Canada
Harbour Green Park

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10 travelers at this place:

  • Day55

    Vancouver

    February 19 in Canada

    Zum Abschluss hat uns Vancouver noch mal herrliches Wetter geschenkt. Sonne und knackte -2 Grad. War ein ganz schöner Schock für die Kids und uns. Aber dennoch eine tolle Stadt vor sagenhafter Kulisse. Und jetzt freuen wir uns aber auch wieder auf zu Hause.

  • Day42

    Vancouver

    May 31, 2017 in Canada

    Wir sind in Kanada! 🇨🇦🍍
    Hier dreht sich die Welt wieder richtig rum! Kilometer, Celsius, Gramm. Individuelle Cafés, kleine Boutiquen und Brot. Und endlich bestimmt mal wieder der Gast, wann sein Bier bezahlt werden möchte.
    Wir fühlen uns in den Bars schon so heimisch, dass wir schon ganz vergessen, dass wir mit der Muttersprache nicht so weit kommen.

    Es ist zu schade, dass sich unser Wetterglück in dieser wahnsinnig schönen Stadt nicht fortsetzt. In Vancouver sind, wie in kaum einer zweiten Stadt auf dieser Welt, Großstadt und Natur so nah beieinander. Man hat nur selten das Gefühl, dass man in einer Weltstadt ist, da das Leben stets sehr gemütlich und ruhig abläuft. Wenn man Lust auf Stadtleben hat kann man sich in Downtown oder Gastown austoben. Einerseits mit den typischen Ketten in Downtown aber andererseits auch mit vielen kleinen süßen Boutiquen, Cafés und Bars in Gastown. Den Park für Entspannung braucht man in Vancouver nicht lange suchen. Gefühlt gibt es 1000 Grünflächen und fast 90% haben dabei einen Wasserzugang. Wenn man dem Stadtleben ganz entkommen will, fährt man eine Stunde mit dem Bus in die Berge. Hier können schöne Wanderungen mit oder ohne Bärenbegleitung unternommen werden und man verliert völlig das Gefühl, dass man irgendwie doch in einer Großstadt ist ... oder auch mal die Orientierung im verlassenen Wald.Read more

  • Day13

    Today was our second and final day on the Rocky Mountaineer. The service did not diminish and the extraordinary efforts by the staff to meet our every need and preempt it was maintained. Again, the staff at Kamloops, was standing in line to farewell us with the usual big smile and wave. The guest is clearly the most important element of their work and we are absolutely pampered. At times, such efforts to promote my comfort and happiness, felt awkward. We are so familiar with taking care of ourselves that when someone else rushes to do it for us and is so considerate of us, it can be both uncomfortable and delightful. I was offered an arm to get down from difficult steps, to take my bag, to put santising lotion on my hands and provide food service in both an efficient, thoughtful and cheerful way for the whole time. They were not standoffish, but friendly and prepared to have a joke. They treated us better than family, even to the point of remembering something about each of us and shaking our hands in a farewell . When we arrived in Vancouver, the Vancouver staff were waiting in a line, waving and smiling and holding flags to welcome us in the same way we had been sent off at Bamff and Kamloops. Clearly they have studied their processes and elevated the role of service to something far beyond that we are used to. Congratulations to Rocky Mountaineer!

    But what did we see and do today? And did we make our quota of wildlife?

    Our first surprise was as we travelled out of Kamloops. We slowed down as we passed a small graveyard. It was clearly quite old and not at all posh. Our guide on the train told us that this was the last resting place of the Kamloops Eight . It seems that as part of their initiation into adulthood of the local first nations people, the Shwapam peoples, young men were painted symbolically then sent out to kill a deer using stealth. They had to be extremely quiet. When they were successful they returned to the village and were admitted into adulthood. When it came to the First World War, some of the Shwapam men joined up and went to the front with the Canadian forces. While there, they were sent out to reconnoitre and identify the numbers and disposition of the enemy and come back with this critical information. As a result, or so it is claimed, the Canadian forces had lower casualties than any of the other national forces involved.

    Then along came the Second World War. This time it was all about secret communications. We had Enigma and Bletchley Park focusing on writing and deciphering codes. But there was one Canadian code that could not be broken. The young men of the Shwapam peoples were able to communicate all sorts of important information to each other in their traditional tongue and pass on secrets to their commanders. It had never been written down and only these young men knew it. This was a code that no-one could break. Again, it is asserted that this code enabled the Canadians to suffer some of the fewest casualties of the war. True or not, it is something worthy of consideration. Clearly these people hold a strong place in the hearts of their local and the wider Canadian peoples.

