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#8 Vancouver Island – Victoria and Nanaimo

We had only three days for the whole island; definitely not enough to discover all it had to offer but good enough to enjoy some time in Victoria, British Columbia’s capital rich with it’s imperial English heritage.

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Victoria Downtown

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Victoria Parliamant
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When do you ever get to eat delicious fresh oysters for half a dollar a pop? – Friday’s at “The Docks”

 

The same day we arrived Marco found a beautiful sunset whalewatching tour which still had a few slots available. With the wind in 0ur faces we went on to observe hump backs, orcas, sea lions ans seals. An amazing sunset made this experience even more special.

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On day number three we took a greyhound bus and drove four and a half hours up north to Nanaimo, the island’s second biggest city. Besides a cute little harbour and a small promenade with a few bars and restaurants the city doesn’t have much to show for.

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Early next morning we headed to the ferry terminal. A one and a half hour ferry ride and a 50 min. bus ride later we were back in Vancouver, Canada Place to be exact, which is where we boarded our cruise ship to Alaska, the Ms Zaandam of Holland America.
Stay tuned….

 

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#7 The Canadian Rocky Mountains

Getting to Seattle WA marked the end of our first road trip. After that, we headed up to Vancouver and spent a whole week in and around the city. It was nice not having to pack bags every day for a change and we kind of started to have a normal rythm: Some sightseeing, cooking at home, a run in the park, disc golf (they play a kind of golf with frisbees) and even a cinema night with Jason Bourne.

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But surely the road called again. Once more rented a car and went on to discover part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As the ride from Vancouver to Golden would have taken us approximately nine hours, we decided to stop in Kamloops for the night. They had a Ribs Festival going on and of course we didn’t resist.

The day after we drove to Golden, a little town about an hour before Banff National Park. This was our base for three days. We found this nice place outside town, up the hill and in the middle of the woods. These Mountain View Cabins came without internet or TV, so it was all about barbecuing marshmallows and talking to fellow travellers. It was great fun and we really enjoyed the place.

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Out in the nature I felt like hiking and I wasn’t ready to change this plan just because it was raining. The head of the hiking trail we chose was around 40 minutes off the main road and up the mountain. The road was very rough or completely inexistent and it was a good thing we rented that Jeep. That’s what it looked like later that day:

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We had to stop when we came to a wooden bridge crossing a small creek. The large wholes in the floor let us doubt that it would carry the weight of the car. So we continued on foot. As they way up was longer than antecipated we were happy to have a Pickup Truck coming our way. They were going fishing and gave us a lift up to the trailhead.

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The day after the weather got better and we went on to see Lake Louise, Lake Minnewanka and Banff; wonderful places at the heart of Banff National Park. In Banff itself we walked down to the Fairmont Springs Hotel to have a drink on the terrace with an incredible view to the surrounding forest and mountains.

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Lake Louise
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Lake Minnewanka
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Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Now it’s back to the big city and straight to Vancouver Island. Victoria and Nanaimo are waiting. So long!

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#2 Niagara Falls – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

On our last day in Boston we got our rental car, a spacious Hyundai Santa Fé, and started our road trip from Boston to Seattle, from East to West, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks. This stage should take us around 6’200 km through 13 states. Off we go…

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First was Buffalo NY and Niagara Falls. A picture says more than a thousand words they say, so let me make it quick: the Niagara Falls are impressive and by itself beautiful, the surroundings consisting of Casinos and big Hotels are a shame and shouldn’t have been built in the first place. But hey, you can still frame up some sweet shots, check it out!

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Rainbow over Niagara Falls
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American Falls and Niagara Falls
Silky Niagara Falls
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Seriously? – Seriously!

Tip: park on the American side and cross the Rainbow Bridge to Canada on foot. This way you skip the usually long car queue and you also get another stamp in your passport, yaay.
Oh yeah, Buffalo. I guess you would have to spend some time there to get to know and appreciate it. We didn’t. Let’s move on.