A Travellerspoint blog

Vancouver Island to Sydney

sunny 28 °C
View Peter and Leonie in USA and Canada 2012 on peterleonie2012's travel map.

G'day everyone from Engadine Sydney,

Well, as you can see we have made it home after the most wonderful and exciting holiday ever, so back to Wednesday to finish the details of our last few days.

Wed 15th August 2012 day 33

After signing of in Vancouver Airport just before boarding time, our China Eastern flight departed on time for Shangai, 11 hours flying time to the west. ( Not many blue eyed blondes on the plane!!!!!!!).
Our flight path took us over the southern part of Japan and as it was a clear day we were able to see many of the islands, mainland and coastline.

Thursday 16th August 2012 day 34

After a 4 hour layover in Pudong International Airport, Shangai - (the size of the airport is huge, about 10 times Sydney) we took off at 8.30pm for the 10 hour journey home.
An amazing sunrise greeted us as we flew south and after a scenic flight over Sydney we touched down at 9am on schedule.

Friday 17th August 2012 day 35

Home - bugger

Highlights and other random comments:-

Swimming at Waikiki Beach in July
Many Japenese tourists and signage all throughout Honolulu - funny this, no go in 1941 but now!!!!!
Las Vegas - no other city in the world can compare
Grand Canyon - one of the great natural wonders of the world
Death Valley - very well named as nothing is living here
Yosemite National Park - wonderful scenery - Tioga Pass into the park - must be driven to appreciate it............
Me walking on the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Club,
Driving over Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco
New York - see above for Vegas - so big and busy but seems to function well, safe, great customer service, friendly people, yellow cabs
Central Park - Boat House Brunch and boat ride on lake - Leonie's highlight
Washington - wonderful monuments and buildings
Vancouver - if we were to live in any other city in the world, this one wins hands down, great harbour, people
Canadian Rockies - the most amazing scenery we have ever seen- blue lakes, glaciers, canyons, rushing rivers, waterfalls.
Banff Springs Golf Club - their golf season is only 6 months of the year - under snow the rest,
The American People and their customer service, not only in hospitality but also in retail - we have many lessons to be learnt here, maybe the tipping system is the way to go!!!!!!!
American beer - no idea - no more to say
Canadian beer - no idea but found some good ones towards the end of our trip, especially on Vancouver Island
Canada - great people and great country, many aussies working here in pubs, cafes etc. they are always ready for a chat...........
High Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, Vancouver Island
Car ferry to/from Vancouver Island - efficiency at its very best
We enjoyed the best weather throughout USA and Canada, it rained a total of 3 times, 20 mins in Boston, 30 mins in Washington, 10 mins in NYC, temp ranged from low 20's in San Francisco to 43 deg in Death Valley, average about 30 every day
Hosts in our B and B's in Canada - excellent, excellent
Thank you reading our blog, for all of your comments and feedback - I have really enjoyed writing it.
and finally
Us aussies in USA and Canada - everyone loves Australia and its people.

Already thinking about the next one...............................................................


Pete and Leonie

Posted by peterleonie2012 02:02 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Kelowna to Vancouver Island

sunny 30 °C
View Peter and Leonie in USA and Canada 2012 on peterleonie2012's travel map.

G'day everyone from Vancouver International Airport 11-30am Wed 15th August.

Cant believe we are waiting at the gate for our depature to Shangai in China for our return to Sydney on Friday after what I can only describe as the best holiday we have been on.........more later and now back to Sunday 12th .............

