USA: Niagara Falls - Between Two Countries
I went to a trip to Niagara Falls together with my three au-pair colleagues near the end of my two-year stay in the US. It is an unwritten tradition to visit the Niagaras if you are an au-pair in New York. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t visit the falls or at least wasn’t going to.
The Niagara Falls are also in the State of New York, actually on the borderline of the US and Canada. The Falls were about 8 hours of ride from our place of stay in the northern New York suburb.
Initially, me and my colleagues planned to rent a car and ride there “on our own” as they say. It wasn’t that easy actually. They rent a car only to a person who is 25 years old or older. Only I fulfilled age requirements and that meant that I would have to ride the whole time and I would be responsible if anything had happened. I didn’t want to risk that. Except all of this they required my credit card and they didn’t want to approve my debet card. Eventually, we decide to travel with Chinese as we did already in the past. This time, it cost us 85 dollars for a two-day tour. This included bus ride there and back, an English speaking guide and a night in a hotel with breakfast. The excursion was great, without any problem. The Chinese never disappointed us in the US
We departed early in the morning from Chinatown in Manhattan. We had visited The Corning Museum of Glass in the city of the same name while were on the road. There are 45 000 glass items some 3 500 years old or older. We might see also a live glass show (a making of vase) and together with my Czech friend we found several pieces of Czech glass, Bohemia Glass.
We arrived at the Falls in the afternoon and accommodated in the RAMADA hotel that is very close to the Falls. The rest of that day we spent exploring the Falls and around.
Niagara Falls is the name for several waterfalls on the Niagara River that flows from Lake Erie to Ontario Lake. The US-Canada border is along the middle of the river, which is in its widest on the place where the waterfall begins. There are two falls that are the most known. On the Canadian side of the border there is Horseshoe Falls that really resemble a horseshoe and its height is 51 meters. On the American side of the border, there is a bit smaller the American Fall and Bridal Veil Fall separated from the former with a small island, Goat Island.
Mass of water that flows there is unbelievable. Unfortunately, my Czech friend and me could see the falls only from the American side. Although, we could have pass the Rainbow Bridge above the River Ontario and get to Canada. From there we would have had a direct view of the falls.
There are two towers for that, the Skylon Tower and the Minolta Tower as well as several hotels where you can have a room with a view of the falls. We, the only two members of the excursion who were from the Czech Republic were not, unfortunately, among the people with the view for we were required to have a visa to Canada in the time of our stay in the US. Allegedly, it is useless to reason with the customs officials thus, only our two colleagues get to the other side. We stayed at the falls until late night. We wanted to see their colorful illumination and you shouldn’t miss it either.
On the following day, it was almost impossible to see the other, Canadian, side through a thick haze above the falls – it is not fog but water vapour. Our whole party hurried on a ship, another way how to explore the falls. You may take a boat tour, either from the US or Canadian side, called THE MAID OF THE MIST. Every passenger gets a blue raincoat with the same sign. The tour takes places right below the falls; it is a wonderful experience for the boat sways, wind tears off your raincoat and you see lot of water almost falling on you. Except roaring of water you can hear nothing, you just are in a picture taking frenzy until you and your camera are completely wet. If you hadn’t a raincoat you would be totally wet however, it is no bother in summer weather.
We had about one hour to dry ourselves after the tour, to buy some refreshments, souvenirs and we got on a road back to New York. We wished to return to this amazing place again. However, I have this wish after many of my trips. Who knows whether they will be fulfilled ....
Text: Pavlína Rouhová
Photo: Saffron Blaze, Saffron Blaze, Saffron Blaze, Ujjwal Kumar, Ujjwal Kumar, NASA, Daniel Mayer, Yuvb, Jordan J. Miller
In the last part we visited Universal Studios Theme Park. It was, indeed, a glorious experience. So going to Idaho could seem little bit boring.
I had visited Washington D. C. during my two-year stay in the US. I had spent there three days for I considered it a duty to visit the city not only for it is the US capital but also for its vicinity. It is about 250 miles/400 kilometers from New York.
I gave myself a four-day vacation in San Francisco in the middle of my two-year au-pair stay in the US. Everyone, who ever was there, never said anything except superlatives and mentioned the difference between east coast and west coast cities.
Next day morning we set out to explore Lombard Street, a street that is world famous for its zigzag character. And really, houses are built to allow everyone who live there to drive in or out on this steep hill.
When you walk around in downtown you would definitely notice City Hall built in an Empire style, on the top there is a statue of the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn. There is also Independence Hall in the center, the building is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage lists and also the already-mentioned Declaration of Independence was signed there.
A trip long trip abroad means rises one significant question – what I should pack with me? I wouldn’t describe here the whole list what I put into my luggage, of course. There weren’t many things. Important is to not forget important documents.
Previous articles had to demonstrate you the atmosphere a visitor can feel in the United States. Today we will hit the streets of the most important city in the Pacific Northwest.
