A Travellerspoint blog

Train = seriously awesome experience!!

sunny 3 °C

Well the train from Edmonton to Vancouver was definitely a highlight of the trip so far! Such incredibly beautiful scenery and soooooo much more comfortable and enjoyable then the bus!!! We left at 7:30am on Sunday morning and were on the train all day and night and arrived in Vancouver at about 9:30am on today (Monday) so it was a really long time but it didn't seem like it because there was always so much to see and it was comfortable enough to sleep once it got dark, which was totally different to on the bus! We ended up sitting in the row in front of these two young Aussies and sat with them in the dining cart for dinner and chatted about back home and all the funny things that are different about Canada and all the things that are better about Canada as well! Was great to hear more Aussie accents and they seemed just as happy as we were to run into fellow young travellers (the train did have a lot of old people.... lol). Took heaps of pics from the panorama sky cart which had the full glass windows and roof so will put those up on facebook and instagram so you can check out some of the amazing stuff we got to see! Not much else happened on the train except a lot of quoting 'Step Brothers' with the whole "there's so much more room for activities!!!" line, haha. Oh and there was this older lady in front of us who was ridiculously flexible and kept somehow putting her feet straight up in the air over her head which made Nick and I lose it giggling every time!! Aside from that, nothing else too interesting happened on the train...

Once we arrived back in Vancouver and made it to our hotel we were extremely glad to make use of the shower after being on the train all night! After that we walked back down to Gastown and got all the gifts that we hadn't managed to find yet. There are heaps of lame touristy shops down there so we had to sort through them to find any good places!! After that we headed back to the hotel because poor Nick was absolutely exhausted. Don't think he slept as much as I did on the train :)

At the minute it is just after 4pm over here and I have left Nick in the hotel to do a bit of wandering for myself. I just hated the thought of wasting daylight over here when I'm going to be stuck on the plane all day tomorrow!!! So I took my laptop, went for a wander and have found my way to a Starbucks and am currently taking advantage of their free wifi and multitasking between doing this blog and messaging and people watching on the busy street outside the window that I'm facing. Vancouver is a very cool place and we have been so lucky to get great weather every day we've been here because apparently it is known for it's miserable rain.. Not sure I could live in Vancouver because it's a little too busy for my liking but it's an amazing place to visit and has a really cool vibe to just sit and soak up :)

So that is how I am spending my last afternoon in Canada! Reminiscing about all the cool stuff I've gotten to see and do and awesome people I've met whilst drinking one last MASSIVE coffee, haha. Might regret that coffee when I can't sleep tonight.. lol. We found a Nandos right near our hotel so will probably hit that up for dinner tonight before trying to turn in early so that we are awake and ready for the plane ride tomorrow. Meeting NIgel, Allison and Carter at the airport at 10am and are very glad we now have some travel companions :) So I will leave this blog here and go exploring for a little while longer before heading back to the hotel and getting Nick. Hope you all have an amazing day back home, guess you'll only be waking up around now ;) One more day and we will be back home giving out lots of hugs and telling way too many stories!!! Can't wait to see you all again xoxoxo

Posted by clairebear89 15:34 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Edmonton and the biggest mall ever!

sunny 1 °C

Well I just spent ages typing up a huge blog and then it didn't post properly and I lost it all!! aghhhh so annoying!! Sorry but I will not be doing all that again so here is a shortened version of what we have done the last three days :)

