29 September 2006

Farewell falls...hello wine country!

Bad blogger! I know everyone…I missed a day! Give a girl a break; I’m on my honeymoon after all.

Yesterday Daniel and I said farewell to Niagara Falls and drove into the very soggy yet beautiful wine country. We have been awaiting this part of the trip with baited breath for quite a few days now…too bad about the miserable weather. Either way, it’s gorgeous here in NOTL and we’re making the most of it.

Rewind now, back to Wednesday. Daniel and I spent our last day in Niagara Falls strolling through the botanical gardens and the butterfly conservatory. I can safely say that I have now found a new favourite place on earth. The gardens were breathtaking, enough to make any British garden enthusiast applaud. The real highlight for me however, was the butterflies! Imagine yourself, walking around in a large biodome, surrounded by hundreds of rare and beautiful butterflies. Needless to say, it was quite a surreal experience. I was awestruck by some of their vibrant colours and their apparent lack of fear of human contact. Some butterflies were even landing on people, offering some pretty spectacular photo ops. Can’t wait to upload the shots! This was the perfect way to end off our last day in Niagara Falls. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of visiting – it’s worth the trip alone!

Back to honeymoon day 4 now, and Daniel is taking over the blog!

Jenn has hopped in the shower, so I’ll tell you about day 4. After another big buffet breakfast (I can feel my arteries hardening), we checked out of the luxurious Gigantic Hotel, and hit the road. It was rainy and miserable out, but we still decided to see a few wineries on the way to NOTL. We stopped first at Chateau Des Charmes, a beautiful family-run estate winery. Rather than wait three hours for the English tour, we took the French one. It pays to be bilingual! After the tour, we had a very tasty sampling of some of their wines. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, 11am is a fine time for drinking.

From there, we headed out to the Hillebrand winery. Even though it was raining, our tour guide took us through the fields, and we tasted some of the different grapes...right off the vine! We finished off the tour, and again had a generous wine tasting. We even mixed ice wine with sparkling white, which was very good! I had to give most of my wine to Jenn, since I still had some driving to do. Did I mention that they were generous with the tastings? Jenn got the brunt of it, and walked out with wobbly legs.

After that, we headed into the town of NOTL, and checked in to our quaint little B&B. We did a bit of shopping, and had a pretty good dinner in an English pub – The Angel Inn. This was quite a neat experience because the pub is housed in the oldest operating Inn in Ontario, dating back to 1819. With dark timber, an open hearth and resident burly publican, it looks like it came straight out of a movie. The kind of place you would expect a good ‘oul bar brawl to break out. Then it was back to the B&B to relax with a tea on the porch, and to bed early to get ready for the next day!

26 September 2006

Niagara Falls...day two

Dan and I are just back from an action packed day out on the town. We woke up bright and early to enjoy an amazing buffet put on by the Embassy Suites...very yummy. I won't be surprised if we each put on an extra 10 pounds by the time we get back home.

Our first stop of the morning was a tour behind the falls. Daniel and I had both done this before as children, but it was something that we were excited to do again almost fifteen years later. I think you have a deeper appreciation for these things as an adult. We had fun getting drenched and managed to capture some great shots.

The rest of the day was spent walking, walking and more walking! We made our way to Clifton Hill..or "tacky district" as I like to call it. This is where we spent the bulk of our day, visiting the Guiness Book of World Records museum and Louis Touseau's wax museum. The latter was so much fun. Some of the models are truly life-like. Can't wait to get home and upload the photos!

This evening Dan and I shared a romantic dinner in the revolving restaurant at Skylon Tower. The prices are questionable as the food is mediocre, but the view is spectacular! I was a little thrown off by the rotating floor. Going to the bathroom after a bottle of wine proved to be intresting, as it is difficult to get one's bearings once you return to the rotating floor. All of a sudden things are not where they were before you left. A unique experience, but I'm not sure that we would repeat it again. Our dinner at the Fallsview Keg last night can never be topped as far as I'm concerned.

After our adventure in the rotating restaurant, and a date with a beautiful bottle of Chateau Des Charmes Pinot Gris, Dan and I headed back to Clifton Hill to partake in some cheesy tourist traps. Feeling a little more courageous, we decided to try out the "Castle Frankenstein" horror house....complete with live actors scaring the bejesus out of tourists. I'm still not sure whether the alcohol made it better or worse. Either way, a good number of expletives were issued.

