Our Canadian Adventure
I'm home from my holidays and looking forward to getting stuck in tomorrow. I was theoretically having today off to settle back, rest my weary head and do endless baskets of washing but then remembered that it's Wednesday which means I had to log on and write the old blog post (which explains why it's a few hours later)...Thankfully it's quite a nice way to start back as it's not too much of a hardship waffling on and sharing pictures!
As I've not got much to report after 2 weeks off I thought I would bore you with my holiday pictures and attempt to convince you to go to Canada if you haven't already (or remind you to go again if you have!)
The Three Brits
We were kindly invited to a friends wedding in Canada this summer and although there was a moment's hesitation (having recently purchased a house and then gone to Cuba) we quickly came to the conclusion that life is short, so we might as well go and have a bloody great time! We may be eating beans on toast for the next year but we'll survive on the epic memories.
Whilst we were planning, my baby cousin, Gemma (6 weeks my junior) was planning her solo trip around the entire world and one evening via Skype I asked the question 'why don't you start in Canada with us and after the wedding, the three of us could get an RV and travel round, then we'll go home and you can head off?'...so that's what we did! Three brit's roaming around Canada in a huge motorhome, the lol's really did write themselves.
The Three Legs
Our trip involved 'three legs' which worked really well:
1. We started in Calgary for the beautiful wedding on the lake, staying with friends and filling our days laughing and eating.
2. We then said goodbye to the clan and hopped in our RV to drive through the mountains (The original route we'd planned had to change due to fires so we mapped out a new one and threw caution to the wind hoping we'd find campsites that could take us, but knowing it wasn't the end of the world if not)
3. We ended in Vancouver where we dropped off the RV and spent the long weekend galavanting, sightseeing and of course, more eating.
Where we went
When starting in Calgary and ending in Vancouver, travelling in a 25ft RV it turns out there's not actually that many options. We went a bit more southern than originally planned due to the fires around Kamloops and did a few scenic detours so our total drive time was around 16 or 17 hours over 6 days.
Our main stops were -
Calgary [4 nights] > Banff [1night] > Lake Louise (for the day to hike) > Fairmont [1 night] > Kelowna [2 nights] > Harrison Hot Springs [1 night] > Vancouver [3 nights]
Calgary was mainly about seeing our fiends rather than any sightseeing this time so i've fallen at the first hurdle and not got anything to offer you other than my keen adoration for it, however when we last visited we hit the Calgary Stampede which was a real blast so I would always suggest doing that (it's in July) Ive been around 7 times now and must add that everyone I've ever met there has been an absolute dreamboat. It has so much to offer it's always worth a visit <3
About the RV
For this trip, our exploring really began in the RV and was such an amazing experience I definitely recommend it! The thing about driving through the Rockies is that it's all just so beautiful you don't need to do much else. It's fun to stop off and explore and there's plenty of signs directing you to different attractions and photo ops which can be amazing, but even if you missed all of them out, for me it's mainly about seeing it all. It's so big and every road seems to be picture perfect you can just drive around in awe of it's beauty, it doesn't feel like a boring car journey, it feels like a privilege to be surrounded by it all.
When it comes to the actual driving - once you remember which side of the road to stay on you get the hang of it quickly. It's a bit of pressure driving something so huge when you're not used to it but generally it feels very fun. The roads are built for bigger vehicles and most of the time you're just going in a relatively straight line.
Considering we hadn't booked half of our campsites we somehow managed to get full hooks up's every night which gave us electricity, water and waste disposal (gross but necessary) and all the campsites had shower and toilet facilities, some even had pools. Of course there are times when you just want a bit more space as it really is close quarters but the beauty of the journey is that there were so many opportunities to pull over and go exploring (safely, you don't want to run into a bear!)
My Favourite day RV'ing
My favourite day of the trip that I think everyone should do at some point in their lives was hiking around Lake Louise. We did the 6 glaciers hike a few years ago which was amazing and this year went back to hike to the Big Beehive. Lake Louise is a total beauty from the ground but the sense of achievement once you've hiked up a mountain in 30 degree heat and finally get to look down on it, is just something else. You can then head to one of the tea houses for a rest, grab a cup of tea and a bite to eat. The Tea houses have no electricity and get supplies helicoptered in yearly so it's a really lovely experience and of course you get to stare out at a beautiful view.
P.S Some hikes are easier than others, we went the wrong way and were then given incorrect directions by a woman (who i'm still sending bad vibes to :p ) so we ended up doing a pretty hard one that was much longer than anticipated. (always good to take a lot of water and make sure your shoes are comfortable!) It was then that I discovered how terribly unfit I am - I was the grumpy one lagging at the back, constantly stopping and saying 'why are we doing this again?' 'who's idea was this?' but I promise it's worth it in the end!
Everything to do in Vancouver
The final leg of our trip was a long weekend in Vancouver, BC. It was totally wonderful to have the contrast of a city after a week in the RV. Vancouver seems to have everything, city, beach, forest, mountain; it's all there a short bus or boat ride away. We spent a lot of time over on Granville Island eating everything we could fit in from the Public Market and went back there on our last morning for some breakfast and drinks before we had to leave.
On the Saturday we caught the free shuttle bus up to Grouse Mountain before taking the gondola and chairlifts up to the top. It was AH-MAZING to look back on the city and see it with the mountain backdrop. We then walked down to the Capilano Suspension bridge, which was 100% terrifying to walk over but a real experience. On the Sunday we hired bikes and cycled round Stanley Park, through the woods and along side the beach, there were hundreds of people cycling but because the cycle paths are organised so well it was far more fun that I imagined (I'm not a fan of crowds but this one was the good kind) and then wondered around the streets and into shops mooching and obviously eating. The cherry on top was a flight in the floatplane where we had 20 minutes circling the city before landing (with a bit of a bump) back in the water. I'm not a huge fan of flying as I don't understand how planes can possibly stay in the sky which makes me nervous but ultimately, and like everything else on this trip - I'm really glad we did it.
Never have I had such a fun filled, action packed or breathtakingly beautiful holiday. Of course none of us wanted to leave, which is really saying something as I'm normally done after 10 days and keen to get home to my slippers. The saddest part was abandoning Gemma, who's flight was 6 hours after ours. It was like a tragic scene from a movie where she wondered into the distance with her back pack on, ready to see the world and I weeped at the hotel entrance praying she'll be OK and have a brilliant time...which I know she will, but still, leaving her felt so wrong. I was a totally snotty mess in the taxi and cried into my wine and burger at the airport but hey, that's love right?
You must go
We've come home with some peculiar tan lines, heavy jet lagged heads, a sh*t tonne of washing but the greatest memories we could ever have imagined. All I can say is that it was magical and I would encourage everyone and anyone to go and have an RV holiday around Canada (starting and finishing in a hotel with a decent shower and doors that close.
I hope you're had a wonderful 2 weeks and are now booking your tickets to Canada - Thanks for letting me reminisce before I hit reality with a bump tomorrow morning and thank you so much for your patience while I've been away, I'm slowly replying to emails and working on orders already. If you've placed an order and want to know when it'll be with you drop me an email & I'll let you know my plan.
Speak soon friends, Thank you