Ottawa 22.10.2012 (Nachtrag)

And so i close as always: Cheers, ND

Empire State 12.09.2012

No! No, I always said no if somebody asked me if I want benefit from the geographical near to the USA and visit the land of the unlimited opportunities. My answer was always: I am going to spend every second of my visa and every cent I posses to discover Canada and I won’t waste any of it to the United States of America. And what can I say, I was there and it was worth it. My opinions about that country are so ambivalent like the common speculations about the chicken and egg dilemma. But one thing is for sure: This country a have certain kind of attraction and it is becoming stronger and stronger the closer you come to it. One stereotype about the US citizen that they do not really care about the rest of the world is maybe not to appreciate but partly understandable. Why waste a thought about the Alps we have the Rocky Mountains. What are endless beaches in Turkey and Greece we have Hawaii and Florida. What is the Uluru in the middle of the Australian Outback we have the Grand Canyon in Nevada. I could keep going like that for hours but the essence of it is that to almost everything the world has to offer the United States possesses a kind of equivalent on its own. And so for me the “We have everything we need attitude” is absolutely understandable.

Well now might think some middle Europeans with a German passport won’t have any struggle to enter the States. But Jule and me we had a lot of fun at the border. Everything starts with the sentence: “The gasoline will last till after the border.” Nearly 10km before the border the little red light started to shine and the plan to fill the gas tank in the States to save some money seems to work out. Then we reached the border and waited almost 10 minutes in the queue until the needle started to sink and hit the red area. After 10 more minutes the needle sunk a little more and I did not even know how deep it can go but we turned off the air condition. That was a real pain in that heat and the raising pressure. And then another very formative sentence that day: “You know, you can be sure that they are going to shoot us when our car is running out of gas directly in front of the US border!” Well it was meant as fun but Jule got my head starting to worry. Then another 5 endless seeming minutes passed by and finally I turned off the engine. Lucky for us the street went down a little bit and so we rolled the last 500m into the United States of America. That was maybe the most economic border cross by car in the history.

But the funny part was just about to begin. Finally at the counter the strict looking female border officer started to ask us questions. From where are you coming? Montreal! Where are you from? From Germany! How long are you going to stay? One day only! What is the reason for you visit? Vacation! Where exactly do you want to go? Plattsburgh! Why? We heard it is a nice place! Have you been to the United States before? Yes and Yes! The border officer just smiled slightly and enrolled our passport in a orange paper and said that we should drive over to another building where we have to go through door number 2 and wait for us to be called. So far so good to the facts. Now we come to the assumptions. Why do the pull us out for a deeper inspection. We do not know exactly but it could be the fact that Jule had a stamp of Egypt in her passport and the fact that she was in the USA for a student exchange in 2001 or maybe it was my week explanation that we wanted to visit a sleepy town for a one day vacation. We might never know but we had to wait about 10 endless minutes in a freezing cold air conditioned office to fill out the green piece of paper you usually receive in the plane when you enter the USA. After that Jule´s finger prints needed to be scanned because the last time she was in the States was before 9/11 and so she was missing in the database. After paying a fee of $6 each we were free to enter the United States.

We just have been there for one day but right after the border I could feel a difference. Jule already knew that kind of feeling. I thing this feeling is created by the ongoing medial glorification of this country. But it doesn’t matter if it is real, unreal, forced or wrong. It is there and you feel somehow good with it. I know it sounds very cliché to say that but it felt like you have all opportunities you can imagine but I instantly felt that way. Just like I already mentioned Plattsbough is very sleepy but cozy. You can find a little yard marina and it is next to the Lake Champlain. The restaurant “Arnie´s” is absolutely recommendable. The burgers we had were awesome and the waitress was very nice. A bit more south of Plattsbough is the “Ausable Marsh State Wildlife Management Area” a park with a wonderful landscape. After we found a nice place the evening faded out by a can of coke and a Moods.

And so i close as always: Cheers, ND

Toronto, Niagara Falls and a bunch of travellers 18.08.2012

I am still excited when I think about that trip and I have to admit that this was one of the most touching trips I ever made. On Friday morning around 7am Elisa, Giulia, Jule, Rafael and I entered my car and I pushed the “Start Navigation” button and with that I initiated my until now longest journey through Canada. A good test for me and my car, because we have a lot ahead of us. But everything went well and after three stops and 558km we arrived at our hostel in downtown Toronto around 2pm.

