A Dream Come True: My Trip to Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls has always been one of my top places I wanted to visit, so when I found out I got a spot in the exchange program at my University and would be studying in Canada for a few months, I knew this would be my chance to see Niagara Falls. The city I was living in, in Canada, was about a two-hour drive from Niagara Falls, so it was the perfect opportunity.

Even better, one of the University’s organizations for exchange students offered a trip to Niagara Falls, including tickets for a boat tour and the Skylon Tower, so my friends and I signed up. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so lovely on the day of our trip but I wouldn’t let that stop me from enjoying every second of my Niagara Falls experience.

So after a two-hour bus ride we finally made it to the town of Niagara Falls. We did get some time to walk around the city but it started pouring, so we went back to the bus fairly quickly. I didn’t mind very much because I wanted to go see the waterfalls anyway.

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Fortunately it had stopped raining once we reached Niagara Falls. Did you know it consisted of three waterfalls? I never knew that to be honest. The big one, I’m sure everyone knows, is the horseshoe fall and on the Canadian side. But there is also a smaller waterfall on the American side called the American Falls (what a surprise) and an even smaller one right next to it, which is the Bridal Veil Falls. While the American Falls and Bridal Falls are nice to look at the much bigger Horseshoe Falls is definitely the most breathtaking one.

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(American Falls on the left and Bridal Veil Falls on the right)

First we walked around the area a bit before we decided to get on one of the boats. I’m not gonna lie I was very much surprised by how close the boats take you to the actual waterfalls. Everyone has to wear rain capes but you’re still going to get a little bit wet from the mist. It was an amazing experience to get so close to this huge waterfall. You suddenly feel so small.

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Another nice thing around Niagara Falls is that you can go up the Skylon Tower to see everything from above. I think the ticket was around CA$13 and in my opinion totally worth it.

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(View from the Skylon Tower)

My friends and I spent the entire day there just walking around the area and looking at the waterfalls. Honestly, I was a little nervous whether I might be disappointed but the actual Niagara Falls. You know how you tend to have pretty high expectations of places you’re dying to visit? Luckily it really was as beautiful and mesmerizing as I imagined and I definitely was not disappointed. One minor thing that takes a bit of away from the beauty for me is how commercialised the whole area is. There’s casinos and big hotels everywhere.

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Despite the rain and not amazing weather as you can see from the pictures I still loved my visit at Niagara Falls. I could’ve stared at the Horseshoe Falls for hours. So if you ever get the chance to visit you should definitely go! I’m not sure if I personally would stay for more than a day but there definitely is a lot to do. I didn’t go to the American side but I heard there’s a big shopping mall and there’s definitely lots of attractions on the Canadian side.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? What’s one of your dream places to visit?

Love,

Sophie

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Road Trip Diary Part 5: Shopping, Ruins & Soccer

Time for the next part of my road trip. Although we were still staying in York we drove all the way to Manchester (actually it’s just an hour but whatever :P) because my brother is quite the fan of Manchester United and he wanted to get a soccer jersey or whatever you call these things and he didn’t want to buy it anywhere else than in Manchester. First me made a stop at the Trafford Centre for some shopping and oh my gosh I’ve seen many many shopping malls in my life but this one must’ve been one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It almost reminds me of a temple with all the pretty paintings, statues and fountains. After dragging my brother and dad around with me for 2 hours (they despise shopping) I put them out of their misery and we drove over to the Old Trafford stadium. My brother got excited like a little kid and before I knew what was happening I found myself in a huge store full of Manchester United everything. It took my brother forever to get everything he wanted so I had to sit there and wait and probably looked totally out of place. Guess it was only fair. I wish I could’ve seen more of the actual city of Manchester but we had to get back to York. I have to admit I was quite disappointed but hopefully I get to see the city some other time.

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So the next day it was time to drive on to our final destination: Durham. Until that day I had never ever even heard of that place but it’s somewhere up in the very north of England close to the Scottish border. As always we made quite a few stops on the way. Our first stop was Castle Howard. It’s pretty much a huge castle in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many castles in so little time.

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Next we stopped by this little small town by the sea. I totally forgot the name of this (sorry. really wish I could remember) but it definitely was a beautiful place. We went on a walk by the sea side and had some ice ream. Yummy.

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Another stop we made was at the ruins of this incredible old abby. I thought it looked so cool and a bit creepy. Apparently it gave the inspiration for Dracula. I can definitely see why. Oh and I saw this adorable horse there. Isn’t it cute? I just had to take a picture. Gosh, I’m such an animal lover.

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Before finally making it to hour hotel we took one last stop at this upper old train station. They still run their trains with steam and the trains ration was actually used for some Harry Potter scenes. I think this is the train station they arrive at when they go to Hogwarts.Nevertheless it was pretty magical to see.

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This was the hotel we stayed in. It’s in the area of Durham and from what it looks like i’s quite old. It looks a bit like some old spooky haunted place to me and not just from the outside. Our room was pretty dark and there were weird paintings hanging on the wall. Plus it was in the middle of absolutely nowhere and I heard some really creepy noises at night.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post :) The next part is coming up soon.

XX

Sophie

Road Trip Diary: Days 4&5 – Stuck In the Middle Of Nowhere & Oxford

On day 4 of our road trip we had to get up super early to get to the airport and pick up our rental car. This took much longer than expected. First we had to take the tube back to Heathrow. Once we’ve made it there we had to find the right bus stop that takes you to the car rental service which took ages to find. Once we’d mad it to the car rental station we had to draw a ticket and probably waited for about an hour until it was finally our turn. After my dad  had gotten the car legs and everything was thought to be settled the next problem surfaced. The guy at from the rental service had given us a car with a super tiny trunk. It barely fit two of our suitcases and we had four of them. If I’m being honest I think it’s quite ridiculous to give a family of four a car with a tiny trunk. Before renting a car you have to mention for what purposes you’re going to use it and we clearly said it was for a road trip for a family. Obviously we’d all have suitcases. Eventually they gave us a new and bigger one and we could finally make our way to Oxfordshire – our next stop.

After about an hour of driving we reached our destination: a beautiful old English farm home. It was literally located in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing but fields and lakes around it. After taking a bit of a break and getting some rest we decided to check out the area and went for a hike through the nature. I’m not really someone that goes hiking a lot but I had a great time and the landscape surrounding us was absolutely stunning.

The interior design of the place we stayed at itself was so British. At least it was what I think is really British. Since I’m not I guess I can’t really determine that but it just looked exactly what you would imagine an old British farm house to look like. It was over 270 years old by the way. The house itself was beautiful but nothing I would ever want to live in. The only downside was that I didn’t only have to share a room with my brother but with a bunch of spiders as well. I’m not terribly afraid of them but I don’t really like them either. At first I made my brother catch them and throw them out the window but we kept finding more spiders so we eventually gave up and I just had to deal with it. Oh the nightmares.

On our 5th day we drove to Oxford and basically spend all day there as there is so much to look at. I loved checking out all the old University buildings and Oxford castle. The entire town just seems like such a historic place and I really enjoyed my time there.

Here are some pictures. Hope you enjoy :)

Sophie

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