August - September 2017
  • Day38

    Home, sweet home...

    September 8, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After a very ordinary 13 and a half hour flight from Vancouver, on what must have been the plane with the worst seats in the fleet (I have pressure areas on my butt from the hard hard seat!), we arrived in Auckland for our flight to Sydney.

    We sat on the tarmac for over 30 minutes so they could fix a toilet. Ugh. All we wanted to do was get home.

    Eventually we arrived and made our way through the very efficient immigration and customs, and Penny was there to collect us!

    Very exciting to see her, and we battled our way through late morning traffic home.

    It was so good to see the boys, and I think they we happy to see us too. But who can tell with the senile Monty... Haha

    Ben was home too, which was good. They tried to convince me to go to the Sporto, so I drove them there and had a squash, before a supermarket run and home to cook dinner. Cathy succumbed early, and Paul not long after.

    All in all, a great trip. Now, back to reality...
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  • Day36

    All good things...

    September 6, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Well the day has come where we have to return home... I write this sitting at Vancouver Airport, with our steel chariot sitting on the runway.

    We started the day at a Cafe for breaking, pleasant but holy cow can they destroy a cup of tea! Haha!

    We bought a all day travel card, which covers us for all kinds of transport for 24 hours. Wejumped a train downtown, and then caught a seabus to North Vancouver, and wandered some more markets. We then caught a bus to Stanley Park, and did a hike for a few kms, along the waterfront cross a rugby field and through A rainforest.

    We then jumped on a bus through the hills, back to our hotel. We collected our bags, then did the shuffle to the train station which took us directly here to the airport.

    To our is may, we could not buy duty free here, as we have another flight after our first. Disappointing, asAuckland Airport duty free is terrible! I guess I can always buy in Sydney on our arrival!

    All in all, our trip has been great, and has flown by. I am very much looking forward to being home. Paul did an amazing job or organising and being our our guide.

    Can't wait for our next trip (already planned! A leisurely week in New Caledonia next year!)

    Thanks for sticking with me all. Can't wait to hugs the kids!!!
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    Jill Vogelzang

    Love you and glad to have you home xo

  • Day35

    Return to Vancouver

    September 5, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Today we crossed the border from Bellingham to Vancouver, a distance of only 54 miles. The border crossing is only about 25 miles from Bellingham, so it was again good to be back in metric!!!

    We drove straight to our hotel, as we needed to stow our cases to return our hire car, so we didn't have to lug them back. Very fortunately, our room was ready at 10:30 am, so we were able to have them safe in our room.

    We then did a big hike around Vancouver. It was very hazy today, so useless going up in the tower. Wewanderedaround the city, and walked to Granville Island, where some great public markets are held. They havE fantastic fresh food, and we bought a box of beautiful fresh berries of all types, and had chowder while sitting listening to street performers play.

    We caught a tiny water taxi from Granville Island, to Yuletide. The BC Stadium is here, and we wandered around iT before heading back to our hotel, where Cathy is napping, and Paul and I readying our luggage for the bigjourney home.

    Our flight is not until tomorrow evening, so we will stow our bags and get a day travel pass and see what we can see...
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  • Day34

    Seattle, and the needle as old as I

    September 4, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Today we explored Seattle, Washington. It was a public holiday (Labour Day) here, and people were everywhere!

    We went up the Space Needle, erected in less than a year for the 1962 World's Fair. Good views, but again, due to smoke haze, we could not see Mount Ranier , and the next volcano likely to erupt, the snow-capped Mount Baker was hard to see.

    We caught the monorail down town, another remnant of the World's Fair, and did some browsing. We went to Pike Place Markets, an old time public market of food, and all sorts of things going from Street level and underground. Lots of interesting things to see.

    Seattle has a huge fleet of ferries, and the biggest suburb of permanent house boats around.

    In the afternoon, it was time to move on as we had to return to Vancouver to prepare for our journey home.

    Tonight we stayed in Bellingham, Washington, and went to an awesome Italian restaurant, where everything was handmade...we had some great local wine, got tipsy, ate ourselves silly and finished with home made spumoni icecream. Divine!
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  • Day32

    Walking Victoria, and Garden Inspiration

    September 2, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We had a leisurely start, and having our own kitchen for the first time in weeks, decided we would feast on fresh eggs and Canadian bacon (do they just call it bacon here?😜). Lovely. I had succumbed to an $8 jar of Vegemite, as I was craving and a bit homesick!

    Nourished, we started a walk along the waterfront. It was a beautiful day, and it didn't take long for us to warm up. We walked toward Beacon Hill Park, becoming friendly with squirrels and a myriad of geese. We found the mile Zero marker, where the TransCanada Highway starts. There is a monument here to Terry Fox, who in the 80s at the age of 18, lost a leg to cancer and decided run across Canada from Newfoundland to raise money forfoes earth. He ran 26 miles a day, but unfortunately, 5 months in, he had to retire as his cancer returned, and he died. Another young man some years later, who had also lost his leg to cancer completed Terry's run, and finished at the Mile Zero site.

    There were markets on, and we browsed. We found the South Park School, where Terrence & Phillip must havegone to school 🤡.

    Later in the afternoon, we headed south from Victoria to Saarnich and Butchart Gardens. This was a very inspiring garden, very beautiful. The plants were not exotic, but fairly common plants - beautiful pelargoniums, begonias, lantana, celosia, daisy, and roses from around the world. The Japanese Garden was beautiful. There were lovely fountains, towers. Lovely.

    Afterwards, we drove though beautiful suburbs, before heading. Back to our apartment a bit foot sore. We are just about to head out for dinner.

