Off To Canada (Again)

Holidays in Canada


Leave a comment

Hotels

Back in 1988 our hosts took us on a brilliant road trip through the Rockies in their Westfalia van. We stopped in Kamloops on the way to visit their friends and then stayed at a few cheap motels in both Jasper and Banff. While we were there they also took us to see Lake Louise and into Chateau Lake Louise and it’s there that my (our) love of those historic Fairmont hotels started. We’ve since stayed in quite a few of them (7) but have a few to go to get the full set. Chateau Frontenac is high on that list for me.

For this trip, as it’s a special occasion we’re returning to two of our favourite hotels and staying in one for the first time. I’m not including the first night as we’re just grabbing some sleep in an airport hotel and I picked basically the closest one to the airport. So on our first full day we’re driving up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler and staying at the Four Seasons. We stayed there once before towards the end of our epic road trip  in 2013. We loved it so much that we said that if we ever got the chance we’d love to go back. As it’s our 30th wedding anniversary we thought this would be as good a time as any to make that happen.

The last time we arrived at the hotel, we did so after a very long muddy drive from Nimpo Lake and I have to say, we both felt embarrassed at the lumps of mud clinging to the side of the car when the valet parking guys took the keys. We loved the room, the staff, the cocktail bar and the amazing steak restaurant in the hotel and we’re really looking forward to returning.

After four nights in Whistler we’re taking the two hour drive (that timing will be checked before we depart) to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal to catch a boat over to Vancouver Island to spend four nights at the Brentwood Bay  Resort, about 30 minutes outside Victoria. We’ve actually stayed here twice before, once back in 2008 on our West Coast Adventure and again in 2013 at the start of our road trip. We love the location, the rooms, the food, the spa (ok Amanda loved the spa) and the pub (ok that was my favourite) and we can’t wait to visit again. This time we have longer so we intend to explore Victoria much more than we got the chance to do 31 years ago, not to mention it’s probably changed a lot since then. Back in 1988, I’m now ashamed to say, we went to the Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria to watch the orca show. The trainers told us (now it seemed ‘lied’ is the correct term) that the orcas could at any point easily jump over the barrier holding them in and they could return to the wild and they stay because they get fed and enjoy the activities. One of the beautiful creatures there was named Tilikum and if you have watched the documentary Blackfish you know all about Tilikum. I guess those were different times and looking back I’m horrified and saddened that we went there and paid money that perpetuated the captivity of these animals. I’m sorry. I truly am. Sealand closed in 1992 which is the only good bit of that sad tale.

Our last stop on this trip is in Vancouver itself and we have five nights in the centre of the city, staying at the Four Seasons. Although we’ve visited Vancouver a number of times, it’s usually only for a night or two, either at the start of at the end of a trip. The exception of course is 31 years ago when we travelled into the centre from Surrey quite a few times but the city has changed quite a bit since then. I’m hoping to get some tickets for the hockey while we’re there and as we have a car we can explore the parts that have been more difficult previously. We’re opposite the Vancouver Art Gallery and there happens to be an exhibition there that I really want to see. Other things on the list…Japadog, craft beers, poutine, Capilano and probably a whole lot more that we’ll try and squeeze in.

Should be fun.

 

 


Leave a comment

Some Canadian memories

I am often asked why we have been to Canada so many times and why we continue to visit. So here’s the short (ish) reason.

In September 1988 Amanda and I boarded a Wardair flight to Vancouver. This was only the third time I’d flown at this point and certainly the furthest. The flights were an early wedding present from Amanda’s mum. We were getting married the following year but had the chance to have an ‘early honeymoon’ in Canada and it turned out to be a very wise decision but that’s another story. We were going to spend the next 5 weeks staying with Amanda’s cousin and her husband in Vancouver and were really looking forward to this incredible opportunity and adventure.

Personally I was incredibly excited about flying with Wardair. This mythical company offered higher quality service at pretty much economy prices, one of the reasons it went out of operation the following year maybe? Fillet steak served on proper china with metal cutlery and wine in real glasses. After only flying on a package holiday charter to Tunisia perviously this felt like we were flying first class believe me.

