By Emily Privett, Queen’s University, Canada, Geography.
So on top of academics and Queen’s Bands excursions, what have I been doing? One of the many reasons as to why I chose Queen’s as my exchange University was because of its great location for travelling. To this day I’ve managed to visit NYC, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Mont Tremblant and Bruce Peninsula which has just made me realise how lucky I am to be in this part of the world right now!
Due to the fact that it would take far too long for me to write all my trips in one blog, I’m going to split them across two; this one for the fall semester trips and the next blog will be about my winter semester adventures.
NYC and Niagara Falls were just before term started way back in August! As anyone who has read my first blog will know, I flew over to Canada with a very kind friend (I think he may have regretted agreeing to come) and so we decided to do some travelling while we had a few days in Kingston before everything kicked off. We hired a car and drove to Niagara Falls and NYC in the course of four days. We found somewhere to rent a car and we were off! Harry was the only one who could drive (not sad for me, helloooooo nap time) and so he had to do the very long driving shifts while I kept an eye on the sat-nav all the way to Niagara Falls. We didn’t quite realise how close to the American border our hotel was until we saw a sign reading ‘Bridge to the USA’ while we were still driving. Terrified that I’d navigate us to the USA by accident, I was frantically looking around to find our hotel. Thankfully, our hotel was easy to find and we checked in.
After leaving our belongings at the hotel, we walked to the Falls and bought a ticket to the boat ride and everything else on offer. The boat ride was incredible (and added plus was that we got given some very fetching ponchos) and it was amazing to see it up close. It is just insane as to how big it is! Also, the Canadian side is just so much better and I’m not even just saying that. Once we had gone on the boat ride and had done the ‘Journey Behind The Falls’ where you could walk behind the waterfall and hear the sheer amount of water falling every second, we went for dinner and saw the Falls being lit up by beautiful lights. This was probably the highlight of the day. It is beautiful despite what my photos may look like.
I would highly recommend the falls to anyone who wants to see something beautiful and slightly terrifying at the same time!
Up next was NYC- I am aware that I am not a very concise blogger and so I’m going to try and be quick with my NYC story otherwise we’ll be here forever! We didn’t have long in NYC but we managed to fit in going up the Empire State Building just in time for sun-set which made for some very beautiful views and attempting at some beautiful photos. The next day, we made our way to the statue of liberty (also had my first ever snow cone!). Apparently, Lady Liberty’s fingernail is as long as your forearm?! (woah).
Next up was a trip to Toronto on the Saturday after NEWTS week to watch the Toronto Blue Jays baseball game. My first ever baseball experience! After the three hour journey to Toronto where I made friends with a lovely Portuguese girl called Catarina, we arrived. I joined Catarina and her friends for the day and it was an amazing day. The atmosphere at the baseball game is very ‘American’, very big and very loud. Half way through, we gathered that The Blue Jays were going to win and so we decided to make the most of the fact that we were in Toronto and have a look around in the beautiful sun. We decided to go up the CN Tower and take in the gorgeous views of Toronto. A walk on the glass floor couldn’t be missed which is amazing, if slightly terrifying!
The next time I went to Toronto was in December to visit the Christmas markets, and to take a break from exam studying with two of my Dutch friends, Cindy and Eline. Possibly the highlight of the stay was when we met Santa…the inner children in us were bursting inside.
The last place I managed to visit in the Fall was Montreal. This was a Thanksgiving trip with Cindy and Eline. A friend from Manchester, Fiona, goes to McGill University in Montreal and so I wanted to see her whilst we were there. Highlights of Montreal were climbing Mont Royal with Fiona, Cindy and Eline in the beautiful weather and being able to take in the views of Montreal. It was also the site of the first outing of the oh-so-purple Manchester t-shirt was at the top of Mont Royal. The Monday was Thanksgiving and we were going to join Fiona and some of her friends for a pot-luck. As we were staying in a hostel, we couldn’t contribute anything in terms of hot food, but doritos count as effort right? Anyway, we went to Fiona’s house and helped make some rice rolls which turned out pretty well, unlike the peanut butter sauce which, as we didn’t have anything to measure the ingredients with, did not go quite so well! I was great though because there were so many different dishes to try, including sweet potato with melted marshmallows on top! All in all, a great thanksgiving!
Travelling has been a great addition to my study abroad experience and I am so lucky that I’ve been able to visit so many places throughout my year! Featured on my next blog will be Ottawa, Bruce Peninsula and Mount Tremblant!