Monday, December 24

On Tour - by (quite a few) picture

For the second part of my travels, I jumped on board (prearranged) a Trekamerica tour. We started in New York City, and went anti-clockwise to Ithaca, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal, Stowe, Boston and back to NYC.
On our first night together we went up the Empire State Building. The glow you see is Times Square - which was busy whatever time of day we were there.

Here's me up the top trying not to look cold - but we didn't last too long outside!

A waterfall we stopped at near Ithaca (New York State) and were amazed at the short but snowy walk to it - our first proper play in the snow on the trip - and for some people on the trip, first time ever! There were some icy parts on the path though - they were dangerous!

Ice formations on the water just near the same waterfall.

One part of Niagara Falls on the American side. I think this was a minority of the water but we couldn't get as close to the other part. Then again - I wouldn't have wanted to as it was cold, wet and there was poor visibility! But I did really like the way the icy mist had frozen onto the plants and railings.

From the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, there was again poor visibility, it started to rain and I got drenched. Then we had another hour in our minibus as we tried to warm up and dry off.

In Toronto, some of us went up the CN tower which was... quite tall. It was taller than the Empire State Building - although we didn't go to the top, we were still higher than the previous tall building.
We went out for a drink after our meal in Toronto (some of the mob glad of not being restricted by 21+ drinking laws) and found ourselves in an Irish bar. I branched out and had a hot alcoholic drink with vanilla vodka and baileys or something - not bad!

Also in Toronto, we went to the 'Hocky Hall of Fame' where I saw more about ice hockey than ever before. The best part was having a shot at a goal or trying to defend the goals. It did give us a good insight into the hype about hockey - all ready for seeing a live game in Montreal.

In Montreal we went to Laser Quest for one round of free for all laser run. It was an awesome maze - 3 levels with plenty of mirrors, mesh and maze to get lost/shot in! Then we raced back the youth hostel/auberge de jaunesse and regrouped before setting out to get ourselves some tickets for the hockey. It was a fun game to watch although sadly the locals didn't win so the end was a bit of a let down when everyone just got up and left.

In Vermont, we stopped at the Magic Hat brewery. Being over 21 I could enjoy some of the free samples of beers such as 'Single Chair Ale', 'Circus Boy', and 'Fat Angel'. Nearby was the Ben & Jerry's icecream factory so naturally a visit there was also in order - despite the snow outside because its never too cold for icecream!

Still in Vermont, the state for huntin' shootin' and fishin' we stayed in a great inn where we had the place to ourselves, cooked a meal and watched Forest Gump. While we stayed cosy and warm inside, it was snowing lots outside - all ready for our snowshoeing adventure.
We walked through the winter wonderland to an old maple syrup evaporating factory - well hut. They used to have a fire going and heat the syrup to get rid of most of the water until it was just right. And when the weather was right for it and the sap was flowing, they'd just keep going to make as much as they could. We sat inside and lit the fire, drank warm spiced apple cider and ate local cheese and less local bikkies. So nice!

From there, we drove to Boston where we had a day looking around and in the evening we all went the home of our tour guide and his parents. Boston was pretty but cold. Very cold.
We did a tour of Harvard and nearly froze by the end - 1 hour outside was too much and we just went back to the hostel afterwards even though it was about 3pm! And that was that... more or less. Just a many hour drive back to NY and goodbyes.

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