So we survived our last bus ride of the trip! Sooo glad to have that over :) Arrived in Edmonton on Thursday at about 5pm and we were both pretty exhausted so just went to Boston Pizza for dinner because it is at the end of our street and then headed back to the hotel to have an early night.
Friday morning we had breakfast at the restaurant of our hotel and Nick said it was the best bacon of his life! I was very disappointed because I'd gotten pancakes :( They were good but the bacon did look amazingly crispy! We headed into West Edmonton Mall to spend the rest of the day wandering around in awe at how ridiculously large the place is!! There is a massive pirate looking ship that has like an Underwater World attached to it, a water park, ropes course, Galaxy Land (amusement park), mini golf, IMAX theatre, ice skating rink... and the list goes on!! We did the ropes course which was pretty cool but really high and kind of freaked me out (well actually a lot) and we also played mini golf and had dinner at this cool place. I wanted to go to the Sherlock Holmes pub but Nick wasn't old enough :( Did a whole lot of shopping as well and bought a fairly ridiculous amount of clothes, hehe :) One thing I had decided I wanted to do while in Canada was get the top of my ear pierced as a memento and I found a place at the mall called 'Icing by Claire's' so I thought that would be a pretty cool place to get it done :) Was so surprised at how little it hurt and am really happy with how it looks and the fact that it's not looking infected or anything awful like that!! We were pretty exhausted after our day of wandering around so came back to the hotel and crashed pretty early last night.
This morning we did the same thing for breakfast so that I too could experience the amazing bacon and then we headed back out to the mall because we couldn't really find anything else cool to do in Edmonton, lol. Now I don't know what public transport is like back home because I try my best to avoid it, but if this trip has taught me anything it is to continue to try avoiding it for the rest of my life!! Random strangers on the bus - do not talk to me! I am not interested in your life story!!! Particularly when you are crazy!! Haha, anyway... vent over...
We went to see Sherlock Holmes at the IMAX Theatre today and no exaggeration, it was the best movie I have ever seen!! Sooo good!!! Nick was laughing at me because I kept leaning forward in my chair with my mouth open and getting way too into it! So if any of you have not seen it yet, then make sure you tell me when you do because I would definitely go again! lol. After the movie we went to Galaxy Land and rode this roller coaster called the Mind Bender. I used to think the Cyclone was pretty good but this one leaves it for dead! The drop at the start is like the Giant Drop and it is so ridiculously fast and has three massive loops. I screamed so much that I lost my voice (it goes about twice as long the Cyclone as well) and at the end of the ride I looked at Nick and he was laughing about how awesome it was but his face was sooo white! Hate to think what mine looked like....
After wandering around for a bit more we headed back to our hotel to relax for the rest of the avo. Our train leaves really early in the morning so we are going to pack up our stuff now and get an early night. Bought a season of Lie To Me and a double adaptor for our headphones so that we could watch it on the train. Really looking forward to this trip because the scenery is supposed to be amazing and we will have heaps more freedom to walk around and more comfortable seats as well :D
So hope you are all having a great weekend and we are looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back on Thursday. Not long now! Won't have wifi on the train (not sure how I'll survive that....) so will blog again about the trip when we get to Vancouver on Monday. Miss you all :)
Love Claire xo

Posted by clairebear89 18:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Last day in Saskatoon :(

sunny 2 °C

Well first of all I will fill you in on yesterday. Not much to say other than we managed to get Nigel and Allison nearly finished with their moving and cleaning process which was a nice accomplishment! Nigel and I have decided that we are going to start a packing/removals company once we get back to Aus so would be great if you could all spread the word so that we can get some work straight up :) haha. At night we had dinner at home as a family mean which was really nice and then played a few games while we watched a hockey game which actually turned out to be really exciting! It was Canada versus Russia and we were down by 4 points in the last 10 minutes but somehow ended up only having one more to get during the last 2 mintues. Was very tense and made the game seem like something I could really get into if I was living over here and it was actually on TV! Maybe I'll be able to find it on a pay channel back home?

Today NIgel and Allison took us on a road trip to a place called Moose Jaw, which is about 2 and a half hours southeast of Saskatoon. We went there to check out these two sets of tunnels which were built for chinese immigrants and boot leggers back in the day. We went on two different tours and they each had tour guides all dressed up and acting as characters so it was pretty interesting because they also made it very interactive! Was kind of creepy being underground, definitely felt a little claustrophobic at times, but we all really enjoyed it and Carter was such a good girl the whole time!! She's so amazing, slept the whole way there and back and barely made a sound while we were in there :) Was dark once we got back so we had a pretty relaxing night and even got to play some Dutch Blitz! My all time favourite card game!