On arriving at Vancouver airport, after a brief stop in Edmonton, we disembarked feeling like we hadn’t slept in 2 days….. it was more like 26 hours at this point. Honestly I don’t remember much about the journey to Surrey from the airport but I do remember arriving at the house and I remember our hosts. A more welcoming and lovely couple I don’t think I’ve ever met. They opened up their home to us, shared their friends with us and introduced us to the most amazing country. This is something we’ve never forgotten and why we have returned 9 times. We’ve visited Vancouver, Victoria, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto. We’ve taken a 13 hour ferry journey north up the BC coast and caught a train right across the country. I’ve been in a helicopter over Niagara Falls and driven roads so quiet that we didn’t see another car for over 3 hours. We’ve seen bald eagles, coyote, a BIG Grizzly bear, black bears, mountain sheep and elk, we’ve seen humpback whales and dolphins and orca and grey whales and sea otters. We’ve watched hockey in Vancouver, Toronto (Go Leafs Go), Montreal and Ottawa, Basketball and baseball in Toronto. We’ve stayed in lakeside lodges and five star hotels and historic chateau – like hotels and cheap motels. We’ve sweated in spring in Toronto and summer in Vancouver and frozen in Alberta in November. We’ve driven on highways and unpaved roads and frozen roads and through rain so hard you could barely SEE the road.

We are enchanted by Canada and hope that we will be able to continue to visit for many years to come. I still have ideas of trips I want to do and places I want to see. I want to visit the Northwest Territories and Yukon, I want to drive across country, coast to coast, I want to see more of Nova Scotia and visit, Newfoundland and New Brunswick, as well as explore Quebec and Ontario more, and we would still love to see polar bears in Churchill.

Canada and us still have unfinished business.


Leave a comment

Hey. We’re off to Canada again

This year (2019) marks the 31st anniversary of our first trip to Canada. We spent 5 amazing weeks in BC staying with Amanda’s cousin in Surrey. While we were there we travelled around in a Volkswagen Westfalia and visited friends in Kamloops, went to Banff and Jasper, stayed in Whistler and popped over to Victoria. This was the start of a long standing love affair with Canada.

This year is also our 30th wedding anniversay and so where else would we go to celebrate it?

At the beginning of November, we fly to Vancouver for 2 weeks. We’ll spend our actual anniversary in Whistler before driving down to Tsawassen to get the ferry to Victoria and chill out at a spa resort in Brentwood Bay. Finally we’ll get the ferry back and have 5 whole days to spend in Vancouver itself before flying back home.

It’s been 6 years since we last visited Vancouver and even then it was a short visit at the end of a long road trip so we’re looking forward to exploring. In fact, although we’ve visited all three places before, we plan on exploring a lot more in general …. ok apart from Whistler….that’s just going to completely chill out luxury. As it’s a special occasion we’ve pushed the boat out a little for this trip and that starts with the flights.

Originally I booked with British Airways (we always fly BA because of the amazing service we’ve always had flying with a wheelchair) back in December 2018, choosing Premium Economy. We find the extra space, having only two seats instead of the usual three, makes a huge difference for Amanda. Then…well….I got an email from BA with a special offer to upgrade to business class and I took it. So our flights went from being not cheap to definitely not cheap. On the flip side we get to use the lounge at Heathrow so I’ll be filling my pockets with food while I’m there and getting drunk on champagne….. they do have champagne right?

Last time we were in Canada, flying back from Calgary, we were given a free upgrade to business class. Airlines know what they’re doing when they give you a free upgrade. It’s like drug dealers giving you a free hit. Once you’ve tasted the good life and a reclining bed on a long flight it’s hard to go back, so when the email came through with the offer (suggestion?) that I should upgrade, of course I did. Damn them.

Next time I’ll go through the hotels we’re staying in.

Brentwood Bay


1 Comment

Yep, we’re off to Canada again…..not just yet though

Insomnia doesn’t strike me very often (thankfully) but at least when it does I do something useful….sort of….like write a blog post about something that’s almost 2 years away.

2017 is a big year for one member of this family…. and it’s not me or Elmo. Amanda will hit the big 50 and to celebrate I said we could go anywhere in the world for a big holiday. It’s no surprise that we’re going back to our favourite place and we’re hopeful that we can go for 3 weeks rather than 2. Things are bit up in the air at the moment as ideally we’d love our best friends to come with us. We’ve yet to discuss the practicalities of such a trip, such as the amount of time, the amount of money, whether they could stand being with us for 3 whole weeks anyway, but we’ll sort something out. It’d just be nice to share the places we love with the people we love.

So, in the interest of this not being just me writing, I wish, I wish, here is what I propose…..

  • We fly to Vancouver and collect the hire cars
  • Catch the ferry to Vancouver Island and stay in Brentwood Bay for 2 nights
  • Drive over to the West Coast and stay in the Tofino area for a few nights
  • Drive to Port Hardy in the North
  • Catch the ferry to Bella Coola
  • Go Grizzly watching
  • Drive to Williams Lake…..