Sunday 12th August 2012 day 30

After a lovely dinner the previous night at a Kelowna restraurant, we were up early for brekky as we had a deadline of 3pm in Vancouver to catch our ferry to Vancouver Island, and we were still 400k's away and not sure of the lie of the land regarding boarding etc. Brekky was on the deck of our B and B overlooking the lake and town and after bidding farewell to our hosts Steve and Christine we hit Trans Canada Highway 1 towards the west. Arriving at the ferry terminal about 1-45 pm we were confronted by long lines of cars waiting to board, however , because we had booked in advance in Sydney we were directed to the reserved lane, bypassing hundreds of cars to be only about 10 from first on - marvoulous I say..............
Still had about an hour to kill so waited in the departure lounge and watched closing ceremony from London games.
Boarding the ferry is a sight to behold - talk about effeicency......... people directing cars everywhere and soon we were in the lounge (dry ship)for 2 hour trip to our overnight stay in Nanaimo, a lovely harbour city on the eastern central coast side of the island . Digs were excellent as usual and after coming home from dinner, our host greeted us by singing Waltzing Matilda as we came in the front door, (he had spent many years of his childhood in Nth Queenslandand and remenbers singing it at school assembly). He could really sing as well - amazing).

Monday 13th August 2012 day 31

We decided to drive north along the coast exploring the island and around lunch time headed south for our next stop of Victoria, some 120k's south of Nanaimo. Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia, and is also the home city of the fabled Butchart Gardens.
Arriving around 3pm we checked into our digs in downtown Victoria and headed straight to the gardens about 20k's north. All I can say is that we left the best to last here, some of the most amazing collection of plants, flowers shrubs, landscaping and manicured lawns we have ever seen anywhere in the world. Leonie (aka Donna Burke ) was in her finest form here naming and describing many plants and flowers. After wandering around for nearly 2 hours we had dinner in of three restraurants, then the girls had their Carousal ride, and then watched a local group playing folk music while we waited for nightfall.
The gardens at night took on another personality and where amazing with lights in the various plants and the fountains lit up etc...............running out of words - one of the best..(Heather and Lynee Keane thinking of you both)

Tuesday 14th August 2012 day 32

Had brekky at the Lady Marmalade Cafe recommended by Blythe from our BBQ restraurant in Canmore and then walked down to the harbour of Victoria ( Mick Jenkins - I can remember you telling me about this city and you described it perfectly. Yes, you are transported back to any city in England situated by the water, beautiful sunny day, walking through the old town, onto Parliament House for a guided tour (no security check of any type!!!!!!!!!!! Would not happen in Oz or the States) and then onto an refurbished Scottish Pub called Bard and Bank Hotel (thought of DC here), after a couple of well earned Lighthouse Lagers, it was onto the Fairmont Empress Hotel for 3pm High Tea, this is a Grand old English style hotel where the Queen stays while visiting British Columbia.
After fillng up here we headed for our last stopover on the island to a town called Swartz Bay (Near Sidney) for our depature on Wed morning on the 8am ferry to Vancouver Airport. Again, no problems coming over and another warm sunny day about 27 deg, and after checking in, here I am sending you this.
Nearly boarding time, so will wrap up when we get home home on Friday and let you know all about China!!!!!!!!!!!!!and a summary of our trip .

Loved the USA and Love Canada even more..............!!!!!!!!!!

Love to all

Pete and Leonie

Posted by peterleonie2012 11:46 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Banff to Kelowna

sunny 31 °C
View Peter and Leonie in USA and Canada 2012 on peterleonie2012's travel map.

G'day everyone from Kelowna, 400k's east of Vancouver in British Columbia Canada

As you can see we have left the Rocky Mountains and after a whole day on the road we arrived in Kelowna at 5.30pm today, but back to Thursday.

Thurs 9th Aug 2012 day 27

At brekky this morning at our new B and B called Stella Alpina, we were seated with a Canadian couple couple from Windsor, Ontario, and after the usual introductions etc we discovered that they know people from Engadine that we know - Barry and Noelene (Ris - Tamaras folks friends) it is a long story to be told here but it is small world!!!!!!!!!!!!

A full day today as we headed towards the lakes of Louise, Emerald and Moraine.