    Tomorrow, we head to the US ferry terminal to catch a ferry towards Seattle, Washington.
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  • Day31

    All aboard for Victoria, BC

    September 1, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Today, we regrettably left Whistler, with a promise to return when the White stuff is plentiful.

    We needed to scoot back towards Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay for our ferry to the capital city of British Colombia, Victoria, located on Vancouver Island.

    On the way, we had a few very nice stops for some hikes and waterfall views. We caught Paul napping on therailway tracks, and just couldn't resist. Was ok, his insurance is paid up.

    The ferry was a pleasant 100 minutes or so, in glorious sunshine. We saw a whale being here by a whale watching boats, before it disappeared.

    Arriving at Departure Bay at Nanaimo, we had to drive the 100 km to Victoria to catch our hosts for ourapartment for a few days...

    The apartment was brilliantly located, one one of four. We got The African Suite, which was large and lovely, and does, decorated fitting with the name. We also had access to industrial washing machines! Luxury!!!

    On recommendation of our host, we tried a local restaurant, called The Heron Bistro. Delightful! I had the best piece of Sockeye Salmon, truly perfectly cooked and delicious. I paired that with an apple cider that was enormous! Felt no pain!
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  • Day30

    Whister bound

    August 31, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today we left Alberta, and headed back into British Colombia for Whistler. First stop was a great bakery in Jasper for breakfast and coffee, before hitting the road. It's a long hike, so stay tuned for pics!

    EDIT: we arrived in Whistler, and first glance: we are definitely coming back to ski here! We had a fabulous suite in the Pan Pacific right in the Village Centre. There are gondolas straight line from the village to both Whistler base and Blackcomb, with Peak to Peak gondolas between the two.

    Right now, the place is hopping with mountain bikers, and hikers. The village is really cool. I know our kids would love it there. Sooooo many Aussies are working in the Rockies, especially Lake Louise, Banff and here in Whistler. We spoke to a girl from Queenstown NZ, who said Whistler is the place to come if you want to meet an Aussie.

    The following morning, Cathy & I walked to The Lost Lake, and circumnavigated it...a few kms to start the day. It is actually a cross-country ski route, with a big still lake in the centre. In summer, it is a swimming hole with pontoons, I imagine in Winter, it freezes over for skating...
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  • Day28

    Athabasca and beyond !

    August 29, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    From Lake Louise, we headed north towards Jasper on the Ice fields Parkway, retracing a journey Paul took many years ago in Winter.

    The scenery was amazing, with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop, however due to the continued haze from woodland fires, we really could not see them in their glory. There are hundreds of glaciers atop these mountains, but they were lost in the haze...

    The stunningly beautiful Bow Lake was glorious, the colour of the water a vibrant ultramarine due to suspended minerals, and I sincerely wish I could paint, as this for inspiration would be amazing...

    We had many stops by gorgeous fast running rivers, and waterfalls, such as the Athabasca Falls...a wide river that converges to a raging torrent through a narrowing, only the spill out to calm waters again only metres later...

    By the roadside, we came across a goat, with big curly horns, grazing away merrily.

    The Athabasca Glacier was quite amazing. Having cruised to the face of a number of glaciers, both on this trip,and in Patagonia, it was a unique experience to be able to walk to the face of the Glacier, albeit a strenuous one.

    We kept driving north, and arrived in Jasper, the town linked with the big black-run dominant ski fields of Marmot Basin. The Rocky Mountaineer had just arrived, as well as a huge amount of buses, so the town was very busy. We stayed at the Chateau Jasper, which was very comfortable.

    Cathy spent a few hours at the hotel, and Paul & I drove to Maligne Lake, another beautiful Lake. We did a hike around the lake, which was lovely, before returning to Cathy, and heading to a pub in Jasper for dinner.
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    Jill Vogelzang

    Beautiful picture mum!

  • Day27

    Lake Louise and Banff

    August 28, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Lake Louise certainly lived up to expectation, it was stunningly beautiful. What I was not prepared for was the sheer volume of tourists The Chateau was beautiful, and we had afternoon tea there... We did not take pics the first visit as the afternoon sun was not going to give us great shots, particularly with the smoke haze. We headed the 60 odd km to BANFF and our digs for the night.

    We footed around this bustling tourist town for a while, and found a nice pub for dinner (poutine, among other things!). The next morning, we hot footed back to the lake, and the pictures were like a postcard... In my mind,this was a watercolour, simply beautiful. I can only imagine how more beautiful it must be in its winter spendour..

    After a great nights sleep, and very ordinary "complimentary" breakfast, we left, heading for Jasper.
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  • Day27

    Stanley Park, Vancouver

    August 28, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    On disembarking, we encountered the least efficient rental car operation we have ever come across. 2 hours of waiting, two agents, extremely slow. Ugh! Eventually, we got our vehicle. We ordered a 4WD, expecting a Jeep or similar to what extent have at home. No, they offered a RAV4 equivalent, not much good for three big adults and lots for luggage. Eventually, they recognised the problem, and gave us a "mini-an" -it was a Dodge Caravan Crew, a seven seater people mover. At least every could get our luggage in.

    We took a drive to Stanley Park,as when we returned, we would not have a car, so it was easier. The dy was glorious, and so much warmer than we had for the previous ten dys or so. We drove to an area of Totem poles, there were mny of different styles and clans. We went to a lookout for Lion's Gate Bridge, and caught a pic of a prop plane as it flew over.

    From there we headed out of town, through the Downtown East section, a bit of a seedy area of homelessness, drugs and prostitution - a little disconcerting.

    we had a long drive ahead of us, and made a few stops on the way...more to follow...
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