I know, I know….this sounds a lot like our last trip doesn’t it? Well clever clogs, it’s so not…read on…..

  • Drive to Jasper and stay for a couple of nights
  • Drive to Lake Louise and stay for a couple of nights
  • Drive to Kamloops and stay for a night
  • Drive to Whistler and stay for a few nights
  • Finally onto to Vancouver for a few nights before flying home

How does that sound? Pretty nifty eh? Now this will probably change (a lot or slightly, who knows?) before the main event. After all it’s quite some distance away yet but things have to be planned so we can save up the money to go.

If (and we hope this is the case) they are coming with us and can only do 2 weeks then we can do a cut down version, but otherwise this is my ideal trip. I’ll do all the arranging and booking, all they have to do is agree and pay me some money along the way as things like flights, ferries and the like get paid in advance.

We’ve had some amazing holidays and this one could be the best of the lot.


Leave a comment

Au revoir Whistler, Bonjour Vancouver

The main route between Vancouver and Whistler is called the Sea to Sky Highway and it’s easy to see why. After a short drive you can see the water while at the same time huge mountains surround you. We made several stops and as Amanda was driving I was quite demanding. “Stop”… “Quick, pullover” and she was quite obliging which I’ll probably pay for at some point.

It seemed really strange to suddenly be in amongst heavy traffic as we came into Vancouver. We’d gotten so used to driving on almost empty roads over the past week, sometimes not seeing another vehicle for almost two hours, the difference  was incredible. We had a delay crossing the Lions Gate Bridge but that just gave us chance to enjoy the view of the city and the crossing into Stanley Park. It was a bit difficult for the tourists navigating through the city traffic but we got there and first impressions of the Fairmont Pacific Rim was very good. Very new, modern and ‘trendy’ without seeming unfriendly. The electronic keys are just touched to the readers to open the doors and inside everything can be controlled by the iPad in the room. Curtains, temperature, lights all touch controlled, not to mention being able to place reservations for dinner, call your car from the valet parking, order a newspaper, just about everything. Tech lovers dream. Oh oh oh…and the tv has a great sound bar giving excellent surround sound to go with the 42″ screen, oh and the bathroom has a magic mirror that has a tv built into it. OMG I could seriously live in this room. Nespresso machine, a desk with multiple chargers built in so charge my MacBook, iPhone, iPad etc, even the lights have mood settings so you can set it for ‘welcome’ when you come back in the evening, or ‘relax’. Brilliant.

Once we’d checked in and Amanda prised me away from all the electronic toys in the room, we went for a stroll along the harbour. I know some people already know this about me, and I’m sorry that the majority of people feel differently but I really hate the hot weather. HATE IT. I want to stay indoors with air conditioning and shade. I don’t want to sweat it out with all the other sweaty people pretending to enjoy it while saying ‘wow it’s hot today’ and taking all the shady spots which SHOULD BE MINE. If you love the summer, sod off and sit in the sun and leave the shady places for pale skinned, ex gingers who detest the scorching cancer causing radiation. There, rant over. I took some nice photos though and the city looks stunning from this viewpoint.

The digital Orca Pano of the harbour front Coal HarbourWe also saw a really cute mother and baby harbour seal swimming. The pup seemed to be just enjoying itself and the mum just keeping a close eye on her baby.

Mum & baby seal

 

I also lost my glasses….. I thought I gave them to Amanda but when we got back to the hotel they weren’t in her bag and all I had were my sunglasses. Thankfully I had a spare pair which I put on and raced back to where we’d been walking, just hoping….

Thankfully, someone had found them, opened the case (hoping to find expensive sunglasses I assume) and realising that they were prescription glasses for some blind man put them on the wall where I retrieved them, happily.

Tonight we’re eating in the hotel (reservation booked on the iPad, yay).

 


Leave a comment

Last day in Whistler

Today has been a truly lazy, relaxing holiday day. We woke late, had a late breakfast, went for a short stroll, Amanda went for a swim while I watched Arsenal (win 3-0 against Fenerbahce). I had a quick shower then we went out with the wheelchair for a walk/push to the Lost Lake nearby. No idea why it’s the Lost Lake it was packed with people so it’s definitely found now. Actually it’s a gorgeous lake with a beach area and floating platforms and paved trails leading there. My only gripe is that it was too hot for a pale skinned ex-redhead but that really is searching for problems isn’t it?

