Monday, July 16, 2012

A few days from Toronto -> Ithaca

The slow route from Toronto to Ithaca

Pick up the rental car and onwards to Niagara Falls. See the falls, appreciate the complete madness there (we can't even imagine how bad it must be on the weekend), and then head on across the border. Slow border crossing thanks to it being lunchtime and the inefficient process for doing the fingerprints and picture thing. Some ugly driving between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, then onto the very pretty 20A and Eastwards. Nice driving through small towns and up and down the folds in the land. At Warsaw we switch to Rt 19 and 19A for more pretty driving down to Portageville. We drop our car at the Gennesee Falls Inn and then do a short walk in the Letchworth State Park. The trail takes us under the trees, along an old tow path, to the railway bridge (good views downstream from here), past the upper falls (ok view), and to the middle falls (can't see much of anything) before we turn back. We check into the Inn (very colorful!) and then do dinner at the Pines. Pure Americana.
Horseshoe Falls
Hiking the rim trail in Letchworth State Park. It's a very hot day, but the trail is mercifully almost entirely under trees and there's normally a breeze, so it's manageable. We follow trail 1 from the parking places at the Glen Iris Inn up to the upper falls, then back past the Inn and along the rim past the middle falls to the lower falls. Down to the water and bridge here to get a good view, then back up and along the trail to the cabins at group A. This unintentional detour leads us on a lesser-used trail that continues along the rim before rejoining trail 1 on the other side of the bend. Lunch break at a viewpoint around the "Big Bend" with nice views down the canyon (and the group of kayakers at the bottom), then around past the Tea Table to Eddy's. Here we turn back and head back the same way we came. We skip the detour around the bend and stop for a sandwich and drink at the B cabins before finishing the walk back to the car. It's a nice day of walking. Dinner at the Pines again (it's the only choice in town).
Genesee River Canyon with Middle Falls and Portage viaduct (train bridge)

The scenic route to Watkins Glen: 19A to Wellsville, 417 to Corning, 414 to Watkins Glen. Lunch at a cafe and then we do the Watkins Glen State Park. Through the gorge (not much water in this, but plenty of people... again, can't imagine what this is like on the weekend) to the Mile Point Bridge, then up to the South Rim trail. West along that for a while, past the railroad tracks (no people here...), along the rim to a lake, until the path merges onto a track, then back, to the suspension bridge, down Lover's Lane trail to the gorge, and back to the car. We stay at Glen Motor Inn and eat at their "Italian Grill". Great views of the lake, comfortable room, cocktail lounge, so-so food, very friendly people, once again pure Americana.
Watkins Glen

The very scenic route to Ithaca. Down the lake on 414, 79 East, 227 to Trumansburg, 96 to Interlaken, then down to the 89 and up the lake to Taughannock Falls SP. There we realize we have no cash, so back to Trumansburg (more efficiently this time) to an ATM, then back to the park. We're still pretty early, so it's not too crowded as we walk up the gorge to the falls. The falls are definitely impressive, but there's not much water coming over them. Back to the car and the rest of the way into Ithaca. Burritos for lunch, then we drive out to Buttermilk Falls. These are almost completely dry, so it's on to Robert H. Treman SP. Here we go up the Gorge Trail, past Lucifer Falls (not as much water as normal, but at least there's something), across the bridge, up to the Rim Trail, and then back down to the parking lot. Check in to the hotel (Best Western... comfortable but really boring in comparison to the last few nights), then head downtown for dinner at Sushi O Sake with Erika. A quick stop at the Chapterhouse, then back to the hotel.
Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman SP
It's a drizzly day. We walk to Cornell and stroll around campus, have lunch at the Nines. Later we visit Ithaca Falls (still some water there!) and Cass Park. Dinner at Just a Taste.
Ithaca Falls

Morning walk along Cascadilla Gorge (the top bit is, stupidly, closed, but the bottom bit is open), past Greg's old flat on Linn St., back up to Collegetown via the graveyard. Back to the hotel, lunch with the gang at Collegetown Bagels, Roald's birthday thing. Drinks at the Chapterhouse.

Roald's birthday thing in the morning, shopping trip in the afternoon. Dinner with the gang at Thai Cuisine.

Another quick tour around campus, a quick stop at Ithaca Falls, and then the scenic route back to Toronto: up the lake on 34 and 90, through Aurora and Cayuga, lunch in Seneca Falls, a break in the shade (it's *hot*) at Seneca Lake SP, then westwards on 20 to Buffalo. Across the bridge into Canada, up to the airport, and the flight back to Zurich.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Visiting Toronto

A few days of vacation in Toronto.

Friday night:
A stroll over to and through Chinatown, dinner at a Thai dive, crash.

A morning walk through a mostly empty financial district to the really nice St. Lawrence Market. Breakfast there (peameal bacon sandwiches and bad coffee) and then some browsing through the market and the farmers market on the other side of the street. Next a walk over to the former distillery district, now galleries and shops before heading back to the hotel via St. James park and the church/cathedral there. Nice dim sum at Lai Wah Heen. Long afternoon walk past the CN tower (the "edge walk" thing there is pretty funny) to the waterfront. Through the Music Garden (neither of us really gets this) then following the "Discovery Walk Garrison Creek" past Fort York, through lots of parks and some quiet residential neighborhoods through Little Portugal, Koreatown, and the Annex neighborhood to the Royal Ontario Museum. Back to the hotel through the university campus. We skip dinner (plenty of dim sum) and just stroll over to Church St for cocktails.

After breakfast a walk out to Cabbagetown and Riverdale Farm, then pieces of a Discovery Walk along the Rosedale Valley Rd (intended to go through the Don Valley, but the signage was suboptimal), back through Cabbagetown, past the St. Lawrence Market (closed on Sundays, too bad), and then again towards the hotel. Korean BBW for lunch. In the afternoon to the Bloor-Yorkville shopping/gallery district with serious rain threatening. Break under cover in a cafe during the rain. Some wandering through the underground shopping area and then a subway trip back to the hotel to avoid the insane rain. Dinner at the Beer Bistro.

Taxi out to the airport where we pick up the rental car for the next stage of our trip.