Jun 8, 2008

Day 9 - Toronto and Niagara Falls

It has been a stressful day throughout, although we had good weather with full of sun.

Because we could not arrange our trip to the Niagara Falls last night, we went to the reception at 9AM to see if they managed to get it all sorted. The same girl says all the tours are fully booked up and we have no options. I was livid. I reiterated that they told us that there is no need to book our tour prior to arrival. She seemed to start doing Google for another Niagara Falls tour with an operator they don't normally deal with. She eventually found one for us, but lack of apology and her body language really angered me, which she seemed to sense just a wee bit.

Shortly after confirmation, a pick-up from the Kings Tour arrived and we got in a tight van. There was something weird about the atmosphere inside the van, and our six sense turned out to be right as the tour went on.

We were taken to an airfield without explanation for our first stop. We, including other people on the tour, looked baffled as it was for a helicopter tour to the Falls. It is one of those classic examples of a tour operator trying to make money or doing their “affiliate” a favour. In the end, none of us took the helicopter tour. The only positive of this stop was that Richard Gere was filming on the premises, and we saw some filming although we could not see him in person.

We were asked by our driver to make payment there. He says it is $78 plus tax, and he wants tip while the tour only just started. We only got $78 per person from the Backpackers Inn, so we had to cough up almost $30 in total for tax and tip. Bollocks. Funnily enough, two other couples asked me how much we are paying for this tour, indicating that we all felt that we might have been ripped off. From this point, us three couples were united in a funny way, but the atmosphere in our van deteriorated dramatically.

We stopped at a winery for wine tasting session. We had White, Red, and Ice Wine, and both Teruko and I particularly liked the White and Ice Wine, especially the latter. It's such a shame that we couldn't buy any bottles due to the fact that we still have just over two weeks on the road. I found a bottle of Shiraz, one of my favorites, that claims to use grapes from Stellenbosch in South Africa. This got me very excited because I went to a few wineries in Stellenbosch back in 2005. One of the staff at the winery did confirm that they get seeds from Stellenbosch as they have partnership. Although I really wanted to see actual wine fields, we only stopped for quite literally 'wine tasting'.

Our next stop was the Niagara on the Falls, a beautiful and pretty looking town that has a British feel about it. We could stay there for a whole day or at least half a day because the town has many pretty shops and restaurants. Our tour continued to our main and final destination after 30mins stop in the town.

Niagara Falls here we come. I have been longing to come to this place since my mum, who has not traveled as much as I have, came here several years ago. I am so glad to be here and that we have a lovely weather although it's hot and humid. Once we had a few photo sessions, we went straight to the Maide of the Mist for a world famous boat ride. What I didn't realise before coming here was that the boat gets so close to the actual falls and water pouring onto us non-stop. I certainly would not call it a 'mist' though. It was a very fun ride, and Teruko and I had a few fun photos and videos.

After the boat ride, we tried to see if we can have a buffet at the restaurant on the highest floor at Sheraton. They were finished, which wasn't a surprise since we got there 15 minutes before 3PM. But the girl at the door was very nice to us by taking us to the balcony of the restaurant so that we could get a view and take a few photos. It was not as high as I wanted, but we still got an excellent view of the falls! As they say, all you gotta do is ask...

Teruko suggested that we go to the Garden Restaurant alongside the river. On our way to the restaurant, we saw two couples having a wedding ceremony in the garden. What a lovely day to have a wedding in such an ideal location. Once I stuffed myself with fish and chips (so bloody typical of me) and Teruko finished her burger, time is up for us at the Niagara Falls.

We met up with the other people on the tour, and the young Canadian couple decided to stay as they booked Greyhound back to Toronto themselves. Fair play to them. I also knew that they didn't like the tour and the driver. Although we were given 3hrs at the falls including the boat tour, we felt that it was not long enough while this is the nature of a tour. We headed back to Toronto in such a very quiet van. Both Teruko and I felt kind of relieved that the tour was over.

It was still 5PM, so we decided to walk around Toronto city, including visiting the area Teruko used to study, pretty Casa Loma, former City Hall, etc. Toronto Metro is interesting in a sense that no matter how far you go the price is still $2.75. I felt that I prefer the system Vancouver public transport has that is based on the zones and also ticket validity duration. After our walk, we headed back to the Inn with a few sandwiches and drinks since we needed to do laundry.

As we came back to the Inn, there was a note on our door saying come to the reception. When we went, the chap who dealt with us didn't seem to know why we got called up. Shortly after that, while we were doing laundry, he told us that the reason for call-up was because the Inn undercharged us. WTF????? We paid exactly as we booked, we had to pay extra $30 for our replacement tour because they somehow cocked up big style, and we owe them money? We were quite busy with laundry and packing up for tomorrow, so I told him that we will come and sort out later.

As much as we enjoyed the Niagara Falls, it has been such a bizarre and frustrating day that we could do without.

1 comment:

non-non said...

I have ever been to Naiagara Falls summer vacation in 2008.
I saw the same scene.
I was impressed with the beautiful scene!
I'll never forget it:)