Well – suddenly it’s stopped being a surreal future, and instead it hits home as “here and now”. As I’m writing this we’ve just got through our first day on the road, and we’re in Canada – which hasn’t been as difficult as we’d imagined, but it’s been a lot, lot longer. Emily woke at 2am, and […]Read more "And they’re off…to Vancouver"
Well, we’ve been in Canada since Wednesday evening, and we’re sitting in a coffee shop now, updating our diary. Our first impressions? Canadians seems incredibly friendly, and Vancouver seems like a wonderful city – relaxed, with lots of greenery – and amazingly considerate drivers. Every time we wonder whether we’re safe to cross the road […]Read more "2 days in…and loving it"
Well, we’ve had a bit longer to get used to it now, and to recover from the jet lag. And it really is fantastic to be doing this. The children are having a great time – enjoying exploring all of the places that they can, and becoming more relaxed within strange environments. After a few […]Read more "Wow!"
We’re staying in a little lakeside cabana (if ever there was a good example of marketing, this must be it – in England we’d call this a “shed”, but by calling it a “cabana” you create all kinds of cutsey images). It’s got a bench downstairs, which the children sleep on, and then a suspended […]Read more "Lakeside Gardens – Living in the garden shed"
Today we had to leave Salt Spring Island, as it was time to go to Victoria, on Vancouver Island (a very quick geography lesson was needed when we first got here: Vancouver is a city, on the mainland; Vancouver Island is an offshore island, a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride away, which is nothing to […]Read more "Leaving Salt Spring Island…and on to pastures new"
We’d been offered three choices for whale watching – a rigid inflatable (zodiac), where you sit in the full immersion/survival suit for 3 hours, a big catamaran, or a small silver, odd-looking boat. We chose the silver one because it had an inside deck, whereas all the others were open all round. As it turned […]Read more "Whale watching"
Today was the closest we’ve been to normality. A family we’d met on Salt Spring Island invited us over to their house for lunch. Alix and Brian had three children – Anna (6), Will (3) and Reid (1) – who had lots of toys. Charlotte and Emily had a fantastic time playing with all of […]Read more "Being normal"
On Saturday night, in Victoria’s Beacon Park, we went to the Lumina Festival. This is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. For a start, it was a family oriented festival starting at 9 o’clock in the evening – but the reason for this is that it’s a lantern festival. The park is given over […]Read more "Luminara 2003"
Yes, I know, it’s an awful pun, but it is late at night as I write this, and my good jokes don’t work late (aha, says Uncle Euan, your good jokes don’t work early either). Anyway, Sunday was a rush day, with loads packed in. (If you are one of those people who wonder what […]Read more "Sealing a great trip to Victoria"
We were back to the same downtown hostel we originally stayed at. That was quite nice for us all – somewhere familiar and a kitchen where we know where everything is! This morning the girls and I went to Science World while Sarah caught up with the mail. Charlotte enjoyed herself playing with all the […]Read more "Vancouver – Back to the City"
Wow, we’re in a celebrity town. Or at least, a town which thinks its a celebrity. All over the place are flags saying “Squamish – Heart of the Winter Olympics 2010”, because the Olympics are coming to the region in 7 years time. However, “Heart of” is the kind of phrase I’d invent in my […]Read more "Squamish – Heart of the Winter Olympics – 2010"
We’ve left the coast, and are heading towards the Rockies. Today we completed the first part of the journey, from Squamish (right on the coast) to the village of Squilax, on Shuswap Lake. We started off on Route 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, which winds up from Vancouver, through Squamish and Whistler following the […]Read more "Roasting to the Rockies"
Our current hostel (HI Shuswap Lake at Squilax) is exciting because most of the accommodation is in “cabooses” – these are the carriages that you see on the end of the long trains in the old westerns, where the guard sits, and the baddies always meet their untimely end. And, if my memory is right, […]Read more "Squilax, Shuswap Lake"
