London to Niagara-on-the-Lake… “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My journey from London to Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario, Canada) was an eventful one, to say the least… but as the wise, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said…

"Life is a journey, not a destination"

London

This morning, I woke up to my alarm clock at 8am… contrary to the usual groans and numerous snooze alarms you may hear from outside my bedroom on any normal day – today, I woke up, in the unfamiliar surroundings of my brothers spare room, in London, with an excited spring in my step.  My brother brought me a cup of tea, in bed, to say goodbye before he set off for work, and I hopped out of bed and threw on my running gear – today was the day I set off on my trip to New York City and Niagara Falls!!

Psycho Runner…

Stretching Selfie

Where it’d normally take me a good few hours to motivate myself to even move from the comfortable, warm spot I’d conjured, in bed, overnight – by 9am, this morning, I’d already set off on my 4mile marathon training run.

Just a few hundred meters from my brothers flat, in the Hammersmith area of London, runs the River Thames – as I set off for the closest bridge stretching across the river, I took in the sights and sounds of the end of London rush hour!!  Once I reached the opposite side of the bridge, I took the cycle path, alongside the river, to the next bridge around 2miles further upstream.  I watched numerous groups of rowers, rowing in unison… passed by a number of other joggers, cyclists and dog walkers coming towards me from the opposite direction… and dodged puddles (in my mind) like a ninja.

It wasn’t until half way through the first 2mile stretch, when I started consciously attempting to smile/say hello to people passing by, that I realised people, here, aren’t half as friendly as the “country folk” I tend to meet on my jogs back at home – everyone, in London seemed to, literally, avoid looking me in the eye… to the extend that they’d, physically, move their heads in the opposite direction as I ran past!!! I started to feel frustrated at all these people for their apparent unfriendliness and lack of community spirit, then a little self conscious that they were avoiding looking at me because I had a large unsightly growth coming out of my face that they felt awkward looking at – until, I felt my face for anything out of the ordinary and, not feeling anything, thus, came to the conclusion that they were probably just all “up in their heads” with the everyday worries city people tend to face.

So, I continued with my run, jogged across the next bridge and back onto the cycle path on my brothers side of the river, heading back ‘home’.  If I noticed anyone who wasn’t avoiding looking at me I’d make a point of smiling at them, and maybe even saying “hello”!!  …I’d like to think I was a revolutionary in the London way of life… although, in reality, people probably just thought I was a genuinely crazed psychopath

Getting Ready

On my return from my run, I ate breakfast, quickly showered and carefully packed everything, once again, into my suitcase… my numerous pairs of boots/shoes at the bottom, 5 different hats in one corner, the odd pair of pants, some running gear and 2skirts neatly laid on top so as to avoid getting any creases…! 😛

The excitement was bubbling up inside as I said goodbye to Alice (my brothers girlfriend who works from home) at around 11am and stepped out into the Autumn air, Oyster card in hand, ready to make my way up to the Hammersmith tube station to catch the Piccadilly line all the way to Heathrow airport with plenty of time to spare to get through security etc at the airport.

Heathrow to JFK

Manhattan and the Hudson River from the air!!

As I arrived in my terminal, I checked into my flight, handed my luggage to one of the ladies at the desk, and went through passport control… on the other side, I got myself some lunch and happened to find a piano with “play me” written (in many different languages across the front) – of course, I had to spend 5 minutes playing the piano before proceeding through security!!

Once on the flight, I settled in – got myself snuggled in my blanket and started reading my book on my kindle app until the in-flight entertainment system came on.  I capitalised (as is customary for me) on the movies, as well as the free alcohol 😉 and watched the Age of Adeline, Nightingale, Ted 2 and Paper Towns all in succession!! Before I knew it, we were arriving in New York City, half an hour early, and I was getting ready to jump off my flight, collect my luggage, go through security and passport control again, run to the next terminal, and do it all again in time to catch my next flight from JFK to Buffalo.

Getting to Buffalo

I got through security, at JFK, in record time – despite having to queue up twice, having not been given a vital form on the airplane (maybe I’d fallen asleep at the wrong time?) – and went straight to my luggage carousel.  As I waited patiently for my bag to arrive, watching so many others disappear off to begin their holidays, I began to panic about whether my bag was on its way… during this time, I had a phone call off my parents (we’d flown in on separate flights – because I’d already booked my holiday, but they, later, decided they wanted to join me to support me in running my first marathon in NYC)… they told me their flight to Buffalo had been cancelled due to bad weather – our initial plan of them meeting me with the hire car at Buffalo airport had been foiled… time to think up a new plan for getting to Buffalo…!!  My mum told me to collect my bags and head to my next terminal just to see if my flight was still on schedule.

15 minutes of waiting at the luggage carousel, and my hope finally paid off… my grey suitcase slowly came down the slide and along the carousel towards me.  I picked it up and made my way, past the final few people, probably also concerned for their bags, jumped on the AirTrain and head towards my next terminal… there, I met dad who turned me straight back around and told me we were driving up to Buffalo – he was hoping I was still wide awake so we could share the loooooong drive ahead!!  :/

I’m from England… I’ve never driven on the wrong side of the road before – so dad managed to get us out of New York City and onto the nice, easy highways… we stopped for a late tea a good few miles outside the Bronx then swapped drivers.  The weather was horrendous – I could barely see 20m in front of me at times and, without ‘cat’s eyes’ (reflectors) on the roads, the glare from the headlights made it impossible to see the lane markings!!  Mix this with the CRAZY big trucks they have out in America(of which I felt terrified the drivers were going to ram me off the road), and this made for a pretty exhausting, 4 hour drive, before I gave up from fatigue and let dad take over again for the final few hours.

I tried my best to get a bit of rest in the back and, after one or two more toilet/coffee breaks, we finally arrived at the Canadian border – and, soon after, at our hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It must’ve been around 5am – and jumping onto the bed was just the best feeling!! 🙂

…So, let the holidays begin!!! 😀

Have you ever taken the drive from New York to Buffalo?  Or are you planning on doing it in the near future?  Can you recommend any stop-offs to take on the way, if the weather’s nice?  Please feel free to comment below! 🙂

Love, Magic and Fairy Dust 😉

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