Tag Archives: Travel

There’s No Place Like Home

Let us recap from where we left off, dear readers. My brother and I were in Ottawa, exploring our country’s capital. Right.

Well, after that, Michael and I drove for about ten hours, and went through another time zone in order to reach Fredericton. This meant we went through about two hours worth of Ontario, the southern part of Quebec, and a little more than half of New Brunswick. It was an honestly exhausting trip, mostly because Michael and I really just wanted to get home. Ontario was fairly brown and barren between Ottawa and Quebec, and Quebec was rather quiet when you don’t enter its cities. Same with New Brunswick. It isn’t until you reach the city centres that you understand how many people there actually are. It just proves how limited everyone’s circle of travel really is; most tend to stay just within their own city limits.

The next day, we traveled for about six hours to North Sydney, NS in order to catch the ferry home. We were very bouncy for the first half, and I made a wrong turn (apologies, little brother), and we ended up taking county roads for the last couple of hours. These were not half as exciting as the county roads in Ontario, mostly because they were very, very bumpy. Not very fun. However, upon reaching the east end of Nova Scotia, we began to recognize our roots. The shores of Nova Scotia are very similar to some part of Newfoundland, and I think both of us just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

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O Canada

My fellow Canadians, please be aware that our capital city is actually fairly nice. It’s not crowded like Vancouver or Montreal, nor is it sprawling like Calgary. It’s… well, when it’s not raining or misting like it did for our second day, it’s really rather nice. And Parliament Hill is especially cool. I admittedly completely enjoyed our free tour of the centre of our government.

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There’s a whole bunch of history involved with it – for instance, did anyone know that the building burned down in 1916, and they had to rebuild it in the middle of WWI? No? Me neither! Or that they keep having to add shields of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut as we joined later on (sorry for the extra work, Ottawa). In fact, there was even a plaque at some point that mentioned Newfoundland by name and as separate from Canada, which pleased me muchly, I must admit.

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Barrie and Besties

My brother was kind enough to indulge me on a side trip to Barrie so I could visit one of my best friends. Thankfully, the Lord has given me very good friends, and they like my family; so Erica was pretty cool about Michael hanging out with us. She was a lovely host, and showed us around her little piece of Barrie – and by little piece, I mean what you can walk to within the hour. Although a lovely host, she’s only lived there for three months, and is in a very demanding program, and so her knowledge of Barrie is understandably limited.

She took us downtown, where we had tea at English and Miller – and felt super fancy about it; I’d like to go again and have tea – and wandered around the waterfront. Barrie, for those of you who didn’t know (which included me until recently), shares its borders with Lake Simcoe. This is not one of the Great Lakes, but it’s still pretty good (Erica wrote that). This meant that Monday, we wandered about in the fog; it reminded us of home, which was fitting as I had a couple of pieces of home with me.

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“It’s a Pancake Printer!”

20151111_104707_HDRPhew. Okay. So now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath: Hello, dear readers! How are you all today? You may wonder why I haven’t been updating this blog very much recently, even though we are all aware that all I’ve been doing is driving across this lovely, massive country. The answer is quite obvious: I have been too tired to write.

Driving – especially highway driving, and a lot of it – takes a certain amount of endurance. While this means that Michael and I are pretty good once we get our momentum, and as long as we don’t stop for very long, as soon as we do stop for the day, we tend to crash very, very hard. Especially when you stop in darkness and begin the next day in the same darkness, wondering if you’ve even slept at all. This makes it very difficult to get enough energy to do much of anything after.

On that note, Michael and I have been – in my mother’s words – “hurtling it” across this country. We drove from Calgary to Winnipeg (thirteen hours plus a time zone change), Winnipeg to White River (twelve hours plus a time zone change), and from White River to Barrie (nine and a half hours). I think we’re both rather bloodshot and brain-dead and road zombies, but! We are less than a week away from home, so it’s all worth it. (That’s what we keep telling ourselves, at any rate.) This means that we’ve done thirty-five hours of driving in three days. We have another four days of driving ahead of us – five hours plus nine and a half plus six and a half plus nine. Which, already, looks much much better.

What can I say about Canada? Well, I wish I had taken pictures, but I was, unfortunately, brain-dead, and didn’t think of it until we got about four hours away from Barrie… I apologize. But let’s see what I can remember…

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“There’s a Theme to These Songs”

When I first saw Victoria two years ago, I told people that it was a mix of Kelowna and Newfoundland. I stand by that description. Although, I also see a fair bit of Vancouver in it too, now that I’ve been there.

I don’t think Vancouver or Victoria were built for the amount of people they currently have. Vancouver especially is far busier than the roads are prepared for. It’s like they’re spilling out over the edges. It’s why there are geographical locations called ‘Greater Vancouver’ and ‘Greater Victoria’. Vancouver, I think, could be pretty if it wasn’t November and crowded. As it was, it was busy and cramped. With the occasional amazing view.

