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Old 22nd August 2010, 22:40   #16
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Thanks folks. As I traveled further up north the fall colours became even more prominent. Niagara was a riot of colours. Connecticut as well where I visited my friend. NY got washed out so just stayed put in Stamford, Connecticut with my friend.

Will upload the next set sometime today or tomorrow.
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Old 22nd August 2010, 22:52   #17
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Good pics, Csentil. But what did you mean by 'NY got washed out'??
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Old 24th August 2010, 01:31   #18
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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Good pics, Csentil. But what did you mean by 'NY got washed out'??
Oh, it was pouring cats and dogs. Couldn't go out anywhere. I was staying with my friend in Stamford, Connecticut which is like an hour away from NY. It was too wet, too cold and too miserable!! Anyways as I had seen NY before it was ok. Heck the last time I saw NY, the Twin Towers were still there. I guess it was the cricketing "washed out" that popped up here !!
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Old 24th August 2010, 01:36   #19
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whirlwind indeed. did you miss the south east corner, florida?
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Old 24th August 2010, 03:13   #20
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Default Trip to Niagara Falls

Had booked a round ticket from Chicago - Buffalo - Washington DC - NY - Chicago for a pretty good deal. Washington DC - NY I took Amtrak.

Most of the main attractions in Niagara falls closed by the 25th of October, so I decided to go to Niagara first.

Niagara falls is around 17 miles from Buffalo Airport and I went directly to the falls from the airport.

The Niagara falls is divided into the American Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. The American Falls is entirely on the American side while 2/3rds of the Horseshoe falls is on the Canadian side.

The best view of the Horseshoe falls is from the Canadian site.

While the falls is there all 365 days a year :O) the Maid of the Mist and the Cave of the Winds tour is closed by Oct end for the winter and reopens only in March or April.

There's an Information centre where one can buy a combined ticket for the Maid of the Mist, Cave of the winds tour, the IMAX show and a small acquarium close by. Works out cheaper.

First View of the falls. The sound of the waterfalls is amazing.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-1-first-view.jpg


The fall colours added a lot of beauty to the falls.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-2-niagara-falls.jpg


You can see both the American falls and the Horseshoe falls here.

A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-3-both-falls.jpg


The Rainbow bridge connects USA to Canada. Across the river is Canada. Unfortunately I couldn't get across. Or rather I could get across, but then getting back into the Us would have been a problem unless I decided to swim across
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-4-rainbox-bridge.jpg


The "Maid of the Mist" is the boat ride that takes you right into the Horseshoe falls. They give you a nice plastic raincoat so that you don't get drenched. You can take it or return it.

It was probably around 8 degrees and I was shivering. The riverside was beautiful
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-5-fall-colours.jpg


During peak season, there are long queues and waiting time sometimes exceed 2 hrs. However since I was there at the fag end of the season, there was no crowd. Infact we waited for people to come and fill up the boat!!

This is a view of the American Falls taken just as I got into the boat
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-6-different-view.jpg


The American falls is actually divided into a much smaller falls called the Bridal Veil. The island in the middle of the two is called Luna Island. You can walk right upto the edge of Luna Island and overlook the falls.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-7-maid-mist.jpg


The wooden deck and stairways that you see on the right bottom below the Bridal Veil falls is the Cave of the Winds walkway. You can actually take an elevator from the top to this place. There used to be a cave at the back of the Bridal Veil falls. However this became unstable in the 1920s and tourists were stopped in the 1950s.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-8-another-view.jpg


The tall green tower that you see to the right of the bridge has a viewing deck to see the American Falls and also has the elevator that takes folks down to the Maid of the Mist boat ride.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-9-another.jpg


The Horseshoe falls. Once the Maid of the Mist boat gets into it, its almost impossible to hear anything else. There's so much of spray that within a few minutes we'll get soaked. Its pretty tough to take fotos as well.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-10-horseshoefalls.jpg


The other major problem is the perennial mist that envelops the Horseshoe falls. The attributed reason to this I will explain in the next snap. But its an awesome experience to be in the middle of a falls which envelops you on all three sides!!!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-11-horse.jpg

A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-12-horseshoe.jpg


The Canadian side is choc-a-bloc with high rise hotels. It has changed the landscape and is supposed to have blocked the wind, due to which the mist on top of the falls stays put. The American side is not commercialized at all and so looks very pretty.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-13-canadian-side.jpg