After our check in and parking the car in the backyard of the hostel we went out to discover the city on foot. After a while we found ourselves on the ferry to the Toronto Islands. Back in the days they belonged to the main land but after a storm in 1858 the connection to the main land got washed away by the power of the river. But they always have been very important to migratory birds and stressed city slickers and furthermore it is the best place to take pictures of the skyline of Toronto. We decided to eat something in the Toronto-Marina which I two days later took a picture of from the CN-Tower.

And finally it was Saturday, the big day. We went to the Niagara Falls and first we found a little version of Las Vegas. This was distracting at first but after parking the car and stepping out of it we heard this incredible sound. After a short walk under the “Rainbow Bridge to the USA” we finally laid eyes on the endless falling masses of water. I am unable to describe this with words because you recognize this with all your senses. You hear the thunder, you see this surreal scene, you taste the spume, you smell the water dust and you instantly feel the fluid on your skin. It feels like you got sucked and spit out from this place ten times a second.

After an ample photo session I took some time with the falls alone and just for me to realize the scene. Reunited, strengthened with mental power and filled up with spiritual energy we prepared ourselves for the boat tour into the hell of water. From above we already watched how the smurf looking people got wet and shook up on the boat. Of cause we could not miss this opportunity and so we pulled over these blue ponchos and got ready for a proper shower from Mother Nature. Awesome!

Following the tip from Rafael we went to Niagara-At-The-Lake, a very nice and picturesquely village directly at the Lake Ontario. Everything looked absolutely made up and placed but this could not do any harm to the prettiness of this place. And while everything was going to flow with this harmony of this spot I took the perfect picture. It was a long day and we were almost starving and so we ate in a little Mediterranean restaurant and went back to Toronto. Now we went to the Bar “The Loose Moose” that the insatiable Rafael could get something to eat.

On Sunday morning we tasted the edge of culinary art with maybe the best brunch buffet I ever was allowed to refresh myself. Decorated with a beautiful roof garden and fresh pressed orange juice we enjoyed the start in the day of departure. But there is something you cannot miss when you are in Toronto. It is 553,33m tall, the town´s landmark and it is having a glass floor. The CN-Tower! After 58s in the outside lift with glass walls and floors too, we reached the view platform. From here we had an amazing look over the city and we watched all the buildings again we already watched from down below. We actually found my car and took a photo of it. You have to go down stairs from here to get to the glass floor. This is something. Your stomach tells you fly, hover or fall and your brain tells you glass floor. A real amazing finesse the architects designed there.

On our way back home everybody thought the same: This was a weekend we will ever remember in so much different kind of ways. I cannot tell how often I used the word perfect in this blog since May but honestly we really had a perfect weekend. Besides the weather, it was raining every day but at least the sun was always coming along when it became necessary. I would like to take the chance and thank all of you four again for this unforgettable weekend.

And so i close as always: Cheers, ND

First trip with the car 10.08.2012

Now that the car bought it will be driven. For my first trip, I was searching for a quiet and lonely lake in the north of Montreal. A place, easily to reach within a day. After a while I decided to go to a nice and lonely looking lake named Lac Croche. After packing my stuff and making a last check on the car I left Montreal to the north. I reached my destination after round about 2 hours. Originally I wanted to camp there for a night and light a fire. Endless lonely Space was what I was searching in Canada but I found was a lake surrounded by private houses. Well, where it is nice, the human is not far away.

A little bit disappointed I returned to my car, selected another lake on my GPS, started the engine and left the lake I chose in the first place. But again and again only houses and no space to be alone. To make it short. I was driving around in this beautiful seascape for about an hour. But then finally I found a real untouched place to spend my day. I spent the whole day in my little paradise. While listening to the small waves I pumped up the air mattress with the small build in foot pump. I really enjoyed watching the people waterskiing or driving their motorboats. The view at all was incredible.

Relaxing without any compromises was my goal and this I reached it. I was bathing, I was sun bathing, I drunk Ginger Ale, I ate cookies and I was listening to 2 episodes of Not Save For Work. With this kind of food for body and soul I spent the day there until sundown. After that I went back home because camping and lighting a fire was nearly impossible at this position. And so I can save my fist night under the clear sky for later.

Well the day started with a little kickback but the landscapes and the small villages I have seen along my way made this all forget. Of cause you can find more pictures of my first trip into the back country of Montreal in the section All pictures.

And so i close as always: Cheers, ND