Study break begins…My Aunt Petra arrived in Ottawa on Friday afternoon. It was pouring it down here so it wasn’t an amazing weather for sightseeing. That’s why that day we didn’t do a lot besides we went grocery shopping and we went for dinner in the small café ‘Chickpeas’ which is located near the Wallmart supercentre at Terminal Ave. It is a recently opened family business and they do all kinds of Falafel sandwiches and many different super delicious hummus creations! If you are in Ottawa, you definitely have to go and check it out. All their food is also freshly home-made.
Today we met up early to have breakfast and then we left to explore the city… As well as you can do that while it’s raining. We walked to the Rideau centre, ByWard market and after that we went to the National Art Gallery.
The exhibitions we visited were Inuit Art, which was mostly beautifully carved ivory and moose horns. After that we saw the international and the contemporary room with paintings from Paul Klee, Picasso, Mark Rothko, Vincent Van Gogh and an installation from Alexander Calder. I was surprised how many very famous artists were featured there! All soaked from the rain we arrived at home and in the meantime all my housemates have gone home. We started packing and preparing for our road trip that we started on Sunday after the morning church service (of course) ;)!
We have finally figured out the route we are gonna take after checking the weather a hundred times and after Petra has read about 10 travel guides about the whole of eastern Canada! So here it is, starting in Ottawa, we will first go to Kingston as it is not far away and a good city to visit for half a day. After staying over in a motel we will head further down along the lake to the Niagara Falls, where we have booked a room with view of the Falls!! After that we will be heading to Kitchener for a few hours before we will drive east to Toronto. As the weather forecast shows rain on Thursday until the end of the week, we planned on heading towards Algonquin park on Wednesday. Since there is not many cities or attractions, that interest us, around the Park, we will head back to Ottawa for a night and leave for Montreal on Friday morning as Petra will catch a bus to New York from there on Sunday.
Sunday #1 – Kingston
After a 2 hour drive, we finally made it to Kingston. Kingston is a city located in the 1000 Islands National Park at the Lake Ontario. On our way we drove through the beautiful fall scenery and we stopped at a few places right by the lake in the National Park.
The 1000 Islands national park is, as the name says, an area at the lakes that is home to many many smaller and bigger islands. We had booked a motel in Kingston which looked like the typical American motels along the highways. After we checked in, we headed towards the ‘city centre’ which was basically numerous parallel streets with many independent and high street shops. We found out about a free ferry to the Wolfe island which is the biggest island within the 1000 islands national park with 1400 people living there. The ferry ride was only about 20 minutes and unlike our expectations, in fall and winter it goes to the other end of the island rather than to the village there.
We therefore got off the ferry and went to explore the shore side close to the dock. As there wasn’t a road or trail to the water, we had to walk through high grass past an abundant old house which was actually kind of scary. It was super windy and cold however we did not have a choice but to wait for the next ferry back in an hour, so we made the best out of it, explored the shore side and took a few pictures with the sunset!
Monday #2 – Cobourg and the Niagara Falls
We got up super early in the morning (too early!) so that we could leave Kingston at 8.30 to make our way further down the Lake to Cobourg and past Toronto to the Niagara Falls. We chose the route that lead us right next to the lake so that we had amazing views during the journey. However the downside of this, with a limit of 60 km/h, it took us way longer to get to Cobourg than we had expected. Even on the highways, there is a speed limit of 100 km/h, which makes the distances in this huge country even further. Cobourg is a cute little town, to be honest it was not that interesting, so I probably wouldn’t go there again. However there was a really cute and rather antique café where we had lunch to warm us up on the cold day. After that we continued our way to the Niagara falls and we finally arrived at around 3 pm on Monday. We both thought for a second we had landed in a small Las Vegas with all those tall skyscraper hotels, the casino adverts and the blinking lights everywhere. The view of our hotel room of the Falls was amazing!
Now it was time to go down to the falls to paly tourists and most importantly take Instagram-worthy pics! 😉 The weather the last few days was cloudy, sometimes sunny and freezing cold. By that I mean I am wearing my winter coats, scarves and a hat. I did not even dress that warm last January in England…just saying! Anyways, we made our way down to the falls and of course, it was breath-taking!
To be honest, from the pictures that I have seen so far from the falls, I expected them to be a lot bigger, but that was probably just me. As you can see there are 2 falls, both are the Niagara Falls however throughout the years, the ’round’ falls moved backwards through the erosion of the rocks underneath the falls. Nowadays, it is said that they move backwards by 1 cm per year. We did not go on any boat ride as we did not feel it is worth the money and as you can see in the pictures we still had an amazing view and even saw a few rainbows, when the sun decided to appear. I also find it crazy that we could see the States as the falls lie in between Canada and the U.S.A.. In the night the falls were illuminated so we walked all the way down again!