Snippet from Vancouver Island

It’s pretty here.

These are the Victoria Parliament Buildings. The first second I saw them as I walked around the corner I literally gasped. I felt like I could be somewhere in England. And then I just realised why they resonated with me so much, the dome reminds me a little of Flinders St station back home.

Apparently they are having a street parade tomorrow for Victoria Day – with floats and marching bands and everything. One of the marching bands was rehearsing on the steps tonight.



Finding some magic in the woods

I went for a hike through some hidden paths and into the woods. I didnt know where the path was leading me, and I felt like I was an explorer out on a lifechanging adventure. I walked past trees and shrubs and around corners until I came across something that stopped me in my tracks.

I found my new fave place, a place so magical that I didnt see anyone around. I felt so invincible and happy that words cant describe it. My imagination kicked in and I picked up some sticks that were on the ground and started to pretend they were swords. If only I had someone to challenge!

The trees whispered to me, and I lingered here, drawing breath as deeply as I could and taking it all in.

I tried to hone my senses to any forest creature that might be around and soon after I spotted a squirrel.

I had the feeling that everything in my life is as it should be. I am in the right place. I am doing the right thing. I am listening to my gut and making the right decisions. I felt amazing!

I wanted to write poetry, I wanted to write a story – the creative juices were just flowing incredibly! And maybe that adventure started the wheels turning and is part of the reason why I took up the 365 day flickr challenge.

All I know is that this place has gotten under my skin and into my heart. I am already longing to go back there. I wonder if it will be just as magical when I return?

Oh and I really need to make life easier for myself and buy a tripod for my camera! haha.

A bus, a ferry and a train to Van Dusen Gardens

What a beautiful day it was yesterday! The sun was shining, and it was quite warm out for Vancouver- possibly even 19 degrees! Hehe. So I made the most of it and headed out on an adventure!!

I caught the bus from where I’m staying to Lonsdale Quay, where I got lunch. For dessert I got the pavlova and thought I’d write my review of it here seeings as it’s an Aussie thing (although NZ claims it).

Ok so yeah it looks nice. The big thing about Pavlovas is the meringue – it has to be just right. It should be crunchy on the outside and really soft and melting in your mouth on the inside. This one was chewy. Chewy meringue doesnt work well with pavlova, it ruins the whole consistency. Ah well… it wasnt too bad and it reminded me of home. Speaking of.. I tried marmite. It’s weird. It does taste a bit like vegemite, but there is just something different that I cant name. Also, they have cheesymite scrolls at cobs bread. I wonder if they use vegemite for this? It tasted the same as the ones back home. I mentioned before that Cobs Bread looks the same as Bakers Delight in Australia and if you click on the link it says that they are Aussie franchises!! Awesome.

Anyway, back to the adventure! haha.

So after lunch I got the seabus (ferry) to waterfront station and from there I got on the canada line train to Oakridge station. I dont know where the drivers sit in the train because at the front it’s all windows, so if you sit there you can see a lot but there seems to be no room for the driver. On the seabus it’s the same, but I noticed they seem to stand in a room on the middle left of the ferry instead. Strange!
When I arrived at my station I walked!!

I took some photos of the interesting houses in the area as I walked along.

There was a huge field where some kids were playing soccer. You can see the mountains in the background.

It looked like fun!
And on I walked until I came to some steps and had one of those ‘oh I can put my camera there and take some outfit photos’ moments.

Dress – Thrifted
Cardi – Target
Top – Sussan
Tights – Myer
Grey Necklace – sample sale
Bambi Necklace – Diva
Boots – Easy Step

I finally got to wear my fave thrifted dress that I mended!!

It got so warm that in the end I had to take my cardi off too! Now thats a good thing, and rare so far! haha. Bring on summer!!

So after I finished my impromptu photo shoot I headed in to the gardens!! It cost me just under $10 admission for the day, not bad I say!

It was beautiful to just leisurely walk around, I had nowhere I needed to be and no-one to impress. I took so many photos of the gardens, I will load them to my flickr. There were different sections that featured native plants and trees from different areas and there were so many flowers!!

There were little hidden paths (I am in LOVE with these) away from the main paths that wandered through the bushes for a while. You couldnt see where they were going but that was part of the fun!

It’s hard to get perspective from the photos but literally only one person could walk along them and they would be hidden by foliage as they turned the corner. Magical!

It really was quite spectacular. You could spend the whole day wandering around, or just sitting on a picnic rug under a tree. It reminded me of home a little!

Lots more photos on my flickr! hehe.

On the way back through Vancouver I took a photo of granville st – right near the waterfront station and gastown.

Gotta love days like these!!

5 weeks, 35 days or lots of hours.

I figure that it’s about time for a recap post! It’s important to stop and look at all you have achieved and reassess your goals and to do list now and then!

