Monday, August 27, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Taken through the window of the visitors center when the wind was whipping spray from the falls around, making it seem like it was raining.
A couple of weekends ago, SP and I set off on a trip. We went over the rainbow. The Rainbow Bridge, that is, which leads from Niagara Falls, NY to Niagara Falls, Canada. I have been to Niagara Falls, Canada several times but each time I am awed by the beauty of the falls. This was SP's first visit.
We couldn't have asked for a better day. Sunshine, clear, blue sky, temperatures in the high 70's/low 80's. And a breeze strong enough to keep you cool and to kick up a plume of mist. At first, I was sad, because the wind whipped mist was obscuring my view of the Horseshoe Falls. But then, we turned to face the American Falls, and we saw it. The rainbow.
The rainbow magic started, for us, here. I know what a rainbow is, I understand the science of it all, but  in the face of these gorgeous, powerful, cascading falls, a rainbow seems extra magical and special. Especially since I had not seen a rainbow on my previous visits.
Then we turned towards the Horseshoe Falls and saw more rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Stunning.
At this point, the multitudes of tourists were in full LOOK! RAINBOW! mode, ourselves included. Lots of jostling to see, to get the best view, the best angle, cameras furiously clicking away, tourists posing, holding their small children up high, ooohhhs and aaahhhhs, and what I presume was the word for beautiful (or gorgeous or magical or just wow) in so many languages I lost count.
The rainbow disappeared deep into the Horseshoe Falls, it arced across the bright blue sky and across the American Falls, disappearing into the Niagara River. I never did see the pot of gold, but that's OK, because the rainbow was special enough.

Just the right combination of sunshine, wind, and cascading falls mist for an unforgettable sight. We sat and gazed for a very long time. I thought about how much water poured over the falls in a day, in an hour, in a minute. (Turns out it's 600,000 gallons/second over the Horseshoe Falls.) About the geological forces that created this awesome display. How much does the cliff under the falls erode each year from the force of the rushing water? (Less than one foot/year thanks to anti-erosion efforts and water diversion.) What does it look like in winter? How much ice forms then? Do the Falls ever freeze? (No, not the Horseshoe Falls, not the Niagara River, but the American Falls can due to ice jams limiting the flow of water over the falls.) Just how close can the wee Maid of the Mist tourist boat get to the falls and does it struggle in the face of the mighty current of the river? (More info here.)

It was nearing 6 pm and we were tired from our drive and the walk down the steep hill to the falls, plus all the walking along the falls. So we went back up the steep hill and into the Fallsview Casino. We figured that was the easiest place to grab a casual dinner, especially since we didn't want to drive anywhere. We decided to try Falls & Firkin.

We sat outside, which actually ended up being a bit chilly since the wind had picked up and even though we were up the cliff and a bit inland from the falls, we could still sometimes feel the mist.
Post-dinner research revealed that Falls & Firkin is part of the Firkin Pubs group, with several locations in Ontario, Canada.
I tired a Blackberry Mint Mule (raspberry vodka, ginger ale, lemon, mint, blackberries). It was OK but tasted like there wasn't any alcohol in it, just a berry flavored ginger ale, which was disappointing. We shared an appetizer of Potato & Cheddar Pierogies. These were different/unusual because they were deep fried, not boiled and/or sauteed. It seemed odd. It also made them dry. They weren't greasy from the deep frying. There was a nice potato-cheddar taste, lots of green onion bits and bacon bits scattered around the plate for additional flavor, and sour cream to up the moisture, but... I don't think we'd get these again. They seemed a little too... un-pierogie-like!

My sandwich was Maple BBQ Pulled Pork with cheddar cheese & tenpura battered apple slices. Hmmmm. I couldn't decided if this was an inspired interpretation of a pulled pork sandwich or an abomination of pulled pork. Apples and pork are one of those natural pairings, but... on a pulled pork sandwich? I ended up really enjoying the tenpura apples. They added a nice, extra flavor to the sandwich and a bit of crunch. The pulled pork was pretty tasty, moist, and I liked the maple bbq flavor, not too sweet. I'd get this again.

SP chose Turkey & Avocado Club with bacon, lettuce, tomato, on multigrain bread. Generous slices of turkey, smushed avocado, parmesan mayo on the side (he added just a wee bit) - it's pretty hard to screw up this kind of sandwich, and they didn't. He ate every last bit.

We were too full for dessert, and too tired for much else, so we walked back to our hotel and, in a sign of old age?, both fell asleep around 9:30 pm and and slept through until 7:30 am the next morning! It had been a long day, and in the week before our trip we seemed to be getting to bed later and later and rising earlier and earlier, so I suppose sleeping for 10 hours was a good thing. Sweet dreams of rainbows.

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