Well, we’ve had our first bit of real tense-excitement now on our trip. The area that we are in has been declared a “National Emergency Area”, because of raging forest fires. It started with a single trail of smoke on the northern horizon, which grew and grew into an ugly streak across the sky. Then […]Read more "Fire, Smoke and Evacuation"
We’re now in Revelstoke, a calm and peaceful town between the smoke and fire around Kamloops, and the tourist-filled roads of the Rockies. The air here is much clearer, and we can see the high peaks of the Rockies to our East. The town is absolutely beautiful – full of wooden houses which have been […]Read more "Revelstoke – Oasis of calm"
First the BBC director Mat phoned. As a result of the forest fires we were in a different town to the original plan – some 150 miles to the east of where the crew were standing! But we’d warned them already, so while we were able to have a relaxing morning, they had a drive […]Read more "BBC Day 1 – Revelstoke"
Well, we’re now travelling in a different way to normal backpackers – not just because we’re doing it with two small children, but also because we’ve got a camera team with us, working for the BBC Holiday programme. The idea is that they’ll follow us for ten days, and at the end of that have […]Read more "Life with the BBC"
Today was our first full day with the BBC crew, and because of last night’s late finish, we had a lie-in until 9.00, then met them at 10:30 at the Parks Visitor Centre in the middle of town. They’d already been busy, and had completed an interview with a park ranger on the state of […]Read more "May the force be with you (in Jasper)"
Before I write any more, I have to say “WOW”. Today we drove down the most amazing road, the length of the Rockies from Jasper to Banff. It was around 150 miles, and it took us 10 hours, because we had a couple of long stops, but also because we didn’t want to rush past […]Read more "Down the Icefields Parkway"
When we arrived in Banff last night, we found out that the hostel is about 50% more than on the coast (around £40 for a family room, compared to £20 in Vancouver). On a budget of $120 (Canadian Dollars) a day, spending $95 on accommodation would blow away the daytime options. But fortunately, although we’re […]Read more "Banff – Expensive, tacky and beautiful"
Sometimes I wonder whether it feels odd to the crew, because they are just around us for 10 days, and then going onto their next project, and I guess they’ll never see us again. Whereas for us, as backpackers, being with people for 10 days is a long time and a pretty intensive experience. As […]Read more "Living with the BBC (well not literally)"
Today was a day of moving, and not moving. The plan was to leave Banff and end up in Revelstoke. Along the way we were stopping to see Kicking Horse resort. As soon as we met the crew we changed the plan – we definitely wanted to see Lake Louise, and so we said that […]Read more "On the road with Auntie Beeb – Day 5"
Today we woke up in Revelstoke in the SameSun Hostel (it’s good – a wooden building with solid oak floors, nice staff and friendly guests). The original plan had been to drive across to Kelowna today, without doing any filming. But Revelstoke cries out to be filmed, as it’s full of old wooden buildings, and […]Read more "Revelstoke – a spiffing city"
We’re famous! The Banbury Guardian saw our website last week, and picked up on the Canadian forest fires that we’d written about. And lo and behold, on their website (and presumably in the paper), they’ve written a story on it – they’d emailed asked for our thoughts, and there they are in the article. It […]Read more "In Flame Infamy"
Today we woke up in Kelowna. The hostel, which is much more friendly and informal than the others we’ve stayed at, had a keg party last night (think of the old Party 7 cans and make it bigger). Anyway, although it was on the deck outside our bedroom window, everybody had kept really quiet because […]Read more "Kelowna – nice but wasted time"
Today we moved from Kelowna to Vancouver – it’s a distance of around 400 kilometres – 250 miles. (Here’s an odd thing – although Canada is in North America, it seems to be trying to be in Europe too – they measure distance in kilometres and metres, not miles and feet like the Americans, and […]Read more "Driving, driving, driving me mad…"
Today was “the Vancouver day” for the BBC. We had to pack in a complete filming section for the whole of Vancouver, and boy, did we pack it in. We started at 8.00 outside our favourite coffee shop, being filmed walking down the street, and then buying/drinking coffee and updating our website via the wireless […]Read more "Vancouver at warp speed"