Now we’re sat in the bar and we’ve had delicious Grapefruit Ale by the Whistler Brewing Company, a huge mountain of nachos with chilli beef, olives, 3 cheeses, jalapeños,  tomato salsa, sour cream and guacamole; breath and currently I’m sipping a JD and coke. Amanda’s now on sparkling water as she’s driving tomorrow, yay lucky me!

Oh, we saw a hummingbird, our first, flitting between the bushes and flower gardens.

We also were approached by someone from Club Intrawest hoping that we’d sign our lives away to get a time share (sort of) in Whistler. I checked into them afterwards and they don’t have a great reputation. You pay a huge amount of money for ‘points’ which you use to pay for your holiday in one of 8 destinations and from what I’ve seen so far it’s not always the best value for money. I’m sure they have a some happy customers but it’s not for us.

Tomorrow we leave for Vancouver for our last stop. We’re already a little sad about leaving but looking forward to seeing Vancouver again. We’ve absolutely loved the Four Seasons in Whistler and will definitely be coming back. We’d absolutely love to stay for longer next time. The rooms, the staff, the food and the location … all excellent.. highly highly recommended.

Pictures to follow as we haven’t moved from the bar to download them.


Leave a comment

Peak-2-Peak…..it’s high (understatement alert)

So we had a our first whole day in Whistler and the one thing I wanted to do while we were here was go on the Peak-2-Peak cable car. We weren’t sure how accessible it was so after asking the concierge we decided to use the hotel car which would take us to the lower village, get the tickets and use the gondola to get up to the top of Whistler Mountain and then get the Peak-2-Peak over to Blackcomb Mountain and then get the chairlifts down the other side. When we saw the massive queues we asked at the information kiosk if there was somewhere Amanda could sit and he told us that if we could pick up the tickets then we could bypass the queue and zip to the front (aka the ‘spazz pass’). I queued for the tickets and Amanda waited inside in the shade (lucky her, it was scorchio). Once I had those (CAD$102 for 2 day passes) we walked past all those hateful stares and went to the front of the queue. We were in a small gondola with another couple and the reason I’m giving this information is simply that Amanda hates heights and was doing this under sufferance. She had the look of someone being taken to the gallows and sat there while everyone else looked around and enjoyed the views. I heard in whispered venomous tones that ‘You’re making it move every time you stand up’ so obviously being the caring person I am I moved around a bit more. Once at the top the views were amazing and we had to put on fleece tops as there was a 10C difference between the bottom of the mountain and where we were now.

View from the top of Whistler MountainAfter we took a look around it was time to jump on the Peak-2-Peak which is an incredible feat of engineering, all pretty much lost on Amanda as she contemplated certain death by travelling on it. I loved it and once on the other side the views again were amazing.

Canada 2013-0036 Canada 2013-0033 Canada 2013-0024 Peak-2-Peak

From the other side

 

Of course, once you’re over the other side you have to go down the mountain. However once Amanda saw the chairlift we had a dilemma. I could see there was no way she was going to get on that and she seemed none too impressed at the prospect of getting back on the Peak-2-Peak either. I reminded her that she had to choose one or the other and after quite a bit of thought ‘we’ decided to go back on the Peak-2-Peak and down the same way we came.  I would have loved to do the chairlifts but I was quite glad to go back over that huge expanse of nothingness again.

Two points to mention….

 

  1. Amanda would only get into gondolas with children so she had to be brave.
  2. A kind gentleman pointed out once we were in the middle that we were currently 1427ft off the ground. I think I heard a small whimper.

Once we eventually got back on solid ground we had a walk around Whistler Village, had a drink and then called the car to take us back to the hotel and we went straight to the bar. Honey lager was the order of then day and before it was too later I booked a table at the steak restaurant in the hotel.

We had just enough time to scoot upstairs get changed, teeth brushed, water splashed on faces and were downstairs again going into the restaurant. The food was extremely good, as was the wine (Made by the Kettle Winery and NOT served in kettles as has been suggested a few times) and we went to bed tired, full and slightly drunk.

 


Leave a comment

A very long drive

So we (Amanda) decided that we should drive straight to Whistler after my disastrous decision to stop at Nimpo Lake instead of driving straight to Williams Lake. Well it wasn’t exactly disastrous it was just a bit too quiet at Nimpo to spend  a sunday afternoon when everything except the shop was shut, even the phone box was shut to cash transactions. I won’t lie it wasn’t the easiest of days but man what a drive it was.

