Big waterfalls and friendly locals

Trip Start Feb 21, 2011
Trip End Jul 01, 2011

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Flag of Canada  , Manitoba,
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hello all, and welcome to the first entry of the blog. Its been a frantic few weeks for us and even having booked the ticket almost a year ago things have a way of not getting done and creeping up on you which is why pretty much every job we had to do before leaving was done in the last week.

Not least packing up an entire house worth of stuff (many thanks to steph and the others), sorting all the utilities, job responsibilities, going to Manchester three times to buy a coat and warm clothes which we didn't manage to do (eve bought a fleece which we had to return two days later because it was the wrong colour or something), Having a near heart attack when i read something about one way flights and how they wont let you into Canada with a one way ticket hence a frantic Greyhound bus ticket buying the night before we leave.. And tearily leaving Phyllis (the cat), who i have been told now has some sort of photo blog somewhere.. anyhow.

As i previously stated in my last travel blog my seplling and grammar is terrible and not every spell check can catch my myriad of mistakes, feel free to point them out if you wish but don't try to send me an invoice for editing. I also may get abit rambly forgive me i don't write in another diary so this is for me to keep also.

So from a gloomy and of course drissly Manchester we flew to sunny Toronto (it was true we got grilled at Manchester airport about our intentions in Canada, but once here we just walked through customs with no hassle).

Sunny and cold, now sat at home looking on the internet -20 seems pretty cold as an abstract number but never having experienced anything like it before never having been on a skiing holiday or anything, i can now tell you.. it hurts. its kind of like i imagined it you don't really need waterproof clothing or shoes really because the snow and ice you kick up will never melt into your boots.its different to English cold even the cold we had this year its sharp and dry, it takes the moisture from your skin and nose but once you come back into a building its gone almost immediately and dosent linger.

We managed to get to the first hostel fine a quick bus and subway ride to the center of town and coming up from the subway station immediately noticed something really eerie for those of you who have seen 28 days later and vanilla sky will under stand although not to that extent for a major city the place was utterly deserted we came out onto the business district and there mush have been only 10 or so people on the entire street. after shrugging this off and getting to the hostel we were told its a public holiday called Family day where everyone gets an extra long weekend.

So having booked our first room in advance we got sorted and headed out for a meal before we crashed to a place called St Louis a wing and rib joint  who do amazing burgers and American style chicken wings (small, deep fried and covered in sauce) over here they put everything on the menu in weight 1lb wings or 2lb of ribs which seems a strange way of putting it to me, and i must have shown my foreignness when asking how many wings are in a pound..

From here we just did a little walk around the city decided not to bother going up the CN tower  as we dont need to go up every tower in every city and booked out trip out to see Niagara falls

Where to begin with the falls.. ok so having rounded everyone up from the different hostels we headed out to the falls the first stop being a tower set back slightly to give an aerial view, despite costing a further 24 dollars and fighting eves reluctance to go in the lift which was stuck onto the outside of the building, we went up and it gave us a great view of both falls the horse shoe falls on the Canadian side and the smaller and they would say crappier other one on the American side, after 20-30 mins we came down got a coffee and headed down to the edge.

The first thing that i noticed was the ice, mist shoots what must be a good 100 meters into the air from the top where the water first heads over the edge and depending on the wind comes back down and covers everything and at this time of the year freezes in layer upon layer creating a strange landscape of ice, it also happens down at the river bed as you can see in the pictures it continues to build up until theres huge ice bergs which the water has to cut through as it comes down. Its impressive just the sheer amount of water that contently flows over and never stops its a continual roar. An amazing thing to see, and the ice is a great thing to play on turning everyone into kids skating around and throwing bits of ice to the tops of trees to start a cascade of ice from the spindly branches.

So decided we have had enough of toronto we booked on the greyhound heading west toward our eventual destination in canada, looking on the little map in the lonely planet and thinking yeah we dont need to go all the way over to vancouver lets pick somewhere alittle closer in the middle, Winnipeg looks ok lets go there unprepared for what turned out to be a 32 hour bus ride. 32 hours !  A long time to spend on a bus, so arriving in Winnipeg we get in a taxi to head to the new hostel and hear on the radio that we're having abit of a cold snap at the moment and with wind chill its going to be somewhere around -40 tonight and any flesh left uncovered will freeze in about 10 minutes so be careful, oh crap we thought sat in our 2 hoodies and jeans..

Although not as cold at that today its still around -28 which is cold enough to freeze any snot in your nose we found out today as we headed out to the supermarket to buy me some long johns..

 It turns out that we have arrived in the middle of some kind of festival celebrating the french/Canadian culture which is cool, we headed out last night to see what was going on, it turned out to be the best night out we had in ages.. they have stuff going on in the day like ye'oldie blacksmiths and that which we missed but all the ice sculptures were lit up and there was 4 or 5 big tents with live folky bands and one DJ tent which we ended staying in for the whole night. Its very surreal its a big ish tent like you see an most festivals but the whole floor is covered in sawdust (which is why some pics have that rainy look) and seeing everyone raving it up in big coats and hats is just strange, we had a big group of girls who sat down on out table and befriended us and we all got abit messy, me on beer Eve on caribou a fortified wine they have here. Once the tent closed we got taken to some guys 30th birthday which was in the strangest karaoke bar i have ever seen, you go in what seems a normal door and up some steps of what looks like an apartment building, into one of the apartments and its this little bar with a huge tv showing chinese films with the lyrics superimposed on the top.. one guy behind a bar with one fridge and two beer pumps, how he managed fit those in there il never know. 

From the karaoke bar we got an invite for dinner at Lynn and Rolfs (the latter a chef) and what a dinner, 5 courses consisting of homemade spring rolls, portobello mushroom bread, french onion soup, roast chicken dinner and cake..  its going to take some beating. 

We also got an invite to come stay at lindsays which was very kind. shes done alot of travelling and wanted to give back some karma from her trips i think.. and thats where we are now chilling out on the sofa, tonight they want to take us out to an english pub (toad in the hole) which should be fun, we're off to do some other stuff in the week but i'l talk about that next time.. 

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Liz on

Hey guys, great start to the travel blog. Look forward to hearing about the rest if your adventures, just make sure you stay out of those Vegas chapels xx

John and Steph on

Brilliant blog Chris, keep it coming.

Mandy and Dad on

Hi, really cool rainbow over the falls and loved the ice sculptures. Looks like your
having a great time. x x

Faye on

Fantastic blog and great to hear you are both enjoying yourselves. It's weird me sweating my tits off in Oz and you guys experiencing frozen snot haha. The place looks amazing. Keep the blogs coming Chris and I must say....the spelling has improved alot! Haha. Take care and love you both xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tom on

Double rainbow right across the sky!

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