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Cat’s Travel Diary

Monday, 13 Oct 2008

Location: Sooke, BC, Canada

MapOkay, so I've just finished celebrating the best holiday ever, and am so full there isno way I can possibly do anything else but sit and type. So I will now attempt to fill you in on my adventure thus far...or at least the bits I can remember!

So Krystle and I started out from Toronto by bus, going through the sketchy stretch infamous for stabbings and beheadings on our way to Regina. Clearly we are both fine because we always shared a seat and stayed awake the entire time (or at least, that's what I told my mother...a girl's gotta get her beauty rest!).

In Regina (where I convinced myself I remembered it but probably didn't since the last time I was there I was 4) we stayed with the amazing Margaret-Anne and Bruce, who lent us some bikes and we enjoyed the gorgeous weather (and were almost flattened by the wind) and went to the science centre, where I became a little too enamoured with the bubble making section....

Bruce drove us to Melville so we could catch the train....the train that didn't come. The pictures don't lie! I did actually sleep on the floor, though I eventually moved to the trolley because tile is REALLY COLD!!

The train ride itself was nice - a very comfortable way to travel but SOO not worth the hassle. I'd pick Greyhound over Via any day. We decided to do a little exploring, and were about 2 cars from the end of the train when we were told we weren't allowed to explore. In fact, we'd managed to miss the 2 (tiny) signs that clearly told us third class passengers we were confined to only the front most cars. Oh well! What else are we supposed to do on a trail through the prairies?

Because the train was so late we lost a day in Edmonton and only really got to spend about an hour there. From what we saw from the taxi window (and then the bus window) it was a pretty city - and I'm sure the huge blue sky and warm sun overhead didn't do the city any harm! Plus we met the nicest Greyhound worker yet, so that helped improve Edmonton in my esteem!

Back on the bus Krys & I went a little picture happy in the mountains - thank goodness for digital camera's! I probably deleted about half...which is good because taking pictures from a moving bus with a point and shoot is a little hard (reflections and blurriness and trucks, oh my!)

Jasper was beautiful, and in the hostel we met up with a couple of guys we'd already seen so far on our travels! Small world...
We saw a herd of elk, but no bear (for which Krys was grateful) and spent most of our time just hanging around Jasper and walking (so much walking!!!). On Krystle's birthday we climed Whistler's Mountain (very slowly - I am waaay out of shape. It's sad) and she got a birthday phone call near the peak - clearest reception she's ever had!
We also saw Mt. Robson (Canada's tallest) which is so high it creates it's own weather system and can only be seen 35 days of the year - it was clearly our lucky day!
Back at the hostel I baked her a cake (decorated with chocolate chips) and with the help of the other hostellers sang her Happy Birthday. She was sufficiently embarrassed, so I was satisfied.

Unfortunately, we had decided to ride the train again. And it was late, again. They say the stretch from Jasper over to BC is the most beautiful. I wouldn't know. By the time the train arrived it was too dark to see anything!!
Anyways... we managed to get ourselves off the train (after tracking down an employee in the middle of the night to ask if this was our stop and managing to jump off just minutes before it pulled out. Really, the customer service on Via is just amazing....) and find our way to the bus station, where we spent the night because we had missed out connecting bus. Now all I need is to spend the night in a ferry terminal and an airport and I think I'm set!

We finally got to Kelowna, and enjoyed wandering around town for a bit before we hooked up with Alana (my high school friend) and spent a very relaxing weekend watching movies, shopping and eating fantastic food!
From there we went to Vernon and I met my uncle's brother (there is no mistaking the resemblance) Jamie and his family, Judy and Lauren. They were super busy but were nice enough to take us in and we watched some more movies and wandered around the countryside. (Turtle's head point)
Side note - Flight of the Red Balloon is great if you run out of sleeping pills.

And now we are in Sooke. Stupid Greyhound trying to gauge travellors by not disclosing discount limitations....
The ferry was pretty neat, but long and I was a little too tired from the bus ride to really enjoy it. However, I did enjoy the beautiful weather (it seems to be travelling with us!) and I have to agree with Gerry and Martin (our hosts) that Sooke is very beautiful.
Krys & I went into Victoria and I really felt like a tourist - we were surrounded by people in Gore-tex jackets and fanny packs being entertained by buskers along the waterfront. We wandered past (and in the lobbies of) the Wax Museum, the Parliament buildings, The Empress Hotel, the Museum and a few other neat looking places...then decided we were too cold to be outside anymore and went shopping!
Sunday was Thanksgiving, and it was spent as it should be - surrounded by tons of people, food, and laughter! I'm still full, but that might be from the leftovers I had for breakfast. Oh, and one final note: there were only 11 pies this year.

Next stop Tofino, then Vancouver, and then.....