When you put it all down together I cant believe how much has happened! I dont mean to blow my own trumpet but I am really proud of myself! Hehe. So on the 2nd of April I stood at Melbourne airport and took the first official step of this journey, saying goodbye to my town, my country, my family and friends.

I boarded a plane to Brisbane, and a connecting flight to Tokyo.

I explored the city streets and found beautiful blossoms.

I caught the train to Kyoto and explored a whole lot more!

I found the Nanzenji Temple and the Philosophers Walk and I watched the people go about their daily lives. I soaked it all up. I was a foreigner in a foreign country and I didnt really speak the language. That’s kinda thrilling.

Then I headed to Vancouver, Canada – a city and a country that I had been dreaming about visiting since I was 18. Nine years later and I finally got here – at precisely the right time. It’s funny how things work out like that, but I truly believe that to undertake such a big adventure I wouldnt have been in the right frame of mind to do until now.

And so I made it to Stanley Park – I even walked all the way around it. I saw squirrels and a raccoon and a hummingbird and canadian geese and deer and robins. I ate a nanaimo bar, a cinnamon bun, a beaver tail, a reese bar, a jolly rancher, a key lime pie and more! I went to the hockey, gastown, granville island, kitsilano, lynn valley suspension bridge, lonsdale quay, metrotown, park royal mall, commercial drive, main street, downtown, MOA, the Aquarium, capilano suspension bridge, pemberton, van art gallery, deep cove, chinatown, chinese gardens. I made new friends and listened to tips about where to go and what to do. I crossed a lot off my to do list!! And you know what? I still have a lot to do!

A customer at work enquired about my accent today and asked whether I was from Australia or New Zealand. I realised that she is the first stranger I have spoken to who has guessed it correctly. She was so lovely and told me her son had visited Australia. I asked if he had been to Melbourne and she said no. I told her that he missed out! She laughed. See, I know my accent stands out and to locals I say things strangely, but hardly anyone has actually said anything to me about that. Isnt that a little strange itself?
There are people over here that are so lovely and welcoming and friendly but there is also a part of the population that seem to be quite unfriendly and.. well.. basically cold. It’s hard to break through the surface with them.

The main thing that has struck me is that everything is so different over here. And yes, I mean everything. The only thing that remains the same is the human relationships and psyche. As we are all humans on this earth the issues dont really change with the location.

It has been an incredible, interesting, fun, inspiring trip so far. 35 days of adventure down- and counting!! Here’s hoping that there are many, many more to come. And I hope that your adventures inspire you to try for more too.

Someone said to me that I am brave doing all of these things by myself. Many people have said that they couldnt have done what I am doing. I dont think it’s about being brave. I spent a few years of my life waiting. I was waiting for friends. Waiting for them to come along so I could have someone to go to a concert with. Or go on a roadtrip with. Or go overseas with. Years I waited and friends came and went. And as their promises faded to dust I realised something. If I sit and wait for someone to come before I do what I want to do then I will be waiting for years and lets face it – I might never get there! So you know what I did? I started doing things by myself. I like my own company – I know I am reliable, fun and I listen to my gut. I got to go to concerts and line up early and go front row and meet my fave musicians. I got to travel and explore and I found out that being alone isnt as scary as being with someone you dont want to be with.

So thats how I came to take this trip by myself, and I say to all those who dont think they could do it – you can. You should! Dont put something you want to do on the backburner for someone else. Go do what you want to do – go explore the world. It’ll be the best decision you ever made for yourself.

happy travels!!

Capilano Suspension Bridge & Lunch

So Ed and I found a break in our schedules and managed to arrange another meet! This time we met up at Lonsdale Quay, and then went walking around to find somewhere to go eat some lunch.
Here’s his seabus coming in!

We ended up at Jagerhof Schnitzel House. The food was really good, it had been a while since I’d had a parma!
They had lots of stuff up on the walls like antlers and plates, creating a kinda homely feel.

This was my meal – a parmigiana special. The chicken was crispy and the sauce was really nice.

And here’s what Ed had to eat when he was taking a photo of my meal hahaha. It’s funny when two people who both blog meet up – especially with Ed as he takes so many photos. I take more of nature but he likes the people shots more.

And then dessert! We shared a ‘death by chocolate’ but it was a small piece so really we could have had one each.

So with full stomachs we headed to the bus stop to get the bus up to Capilano Suspension Bridge. It was pretty expensive, at more than $30! I have done the Lynn Canyon Bridge and I found it just as good and it is free!! But this is one of those things that you have to try out when you’re a tourist.

They had people dressed up in ‘old timer’ uniforms and were advertising the colonial days.
There were lots of totem poles around, I have seen quite a few now.

Then we found a bear that had stolen a mounties uniform! hahaha.

Thats me pretending to be dead.
And then the bear decided to nibble on Ed’s hand.

