Vancouver Island

Our second to last destination on this trip is Victoria, Vancouver Island, and what a wonderful place! We felt at home here right away, and there’s lots of lovely things to see and do. We spent our first day exploring and walking around, then went for dinner at a place featured on the TV programme “You Gotta Eat Here“, which was really good.

Today, after a quick run, we’ve been to The Royal BC Museum where we learnt a lot about the history of British Columbia, and other parts of the US and Canada. Tonight we had a bit of a walk before our dinner.

Now I’m writing this it seems like we hardly did anything, but this place really is amazing and I keep having to remind myself how far from home I really am.

So tomorrow we head back to Vancouver for the final three nights of our holiday. We keep saying how long ago everything that we’ve done seems, but at the same time how quickly it’s gone.

Seattle

After a brief interrogation at the US border, we were in Washington (state, not DC!) and then onto Seattle. We called in at the Boeing factory on our way, which is absolutely huge. You don’t really notice when you’re in it though, as everything is relative, but when you think that there are four 777 (huuuge planes!) in front of you, you kind of realise! We don’t have any photos of the inside, as cameras aren’t allowed. Apparently the FBI wouldn’t be too pleased if you managed to sneak one in either.
         

    
We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which was absolutely amazing. So much choice, so much food, and it tastes really good too. Definitely need to get back on the running once we’re back! Then we popped down to Union Lake for a 4th of July firework display, which started with a helicopter flying past with the American flag dangling down!
We spent our last day in Seattle mostly at the Space Needle, where you go 500 feet in the air and get spectacular 360 degree views of the city. We also saw the first ever Starbucks – it’s unbelieveble when you see what they started from and where they are now. 
This morning we took the ferry to Vancouver Island. It’s a lovely place, and warrants a post all of it’s own, so watch this space!

End of our Rocky Mountain trip!

Today we’ve been in the hot springs – the water is naturally heated to 38 degrees! It was like being in a hot-tub, and you couldn’t stay in for too long without overheating! We also did a little walk to a viewpoint in Banff called “Surprise Corner”. It was pretty rubbish to be honest, but we’ve put this down to the amazing views that we’ve had on the drive here. The photos below are from Vermillion Lake and Minniwanka (it’s seriously called that, I haven’t made this up!).

Tonight is our last night in Lake Louise, which brings the Rocky Mountain trip to an end. Tomorrow we begin to head back east west (editorial note: whoops!) towards Vancouver. We have a little stop off on the way in a town called Merritt. There’s nothing much there, it’s just a place to stay for a night and break up the drive.

Jasper and Banff have been truly beautiful. We’ve taken loads of pictures, but they don’t even come close to doing these places justice.

I’ll miss them, but I can’t wait to see Vancouver Island, and, of course, the Boeing factory!

Jasper National Park

After a four and a half hour drive we made it from Whistler to Jasper. Unfortunately the rest stop we used to swap driving duties was the mosquito capital of Canada, and I’m now sporting 20 (no joke) bites on my legs. Itchy doesn’t even begin to describe it!
So once we arrived yesterday we went for a quick hike, saw some really long trains and ground squirrels (very cute!) and then settled in. Today we’ve been on the Jasper Sky Train, which, if I’m honest, I was absolutely dreading due to my fear of heights. Once we were up there though it was well worth it – the views were amazing – and we got to see some more ground squirrels.

So that’s it for Jasper. We’ve been a bit unlucky with the weather as the pictures show, but the forecast is looking a bit better for the next few days. Our drive to Banff will be around 3 hours tomorrow, and we may or may not have Wifi so there may not be an update for a while. We’ll take plenty of photos of course though – it’s going to be fun sorting through them all (not!).

Vancouver to Whistler

What an amazing journey! I mean, we knew this place was going to be beautiful, but there are no words that will do it justice. Even the smell of pine and fir trees, just like Christmas but much stronger and sweeter. There’s so much to see, and it’s literally breathtaking.

After a quick morning run it’s time to have breakfast then start the four hour drive to Kamloops. The weather has been incredible so far, lovely and hot. It looks like we’ve been lucky, as it’s not normally this hot.
We can’t wait to see more of this amazing place. I’m certain you could spend a lifetime here and hardly see any of it!

Hello Vancouver!

Well, after a 9 hour flight, we’re finally here in Vancouver, and just about managing to stay awake! The journey here was a lot better this time, as Air Transat fly from Manchester Airport (which is around 15 minutes away from us by road), so we didn’t have to travel to Heathrow. Much better, even if the plane was a little less comfortable than British Airways.

It’s only a one-night stay here before we head off to Whistler tomorrow. We have more time in Vancouver at the end of our trip, so will get to see it properly then. No doubt we’ll be on our way at stupid o’clock tomorrow morning – our body clocks have some adjusting to do!

Santa Barbara, and Happy 4th July in Pismo Beach

Wow, the days are going by really quickly now! We had a night in Santa Barbara, which was really nice actually. We agreed that it’s like the undercurrent of South America which seems to be present a lot in California really comes through here, and in a very good way. You can easily forget you’re in the USA; it has a very Mediterranean feel!

Today we’re at Pismo Beach, a nice little place just off Freeway 101. We had a walk down to the beach where we saw many many Americans celebrating 4th July (Independence Day!), with barbecues and all sorts going on. Luckily we were a walk away; some locals were charging $50 (no, I didn’t miss a decimal point!) to park in their yards.

One more stopover in Monterey tomorrow, then we’re back to San Francisco for a few days before heading back. Really starting to feel sad that it’s coming to an end now, it’s gone so quickly but we’ve done so much, and really feel settled in here now. Not sure what to do for tea tonight; we had a burger from Jack In The Box for lunch, then snacked on leftovers from the Mexican last night, so we’re not all that hungry. I’m sure we’ll find something though!

Choppers, steak and the Vegas sign

So, yesterday was pretty amazing. We did a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon and the strip, which allowed for some amazing views. Then we had dinner at Gordon Ramsay Steak, in the Paris hotel. It was so good, the best steak I’ve had, and even the cheapest bottle of red was really nice. This morning we decided to get the classic Vegas shot; it was quite a way away, especially in the morning heat, but worth it.

We spent the afternoon by the pool, enjoying the 40 degree heat, and we’re just getting ready to go out for tea tonight. We got some coupons for the buffet here (Treasure Island) so we’re just gonna go there tonight.

LA tomorrow. 20 degrees is gonna feel so cold, despite it being much better than England!

What happens in Vegas…

Wow. That pretty much sums up Vegas for us, although Sarah did describe it as “Disneyland for adults”. This place is amazing. So much to do, so many things to see, and the heat, it’s insane. Even the wind is boiling hot. Feels really nice compared to English weather. Sarah thinks it would get too much after not too long. I’m not convinced yet, but she’s usually correct.

We’ve been to Planet Hollywood, rode the Rollercoaster at New York New York, been to the Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and just lazed by the pool before we head out to The Cheesecake Factory for tea, on the recommendation of some of my friends from back home. We’ve seen the volcano at Mirage erupt and plan on catching the fountains at Bellagio some time.

Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon tomorrow afternoon, and we depart from McCarran airport, and get to see the strip from the air so that should be extra cool.

Sarah and I agree it’d take quite a while to get bored of this place; we’ve got three nights to try our best!