The water is not very deep as it flows towards the falls, but the speed is well over 40 kmph. As you can see the views are spoilt by the buildings on the canadian side.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-14-water-flows.jpg


One can walk all the way along the falls to Luna Island which is inbetween American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls and then on to Goat island, which separates the Bridal Veil Falls from the Horseshoe Falls.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-15-wallpaper.jpg

I spent a lot of time here clicking pictures and just sitting there and watching the water. It was beautiful and also with less number of tourists, quiet and peaceful!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-16-wallpaper.jpg

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare. - William Henry Davies
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-17-wallpaper.jpg
......
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-18-wallpaper.jpg

This foto was taken from Luna Island overlooking the falls.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-19-maid-mist.jpg

It was quite exhilarating to stand quite close to such a huge waterfalls. But something even better than this was still in store.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-20-bridal-veil.jpg

A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-18-waterfall-b4.jpg

A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-21-view.jpg

Cave of the winds. Shoes are not allowed here. Instead they give you a nice pair of slippers which are very very good. They have velcro straps and do not slip at all. Raincoat is also given. You have to take an elevator from the top to the bottom of the falls to get to the Cave of the winds deck.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-23-bridal.jpg


The whole deck is not bolted and is removed during fall and put back during spring!! The deck is just wedged into the rocks that are found there. I still can't believe this and thought it was an urban legend. But looks like its true!!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-22-cave-winds.jpg

It was amazing to be so near to a fall and get once's feet wet. The water was very cold but who bothered!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-24-caveofwinds.jpg


The Hurricane deck is where one should head to if one wants to have a bath. I imagined if this was India, there will be a lot of tourists having bath there with soap and shampoo!! They'll also have a separate entry for women and the whole place would be littered with shikai and shampoo sachets!!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-25-hurricane-deck.jpg


This final foto is that of the Horseshoe falls. Unfortunately I couldn't take more as it started raining. I had already wet my feet in the Cave of the Winds and lost all sense in my toes due to the cold weather.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-26-horshoe-falls.jpg

As I mentioned earlier the number of tourists were very less and in that the majority were Indians. There are any number of Indian restaurants in the Niagara area. Looks like an Indian pilgrimage center in the US
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Old 24th August 2010, 03:13   #21
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Good one. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures with us.
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Old 25th August 2010, 01:46   #22
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Default Washington DC

After spending an eventful day in Niagara, I left early next morning to Washington DC. Well actually my flight was to Baltimore which is pretty close to DC.

Got down in Baltimore and took the Amtrak to Washington DC Union Station.

My friend had warned me that it had gotten pretty cold in DC. As I was leaving from Buffalo which by itself was very cold, I wore a couple of t-shirts and a jacket. I landed up in DC with layers of clothing, to find that it was blazing hot as I stood got out of the station. I needed to change to something light. So guess where I did my dress change? Read on...


The Union Station is very beautiful and was the biggest station in the US until the Grand Central in NY took over.

I had actually booked the Trolley Tour in DC. Its pretty interesting in that its like a open tram/trolley with interesting driver guides. They go around the main attractions in DC and you can hop in and hop out any number of times in a day. Also since it was Fall you buy for one day and get the second day free!!

There's a lot to cover in Washington DC, especially if one is interested in Museums. I was staying in Washington for 2 days and I had planned to cover

Washington Monument
Lincoln Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
WW II Memorial
Capitol Hill
Library of Congress
Supreme Court
National Air & Space Museum
Natural History Museum
National Archives
White House
and if time permits the Spy Museum and the Holocaust Museum.

There are way too many museums in Washington DC and it is impossible to see all of them in 2 days. So I had to pick and choose.

Choosing the trolley tour was the best thing that I did as I did not have to walk long distances and could manage visiting all the important attractions pretty easy.

Ok.. Enough of stories. Some fotos


Capitol Hill - This is the back side. Obama swearing in ceremony happened on this side. The story is Reagan wanted to face his home state when he was sworn in and so the swearing in moved from the front side to the back side.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-1-capitol-hill.jpg

Capitol Hill - This is the front side. There was a group of tourists using Segways to go around! I wanted to drive one desparately!!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-2-capitol-hill-front.jpg


The US Supreme Court is just opposite Capitol Hill.