There are many natural parks in the United States. Maybe you think of Yosmite, Wrangell-St.Elias (the largest US park) or Denali.
Portland is located in the State of Oregon which is adjacent to the State of Washington on north.
There are places that you probably voluntarily nevypravili. One of them will surely prison. Among the best known in America is clearly Alcatraz. His name is not well known outside the country.
In the last article devoted to the United States we have learned something about Alcatraz, a former maximum security prison. Now we move from the Rock and have a glimpse at one of the most distinct cities in the US.
In previous parts of our journey to the United States you could get some notion what to expect of San Francisco and what makes it famous. Also, we have seen one of the most famous prisons, or former prisons in the world, Alcatraz. It is also located in San Francisco.
As you may know from previous part of our story, San Francisco is a tourist friendly city. There are enough attractions and sights to keep you occupied at least for a week without you slipping into boredom.
From inglorious Compton with high levels of criminality (decreasing) we move to the place well-known to everyone – Hollywood.
Last week, we were over to Hollywood. It is a place that is in some ways perhaps overrated.
Almost two years while I was working as an au-pair I had lived in suburbia of the center of the whole globe. To describe every attraction worth visiting would take several articles. New York is the most monumental symbol of level of the world civilization. It consists of five districts - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
The next day we are going to the port town of Seward, on the way we stop at wild river and this day will finish by exploring the Research Centre of the marine ecosystem of Alaska.
The following day is dedicated to the rocky landscape of ice - Kenai Fjords National Park.
When you hear Boston you think of a rich history and picturesque streets with brick houses. However, there are other sights in the city you won’t forget. It wouldn’t be always a pleasant experience but they are worth seeing.
Today in our article we would like to present you few interesting sites you shouldn’t miss during your visit in New York.
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts and a center of New England, has played a crucial role in the US history. It was founded in 1630 and the key event leading to the American Revolution happened there – the Boston tea party. Being is the city like living the American history itself, this is also due to the fact that Boston boasts with many firsts.
There are not just historical houses made of red bricks, or tower blocks in Boston but there is also modern architecture such as the building hosting the J.F. Kennedy museum and library, or a controversial Boston city hall or a new center of modern art in Boston.
Historical landmarks make Boston interesting, indeed, but there are other places one shouldn’t miss. Only then his/her visit will be complete. These places are charming and have their unique atmosphere. Despite thousands of tourists visit them every year, everyone can enjoy them.
I started my two-year stay in the US in Pittsburgh. I had stayed there for four mostly summer months. There I had first experiences of living in a foreign country, adapting to new habits, food, people and I also tried to overcome the language barrier.
To explore the Katmai Island we have only one day – today. This is why we plan everything carefully and try to avoid every loss of time. Do you know what to do when suddenly a bear appears in front of you? You have to keep proper distance, don’t look him in the eyes, don’t run – a bear is certainly faster than you – and talk to him with calm voice and slowly move backwards. Regardless all advice it is still better, however, to avoid encounter with a bear.
On highway, that follows the Seward Highway - the main road of the peninsula, we are going to the protected wilderness areas of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. But first - visit the musher´s family and their shaggy sled dogs.
The next day we addict to knowledge about bald and brown eagle.
Today we will move from McCarthy to Valdez. As I said before, major part of the road was built on former railroad Copper River and Northwestern Railway. Services here are really minimal and there is no gas station.
According to the original plan we had to rest, however, after mutual agreement we decide to only pass through Fairbanks and continue to Yukon. If we are lucky, we will conquer the Arctic Circle.
Today's visit of Denali park will take as all day (or rather few days). We were provided with tickets in advance and we are accommodated close to the park, so we can be in place in time, preferably in the first row to have the best view.
I have been telling myself for several times that there is nothing better than this place. Such a romantic place… there couldn’t be greater romance. But better comes on the following days, another experiences and again totally fantastic landscape, accommodation… well, it’s just great!
My trip to Alaska actually started long time before departure. Why Alaska, if beautiful places are really a lot? To fill my dream of travelling has helped me realize my father, an avid hunter, who for 20 years has travelled almost the whole world.
Today awaits us a long crossing from Hatcher Pass to the Denali National Park. If we travel without a pause, we would need at least 4 hours.
The Tangle Lakes area is a popular camping site. In the region are many fishermen who enjoy their hobby. Tangle of lakes and rivers which going through a hilly landscape offer enough opportunities to catch fish. Today you will enjoy beautiful panoramas.
Today, for the first time, is our "reveille" later than usual. Our photo-expedition ends. It remains only to buy some souvenirs, pack our things and prepare for our way back home tomorrow.
Several attempts of seeing another eagles was little successful, but towards the saddle of green hills our paths crossed a moose lady.
The next day we will expect gold digger paradise and muskoxen and reindeer farm.
We meet at 8 o’clock for breakfast. Concerning our late arrival yesterday we choose our program of the day just now. It has been decided. We leave Fairbanks and continue to Chena Hot Springs to its thermal springs.