Archive for September, 2009

Canada trip

Monday, September 28th, 2009

This is rather late, but better late than never!

We made a trip to Canada this summer and here’s a bit of a write-up about it.
We arrived in Vancouver mid-day on a Saturday and we were still fit enough to go into town and explore a bit. The kids handled the flight very well, got a bit of sleep, but not too much and had enough energy to see the town. We arranged our car rental and the tourist things the next day at the tourist info centre. We were able to get a discount on the car and the events and a lot of good information about vancouver and Banff.

Around Vancouver there were a lot of statues colourfully painted in different designs around Vancouver and Evan and Lauren wanted to have pictures taken with them, so we have a lot of shots of the kids all around town!

On the Sunday we took the ferry over to north Vancouver and went to the “CARLIOTA” tree bridges, which sounded interesting for the kids. There were a number of rope bridges connecting trees and a large bridge across a valley. There was also a tree-top bridge circuit, which made me feel a bit like an ewok in the last Star-Wars movie! It was very cool, but Nicole was a bit frightened of it all – not liking heights and all.

On the ferry back we met some nice british tourists, who really took to Lauren.

We then went to the Telus Science Centre which the kids really liked. They had presentations on phobias and bubbles and Lauren and I went to reptiles section where we got to hold boa constrictors and other snakes, lizards etc. They also had a very hands-on section with pulleys, sounds, water etc which was really great. The kids were really into the experiments and we closed the centre which was great!

On the way home, we went through Granville and took a small boat to get over the water, but couldn’t find any restaurants open to eat (it was Sunday night and most places seemed to be closed) so we ate in the hotel, which was surprisingly good. The kids got to eat for free too!

The next day Evan and I went to pick up the car. Fortunately they upgraded us, so we got a nice Lincoln car instead of a Nissan, which was very nice to drive.

The drive out to Banff was terrific! We planned to drive about half-way, which was around Kelowna or so. The drive was terrific, albeit wet, since it rained most of the way. The mountains around Vancouver were terrific and despite the mid-summer time, lots of snow on the peaks. Kelowna was really nice and by that time it was pleasantly sunny and warm! Really nice environment.

We didn’t arrange any accomodation and by 7pm we decided to stay in Salmon Arm which looked nice. We tried a few places that were listed in our accomodation guide we picked up somewhere along the way but they were either full or didn’t appeal to us, so we found a place which was a bit expensive, but really super! The rooms were beautifully laid out, with super-soft duvets. I really enjoyed the place, even though it was very expensive. They also had a terrific pool, which we didn’t go into because it was raining. The lifeguard there (we think) was a rugby player who lived in NZ for a while.

We moved on to Banff which was really beautiful. The kids were quite good during the trip, despite them being very bored in the car. Evan was quite annoying in general, but good enough that we didn’t have to stop and discipline him.

Coming into Banff we saw a moose eating in the bog area. We didn’t get very close and we drove past pretty quickly but it was neat anyways. We checked into out hotel (quite nice) and wandered around Banff town. We had spotted a place that does fondue so we went there. The kids really enjoyed playing with the cheese, but they didn’t like to eat it. Evan started out well, eating it nicely, but soon decided he didn’t like it. For dessert we got a chocolate fondue, which everybody liked, but I didn’t eat much of, since I was over-full from eating the fondue that nobody else wanted.

Nicole fell ill that night – perhaps the Corona she drank, or maybe something in the fondue, but she was better fairly quickly.

The next day we went to Safeway and bought some breakfast and then planned our day. It was raining so we tried to find indoor things, so we went up the mountain (it stayed dry long enough for us) and we went to the caves and then we also went to the hot-springs, which everybody really liked. It was quite a bit cooler than the usual onsen and it was wierd being surrounded by gaijin rather than Japanese people but nice. Evan also found some money (25c) which he then lost but in the process of recovering it, he found $2.20. So he was very happy with the hot springs!

We took the gondola up the mountain in Banff to the top of Sulphur mountain. There were great views of the Rockies and a bit of wildlife. Lauren particularly loved playing with the chipmunks that lived near the peak.
That night we went to a lovely Korean restaurant and we could use our Japanese there, which was fun.

On the way home, Lauren somehow dropped her stuffed toy cat in the flowerbed and the next morning we made a search for her. Strangely, when we mentioned it to the check-out person, she said she noticed a teddybear sitting in the flowerbed next-door, so we looked but it wasn’t there, however when asking about it in the office, they said they had it! So a tragic ending to Lauren’s favourite toy was averted!
We wandered around Banff a bit and saw the Bow Falls (which we said was named after Lauren’s pet cat “Bow”) and saw the Banff Springs Hotel which looked really great. We saw some gophers outside the hotel and the kids really took to the gophers.

On the way home, we drove via Lake Louise which was lovely. It would have been nice to spend more time there, but we had to go. We drove to a place called Creston which was a lovely small town and we stayed in a nice motel that had lovely owners and a great pool which we used in the morning and evening!

The drive through to Vancouver was really nice and I felt it was nicer than driving up to Banff via Kelowna and Salmon Arm. We drive through great mountains on smaller roads with fewer people (it was Thursday so I guess that helped), but the mountains seemed a lot nicer. So many trees everywhere! Amazing! We also drove through some nice orchards etc.
We also drove through a town called Erickson which I thought was funny – also an “unincorporated” sign!
We got back to the hotel (Holiday Inn Downtown) quite late and had food in the hotel again, which was good. Up early the next morning and drove to the airport and dropped off the car at the airport. Evan almost forgot his money he found in the car when we left, but it was there still when we went back to check it (thankfully it was a domestic flight, so we could easily go back to the parking lot).

The flight out to Toronto went quite well and Grandma was there to pick us up.

Our time in St. Catharines was very restful and the kids had a great time with Grandma helping with the lawn mowing and shopping. There is a children’s pool nearby and we went there a few times to escape the heat.

We also spent some time at Shah and Ellie’s who have a terrific pool and backyard area.

Evan and Wesley got on like houses on fire – they are around the same age.

Evan also made friends with the boy across the street – Bryson