The Niagara Falls are the reason I am on this journey.
When reading about his visit to the Niagara Falls in July 1881, I had the idea to recreate his journey. I had seen the Falls during my student exchange in 2005, and I remember thinking “I have seen the Falls too – maybe I can see all the other places he has seen”.
So here was, back at the Niagara Falls eleven years after my first visit – just this time wearing my victorian dress. I arrived by bus from downtown Buffallo (about 1 hour) and arrived at the American side of the Falls, where I wandered along the river to the edge of the falls, the first point where I recreated one of my pictures from 2005. This was about the time when the photosessions started and visitors wanted to take pictures with me.
I continued to the International Rainbow bridge, which connects the US with Canada and you can cross it on foot. This is where I recreated another photo from 2005 at the international border line, where I thought “I’ve been here!”. It was a picture-perfect hot day and I was more than happy about my sun-umbrella, which let me walk in the shade. My idea was to walk all the way up to the edge of the horseshoefall. What I didn’t know was that I would be coming a living photowall during that walk. Everytime that I stopped to take in the moment or to think about what my great-great-grandfather was thinking when he saw the falls, someone would ask me for a picture after about 20 seconds. After a while, people started to not even ask me for pictures anymore, but would just stand next to me for a picture. After I managed to get all the way behind the falls and recreated another picture from 2005, I made my way back to the US. Having learned not to stop I really tried just to walk fast, but some people managed to stop me anyway, so I had more pictures taken.
Back on the american side I went for a ride with the Maid of the Mist, to get really close to the falls. When I was here in 2005, they were not running as the waters were frozen back then. I managed to put on the raincover somehow, and we were already passing the american falls with lot’s of mist coming toward us, quickly wetening my dress and hat, as the raincover was not too strong on my hat. We went further all the way in the middle of the horseshoe fall, and it felt like a short stop in time as we were sourrounded by strong white mist, and the thundering sounds of the masses of water. Upon all, nobody was aksing me for a picture.
After the Maid of the Mist ride I was nothing but exhausted and sat down to watch the american falls for a while before I headed back to the bus stop. I went to back to a busstop agreed upon with my host, but due to a textmessage that did not arrive, I waited longer than planned for her, which you have to picture like this: A women dressed in a victorian gown on a busstop in a suburb of Buffalo. This was at least what a local french teacher thought, and she pulled over to talk to me. She then connected me to the local Newspaper, who interviewed me the next day during my trainride to Chicago. You can read the article here: Buffalo News article.
In the evening we went to a couple of bars to have drinks and my host wanted to experience people’s reactions to my dress. Well, I can say that we got a couple of free drinks :-). My host brought me to the Buffallo-Depew station and due to a delay I was on my way to Chicago 4 hours later than planned by 4 a.m.
A special thanks goes to my host Karen in Buffalo!