Our final destination this evening was none other than the infamous "Ripley's Believe it or Not" museum. No trip to Niagara would be complete without some form of 'freak show'. Actually, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable tours so far. Both Dan and I have a penchant for the abnormal, so we were right at home and having a good laugh at the stupidity of others. I still can't believe what some people will endure for a few moments of fame and glory. No thanks! I rather pay $30 to laugh at them.

After a romantic walk back to hotel, along the illuminated falls, we are now happily resting our weary feet. That massive whirlpool tub is looking good right about now. ..perhaps followed by more wine and a seat near the fireplace and lounge chairs overlooking the falls. Yes...I could get used to this indeed!

25 September 2006

We took the plunge!

We're married! Hard to believe that the big day has already come and gone.

September 23rd was an absolute dream come true! We could not have asked for a more beautiful day...it far exceeded all of my hopes and expectations. There were few tears on my part, just a giddy sense of happiness and excitement. It was truly the best day of my life.

I can't get into all the details at the moment because hubby and I are on our honeymoon (yes...I'm a dedicated blogger) As I type this, I am currently sitting in an amazing suite overooking Niagara Falls.

Day one of the honeymoon has been fantastic. Dan and I left Ottawa at 8:00 am this morning and arrived at our hotel at 14:30. The room is gorgeous, with a view to die for. I'll be sure to post pictures once I'm back home, but let's just say that everything has been decadent. Huge tub, marble walk-in shower, fireplace, king bed, wall-to-wall window, etc.!

We haven't had much time to venture too far today, but we did have an excellent meal at the Keg which is attached to our hotel, overlooking the falls. I'm not usually a red meat kind of girl, but this was without exageration, the best steak I've ever had in my life. It was the next best thing to...well....you know.....

After supper, we headed out into high winds and managed to get no further than the Casino. Good thing we dropped in because, in only two minutes, we managed to win $170 on a slot machine. Needless to say, we walked out of there with our heads helf high and a spring in our step. No regrets about the expensive dinner....nor the drinks that we enjoyed afterwards. It's gearing up to be a great week!

12 September 2006

Sniff, sniff...only 11 days to go...

Luck of the Irish my arse! The wedding is less than two weeks away and my stupid body has decided to crap out on me…big time!

This past weekend I went away to Montreal for a friend’s bachlorette party. Being with a bunch of party animals, I got next to no sleep whatsoever. - I think I totaled 6 hours over a two-day period. It also didn’t help that I got stuck in a torrential downpour on Friday while boarding the train. I spent a lovely 2 hour ride soaked down to my underwear and shivering in the air-conditioning. We had a blast, but I’m definitely paying for it now.

I’m fortunate in that I don’t get ill often, I’ve rarely had stomach flu, no chickenpox, no measles, no whooping cough, etc. However, I somehow seem highly susceptible to colds. The moment I begin to feel overtired… achoo!

Right now I’m sitting at work (on coffee break) and I feel as though my head is full of bricks. My eyelids are watery and droopy, my ears keep popping, my nose is beyond blocked and my glands are swollen. To sum it all up, I feel terrible!

I’m scared to death that this cold won’t clear up in time for the wedding. When I catch colds, they always seem to linger for longer than normal. Combined with my dreaded monthly visitor, I’m sure I’ll make one hell of a beautiful bride.

I’m very discouraged right now because I need to complete a million different little tasks for the wedding, yet I can barely muster enough energy to breath. Daniel is a big help to me, but I don’t expect him to finish all my little nitpicky craft projects…too hard to explain when you have a certain vision in your head.

I totally didn’t need this on top of everything else right now. I know I need to rest my body, but there is so much to do. My boss told me to go home, but things are really busy on the work front too. I want to accomplish as many things as I can before taking holidays for the wedding and honeymoon. It’s enough I have to take off this Friday to go pick up my wedding gown in Carleton Place.

So there you have it. Not a very optimistic post. I’m hoping my tune will change in a few days. In the meantime I’m pumping myself full of fluids, vitamins and decongestants. It plain old sucks! I can’t get excited about the wedding right now because I feel so crummy.