Archivos Mensuales: agosto 2021

Niagara on the Lake, Canada: 7 Things to do.

Niagara on the Lake is a small canadian town which could be the scene of a film. It is located in the Southeast of the country, on the shores of the Lake Ontario, right on the border with the United States.

Today it’s a very quiet place, but in the past it was a top important location due to the geographical situation. In fact, this town was the Canadian capital (called Newark at that time) until the year 1797, when the capital was moved to York only because Newark was so close to the US border. In 1798 the town was renamed Niagara, and since some years later it is known by its current name: Niagara on the Lake.

In the past this town was a strategic control point, as Niagara River was an important access route to the United States. Sailing accross the lake, merchant ships could reach the Atlantic Ocean. Located at the mouth of the river, Niagara on the Lake was an excellent place to have full control over such commercial traffic.

It is not suprising at all then, that this has been the epicenter of the war between the United States and Canada. You can still feel this atmosphere of war, as there are still forts at both sides of the river today. But this is the only thing you will see belonging to the pre-war times, because the town was invaded by the Americans and almost completely destroyed. It had to be raised again from scratch.

Today Niagara on the Lake has many tourist attractions and is a “must stop” when driving to the Niagara Falls (there will be a post about the falls soon). Here are 7 suggestions of things to do there.

Walk through the historic town.

I think that there’s only 1 way to get to know a town or city well: walking through it. And Niagara on the Lake is an excellent place to do so. Quiet streets, a lot of green, the architecture of houses and churches, the golf course and, of course, the beatiful Lake Ontario. Everything makes a hike here a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

Running and History at Butler’s Barracks

Butler’s Barracks is an historic site, which served as a military camp for many years. Today it’s a large park with trails where you can walk or run enjoying the day. There are still constructions that belonged to military installations during different times and signs that recall events that happened in this place.

Fort George.

For sure, the main attraction in the town. Historically, the fort is probably the most important place as it was the main scene of the 1812 War. Culturally, today it’s a great museum where you can better understand what happened during this war, and how was the military life in the Century XIX. Of course, Fort George will have its own post later on the blog.

Niagara on the Lake Museum

Looking for historic documents and elements preservation, the town has it’s own museum. In fact, here is one of the most important historic colections from Ontario, incluiding a display regarding the First World War. For more information you can visit the museum’s official web page.

Visit Niagara Falls.

The famous Niagara Falls are located less than 25 km away from the town, and without a doubt, they are “a must see”. There are many activities to be done here, such as boarding and navigating the river to get closer to the waterfall, which is what I did and I will tell you about it on the blog soon. Or you can even walk behind the waterfalls and see the city from the other side! Of course, you have to pay to do that. But if you don’t want to spend money, you can simply admire its natural beauty from the street.

Taste Icewine in a Winery

This area of Canada is conducive for the wine production and that’s the reason why so many wineries are located around the town. This includes everything from classic wines to whisky. And of course, something that can only be found here and in Germany: Icewine, a canadian specialty.

Icewine is a particular type of sweet wine that is obtained from grapes that are harvested and pressed while frozen, during the first frosts of winter. In this way, the grape concentrates a greater amount of sugar and gives the wines a very particular flavor. Despite the fact that the icewine originates from Germany, currently Canada is the world’s leading producer, and therefore to taste Icewine during your visit to Niagara on the Lake seems to be a very good idea.

Go to the Theater: The Shaw Festival

The theather has great relevance within the cultural offer of Niagara on the Lake. The Shaw Festival has been held since 1962 and today has great prestige due to the works it stages. You can check the latest news in the Shaw Festival web site.

How long to stay at Niagara on the Lake? Well, if you only want to know the town, walk around and visit Fort George (don’t miss it, please), with a weekend should be enough. You may also consider at least a half day to visit Niagara Falls as well. The important thing is to carefully plan what you want to do, in order to decide the correct lenght of your stay. Hopefully, this post will help you better understand what interesting options you have, and make the right choice.

El Memorial de los Judíos Asesinados de Europa.

Berlín es una ciudad maravillosa para visitar por varios motivos diferentes. Uno de ellos es su profunda conexión con la historia, no solo de Alemania, sino de la humanidad entera. Y uno de los puntos donde más claramente se respira esta conexión se ubica muy cerca de la Puerta de Brandenburgo, y adyacente al Tiergarten.

El Monumento a los Judíos Asesinados de Europa (como es su verdadero nombre a pesar de ser conocido como el Monumento al Holocausto), consta de 2711 bloques de cemento de diferentes tamaños y alturas, dispuestos en hileras una detrás de la otra, cuestión que uno pueda adentrarse por esos pasillos y “casi perderse” en este silencioso ambiente que inspira respeto y llama a la reflexión.

Su autor es el arquitecto Peter Eisenmann, quién pretendió reflejar en su obra la angustia que deben haber vivido los judíos en los campos de concentración nazis. A juzgar por cómo uno entra y sale de entre esos inmensos bloques de piedra, podríamos decir que logró su cometido.

Una particularidad que nos enteramos durante el free walking tour que hicimos por Berlín es que Eisenmann, al enterarse de que la empresa que proveía el líquido antigrafiti que se le aplicó a los bloques, era la misma que durante la guerra entregó a los nazis el gas Zyklon B utilizado para consumar el Holocausto, en un momento abandonó el proyecto. Finalmente fue su dentista quién lo hizo recapacitar, preguntándole qué opinaría si él se negara a arreglarle las caries porque el fabricante de la amalgama pertenecía a ese mismo grupo empresario.

Pero la reflexión no se da solo en la superficie. Debajo del monumento hay un Centro de Información al que se puede acceder para visitar una de las muestras más duras que puedas encontrar.

Comenzando con una cronología de lo que fue la persecución de los judíos por parte de los nazis, donde destacan 6 fotos de víctimas que representan a todo el resto, la exposición sigue con documentos testimoniales, historias familiares y detalles de los diferentes campos de concentración que funcionaron durante la época nazi. Pero, sin lugar a dudas, la sala más impactante es una que permanece a oscuras, y en la que solo se proyecta sobre la pared el nombre de una de las víctimas, junto con sus fechas de nacimiento y muerte. Por los parlantes se escucha un relato biográfico que ahonda en detalles de la vida de aquella persona. Así van pasando, una a otra, las historias de los judíos muertos por los nazis. A medida que las investigaciones completan la biografía de nuevas víctimas, más nombres se agregan constantemente a los proyectados.

El ingreso al Centro de Información es gratuito, ya que el gobierno alemán no quiere que los problemas económicos de los visitantes sean un escollo para enterarse de lo que en realidad pasó. Solamente se abona el uso de la audioguía, de requerirla, que en el caso del español es una simple traducción de los textos de la muestra.

El Monumento está ubicado en Cora-Berliner Strasse 1 y es accesible las 24 horas del día, mientras que el Centro de Información cierra los lunes y el horario de acceso depende de la época del año en que vayas. En la web oficial podés chequear los detalles para planificar la visita adecuadamente.

Visitar la muestra es fuerte, pero recomendable, aunque por supuesto, no deja de ser opcional. En cuando al monumento en sí, con sus enormes bloques grises, es un punto obligado de tu visita a Berlín.