Niagara Falls, Canada

Toronto to New York is a long drive. Eight and a half hours to be precise. On the trip across we had talked about how we’d tackle it. One suggestion was to travel from Toronto down to Niagra and stay there the night before travelling on to New York. That plan worked out quite well as we got to see a bit of Toronto (as shown in the previous entry) and it split up the longer drive.

Arriving in Niagra Falls was not what I had expected. It’s like Tramore on a grander scale. There’s a few casinos, a main tourist street and attractions like Crazy Golf and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. We arrived mid-afternoon after spending the morning in Niagra so after hotel check-in went directly for the Maid of the Mist. I spotted a staff member on the way down to the cliffs and asked where the ferry went from but she informed us it was closed. Shite. The one day we have to really see it (a beautiful clear day) and there’s an issue with one of the boats. We wander on down anyway to see the Falls from a distance and saunter up to the Maid of the Mist ticket office to quiz them on if it’ll be running again. As we approach one of the booths, most of them switch from CLOSED to OPEN. Happy days, we’re the first group through. No queueing at all and we’re on the boat within 10 minutes.

The Maid takes you right into the Falls. You’re probably aware of that from all the sources you’ve seen but it is truly spectacular. The rapids the boat has to contend with and the spray thrown up from the base assure you of the awesome power that’s generated by this natural wonder. We’ve crammed some really kick ass things into the holiday but this was certainly one of my highlights.

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Toronto, Canada

DSC00744We didn’t get to see a hell of a lot in Toronto. We arrived by night and immediately went to dinner at the 360 Restaurant atop the CN Tower. It’s the tallest building in Toronto and provides spectacular views of the area. We all got steak which was delicious:

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followed by a variety of desserts.

Stunning views, a rotating restaurant and a great evening out. The following morning we wandered around Toronto for a while and went into an Apple store managing to find the only Irish sales assistant who informed Dar that the best place to scout an iPod Touch was not in Toronto. Onwards.

Chicago!

We’d pushed on the night before to give us a shorter drive into Chicago. That didn’t account for the traffic we encountered entering the city though so it was dark by the time we reached the hotel. A quick shower, a change of clothes and a crazy taxi driver brought us to Chinatown. After finding a fairly abandonded restaurant we had what can only be described as the best Chinese food we’ve tasted. After a few beers in a local bar we retired to bed.

After covering a good few miles the day before we got a nice lie in before heading for Shedd Aquarium. Their oceanarium section is closed for renovations so we went into the Planet Earth 4D show. We’d been to a couple of 4D shows already in Universal so kinda knew what to expect. This was above and beyond though. From stuff in the chairs to bubbles coming out of the ceiling, it ended all to quickly and we headed for lunch.

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Apres lunch we toured through the rest of the aquarium (otters ftw) and made our way out onto Michigan Avenue. According to the guide book I’d had a glance at, the best views of Chicago are from the John Hancock Observatory located on the 94th floor. Being that high up over a city is freaky. David Schwimmer talked us through the history of the city (audio tour, he wasn’t there in person :)) and made our way around to Pizano’s Pizza. Dave from Blogography had made reference to this place so I wanted to check it out. Man is their pizza good plus the locals eat there which is a sign in itself.

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The Kerryman pub was our last stop where we got chatting to a few Americans (hi to Chelsea and Amanda). Several beers and hours later we made our way back to the hotel. Alas is to say we didn’t rise as early as we’d hoped for the drive to Toronto.

Rushmore and the drive east

The drive east from Yellowstone was always going to be tough. We had the target of Rushmore to hit though so we pushed on. We set out early enough on the road so as to give us a chance of hitting Rushmore late in the afternoon and staying in Rapid City that night.

The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful. The car has been grand but for the fact that we’re spending a good few quid on filling her up each time. With the way we’re heading around to Toronto we should have two nights in Chicago.
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