Posted by: lindsaygoes | September 8, 2012

Journeying from Niagara to Manassas

After seeing Niagara Falls at night, we got up early the next morning to see them by day. We got an up close look first of all with a ride on the Maid of the Mist. After being issued with our snazzy blue ponchos we sailed up to the waterfalls. The noise and spray was incredible! I thought I was lucky having the poncho on until I realised the gusts from the falls had blown mine up and my bag and camera were getting wet. Nothing too bad though! After our close up view at the bottom we walked to the top of the Horseshoe Falls. On our way back the wind direction changed and I ended up getting wetter than on the Maid of the Mist. Lunch was a delightful experience at the top of the Skylon Tower in the revolving restaurant, so we had a lovely aerial view of the Falls and surrounding area, although we got a slightly better view when we visited the observation deck after lunch.

Our next stop, later that day, was Toronto, where we had another Tower, the CN Tower which had nice views over Toronto. There was also an air show over the city, which we got the occasional glimpse of, and a baseball match in the stadium below us which we could see beneath the glass flooring. After the lines to get to the top of the tower, and then the lines to get down again we had a nice relaxing cruise on Lake Ontario, where we could see Toronto’s skyline as well as several of the nearby islands.

Our departure time the next day was 5:30 am and to our displeasure our guide organised 4:30 am wake up calls. We were aiming to get a boat at the Thousand Islands at 9:00 am. We ended up on the 2:00 pm boat. What delayed us was a mysterious beeping on the bus which had started the evening before and which the driver and guide had assured us was fixed the night before. We stopped believing them ten minutes into the drive. After stopping and starting numerous times on the side of the highway we eventually pulled into a supermarket carpark while they tried to fix it again, failed and them called a mechanic out. On a Sunday, on a long weekend. After about three hours in the carpark we headed off again and finally made it to the Thousand Islands where we did have a nice cruise around, seeing the shortest international bridge in the world and Boldt Castle. Then it was back on the bus before an hour long border crossing wait heading back into the US, because someone on the bus hadn’t got their passport stamped on the way. Eventually we got back to New York at 11:30 pm.

After such a long day we had a slightly later start the next morning before visiting Central Park and the Natural History Museum which had some fascinating exhibits. That afternoon we did some shopping around New York. Lots of fun. In the evening we went to the Top of the Rock on the Rockerfeller centre, where we had a fantastic view of Manhattan at night and then we went to Times Square again to get a view of it at night. Just as crazy as during the day!

The following morning we walked along the High Line, a section of disused railway line which has been turned into a walking track. It was lovely, taking you slightly above the buzzing of street level to a boardwalk surrounded by grasses and trees. Then we went to the Strand Bookstore which has around 18 miles of books. I only bought one. Except then I went back and bought another three. Lunch was at Shake Shack, a kind of famous burger place in New York. My parents liked it because they could get beer to drink in the park. Then we did a little bit more shopping.

Then it was the last full day in New York, which meant dragging bags uptown on the subway. After leaving the bags (always a nice part of the day) we saw a little more of Central Park, then decided we were very tired so had a massage and did very little for the rest of the day.

It was day one of our Intrepid tour the next day. We headed off early from New York stopping in Philadelphia first of all. We only had two hours so we were very lucky it was quiet. We rushed onto a tour of Independence Hall, which is where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed, then visited the Liberty Bell and then I tried a Philly cheesesteak. That was all we had time for before heading to Washington DC. Our first stop was our campsite where we set up our tents and then after dinner we headed into the city. It was lovely seeing everything lit up at night and we visited the US Capitol, Washington monument, Lincoln memorial and the White House.

After the first night camping (not too bad) it was back into the city for a hot day (I think it got up to about 33*C) walking around. It was back to the US Capitol to start with for a tour where we saw lots of statues, a court and the inside of the Rotunda, and also visited the House of Representatives gallery, although they weren’t in session. Next we went to the National Air and Space Museum, which was very interesting and we saw a great planetarium IMAX show, followed by the Old Post Office Tower, which had great (if slightly obscured by bars) views of Washington. Next we went to Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln was shot, and the house where he died, all full of information on the assassination as well as Lincoln himself. By the time we reached the end of our next stop, the National Museum of American History, we were starting to become a little numbed to exhibits, so for a change of pace we went to Arlington National Cemetery. After navigating the subway system we got the hop on – hop off bus around the cemetery. We saw the Kennedy Gravesites and then the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the unknowns. I felt very sorry for the soldiers having to parade in the uniforms and heat. The thousands of graves throughout Arlington are very moving, stretching out into the distance in ordered rows. That was really all we had time for in Washington, but we managed to pack a lot into one day.

Today has been a bit quieter, mainly a driving day, but we stopped at Manassas and learned a bit about the Civil War.


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