Amanda drove the first 5 and a bit hours, the countryside was spectacular we saw loads of cattle alongside the road which we found a bit strange until we happened upon a real cowboy with chaps and all at which Amanda was a little too excited. We also saw two coyotes, black-tail deer, eagles, wild horses,  loons and really cute dogs. Amanda didn’t slow down soon enough to scoop the one puppy into the car, I even had a name ready for him (Patch). We started listening to country music, it was that country, well Nashville series soundtrack anyway. The terrain then changed pretty quick and Amanda found herself driving on really steep mountain roads with runaway lanes dotted every 500 meters. This was to allow lorries with failed brakes to exit the road hopefully safely.

Nearly at the bottom

 

We hardly passed any other vehicles on this section of the drive, so when we hit Williams Lake it felt like driving in London  when in reality it was more like driving in a small town. That’s where the weather decided to change and provide us with natures car wash to clean our very dirty Jeep.

Car before the rain gave it a washThe rain was really heavy and the sky turned really black; we even had lightning it was pretty spectacular to watch, as a passenger, but I did feel a bit for Amanda (only a little bit though). Once the rain slowed to a spit we pulled over to have a car picnic, well we are british you know. I then took over the driving and I have to say I did a much better job as I’m so awesome at driving (tongue  planted firmly in cheek). Joking aside it was just as well we shared the driving that way around as the roads began to get very hairy, steep and mountainous. It actually felt in some points as high as The Hill but it did provide some truly awesome sights. We really felt quite insignificant, mother nature is a clever woman. Pictures to follow.

The final section before we arrived at Whistler was some of the most awe-inspiring scenery we have seen since arriving in Canada (this time) and we are so glad we (I) decided to drive this route.

We finally arrived at Whistler at 19:30 after leaving at 08:10, a long days drive by any normal person”s standards. I must confess that the Four Seasons was a very welcome bit of luxury after ‘slumming’ it since Ucluelet.  Amanda has decided she’s definitely not cut out for anything less than five-star accommodation, I agree. Amanda spent what seemed like an hour in the shower getting ready for dinner, I think she was scraping 5 days of slumming it out of her hair.

 


Leave a comment

The Hill

One of the main reasons to come on this holiday or at least one of the things that got me working out the route we’d take was ‘The Hill’. I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but basically it’s a long stretch of Highway 20 going through the Tweedsmuir Provincial Park that is unpaved (packed gravel) and was the steepest in Canada (not sure what is now because this baby is STEEP) with sections at 18% gradient. You have two choices, go up or come down, depending on whether you’re going to Bella Coola or leaving Bella Coola. When I organised the trip I decided that I’d rather go up than come down, mainly after seeing some videos on YouTube. I’m going to say here and now that it was a good decision because after the amount of rain we’ve been having I really wouldn’t want to come down it. 

It starts off quite nicely and then things turn nasty quite quickly. Really sharp hairpin bends with a sheer drop on one side, or narrow sections that seem insanely steep and you hope that you don’t meet an 18 wheeler coming down as you’re going up. And yes, big trucks do go up and down, we met a driver at the lodge yesterday morning. He told us it’s much better now they expanded sections to one and a half lanes wide rather than one lane !!!! At this point I’d normally put some nice photos in to illustrate the road in question but as I was driving and Amanda spent most of the time saying “I can’t look” or “OH MY GOD” or ‘Please move away from the edge”, we don’t seem to have many photos. She did manage to point my iPhone vaguely in the direction of the car window so I’ll check those later and perhaps post a couple. I did stop the car at one point when I felt it was safe and as I turned back to the car to get back in I saw the mess that the road had made of what was a shiny new Jeep Cherokee. Then I noticed that the back of my jeans had the same mud caked to it which I’d gotten as I slid down from my seat. Afterwards I also noticed that the inside of the car was filthy too, my shoes were caked in that same brown stuff. I think I’ll have to get this cleaned when we get to Whistler more to protect our clothes than anything else. We were passed several times by what I can only assume were locals as they were driving at crazy speeds (over 10 mph). I was happy to let them on their way. I’m not sure but a might have been overtaken by a snail at one point.

I just viewed Amanda’s attempts at taking photos on my iPhone while I was driving. She took what we thought was a video clip of us going up a particularly steep hairpin bend. I’ll post the resulting 4 second masterpiece later. It consists of the dashboard and her asking how to turn it off.  The photos are almost as bad but I’ll put those up too. I warned her that we’d have to return and do it again so we can get some good photos. She’s still not woken up.

