No Sleep Till Brooklyn
We doing all the forms of transport this holiday and so it's a train from Niagara to New York. When we were originally planning this holiday some months ago, we wanted to drive, over 3 weeks or so, from LA to Toronto then to New York. We abandoned that idea on account of all the Tripadvisor advice about how bad the roads were in the snow.....so a long train ride was going to partially fill the void left by a road trip. We won't talk about all the snow we haven't seen and how we could have done the road trip after all.
The internet isn't very good at explicitly explaining that the river dividing the town of Niagara is the border between the US and Canada and that getting from one side to the other is no easy task. A two hour task in fact. We had originally booked to take the train from the American side, naively assuming that getting from the hotel on the Canadian side would be a 30-45min job. Local knowledge disabused us of this fanciful notion and so we changed our tickets to go from the Canadian side.
Have spent a couple of years working for Public Transport Victoria and specifically in the train part of the department, I'm not unfamiliar with some of the quirks of train scheduling and pricing. I wasn't however prepared for the change of station to result in our business class seats being downgraded to cattle class but still needing to pay an extra $14. Fortunately, I have had professional coaching on Not Being An Aggressive Woman so I was able to contain my outrage to a gasp, a stricken laugh and meekly paid the unexplainable extra amount.
Travelling between the two stations was its own unique experience. The train engine and carriages are about half a metre higher that we are used to seeing in the Southern Hemisphere. Size though is really all about perspective and the station didn't have a platform so the train looked like a monster appearing over the horizon. Everyone was hustled onto the train by the friendly Canadian conductor, luggage was hauled up the steps and stowed, seats settled into and the train commenced it's journey. The driver went extra slow so we could all play Happy Tourist and take photos of the Niagara gorge.
2 minutes and half a mile later, luggage was collected and we were all offloaded into the warm welcome of US customs and border security.
2 hours later we were all hustled back onto the train and off we went on our scenic adventure.
By this time it was 12:30 in the afternoon and it gets dark just after 4pm so I was a little concerned at all the scenery I was going to miss out on given we weren't due into New York till 10pm. Turns out that was a waste of my emotional energy and it's a fairly homogenous landscape: no hills, bare trees approximately 2cm of snow covering everything.
Arriving in New York was a culture shock after a couple of days wandering about relatively unoccupied landscape! And we are pretty sure that our taxi driver was the long lost brother of the taxi driver we once had in Bangkok.....
Antoine’s Content Corner
Waterfall, snow and waterfalls. The force was not with me and marital relations were also frosty at this point.
Turns out that photos from a train don't make great viewing. This is because I've never bothered to tinker with shutter speed settings on my iPhone as I figured a long time ago that tinkering around with camera stuff wasn't for me. If I had been so inclined, I should have used the Lightroom App, set the shutter speed at something around 1/400th of a second and shot everything in RAW format, fiddled around editing and converting and then uploading. I didn't and so you have a single happy snap produced with the point-shoot-don't-worry technique.