Sunday, June 29, 2014

Old Fort Niagara, New York, USA

Old Fort Niagara
This post is in continuation to my last post on Niagara Falls.

The next morning was quite packed; we started off by visiting old Fort Niagara.

Old Fort Niagara was well worth a visit. I am happy they included it in the trip. The old fort in Niagara is at the mouth of river Niagara, and was built there because of the location advantage (mainly to have some control on access to the lakes, and also the route that lead to the heart of the continent). However, the strategic importance of the location lessened after the construction of the Erie Canal.

The history of the old Fort Niagara goes back to 300 years. It was built in 1678. The French were the first to build a post here. The Fort has been under the control of The French, the British, US Army, and it is now under the control of US coast guard.

The history and the structures have been preserved so well that is certainly worth visiting.You may want to visit this site "" for more information on old Fort Niagara.

Entrance to the Fort
Structures inside the Fort

In the fort
Old Fort Niagara

French Military kitchen
Things belonging to the Armies 

Soldiers rooms
Chapel in the Fort

Inside the Fort
A partial view of the Fort


View from the Fort

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Niagara Falls: New York USA

Niagara Falls
I had always thought of visiting Niagara falls at some point and this time when I traveled to US it did look possible. Though it would have to be from the US side since I did not have a Canadian visa.

Since I was staying at a friend's place in New Jersey, it was not so difficult for me to reach NYC. I just needed to take the NJ transit trains and reach Penn station.

After checking out some tour packages, I settled for a two day, one night trip to Niagara falls which was being offered by Take Tours. The departure was from Chinatown at 8 am (Manhattan NYC). I reached Penn station around 7.10 am and in my excitement I thought it may be a good idea to walk to China town, it is around 3 miles from there quite doable but not when you have time constraints and I overestimated my fast walking capabilities. After walking close to 45 min, I found out that the destination was still far-far away and I just had 5 min left!

I desperately started looking for a cab and it was difficult to find a cab that did not have passengers, it was peak office time! I called the tour operator and requested them to wait for me a bit. I am not someone who lands up late, and I felt very bad keeping others waiting for me. I did finally get a cab and he was sweet enough to help me out with tracking the exact destination point and the bus. I will never try these stupid ideas anymore!

Anyway, finally I did not miss the bus:)

It took us about 7 hours to reach Buffalo. We halted in Corning NY, quite an interesting place. Corning is well-known for glass making, and has a lot of information on the history, and the science of glass making. They even show you the process, it is quite interesting. And for the shopaholics there are a lot of interesting things to buy.

The Corning Museum of Glass
Glass products at Corning

Niagara falls was another three hours from Corning. It was late in the evening when we reached Niagara. But there was enough sunlight for us to see Niagara in the natural light as well and in illuminated lights when it started getting dark.Niagara falls is indeed beautiful. The view was spectacular. I am told that the view from the Canada side is also terrific and if you can get a visa you must view the falls from the Canada side as well. It was the month of May and I could see that parts of the river was still frozen, and I was freezing too! I was not prepared for the weather. My warm jacket was not enough. I was prepared for NYC but did not realize that Niagara would be colder:(

The only disappointing part was we could not do the Maid of the Mist ride. I was informed that it cannot happen because the snow had not melted completely and it was risky to take a ride.

However, it was a great experience to see Niagara for the first time. I stayed at the Best Western Buffalo hotel which was quite comfortable. They have an abundant breakfast spread and that was a good way to begin the next day.

Niagara in daylight

Niagara in the evening
My companion at Niagara who was
happy to give me company over a sandwich

To be continued…