Also known as "How many sinks does one hotel room need?", "Anne and the roommate flee the country", and, "What I did over my long weekend".
Greetings, O readers, and I hope you're having a good week! Mine has been variable. I greatly enjoyed my stay in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, but then I had to come back to the US and do work. Boo. Still, any vacation is better than none, and one day away from the office (yesterday) didn't leave me with too big a pile of emails.
The dogs took surprisingly well to being boarded, and they smell much better now (we had them groomed at the end of their stay). The cats were not happy about being left home alone for two days with the automatic feeder, but cats are rarely happy about anything. My parents were envious, while the roommate's are a little surprised. I think they're still not sure their baby girl is old enough to do things like cross national borders without them.
In any case, we left Saturday morning fairly early, driving north from the home base and changing highways very near my native town, then further north and east to the Peace Bridge, where we handed in our passports to be inspected and were welcomed to Canada (eh). Immediate impressions: "Oh look, a Tim Horton's! Oh wait... we have those in the US too." The two-language road signs, and metric measurements, did take a bit of getting used to, though.
In any case, Google Maps did not steer us wrong, and we found our hotel without trouble. Once we got up to our floor, it was quickly apparent why this very good deal had been available on Groupon: several other suites on this floor were under construction. Still, the noise didn't bother us any, and I can deal with things not being perfectly pretty in the hall, especially when the suite itself was immaculate and featured an absolutely gorgeous view of the Canadian, or Horseshoe, Falls.
We got some money changed (it amused the roommate intensely that Canadian paper money is waterproof and smells like maple) and went down the incline railway to walk alongside the river, snapping plenty of photos of rainbows in the mist over the falls, enormous icebergs streaked with river dirt, and lots and lots of gulls. It was a little cool, especially where the falls generated mist, but the sun was out and with a sweater I was quite comfortable. Listening to all the different languages being spoken was fun, and we saw about half a dozen little white fluffy dogs.
The one thing I regret not doing on Saturday was taking the pedestrian bridge to the US, just so we could say we'd walked from one country to another and back. Still, given that the roommate's pedometer said we clocked about five miles that day, that might have been a bit too much. Oh well, there's always next time. We did buy some pretty little bits of jewelry and a dreamcatcher to go on the wall at home.
Back in the hotel room, we enjoyed the view yet again, as well as cable TV (which we do not have at home), and giggled over the fact that this suite featured not one, not two, but three sinks, set up like so:
The sink at the top goes with the kitchenette, obviously, and the one on the bottom is for the bathroom, but the one in the middle... I'm not quite sure. Maybe just for brushing teeth, or other such things? It had a mirror above it, and was on the outside of the bathroom area, rather than the inside.
Speaking of bathrooms, the wall beside the bathtub in my little diagram above? Not really a wall. It had a window in it. We figured this is probably because it's meant as a honeymoon suite or some such, so that you can have a romantic bath and enjoy the view of the Falls. The roommate considered trying out the tub, but decided not to. This is a wise decision as I would be entirely unable to avoid the urge to spook her by yanking open the window while she was bathing, and she would be unable to avoid the answering urge to splash me. And on the other side of that window? Her bed. Bad times all around.
The next day being Sunday, we found a church about a mile from our hotel, and decided to attend the later Mass rather than the earlier one. After enjoying the hotel's buffet breakfast, we had a lazy morning until it was time to leave, and after a bit of debate we chose to walk to church instead of getting the car out of valet parking. It was, once again, a cool but lovely morning, and the church was quite pretty, with lots of lovely stained glass saints. Sadly the music ministry was not very good, but then I'm both biased and spoiled. My own parish has a pretty awesome one.
After church, we got back into casual clothes and tried out the steakhouse in our hotel, which was far more reasonable for lunch than for dinner, and after food it was time to go to the Fun Zone! Which is exactly what it sounds like -- a place supposedly geared towards small children, but what else are the roommate and I, really? There was an arcade, filled with fun things like Skee-Ball and Down the Clown (throwing balls at scary clown faces... life doesn't get much better), and even an arcade version of Candy Crush. We ended up winning a tiny pack of cards and a model glider.
There was also miniature golf, done in an underwater theme with blacklighted glow-in-the-dark wall paintings. I'm not very good at it, but I did manage to prevail over the course of 18 holes simply because the course kept spitting the roommate's ball back out of the hole when she thought she had it in. Not quite sure how that worked, but it happened three separate times and provoked much giggling and muffled swearing (there were families with little kids right behind us on the course).
We took a short spin through the mirror maze, which was fairly spooky, and skipped the haunted house on the principle that my getting arrested for assault in a foreign country would be a bad thing. I was politely asked to leave the last haunted attraction I went to. Not sure why they overreacted so much, I pulled that punch, it didn't connect... much. But then came the most fun part of the day. Then it was time for Laser Tag.
Any time I get to wear a vest and shoot a gun that goes pew-pew-pew, I am happy. When I get to sneak up on the roommate and shoot her, and have her sneak up on me and shoot me, and both of us get to ambush and be ambushed by a random set of grandparents and their grandkids, life is very good. This one little boy was amazing at getting me in the back just when I'd "resurrect". Children are vicious and don't let anyone tell you differently!
One more night in the lovely hotel suite, this one with a final splurge on room service, and then it was Monday morning and we had to pack up and leave. Getting back into the US was a bit more annoying than getting into Canada in the first place, just because there was a longer wait at the border, but we made it eventually, and got to my hometown, about halfway through our journey, in time to have lunch with my mom. Then back on the road once more, and home again, home again, right about the time we'd usually get in from work.
tl;dr: Lovely long weekend at Niagara Falls. May have been expensive but worth every penny.
More long weekends will probably be coming up, though we may be looking for more bargain-hunter options for the next few. Anybody with ideas, let me know! Thanks, as always, for reading, and I'll see you tomorrow with the usual Why Do I Work Here Wednesday post, and on Friday for the conclusion of "The Most Incredible Thing"!