Bel and Phil's Adventures

Our adventures through Europe, America and Asia

Posts from the ‘Canada’ category

Niagara Falls

2nd August 2018

We had an early start out of Montreal this morning. This time the car was on time with just the two of us and it was a much more pleasant trip to the airport. We got on the flight without incident. We found our way to the Niagara Airbus meeting point and got onto the shuttle. We skirted Toronto, sadly and headed into beautiful country areas. We went past many wineries and other fruit growing areas.

We arrived into Niagara Falls and the driver slowed down as we rounded the corner to the hotel so we could get our first glimpse of Niagara Falls. It is so much bigger than you can imagine. It is majestic. We checked in to our hotel – Marriott On the Falls and luckily they had a room available. We dropped our stuff, sorted the cameras and headed out. Our first port of call was the Hornblower Niagara Cruises. I had a voucher to convert into tickets, so Phil got into the massively long line while I lined up at the ticket office. By the time I was served and sorted, Phil was almost up to where the ticket office was. The line was moving very quickly.

We were still amazed by the sight of these fabulous falls. We got down to the river level and were handed our ‘raincoat’. The sheer power and volume of the water started to become apparent at this level. We got onto the boat and headed up to the Canadian Falls (the horseshoe). There is so much water here turning into vapour, there is a permanent mist. I got saturated, everywhere that my raincoat wasn’t covering. It is so hard to put into words the sheer volume of water that is pouring over the waterfall every minute.

After the cruise finished, we were so hungry (it was almost 2:00 pm by this stage and we had grabbed a bite to eat at the airport at 5:00 am). The girl at the photo booth suggested we go to a restaurant called The Secret Garden. We followed her suggestion and this was perfect. We had a beautiful lunch here overlooking Niagara Falls, hearing the waterfalls crashing down – somewhat muted thankfully.

We started with cheesy garlic bread. Phil then had fish and chips, whilst I had a burger. We shared a chocolate cake for dessert. We then walked along the area that follows the falls and river, stopping frequently to take photos.

We got to where the lake empties over the edge of the water and are still amazed by the sheer volume of the water and how powerful it is. I don’t like the chances of anyone surviving falling over here.

We headed back to the hotel to relax before the fireworks. We were still full from lunch, so opted out of dinner.

I fell asleep and Phil woke me just before the fireworks at 10pm. The falls had colourful lights behind them both (the Canadian and the American ones) and looked even more beautiful. The fireworks were pretty.

Off to New York tomorrow. We are getting picked up at 8:20 am.

Montreal, Canada

Wednesday 1st August 2018

We had a lazy start to today. We have been on the go so much and it’s starting to take its toll on me. We did some work on the blog and then headed out. Marko had told us to go to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Bonsecours Market.

We headed out to find the underground shopping centres (because in winter it’s too cold to be outside so there are many shopping centres underground that are all linked). We found them and started looking around, but we were both so hungry. We asked at information about a great place for breakfast. They sent us a few blocks away to Cora’s. We almost didn’t get there, but we are so glad we didn’t succumb to temptation and stop somewhere else. This place was exactly what you would expect from a North American diner! It was perfect! There were so many options for breakfast, it took us ages to decide. We both went with a sweet and sour option. These plates were massive.

I couldn’t finish it all, but at least we weren’t hangry anymore. We got an uber straight to the Cathedral. We lined up and paid our massive $6 CAD entry fee. (The Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar are really close in value so it equates to $6.25 AUD). We walked in the door and were absolutely amazed, like gobsmacked.


Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral

It is so stunningly beautiful. This is so special. We are very grateful for Marko telling us to come here.

We found this Cathedral to be so beautiful. We went outside and got some photos of the exterior too. It is set in a lovely square that is all just so picturesque.

We wandered down to the waterfront and went for a walk along there. There was a festival of beer (I think. Everything is in French as people living in Montreal have their main language as French, although everyone that we encountered spoke perfect English as well.) We could not another thing though, no matter how tempting it was. The Churros and frozen banana images are for Chris as I know how much he would love them.

