It’s been almost three years since I’ve stepped my, size 7, feet onto the streets of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada. My mind wants to claim it as my second home, but my heart is still inexplicit about that idea. It’s hard being a nomad, let me tell you that. If you add, on top of nomadic lifestyle, a long distance relationship- well, you end up with the infinite question of “Where is my home?” After being alive throughout these past 20 years of mine, I’ve learned I am nowhere near figuring out where that place is. So, let’s just settle on the idea that home is where your heart is. I know, you are now even more confused, as am I.
Let’s put that aside and venture to adventure on the actual streets of Niagara Falls, which we are all here for. What’s it like living in a typical tourist-town, famous for the large amount of water falling down the big cliff, attracting millions of humans to spend enormous amounts of money on basic human survival essentials, such as magnets, keychains, mugs and of course, pictures. I mean, why not actually stand on the hill by the “Nikola Tesla“ monument ( that awesome genius man who build hydroelectric power plant in Niagara Falls, in 1895, after which the electrification of North America and the rest of the world started) and take a picture of your own with the Niagara Falls in the background, when you can pay $$$$$ for a professionally taken, fake picture in front of the green screen.
Other than the endless number of cameras and phones crashing into you while walking, the life in the city of Niagara Falls can be pretty chill. It can actually be very chill, especially in the winter, when the temperature goes down to -30 degrees. No, I am not joking. But, I don’t want to be depressive in this post. And, yes, I am not a fan of the cold weather and 50 cm of snow in front of my doors.
I have to admit that the first time I encountered the famous Falls, I was speechless. I was still in the car, waiting for us to park, when I pulled out my camera, ready to take pictures. So, I am not the one to judge the tourists struggling to get that shot. No matter which angle, the Mother Nature always looks astonishing. There is no need for any kind of filters or editing, the water is just so liberating. The feeling you get while the water drops, created by the enormous power of the Falls, shower you, makes you think of just how little power you hold in comparison to this waterfall; to water, to nature, to earth. The crowd can take that away from you if you let yourself get sucked into the tube of touristic experience. Which was my exact thought, as I turned my eyes away from the water to face many, many bodies trying to get as close as possible to the fence and take that perfect profile picture.
The next time I took a picture of the Falls was at 8am in the mid-august, when only the poor hotels workers were the ones to see, behind the closed windows of the stores. I felt bad for them because, my view was much, much better. That morning I comforted myself how all is not that bad, moving across the ocean, if my 8am view is the sunrise above the Niagara Falls, with a chocolate chip cookie and some berry smoothie from the Starbucks I passed by on the way down to the site. Hand on heart, it was majestic. The view and the feel of the burning concrete of the city was very new to me, very scary and very confusing and I was still learning to accept the fact that I am far from what I called my home for 18 years. It might have been in that moment that I realized how nothing will ever be the same. I put my red sunglasses on and absorbed the blue water, the green grass, the flying birds, the Maid of the Mist boat and thought about how lucky we are to coexist with the imperial Mother Nature.
The first impression is how the city buys you. It shocks you with all its glory and faces you with its best weapons right from the start. That is why everyone come back- the city is simply made to lure you back in. Everything is perfectly planned out in order to please the tourists and take out of exhausted dads’ wallets as much money as possible. One restaurant, two restaurants, three restaurants, hundred restaurants and more, you can never get hungry. As a matter of fact, you can only get fat from all the food choices Niagara Falls has for you, from every kind of cousins there is in the world. And when your stomach is fairly squared for the next hour/ hour and half, there are plenty of attractions you can invest in by choosing to venture into dazzling Clifton Hill. All I can tell you, if you do choose to do that, is good luck! And for those who enjoy less stressful adventure, I do recommend the visit to Skylon Tower. Yes, it is expensive and overrated, like everything that requires humans to demolish Mother Nature, in order to build it, is, but the view is as close to great as it would be if you climbed onto a really old and big three. Except, there are no squirrels, sorry.
So, if by now, you still haven’t figured it out, living by the great Niagara Falls is not as great as it is to be a tourist in same named city. Despite the fact that I still behave like a one, a tourist that is, the city is, how to put is nicely- boring. Everything that it has to offer is situated by the falls and Niagara River, while the rest of its land serves to house the people who wake up every morning and go to work to all those tourist attractors. The downtown is literally a ghost town, despite its huge potential and the accommodations for the local people are very low. It still sits back in the chair of the locals who occupied the city 50 years ago, ignoring its vast cultural diversity and fails in raising any kind of cultural enlightenment. To be fair, it tries on its good days, but in a major picture it stays loyal to that typical North American lifestyle ( hint, there is barely any natives left). As a youthful, European, student I give myself permission to judge the night scene in the Falls, as well. The clubbing is under number zero on the scale, with only one decent club Dragonfly. Very disappointing if you ask me. I wish I could say that this is the case with every tourist city, but it is not. I’ve been around quite many places and Niagara Falls is probably the weirdest one so far. I cannot grasp it fully why it is the way it is.
To end on the positive note, the nature is made for the photographers and video lovers and fresh air is something it never lacks of. Rows of threes and woods and parks and mini-lakes and big lakes, it all takes you to a fairyland. Niagara Parks truly does a great job in keeping the Mother Nature well-groomed. As a No.1 Nature fan, I am very pleased with this fact. Just having the choice of grabbing some snacks and water and hiking down the Niagara Gorge Trail, inhaling the fresh air and getting that vitamin D on the rocks by one of the most powerful rapids in the world, is as privileged as you can get. Honestly, if you find yourself in the city, the Gorge Trail is a must.
The Mother Nature gives the city that perfect balance between the chaos of tourists and the calmness of blissful green and blue colours. Where would we be without Her, eh? 😉
That’s all folks from this short, informational blog post. Feel free to leave me comments and positive vibes. Stay tuned for more escapades, you never know where I might end up next.
And remember- venture to adventure,