Ok so, enough with the silly stuff and onto the reason we had come. THE BRIDGE!

It’s hard to get perspective but it was a looong way up. Really high! And when you walk across it it shakes a lot!

They also have a treetop walk you can do, which is fun!

It looks really pretty down in the canyon but I dont know if you can get down there or not. Certainly not from where we were – it was way too steep!

After checking out a bit of the nature walk and watching some squirrels we walked back across the bridge and went to see what else we could do to get our $30 worth! I asked this guy for some help.

And he led me to this big checkers board, where I challenged Ed to a duel!
Round one featured us both being defensive with our checkers and that lead to nowhere to go. We hit a stalemate!!

What to do?

Start again!

We lined up all the checkers again and round two started off with a bang, and as the colors went around the board it looked a bit like this. And yes, I am red!!!

Another win to Alesha! hahaha yay! And another fun adventure with Ed. When we got back to Lonsdale Quay I got him to try a beaver tail and he LOVED IT! Hehehe. It’s always fun when being a tourist gets locals to try something new.

A windy day in Kitsilano

So yesterday I met up with my new friend from work Sophie and she took me exploring around her local area of Kitsilano. I hadnt been there before, so it was a great opportunity for me to get some good insider knowledge. First of all we met at the Art Gallery in Vancouver (after my meeting with the extras agent) and headed to Red Robin for lunch. They have some really nice burgers with big fries. We also got some freckled lemonade, which was incredible!

It has strawberries in a sugar syrup in a tangy lemonade. Soooo good!!

So after that we stopped in a few vintage stores and then caught a bus to Kits. We did a little shopping at Zulu Records (really cool record and cd store), Gravity Pope (awesome but expensive shoes), the Salvation Army thrift store and a few other little shops and then headed down to the beach.

Man, it was so windy!! We were almost blown away! I hadnt seen it like this before and it made walking a bit harder.

It was perfect for the kite surfers though, they were loving it!

We got a drink after all the walking and sat down for a little while.

You can see how bad the wind was! Look at my hair! hahahaha. I was glad to see that I wasnt the only one who was feeling the cold. And so on we went.
Sophie showed me some cool places and then we ended up at the Planetarium.

And lo and behold it was closed! Bugger!
Undeterred, we walked on to check out the 100ft totem pole that towered over the park.

Massive eh?!! Then Sophie showed me the community gardens and her old school. It was really interesting, and my feet were sore by the end of the day! hehehe.
I love exploring!!!

Roadtripin’ along the sea to sky.

Hello folks!! Wow, what a day it has been today! Insane. We were up at 7am and out of the door by 7:30 to start our adventures. My homestay family ever so kindly invited me along on this trip and I was excited to join them. After a bit of a rough start we took the sea to sky highway and headed to Pemberton via Whistler.
Georgia insisted that I sit in the front so I could take it all in and take some photos. These were the kinds of roads I had been dreaming about.

I would turn my head and take in the mountains and they took my breath away. Immense is the word that comes to mind. These photos dont do them justice at all. The sheer height of them and depth of greenery is something that I dont think I will ever get over. I imagine myself hiking along hidden trails for days.

I also got to see some of the many islands that dot the coast along here. I will definitely be putting a few visits on my to do list. vancouver Island and Bowen Island are right up there.
Unfortunately the weather wasnt too happy, but I still got to see a lot.

Then we stopped at Pemberton church for Georgias cousins daughters christening, and later headed to her house for lunch. We had yummy quiches and cake and then I got these photos of her property and views.

Then after some chatting and meeting of the families we headed to Whistler!

I have been told that Whistler actually possibly has more Aussies than Canadians, and will investigate this later. This time we just took a driving tour.

It was really cold but I got a feel for the place. There were lots of chalets and wooden buildings and hotels and people- making this a typical ski town!

It’ll be interesting to check it out a bit more in Summer and then go back in Winter! I’ll need to buy some thermals beforehand! hahaha.

Next on the schedule was a trip to the Open House School Festival in Squamish.

Here’s the parka people heading to check it all out!

They had animals, popcorn (which Kylan loved) and a nature house where he got to dress up as a bald headed eagle.
but my fave part was the Bighouse/Longhouse where we got to see some Squamish first nations playing drums and singing and making traditional bread (which they call bannock).

The house was all decked out with banners and it had a huge fire pit in the middle where people would cook their bannock. There were lots of families around, checking it all out and cooking. It was really interesting.

It tasted like damper! And then they brought out a salmon that they had been smoking and that was yum! We stayed in the room for a while, just taking in the warmth from the fire and the rhythmic sounds of the drums. I really enjoyed it!!

On the drive back home I saw some deer! YAY! hehe I didnt get a photo though. I did get a photo of some people sleeping in the back though.
Kylan and Tim -Like father, like son!

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