Playing Tourist

When we travel, we like to experience things that we can’t experience at home. We do a lot of exploring, hiking, and eating in the local area of the places we visit. Sometimes, however, we totally play “tourist”. That’s what we did on our way from Ithaca to Ottawa…

On the last day of my course, class finished up at 3:30. D’Arcy & the kids were still on their way back to Ithaca from the day’s adventures, so I went to the bar at the Statler Hotel with my classmates for a drink before we all went our separate ways. It wasn’t long before my family arrived, so I said good-bye to my new friends and we headed towards Niagara Falls.

Before we had left home, we had arranged a visit with our friends, Carl, Nikki, and their daughter, Jessica. Carl & I worked together on the Scotia Prince in 1997, a car-passenger ferry that traveled daily between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Portland, Maine. Nikki is originally from Ontario and they have been living in Niagara Falls for eight years now; they both work in the Casino there.

As it turned out, Carl & Nikki had to work the night we were visiting, but they are allowed two “lates” per year, where they can call in without penalty and arrive for work up to four hours late. This way, we were able to spend the evening together and they went to work at midnight, as we went to bed. We were happy to be Jessica’s babysitters for the night.

It was about 7:30 p.m. when we arrived at their home, and Nikki had made a feast for us for supper: barbequed steak, potatoes, steamed green beans and tossed salad. For dessert, we had berries with whipped cream. It was delicious!! Sarah, Olivia & Jessica played and giggled, the boys hung out, and the adults all talked and got caught up. The girls were thrilled when we blew up an air mattress in Jessica’s room and the three of them  were able to sleep in there together!

More giggling than sleeping going on!

Carl & Nikki arrived home around six a.m., just as we were getting up. We had pancakes and fruit for breakfast before saying goodbyes and leaving to go see Niagara Falls. (Carl & Nikki were heading for bed.)

Breakfast at Carl & Nikki’s

Niagara Falls, at 7:30 in the morning, are beautiful! Well, to be honest, they’re beautiful at any time of day… The sun was coming through the mist and creating rainbows. We got quite wet. Although I’ve been to Niagara Falls a few times, the speed and force of the water flow amazes me every time. After getting another tourist to take our photo, we got into the van to head to Canada’s Wonderland via the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country. D’Arcy & I have been scouting out places we’d like to return to in a few years without the kids! J

Watching the waterfalls

Beautiful Horseshoe Falls

Family photo in front of the Canadian Falls – all you can really see is mist though.

Olivia gets a lift from Alex to have a closer look.

We got to Canada’s Wonderland shortly after it opened and the place was already PACKED with people! We are a family of adrenaline junkies, so we spent the rest of the day riding roller coasters and other rides. On the very first roller coaster that D’Arcy & the boys rode, Alex lost his glasses while upside down, and we were told to return to get them at 2:00. We split up, since Olivia wasn’t tall enough for the big coasters, but met up at various times, including for lunch. Sarah rode the Vortex and the Wild Beast (twice) and loved it. D’Arcy’s cousin Derrick lives nearby, so he and his wife Denny joined us with their daughter, Justine, for the afternoon. Denny is very pregnant so Sarah, Olivia, Justine & I rode most of the rides in the kids’ zone for the afternoon. They left at suppertime, but we stayed until after 9 p.m. Although the kids could have kept going, D’Arcy & I were at our limit. I was quickly becoming infuriated with the crowds and with people who were jumping into the line in front of us. It happened at various times throughout the day, and I could feel my blood pressure rising along with the temperature. The kids had a blast, and that’s what matters…

Sarah, Olivia, Justine & Snoopy

Evan, Olivia, Alex & Sarah with Charlie Brown at Canada’s Wonderland

We were staying at the Marriott in Vaughn, so made our way to the hotel where we all went swimming and soaked in the hot tub before collapsing into bed after a very full day!

* This post was originally written while we were traveling between July 1st – 15th, 2012. We are back home now and welcoming guests.

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