Once over the worst part, we stopped alongside a river where another couple had the same idea. They were German and were going in teh opposite direction ie down the hill. I warned them how steep it was but that Germanic stare soon established that I was merely an inefficient British person and that Teutonic driving skills would prevail. I’m sure they did fine.

After we left the nice German couple we thought we’d done the worst part and it was surely going to be a nice tarmac road from that point on. We were so very wrong. There was still hills, though not so steep, sheer drops and no sight of beautiful flat black tarmac roads for what seemed like a long long time. When we did reach civilised road surfaces it felt like you were driving on cushions, it was lovely. Never say a bad thing about British roads again. We saw a herd of wild(ish) horses on the road and some black tailed deer and some cows and some dogs. These don’t make up for not seeing bears however.

Finally we arrived at Nimpo Lake. The ‘resort’ is really an RV park with six motel rooms and a few cabins. I wish I’d booked a cabin as they look really nice, but the motel room is clean if basic, but it’s real selling point is the location. It sits right on the shore of the lake itself. We’re looking forward to sitting outside later and hopefully seeing a lot of stars as there’s nothing else around us. Of course that means that it’ll be cloudy and we’ll also hear that there was a lot of bears in Bella Coola just after we left.

Tomorrow, we were supposed to drive to Williams Lake and stay overnight. Amanda decided that we would be better off having a marathon driving day and go straight to Whistler and have an extra day there instead. So we made the relevant phonecalls using Skype (no working payphone and no mobile service) and tomorrow we embark on a 10 hour drive to Whistler. On a side note, when Amanda called the Four Seasons in Whistler we were told that the room rate had gone down since we booked and would we like to upgrade and keep the same price or have our room cheaper? As we’re staying an extra night we picked the cheaper option, but it was great to be asked. We’re not convinced that the Celtic Manor (other hotels are available) would even lower their prices let alone let you that they did of you booked in advance.

Right, where are those stars?

 


Leave a comment

4 months to go

It’s now March and the little counter on my page says that in 4 months time we’ll be off on our trip, so perhaps it’s time to wrap up the preview and update on what’s been happening.

After a one night stopover at Williams Lake we have a nice 5 hour drive to Whistler and I’m happy to say that we get another taste of the easy life for our last two stops. We’re staying at the Four Seasons in Whistler on Blackcomb way and we have two nights to relax. We first went to Whistler/Blackcomb in 1988 and some  of it was still under construction as I remember, so I’m sure it’ll be finished by now right? I have plans for the peak-2-peak cable car but apparently one in every five or so cars has a glass bottom and Amanda would freak if we had one of those so I’ll either be going by myself or we’ll make sure we do not have the special car. Apart from that we have no plans except enjoy the scenery and relax.

Thursday morning we’re off again for the Sea-to-Sky highway down to Vancouver on the last part of our trip. The last stop of any holiday has the possibility of being a bit of a downer so to compensate I booked us into a hotel that we tried to stay at previously but was fully booked a year in advance due to a wedding. It’s the Granville Island Hotel and I’m hoping for a bit of luxury and tlc before we have to drop the car off and fly home. The location is amazing being on Granville Island (obviously), with restaurants and the public market to check out (again) and I’m sure we’ll venture downtown at some point to try and fill any remaining space in our luggage with stuff from Roots.

Saturday morning….the day we’ll be looking forward to the least. We’ll take the car back and jump on the plane back to the UK. I’m not even thinking about it yet, it depresses me that much.

My new passport arrived yesterday so I can now fill in the advance passenger info for the flight. The new passports have a chip in them which holds the same info as the information page inside, or if you prefer and you’re that way inclined, the ‘man’ can now track me wherever I go so long as I carry my passport and I’ll be signalling back to base everytime I walk past an RFID reader. Frankly if anyone was that bored that they wanted to follow me then they’re welcome. I give them a day before they decide I’m not worth bothering with.

We still have to buy a new wheelchair, measure and weigh it and let British Airways know the details. This should now move to the top of the ‘to-do’ list I think as it’s fairly important.

I bought a new lens for my camera ready for the trip. It’s a 50mm f1.8 which equates to about a 75mm lens in old money. I gave it a quick try and it seems really nice and along with the 16mm f2.8 (plus wide adapter), the 18-55mm zoom and the 55-210mm zoom I think I’m covered for the trip. I might get a spare SD card just in case.

That’s it. The trip. If anything else happens or I get more info I’ll update. Other than that, see you in August.