Niagara Falls

This morning, I woke up early after not sleeping well as I typically do when I have to ensure my waking up early. I made my way to the train station and got a muffin to bring on board with me for the little journey down to Niagara falls. Just 2 hours away, Niagara Falls seemed like a no brainer to add to my itinerary. Once we arrived at the Niagara station, we were let off literally in the middle of no where onto the grass. I laughed and asked the worker what are we supposed to do to get to the falls. He said, you can walk on the street about 45 minutes to get to them. It’s definitely not what I expected to see when disembarking the train at Niagara Falls.

So off I went and enjoyed a walk along the Niagara River until the kitchiness of Niagara started to unfold. The walk was nice and really didn’t take 45 minutes—maybe just a half hour, and I saw the falls in the distance. Coming up to the first one, it somehow wasn’t as big as I was expecting. I actually had envisioned a drop off that was even higher / deeper, and wondered if what I was seeing was everything. I then continued on to the bigger one, and as the mist cooled me from the hot sun, I found myself taking a few pictures and being content with what I’d seen. Someone had suggested going to Niagara on the Lake, a small community that had shops and restaurants, so I looked up the details of how to get there and there was a shuttle system that brought you over.

I got my tickets and was on my way out of Niagara to this little town. What I was told would take just about 20 minutes took 20 minutes plus a transfer for another 20 minutes plus another transfer for 10 minutes. It was definitely not as described in convenience so I had to calculate the time in which I would need to leave in order to catch my train that evening at 5:45PM.

My first mission was to find food, so I looked on yelp and found the highest ranked restaurant and headed there. Another farm to table type place, I got an amazing pasta dish with a beautiful raspberry refreshing lemonade with mint. The meal was perfect and I was completely fulfilled by the end. I then headed to walk the streets of all these little shops.

Unfortunately, it seems like all the shops were geared towards older women in their 50’s 60’s with clothing, jewelry, gardening knick knacks and the like. However, there were about 4 old timey candy stores that enjoyed a visit too J

After walking around a bit, I decided to head back to make sure I caught the hourly shuttle back to the transfer so I could get back to the train by 5:45. I left around 3:30 and got the 4PM shuttle back. By about 5PM I was on my walk back to the train station and when I got inside, I saw the screen say that the train had been delayed until 6:30. DRATS. I’d made so much effort to get back in time, and there’s literally nothing around—it’s like a ghost town around the station. Fortunately, a mother and daughter were there picking up her other daughters coming in from the US, and they were heading back to their hotel and offered me a ride to get food. She said it was just a couple of blocks away, so I agreed, and got in the car and headed off for the restaurants. What she said was 2 blocks, got farther and farther away and after about 7 minutes of driving, I said, I needed to be careful about how far I go so I can walk back. She said no problem that she would pick me back up since they had to go back anyway. I agreed since I wanted to eat so got into the city where I hadn’t been and checked out all their crazy stores and places. It was like a Gatlinburg with haunted houses, wax museums, guiness book of world records museum and such. I ended up getting a fast food hot dog just to make sure I could start heading back in case I couldn’t rely upon being picked up.

I checked the online schedule for the train and it was delayed again until 7:15PM so I relaxed a little and strolled around. The trashiness of it all wore me down quick and I was ready to head back to the station right when the woman texted me saying that her daughters texted saying it was arriving soon.

So I told her where I was and within 5 minutes, she picked me up and we all went to the station together. The hold up was customs as all the passengers have to get off the train, be cleared, to just get back on the train again. So, 7:15PM was our departure, and we headed back to Toronto after a long, adventurous and tiring day of great sightseeing.

My last day of Toronto was spent with Sean again as he picked me up when I needed to leave the apartment. Earlier that morning I got everything ready and headed to St Lawrence Market to find a bagel and walk around the beautiful marketplace. Once Sean picked me up, we headed to Queen West area for some lunch at a cute café. It was perfect!

Sean then drove me to the airport and we’ll look forward to seeing each other in Austin hopefully in a few weeks!


Arriving in Toronto by train was very easy. As I came out of the Union Station terminal, it was night time, and everyone was looking up with their cell phones taking pictures. When I turned around, fireworks had just begun for the PanAmerican games closing ceremony from the CN Tower. It was a pretty cool thing to see as a welcome to the city.

Uber is very available and useful, so I Ubered to my Airbnb and despite a cumbersome instruction to get the keys and entrance, everything worked out with access fine. This was the first time (well second) that I had been a little disappointed from the Airbnb unit. There were several things that weren’t super confortable such as the noise from the hallway, the noise from the AC, the temperature regulation of the AC, the water pressure in the shower, the cheap towels that stayed wet after one use, and the instruction to take garbage out despite a $50 cleaning fee. There were long hairs in the shower and bathroom, and the place was just not as clean as I’d expect for it being a higher priced unit. Anyhow, it was doable, and I got to bed.

The next morning, my friend Sean came to pick me up and he drove me to another condo unit he and his fiancé own which gives great views of the city from the top of the roof pool. We then went back to their condo and got bikes and he took me around downtown on bikes and over to the terminal to take a ferry to Centre Island. This place was amazing! Just off the coast of Toronto is a beautiful nature park with residential areas and no cars. Cute, quaint homes lined wooded streets with pathways for walking and bikes. Beaches with actual sand to Lake Ontario made for beautiful sun bathing and playing in cool water and after a great work up for appetite, we stopped at a restaurant which amazingly had great food and normal pricing.

After a good exercise of this, we continued biking around downtown and we went by a cool distillery area with shops and restaurants. We biked all the way back to their condo and put the bikes up and got our bathing suits to go back up to the pool on the roof top and enjoy a nice refreshing reward of our day excursion.

When we finished our swim, Sean brought me back to my place and we got ready to go to dinner and I met him back downtown for a sushi dinner at a place called Japango. We did a chef Omakase and enjoyed so much sushi that we couldn’t even finish part of the last dish that was brought out. He then took me to the Times Square of Toronto with great city lights and people watching. We walked around and we got some ice cream to continue our walk around.

We finally ended our fun filled day with a good experience of Toronto and fun conversation. I headed back home and went to bed so I could get up for another full day tomorrow.

The next day, I got up and headed back downtown to go to the CN Tower to take a look out. These places are such rip offs. It’s really too bad, but $40 to ride an elevator up a tower and look out was really not worth it at all. I guess it’s a once in a lifetime thing to do, but none the less, it was annoying that it’s so grossly overcharged. After the CN Tower, I headed to walk all around the city towards Kensington Markets, and then over to a sandwich shop to have lunch. It was so hot, the walking with a backpack and camera was getting annoying with feeling sweaty, so I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. After miles of walking around the city, I made my way back home for a quick recharge, and decided to go to a restaurant nearby for dinner after. I walked to this Farm to Table Italian restaurant that was highly ranked in Yelp, and was pleasantly surprised by a fantastic meal.

Hand made chicken dumplings with olive, Fig with goat cheese, and Arancini balls with Bolognese sauce created an amazingly cohesive meal of appetizers that worked perfectly together. I was very happy with my meal, relaxing and enjoying watching people walk by the restaurant. That evening I relaxed and got ready for bed for my day trip to Niagara Falls the next day.