First up was Lake Louise and the Fairmont resort - all very lovely especially the blue water of of the lake, next Lake Moraine, different colour blue, great views from the lookout, after here we headed to Emerald lake which was recommended to us by fellow guests at our B and B at Canmore, not as busy here so Leonie and Pierre hired a canoe and paddled around the lake while Trev set up the beers for a well earned refreshment. On the way to Emerald Lake we ckecked out the Natural Bridge, a river rushing through rocks etc and the Spiral Tunnels - a series of railway tunnels that turn back on themselves to enable trains to climb the steep hill on the divide into the Rocky Mountains. If a train had been here we could see it come out of one tunnel while still going in - bit hard to explain, google it for more details.(Nat - you would have liked this bit of engineering )

Fri 10th Aug 2012 day 28

Today our hosts suggested we head to a lookout over Banff than into Banff town, checking out Bow River falls, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, the golf course - (I stayed out of the pro shop!!!!!), Marble Canyon, then later in the day we headed 40k's south to a place called Mt Engadine - and a lodge in the middle of nowhere, were shown about by the owners and had a beer overlooking a river and the mountains - talk about peaceful.
Heading home in the evening we sighted a female moose feeding by the roadside, some really close up pics - Anne thought it was coming in the car at one stage it was so close to us.
At dinner this evening we got talking to a local - born and raised in Somalia -the eldest of 29 children, his dad had 4 wives, he is Muslim so cant drink, but after moving to Canada decided he wanted to drink so changed his name from Mohammad to Timothy O'Reilly (because the Irish love a beer) - well, we were nearly on the floor with laughter at his story telling!!!!!!!!!!!.

Sat 11th Aug 2012 day 29

Up early today for our 500km journey west towards Vancouver and onto Vancouver Island. We finally said goodbye to the Rocky Mountains and drove into farming, crops, and fruit growing areas.
Our overnight stop is at Kelowna, a city on the banks of Lake Okanagan, a huge lake that runs north -south for about 120 k's. Our B and B tonight is amazing, up on a hill overlooking the lake and city- a view to die for!!!!
It is now Sunday morning 7-30am 12th Aug and we leave today for another 400km drive to catch the 3 pm ferry to Vancouver Island, so have to finish to head to brekky.

Bye for now - I probably have 1 more blog before heading home on Wed from Vancouver Airport - cant believe it is nearly at an end but have had the best time, we love Canada and its people - very much like home and us - and very different from the USA.

Love to all from Pierre and Leonie

Posted by peterleonie2012 07:01 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Vancouver To Banff

sunny 30 °C
View Peter and Leonie in USA and Canada 2012 on peterleonie2012's travel map.

G'Day everyone from Canmore (Just outside Banff in the Canadian Rockies)

Since our last blog on Sat, we have been very busy looking around Vancouver and then on the train to Jasper for 24 hours (no Wi Fi here) and finally driven to Canmore where I am sending this, so back to Vancouver.............

Sun 5th August 2012 day 23

The day dawned again sunny and clear and after a nice Sunday lie in and after brekky it was a short walk to downtown Vancouver where the annual Pride Day march was to commence at 12 noon. Pride day is our equivalent of our Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, our host at the B and B suggested we watch the march from Robson St so down we went. Very unusual as it started at noon, and to say we saw some very interesting people and sights would be an understatement indeed !!!!!!!!!!!!
After an hour or so and the tempeture rising to above 30 deg, we walked 30 mins to Stanley Park, the huge urban park surrounded by the harbour and ocean, and jumped on the trolly bus for a tour around the park. After an hour, we headed back to our digs to collect our bages and head to the station for our overnight journey to Jasper on "The Canadian". We decided to check our bags in early and head up the road to the "London Pub" for a few well earned refreshments and dinner as this was not provided on the train, as we had a 8-30pm departure.
Boarding time finally arrived, and it was into unchartered waters as we did not know what to expect regarding sleeping arrangements etc, we were quickly settled in by our hostess Emily and then by Natalie our bar and drinks attendant. Not much rocking required tonight..........

