Roadtrip to Canada

While visiting our friends in DC we were asked if we would fancy joining them on a roadtrip to Canada together with some of their mates to see Toronto and the Niagara Falls… sounded like a mint idea, we couldnt possibly say no… so we packed our bags and jumped into a minivan – Canada please. Actually, it was very nice to sit in a car for a change (did I really say that???) after all those kilometers on two wheels. We also got a better understanding of the average American vehicle operator, who seems to consider driving on an Interstate highway resembles an installment of a post-apocalyptic death race – just without the rocket launchers and machine guns mounted to the bonnet or as Americans call it the "hood". Plus they do lane changes as if they are trying to evade a homing Tomahawk cruise missile that just suddenly appeared in their rear view mirror with no warning (or use of indicators)… So we learnt that driving fast is the norm than the exception over here with many vehicles consistently doing 20 mph (~35km) or more above the legal limit which is another reason why we prefer riding the byways as much as practically possible to avoid adding to the interstate death count.

The next day we ventured in Toronto with our friends. First impressions, Toronto highways have a lot of weeds compared to all the roads we have ridden in America. Toronto city itself was quite something – modern, but with a lot of history. Our friends opted to check out the CN Tower which overlooks the city like the Eye of Mordor. DB (who is into all things historic) however wanted to check out this really hip district called the Distillery she saw on a map – a revamped industrial site with the feel of Wellington's alternative Cuba St meets arty Adelaide. So sculptures, art galleries, neat cafes and restaurants and generally cool stuff is everywhere to be found – we even saw a guy with a cool tattoo of the Maple Leaf. One of our favourite pieces in the Distillery was a 'public piano' in the middle of a square for everyone to use – what a great idea. We ended up having a yummy lunch at a swanky renovated brewery with high exposed beams, concrete floors and a funky interior because DB loved the feel of the place and the cocktail list, best not to argue with that.

Next day we did a day-trip to the Niagara Falls – possibly THE honeymoon destination of the United States. First impression of the falls was "it looks bigger on telly" and then a sobering feeling when looking around the falls. The Canadians have actually managed to turn one of the largest waterfalls in the world (in terms of water per second going down) into another Disneyland, complete with casinos, neon lights, boat tours, theme parks and tons of other attractions aiming to siphon cold cash out of your pocket. Nevertheless, we parted with some of it to do the Maid of the Mist boat tour which took us directly into the water action – the edge of the falls. We got so wet that it probably wasn't necessary to shower that morning back at the hotel! It was an AWESOME experience, seeing the falling aqua blue water up so close, the water spray drenching you, massive whirlpools next to the boat – WOW! Everyone who goes to Niagara should do it regardless of how touristy it is. We found that the Canadian side is definitely the better choice since you can actually see the falls, while the Americans just get the view of the rear end, however you can walk down into the falls on the US side. The whole tourist experience was then rounded up with a swift pit-stop at Margaritaville for a couple of pitchers of margaritas (http://www.margaritaville.com) – see for yourself!

Next after a sad goodbye to our dear friends we head north-west to the Civil War era town of Gettysburg. Also with our route changing almost on a daily basis we are now considering riding all the way to the northern most tip of the east coast – Maine!! How exciting!! More soon.

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