Friday 27 February 2015

America/Canada Adventure Part 9....

Before I go any further, those people who have already seen some of this post you have had a sneak preview!   I inadvertently published it by mistake. I was half way through writing it and it was not intended to be posted until now, as we had other places to visit before this.  Anyway back to the trip.

After the wonderful scenery of New England and our overnight stay in Rochester we were back on the road again at 8.15am, the fall colours becoming more obvious.

Our next destination was NYC for a four night stay!

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for coffee after a couple of hours then on through Pensylvania on Interstate 81 and the Pocono Mountains.   We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and autumn colours for the next couple of hours then time for lunch we stopped at a Perkins Restaurant and I have to say it was the best food we'd had on the road, reasonably priced and great service!

After a delicious lunch we headed off once more getting quite excited at our first sight of the Big Apple!

Soon we were in the heart of the city on the way to our hotel

the Residence Inn, Times Square.   This was our home for the next four nights

and the view from our bedroom window.

After a quick freshen up we all met in our tour guide's hotel room for a farewell drink as some of our group were only staying two days.  Here's our merry band enjoying a glass of champagn
 before embarking on our 'New York By Night' tour!   Out first stop was Grand Central Terminal with its impressive exterior
and even more impressive interior
 beautiful chandeliers,
 fantastic painted ceiling

and station clock.
Next stop the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts, beautifully lit up,

then the Rockefeller Centre outside,

 inside with it's Time murals ceiling in the Lobby,
and the Summer Garden outside, with the beautiful sculpture of Prometheus, was very busy. Prometheos in Greek mythology was the God who brought fire to mankind.
Next on the agenda was Times Square.

then on to the highlight of the evening the iconic Empire State Building! The 103-story skyscraper has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m), and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 feet (443 m) high. Its name is derived from the nickname for New York, the Empire State. It stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years, from its completion in early 1931 until the topping out of the original World Trade Center's North Tower in late 1970.Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Empire State Building was again the tallest building in New York (although it was no longer the tallest in the US or the world), until One World Trade Center reached a greater height on April 30, 2012.

Impressive outside
with it's changing lights, you may notice the lights are a different colour on the video below, that's because it was taken a couple of nights later from our bedroom window - great view we had eh?

and inside too
but the views from the top - F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.!

Here's me at the top.  Did I mention I don't like heights?? 
Have you noticed how many high buildings I've been up on our travels?   All under sufferance I might add to keep MWM happy and bring you these photographs **wink**.

Well, as you can imagine, after a long coach journey and a whirlwind night tour we were ready for something to eat and an early night, which is exactly what happened.

Do join me in Part 10 for a daylight tour of New York and a Helicopter ride with video!

Friday 20 February 2015

America/Canada Adventure Part 8......

Friday, Day 10, on the road from Toronto to Niagara, we had an unscheduled stop at the Welland Canal. The Welland Canal is a ship canal in Ontario, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Traversing the Niagara Peninsula from Port Weller to Port Colborne, the canal forms a key section of the St. Lawrence Seaway, enabling ships to ascend and descend the Niagara Escarpment and bypass Niagara Falls.

Our tour guide had heard that a ship would be coming through the canal at St. Catherine's Lock and thought we would like to see how it worked.

We crossed the moveable bridge to get to the canal where we watched the bridge being raised to allow the ship to pass underneath.   Hard to believe we'd just driven across that bridge which was now up in the air!

We watched as it got closer to the lock,

passed us by and disappeared into the distance.   There was another ship waiting to come into the lock from the opposite direction.

Time to move on and continue our journey to Niagara Parkway, where we had a short tour,

and a stop to see the floral clock

and the whirlpool.

The Niagara Whirlpool is a natural whirlpool along the Niagara River located along the U.S.-Canadian border between New York and Ontario. The whirlpool is located in the Niagara Gorge, downstream from Niagara Falls. The whirlpool's greatest depth is 125 feet (38 m).  The whirlpool naturally spins in a counterclockwise motion during normal flow. When more water from the river is diverted to the surrounding hydroelectric power plants, however, the flow often reverses.

There is also a cable car which you can ride from one side to the other.

Our next stop was at the magnificent Niagraga Falls!  Actually three falls, from largest to smallest the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. The international boundary line was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.  These are the American Falls behind me

 and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in the distance.

We just had to go right down there on the cruise, so we made our way to the Hornblower.

 donned our protective clothing

and headed out.  See rainbow bridge behind us

American side of the falls in front

Almost underneath Horshoe Falls, Canada.

Here's a short video taken on the boat.

After that wet, but exciting cruise we made our way back up to the top on the Canadian side, to where the rivers become Horseshoe Falls.  You can see Rainbow Bridge in the distance and of course the rainbow!
The next photo shows the river plunging to make the Horseshoe Falls behind us.

Niagara Falls are a magnificent sight and the photographs really don't do them justice.  We walked back to the restaurants and cafes to get something to eat and look who I bumped into
Elvis is alive and well and living at Niagara!

Appetite sated it was time to return to the coach to visit duty free before we crossed the border into the USA.
We had rather a long time to wait to cross the border. We were worried when a border guard boarded our bus with something similar to a Geiger counter and scanned us all, asking if any of us had undergone a surgical procedure recently, apparently something had set off alarms.  All the lanes were locked down and there was much to-ing and fro-ing by the guards up and down the rows of cars and buses waiting to cross into the States.  Eventually they discovered someone in a car three lanes up had been into hospital the day before for a radioactive scan, then crossed over into Canada to go to the Casino, that was what set off the alarms.  The border guard came back to explain what had happened and said "we don't like anything radioactive"! 

Unfortunately, because of the delay at the border, we arrived very late in Rochester, our stop for the night, with only enough time to get something to eat, a couple of drinks and go to bed, no time to explore.   Sorry Rochester.

Join me in Part 9 when we make our way to The Big Apple, NYC!