Mon 6th August 2012 day 24

An early start for brekky after a very good sleep on the train and arrived at Kamloops. After a 4 hour delay in Kamloops (problems with the water supply in the first 3 carriages) we headed off towards Jasper and the famed Canadian Rockies.
After lunch, we finally started our journey through the mountains, and we sat mesmerised in the glass roof dome carriage all afternoon, passing alongside raging rivers (they have had heaps of rain in the last few weeks) waterfalls and snow/ice topped craggy peaks.
We were due into Jasper at 4pm but after our delay we arrived 8pm after nearly 24 hours on the train, and walked to our digs, then down to the pub for dinner and drinks at 9-30pm to be greeted by barman Alec, a bloke from the Gold Coast, we chatted to him for a while and he said that it can get to minus 45 during winter in Jasper - cant believe it can so cold.......................

Tues 7th Aug 2012 day 25

Another beautiful day, clear and sunny, and after brekky, Trevor and I walked back to the station to collect our rental car.
After consulting with our hosts we set out to tour the local district, seeing such sights as Athabasca Falls, Edith Cavell glacier, Maligne Canyon, (the road to Maligne lake was closed due to massive mud slides) and then onto Jasper Lodge Country Golf Club, wher Pierre checked out the pro shop and had his photo taken on the first tee, and of course bought a shirt as well. Also wandered through the resort and and then into the shops and walked around, booked ouselves in for dinner, dropped the car home and walked back later. Anne and I had the best steaks and afterwards walked home at 10-15pm in the broad daylight (amazing).

Wed 8th Aug 2012 day 26

Leaving Jasper at 8-30 we commenced our journey south towards Banff on the fabled Icefields Parkway. I have seen it written that this is the best and most beautiful drive in the world, and after today I have to agree.
I cant find the words to describe it, but here are a few - mountains peaks covered by ice and snow, glaciers, raging rivers, waterfalls charging through narrow canyons, blue lakes, Douglas Fir trees everywhere, rocky mountain outcrops, - the camera again in meltdown mode, and all of this before reaching Lake Louise and Banff. A most stunning day indeed. We reached Lake Louise around 3ish in the arvo and as it was very busy we decided to continue to our digs in Canmore some 70 k's south and return first thing tomorrow.
After checking in to the Stella Alpina B and B we are finally back onto the internet...................
We have 3 nights here, tomorrow Lake Louise and Fri checking out Banff etc. Our hosts have also suggested a few local drives in the local area, which takes us past Engadine Lodge..........might have to have a few photos here..

Still having the best time, Trevor, Anne , Leonie and me are in excellent health, have not had a thing go wrong and now in the living room in our digs................the only thing depessing is that the trip is fast coming to an end...............till next time.

Love Pierre and Leonie

Canmore 5-30pm 8th Aug

Posted by peterleonie2012 15:47 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Washington to Vancouver

sunny 30 °C
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G'Day everyone from Vancouver Canada

It is Saturday arvo here - Sunday morning your time and we have just returned to our digs after another full day exploring this most wonderful city. To continue our travels we go back to Thursday in Washington.

Thursday 2nd August 2012 Day 20

Marisa leaves us today to return to New York for another week of site seeing and shopping, and we fly to Vancouver via Chicago.

We started the day by saying goodbye just over a week after meeting her in Boston after her Library conference, and we caught the local bus service to Union Station where the Poatal Museum is located. This Smithosian Museum gives a history of the US postal service from days of the Pony Express and Stagecoach era to the present day. Was thinking of you Mick Jenkins while wandering around - a very interesting time indeed.