As I mentioned earlier I had to change and so I went into the Supreme Court and used their loo!!

It was probably one of the most swanky loo I've been to. Gold coloured taps, marbled flooring, basically the works.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-3-supreme-court.jpg


Next I visited the Library of Congress. Its the world's largest library and being an avid bibliophile I definitely wanted to visit this place. I wish all libraries were like this! Beautiful building and so well organized. Had to move on pretty quick though as I had other places to cover.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-4-library-congress.jpg


Next stop was the National Air and Space Museum. All the Smithsonian Museums are in a piece of area called the National Mall. I think there are a total of 16 museums in that area.

One needs atleast half a day to go through the entire museum and enjoy the various exhibits.

A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-6-aerospace-museum.jpg

The Spirit of St. Louis. The plane Charles A. Lindbergh used for the first non stop solo Trans Atlantic flight.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-5-spirit-st.louis.jpg


Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris and won the prize on offer at that time for the first person to do so. The plane was so named because the plane was financed by folks from St. Louis.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-5-spirit-louis.jpg


The Predator UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). Extensively used by the US in the Afghan Pakistan border area. Awesome.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-7-predator-uav.jpg


A collection of V-1, Jupiter, Minutemen rockets and missiles
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-6-some-rockets.jpg

The Apollo 11 Command Module. This was the living quarters for the first three men to make it to the moon. This is the only part that made its way back to Earth along with Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Collins.
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-apollo11.jpg

This one tomorrow!
A Whirlwind tour of some parts of the USA-8-lincoln-memorial.jpg
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Old 25th August 2010, 12:36   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
whirlwind indeed. did you miss the south east corner, florida?
Florida? Frankly didn't have the time. My boss wanted me back in India pronto.

Also I didn't have any friends there to put me up or rather put up with me.
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Old 25th August 2010, 12:49   #24
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Florida has almost the same attractions as in California. Ofcourse Miami offers a bit more. And then my favourite place in Florida - Cape Canaveral / NASA. I loved the fall colours in Niagara. When I went, the temperature was near zero. But the falls didn't freeze, even at that temperature. The falls had frozen over only once in the history!
Anyway, we took our bath in the hurricane too! Was fun.
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Old 25th August 2010, 12:56   #25
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Great pictures. Brings back some good memories.
Thanks for sharing !
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Old 25th August 2010, 13:14   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Florida has almost the same attractions as in California. Ofcourse Miami offers a bit more. And then my favourite place in Florida - Cape Canaveral / NASA. I loved the fall colours in Niagara. When I went, the temperature was near zero. But the falls didn't freeze, even at that temperature. The falls had frozen over only once in the history!
Anyway, we took our bath in the hurricane too! Was fun.
You had a bath at near zero? With the camera it was a big challenge. Had a waterproof bag, so somehow managed. As long as one's feet was wet it was ok. But after coming out of the Cave of the winds, it was really bad. I only had cotton socks, so it took quite some time for the circulation to get back.

Yeah Florida is supposed to have similar attractions. I've heard/read that Disneyworld is better than Disneyland. Been to Disneyland on an earlier trip so just wondering.
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Old 25th August 2010, 13:23   #27
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Florida's disney is terrific.
I was completely drenched in that cold waters standing on hurricane deck. Didn't wear any socks. Just the footwear they provided. It was cold only for a few seconds. Then when we were in water, it was pricking us like needles falling from top. My sister and her friends couldn't stand any more and had to move out. But I enjoyed the ablution completely. Friends used to call me eskimo back there. Once I was out of the falls, I was the only one who wasn't shivering.
Also the night lights on the falls was magical. As a token of reminder, I'd even carried the footwear back to India and used it for 2 years till they broke off.
I've posted one of the photos in someone's log here in T-BHP.

Here's the link
We'd spent 2 days in Niagara. First day the temp went down to 4 deg while at the falls. We took the maid of the mist ride the first day. Second day it started nice and sunny only for temperature to plummet. Seeing it nice and sunny, we decided to venture to the cave of the winds. And dramatically, the temperature dropped when we were near the falls. only 2 finally braved the falls with me as the other 2 decided not to get in. Even these 2 couldn't stand for over 4 - 5 seconds and pulled out.
As for me, the last photo expression says it all!
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/1918990-post21.html

Last edited by MX6 : 25th August 2010 at 13:29.
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