We walked further along the waterfront and saw this crazy zipline and climbing contraption that are right up Dallas’ alley.

We then headed up to the souvenir shops and the Bonsecours Market. This whole area was just stunning.

We had decided to bite the bullet and buy another bag. We need to pay per bag that we check in for all flights in North America, so we just pay for an extra bag from here until Hawaii, where we are allowed to bring home 2 x 23kg on Qantas. We headed back to the main shopping area near the hotel. We checked out one of the shopping centres that were recommended, but we couldn’t find what we were looking for. We went back to the hotel, as I still wasn’t great. The concierge talked to Phil in terms of where to go and he went out and got a duffel bag.

We had an early night and did some more work on the blog. Up early tomorrow as our flight leaves at 7am. The car is picking us up at 4:30am tomorrow.

We have really enjoyed our time in Montreal. I’m a little sad at leaving here, but we are heading to Niagara Falls which has been on the bucket list for a long time and still in Canada. One of the reasons we have loved Montreal / Canada so much is that everyone has been so helpful and friendly. Montreal is such a pretty city. Off to Niagara Falls tomorrow!

Montreal, Canada

Tuesday 31st July 2018

We headed to the airport. Our flight was at 12:50 pm. We got there a little early and had something to eat at the airport. The flight is for 8 hours and 20 minutes, but we land at 3:10pm. There is a difference of 5 hours between Europe and Montreal. The flight with Swiss Air was really comfortable and the food was probably among the best airline food we have had. (Remember we are flying economy so the bar isn’t really high).

We arrived in Montreal and we were excited. Until we hit the security line! Oh! My! Goodness! The queue was SO long. There was nothing we could do, but join the line. To our surprise the line moved really quickly. It only took about 20 minutes and we were at the baggage carousel. That took heaps of time though. We headed out of the doors (after lining up to get out) and found our driver.

He was waiting for other people and told us to wait near Door number 24. We went over there and sat down. We were starting to get confused as we were led to believe that it was a private vehicle transfer. Anyway, it all got sorted and we got into the stretch limousine with 2 other couples – one from Milan (whose luggage was delayed) and one from Switzerland – mother and son). The driver was driving so quick – it was like he was possessed.

We got to the hotel and got organised for the photo tour. We got to the hotel at 5:10 and the tour was starting at 6:00pm. We put all the equipment together, grabbed the tripod and headed down to the bar so we could have a drink before the tour. Marko Kulik (who runs Montreal photo tours) met us there and found out about our skills and what we were already doing.

We headed out to the Artist’s area to take some photos of different sites.

We were so stoked to see the squirrel. Our next stop was in a couple of different neighbourhoods that had interesting buildings. Marko pointed out to us the stairs on the outside of the building up to the first floor – which are used frequently in winter due to the amount of snow that they get here.

After we had finished here, and Marko provided some well appreciated soft drinks, we headed up to the lookout. We parked the car and walked up the hill a little further. We were well rewarded for this effort.

We stopped at a smaller lookout on the way down the hill. The sunset here was stunning. Phil also got some great photos of some raccoons.

We were having such a great time (luckily cause it was 2:30am local time when we got up and Bel hadn’t slept on the plane). Next stop was by the river to get the lights of Montreal – using tripods. This was so pretty. I’m so glad Marko brought us here.

Our final stop for the tour was a dome that was used for Expo 67. It is really cool and lights up beautifully. While we were taking photos, Marko pointed out a skunk to us. I couldn’t get any photos, but at least we got to see it and we didn’t get sprayed. Winner, winner.


We had such a great time with Marko. He was amazingly helpful and explained to us how local Montrealans (I have no idea if that is right or not – but, you know, people who live in Montreal) live. He happily answered all of our questions and we had a great time with him. If you are ever in Montreal you should definitely look him up and go on a photo tour with him. Marko worked out our skills and knowledge levels and then helped us to improve. We had a great time and I was sad for the tour to end, but needing to get to bed. We had a quick room service dinner of club sandwich and burger and crashed.

Sleep in tomorrow, with some suggested places to visit from Marko. What a great day!

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