After this we walked across to The US Capitol Building and booked into a guided tour of the main public areas. We were guided through rooms displaying statues of past Presidents and founders of the various states etc. and then into the "Rotunda" the huge round dome that we are all familiar with. This was definetely the "Wow" factor here - it is enourmous with marble floor and fresco around the walls and dome ceiling - thought we were back in Rome. Also huge paintings of significant events throughout US history. A well worth visit indeed.
By this it was approaching time to head to to the airport for our flight back to the west and into Canada.
Got chatting to our cab driver and I mentioned that we could not fly direct to Vancouver from Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, and he replied that there are no International flights to or from this airport as it is too close to the Pentagon and White House - and when we took off we did a sharp left turn so as not to fly over the main city/White House, very interesting!!.

After about 1-5 hour stopover in Chicago, (just a comfortable time to grab something to eat and have a beer) we left US soil for the last time.
We thorougly enjoyed the nearly 3 weeks here - the people were very friendly and the Customer Service far exceeded our expectations.......
Another 4 hours flight time and we landed in Vancouver about 11-15pm (local time), and after going through passport control/customs etc we arrived at our digs and finally into bed at 12-45am.

Friday 3rd August 2012 Day 21

Woke reasonably fresh after a big day and met Trevor and Anne who had also flown in the previous evening, and after not drawing breath over brekky we set out to explore Vancouver. We did not know much about the 3rd largest city in Canada, had really not much idea what to see or what to do, so it was "suck it and see" - what a surprise was install for us.
We set out for the 10 min walk to downtown to find the tempature a pleasant 21 deg or so and after high humidity and 35 plus in Washington this was a pleasant change. First up was "Canada Place" on the waterfront and similiar to our Darling Harbour, after looking about we noticed a sea plane joy flight company, and after making a few enquiries we were taxing down Vancouver Harbour for a 30 min flight over the city and out over islands, mountains, and Stanley Park.etc.....WOW WOW what a way to start.......................
Next we ventured into a display featuring a brief outine of the history of Canada, the 1812 war between USA and Britian, after leaving this we were approached by a girl selling tickets on the hop on/off bus - the best aussie accent here as she was from Wollongong - she has been here for a year or so and had also been to Whistler. After chatting with Janelle, we decided to catch a bus upto the Capilano Suspension bridge, a wooden bridge held up with rope over a gorge some 150m in the air - this also included a tree top walk and cliff walk, not for anyone scared of heights!!!
After this we headed to "Gastown" the old part of the city - "The Rocks" of Vancouver -t he highlight was a steamdriven clock that lets steam and smoke out the top when striking the hour - which just happened to be 4pm - refreshment time so we headed to the Gastown brewery for well earned beers. I might mention here that the beers throughout the USA and now Canada have been woeful, except for a bar in NYC, we have not really found anything that we have really enjoyed, so we just have to keep trying!!!!!!!!!!!!! -
Back to our digs before out again to a seafood dinner - a really memorable day.

Saturday 4th August 2012 Day 22.

Another beautiful day, a bit warmer but stll not a cloud in the sky. Today we headed towards False Creek and jumped on the most cute little ferry to Granville Island, this was an industrial area until the '70's, now a trendy food market, galleries, and shops etc. The girls and Trevor enjoyed it.............Next another ferry to Yaletown, and yes we finally did it - found the Yaletown Brewery and enjoyed a couple of their local brews......very nice. Walked to Chinatown and the Dr Sun Yet -Sen Classical Chinese Garden, then home via Stephos, a Greek Tavern recommended to us by our host to book in for dinner tonight.
I mention that it is a public holiday here on Monday (BC Day) big fireworks display tonight and their gay and lesbian mardi gras tomorrow night - so there are some very interesting sights while walking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow we head to Jasper on the overnight train, then pick up a rental car and start motoring through the Rocky Mountains.......more wow factor to look forward to.

We are all still in the best of health and really enjoying ourselves and the warm weather......

Love and Best Wishes to everyone

Pierre (Just about every sign is in French as well) and Leonie

Posted by peterleonie2012 17:15 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

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