    As we gathered steam and passed more and more long goods trains (we were told that some could be as long as 4km!) we followed initially the South Thompson River, and then the Thompson River itself after passing the point of confluence of the South with the North Thompson. Thompson is another hero to the Canadians. He traipsed all over British Columbia, Alberta and much of Western Canada, mapping it out, documenting the rivers, meeting bands of first nations peoples and setting up trade routes. He is compared to Lewis and Clark, two famous American explorers, who sound like two jolly gentlemen on a jaunt across America, by contrast. Well, we know that Lewis and Clarke did an amazing job, but it seems that Thompson, without the fanfare, did better. He just loved the work and wouldn't leave it alone. He is credited as being one of the most important explorers EVER! Canadian pride is not to be challenged. What I find extraordinary is that his wife, a first nations woman, went with him often and between them they had 16 children. I can only hope that some of the story got left out because travelling with up to 16 children and more often than not, pregnant or feeding a child, would be hard enough for someone with a big car, a caravan, several tents, made roads and extensive road maps, but it seems she did it with fur pelts for shoes and clothes, while hunting for food, living under the stars or in makeshift tents, in what was extremely dangerous terrain, hungryvwild animals all around them and in all seasons, often in very deep snow. This woman needs greater recognition than her husband, if the story is complete. I hope that she occasionally got to stay home while he went off but no-one has mentioned it so far! Amazing!

    As for our wildlife quota, I have to admit some disappointment. I so wanted to get a decent picture of a bear, an elk, a deer or any of the other creatures on our list. Again my hopes were thwarted. By the time anyone spotted an animal, we had little time to point and click. Then, more often than not, one of the several billion trees in this country would just pop up and obscure the creature in the shot. If there were no tree, the photo was still distorted because of the window glare or speed or distance which made the image fuzzy. All I can say, as I have said before, a definite sighting but no photo. Sigh!

    Today there was a bear, but I missed him completely. Then there were horned sheep, all brown against a brown slope and a blur; a beautiful deer, visible for a nanosecond between tree clumps; but marginally more successful were the eagles. We saw quite a few bald eagles around the edge of a huge lake. They had white heads ( not bald at all), big talons and were generally sitting still on branches of dead trees watching for prey in the water. I saw one flying low across the surface of the water too but he was just scoping the area, not catching anything.

    We also saw the nests of Osprey, another apex predator, particularly with fish. These birds are large and nest on tops of tall trees and telephone and power poles. This is not healthy for the birds, nor jolly news for the power company so when seeing the intentions of the Osprey to set up house in a region, the locals mount a large pole near the modern infrastructure so the bird can nest and remain safe. I saw something similar in Switzerland with the stork. It was nice to see the effort being made. We didn't see the bird!

    Within the same region we were told to look out towards a hillside and see the work of the graduating classes of the secondary school students. It was very amusing. There on the hillsides were declarations about each graduating class. I could see examples going back over thirty years. How lovely of the town to allow them to do this and to maintain the tradition of putting up huge letters saying "Graduating Class" and the year, on the road out of town. It certainly beats making students feel unwelcome when they want to leave their mark. I suspect several generations of townsfolk have been responsible so I doubt if they could criticise the students. The owner of the land must also be a generous soul.

    There were several geographical features worthy of comment from today and they aren't about heights, distances, or nomenclature. One is the explanation of the types of rivers we have been following. High in the mountains where rivers are fed by glaciers, we have braided rivers. (They can occur anywhere if conditions are right.) This means that the river breaks up, comes back together again, shifts direction and then finds itself again after passing an island or some other divergent source. If you imagine braiding hair and excluding then including bands of hair but ultimately holding itself together, then that is how these rivers work. Lower down and with bigger rivers and more force in the water, the river tends to run as one. We have seen both now. When we finally left the Thompson River it met and joined the Fraser River, named after Thompson's admired competitor. This massive river force is also the source of the major salmon run in this part of the world. Much wealth for Western Canada and its natural health stems from this river. It is also how they transport many logs from the logging coops on the mountains.

    The other feature was one that had me a little concerned. We hugged the edges of steep mountain ranges for hundreds of miles. Many of the mountain faces were very steep and, to my eye, decidedly unsafe. We saw the avalanche shelters earlier in our trip and these shelters are absolutely necessary when snow comes down so heavily. But here we were at the end of summer and in these lower reaches we could not see any snow but there was frequent evidence of major mudslides, rockslides and signs of powerful erosion of sandy cliffs left by earlier geological forces. Our guide pointed out that in some of the more extreme and predictable cases, special fences carrying electrical signals catch the first wave of falling debris and send a message to say that the railroad must close until inspected and cleared. Well I saw over a hundred kilometres of seriously unstable surfaces, by my standards ( I am not brave when faced with the possibility of being engulfed by several tonnes of rocks) . I would have called it all, Avalanche Valley. I seemed to be the only one concerned so maybe I was over reacting, but I don't think so. I wonder how long it will be before we hear of the collapse of part of these canyons.

    Today's blog seems to have got very serious. Here is something delightful to finish. The Canadians have another word new to me. It is called a Parkade. It took me a time to work it out but it is a parking lot, presumably a little more sophisticated than a slab of tarmac, but not much more. It might be enclosed such as under buildings or, as I saw when arriving at our hotel, built just for bicycles. I shall watch its usage and try to refine its meaning. A job for tomorrow perhaps.
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