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The Highs, the Lows, and the Midway Point Between

The thing about mountains, something I think I discussed before, is that they are huge. They are huge and overwhelming, they are all over the place in BC (and I do mean this; basically wherever you turn, you can see a mountain), and they cause a lot of difficulty for cell phone service and Wi-Fi.

Who knew, right?

While that is not the whole reason for the lateness of this blog post, it’s probably a good 70% of the reason. Because since my last update, Michael and I have been up mountains, down mountains, in valleys, in parks, in peninsulas, and completely isolated from the world. It’s been an interesting experience; although not completely alien. Because we have so much family in BC (the most besides Saskatchewan), I’ve traveled to BC practically every year. It’s, hm, almost a second home to me, although I cannot decide how much of that is the proximity to the ocean, the family that I am staying with, or just my own connection with the mountains. I suppose I might never know. It’s likely a combination of the three.

If the mountains themselves are not a new experience, at least driving through them is. Driving through mountains is FUN. I honestly do not know how much of that is sarcastic and how much is serious because it is both entertaining and engaged and at times harrowing and nail biting. The mountains are not straight slopes: they are curving, windy roads where the speed limit changes about twenty times in an afternoon (and they do mean it when they say slow down). You never know what’s beyond the next turn, if a river will turn up, or if you’re about to drive through a mountain where your construction-savvy brother gasps because he knows how much work that takes. You go through snow, rain, wind, and sun, and there are rocky walls like Ontario, and fog like my home. Sometimes, you cannot pull over no matter how much you’d like to because there is a cliff feet away from your right side, and if someone hits you, everyone is about to meet their Maker.

it’s fun. Honest.

Since our last meeting, Michael and I have gone to Radium Hot Springs, Creston, Slocan Park, Kelowna, and are now sticking it out in Vancouver until this afternoon where we hope to catch a ferry to Victoria. A very nice lady we met at the Hot Springs who was from Victoria said we shouldn’t have a problem with the ferries, so I’m trusting both her and the Lord on the ease of our afternoon. (There is something about sitting around in a hot spring that makes people very friendly. We chatted with people from all over North America; it was really quite wonderful.)

I like the forests of BC; both Creston and Slocan Park are really quite green, and our meals with our amazing cousins at Slocan Park were all grown from the area (which, to a Newfoundlander, is unheard of, and practically a miracle). We helped harvest nuts at Creston (did you know almonds and walnuts have two shells? Yeah, neither did we; or that the outer one was so gross to peel), and if we went in a circle in either of these places, there was at least two mountains within view. Kelowna is in the Okanagan Valley, which means mountains surround you and the lake in the centre of the valley. Also, many many vineyards.

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Three Days in One

20151021_095703In case you are confused about the title, yes, this blog post will comprise the events of the last three days. All three days were very eventful, which means that this is going to be long and kind of confusing. My apologies for the mess; they were exhausting days.

Michael and I spent Wednesday running about West Edmonton Mall. As stated in my last blog post: WEM (as the signs throughout it call it), is huge. We spent the morning mostly shopping, which is very dangerous as we are on a budget, but I consider it a success because I got a couple of presents for people (but it’s a surprise; shh!), and Michael got a hat that he is very very pleased with. Then, we headed for GalaxyLand, which is WEM’s amusement park. We went on… quite a few rides before Michael got motion sickness, including the Mindbender which has three loop-de-loops in it. It was very much fun, and I totally encourage going if you get a chance.

Then we went to World Waterpark, which is WEM’s water park (self-explanatory). Michael and I went on several more rides – Mike was brave enough to go one of those slides where you have a near-vertical drop, I was not – goofed about in the tidal pool, swallowed a lot of water, bruised an elbow, scraped a knee, got bloodshot eyes, and felt a little sick after (not all of these events were experienced by both parties). Exhausted, I convinced Michael to blow a little more money at Jungle Jims.

Then we collapsed, basically.

Thursday, Michael and I decided to take the long way to Calgary – in other words, we went through Jasper and Banff National Parks.

20151022_142734_HDRMost of you probably know this already, but my parents are from Calgary. Although my mom says she loves the Atlantic Ocean (which, I admit, is something I am missing more and more everyday), there are times where she gets a far-away look in her eyes and says something about how much she misses mountains. My family in Saskatchewan told us that they felt claustrophobic around the mountains, and I know of a couple of them that are even afraid of them. After travelling through Jasper National Park, I understand all of them, although I can’t really agree with any of them.

The Rocky Mountains are huge and beautiful. And quite a few of them are snow-covered.

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