rest of the family home again and making supper. I loaded the day’s photos so Jean could see what I had seen, and showed her some of the pictures from the first half of my trip. Half way through already! Amazing!
The next day we were up early and ready for the drive to the very pretty town of Niagara-on-the-lake, where Jean and Jimmy have bought a small cottage. It seems that a lot of Canadians tend to have a“country cottage” where they’ll spend weekends and holidays.
The one at Niagara on-the-lake was cute, two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom, which they have only recently bought, and are now planning on alterations before they “move in”! While Jean waited for a tradesman to come and give a quote Jim and I headed off for a look at Niagara Falls!
WELL! To be honest I was even a little disappointed in them too, as I thought they were about twice the height they actually are! I’m not saying they aren’t high, cos they are, and if the river wasn’t as full that day as it sometimes is, I shudder to think how they could be! But despite the fact that they aren’t as high as I expected,
and pretty powerful, sending all that spray high into the air! Another awesome force of nature at work!
This is the Canadian part of the falls,
The Americans have another fall as well, a little further downriver but it’s the Canadian side really gets the benefit of the better views.
We looked down on the falls as the little boats – The various Maids of the Mist – carried raincoat-clad visitors up to a point very close. I guess the falls looked pretty high to them! It was a long walk down to river level, and as both Jimmy and I have problems with our leg joints we decided to stay where we were and just view from above. There’s even a walk that somehow goes behind the falls, but I think that would be pretty scary. I certainly wasn’t up for that!
Once again I took plenty of photos, as you can see,
Talk again soon.