So am very sad to be leaving Saskatoon tomorrow morning :( We have had such an awesome time here with Nigel and Allison, getting to know some of their friends and family and staying with her parents who have been so amazingly welcoming and looked after us so well!!! Definitely the highlight of my trip and somewhere I am planning on coming back :) We were also really lucky and have had beautiful weather here. I think they all wished we had at least one -30 to -40 day so that we could see how cold it really gets but I must say I'm not too sad I missed out on that!! Next time maybe :)

Bus for Edmonton leaves at 11:30am tomorrow and I am sooooo glad that it's a shorter bus trip (should get there at 5pm) and that it is our last planned bus trip of the holiday!!! Train is going to be so much better :) Edmonton is really nice from what people have said and I'm really keen to check out the mall although I'm a little concerned about fitting stuff back into my suitcase.... thinking I might just chuck out some of the stuff I brought with me, haha.

Anyway, it is past 1am over here so I should really be getting some sleep now. Miss you all back home, one week and we will be back with you all and missing everything over here! Very glad that Nigel and Allison will be coming with us though! Makes it a little less difficult :)
Hope you are all having great weeks :) Love Claire

Posted by clairebear89 22:48 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Packing

semi-overcast -3 °C

Not much to add for today. Nick and I helped Nigel and Allison pack up their place and move it out to their storage place so that they can move into the Summach's with us. Think we could probably enter the Olympics for packing though because we did so much so quick! Tetris skills were needed for packing the trailer as well as epic muscles for lifting the boxes.... lucky we all had both!! Had some Timbits from Tim Hortons (think they are the cut out hole from a donut but with all different flavours) so that was a pretty nice Canadian treat for the day :)

Once we got out to the Summach's farm to unpack the trailer we realised that we didn't have the key to unlock it (my bad because I put the locks on but didn't check the key was in the car....) so then we sat there for a while and tried not to freeze to death while we waited for the key. Was very glad to get the unpacking and storing done so I could get back in the nice warm truck and defrost :) Apparently it wasn't really that cold but I had 3 jackets on, a hood, a beanie, gloves and could still feel it!

Tonight we went out for dinner to a place called..... yeah actually I don't really remember what it was called, but it was really nice! Soooo full now and sitting back at home chilling and watching a movie. Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow but will let you know how it goes!
Night,
Love Claire

Posted by clairebear89 21:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

New Years Eve in Canada!

semi-overcast -4 °C

So the last time I blogged was at a ridiculous hour of the night after the hockey game and the night before New Years Eve. Getting a bit lazy with my blogs because we are having too much fun over here :) Sorry mum, will try harder!! That next day Nick and I went on a road trip to Prince Albert with Ryan because he had to get a laptop so let us come along for the ride. Think it was about a 2 hour drive there and the roads were so straight and the view was so flat that it was just like being back home and on my way to the farm! Was good fun though so didn't seem long and there were a number of freaky moments due to the icy roads being so slippery and some crazy woman pulling out into the wrong lane and driving straight towards us!! After we went to the computer place Ryan took us out to this little park called Little Red River where they had a fairly small hill that you could ski and snowboard off. Nick was heaps excited about that as you can imagine! We just wandered around for a bit there, it was really pretty and looks like somewhere that would be awesome for a picnic in summer. Then we toured round Prince Albert for a bit (smaller than Toowoomba so not much to see! haha) then headed back home. Got back in the afternoon after spending some time sliding around in empty car parks so Ryan could show us just how much cool stuff the cars could do on the ice!!! Nick was loving it and I was trying not to freak out too much, was heaps fun but just a really unnatural feeling to slide so smoothly in the car... Then we played cards with Allison and Nigel and their friends Rikki and Kelly. Kelly is a magician so over the last few days he has been amazing us all with his tricks and now Nick has decided that he's going to become a magician. Kelly taught him a few so everyone back home prepare to be shocked by Nick's sick card skills when we get back! lol.

For dinner we went out to a place called East Side Mario's with Nig, Allison, Rikki, Kelly, Dale, Alexa, Jess, Greg, Ryan and Carter and then we all went ice skating outside in this little rink they have set up near one of the really lovely old buildings in the centre of the city. Ice skating was soooo much fun!!! I wasn't particularly smooth at it but some of the guys were very good so Nick and I managed to learn a little. Skates are unbelievably uncomfortable though so that was not cool and now my ankles are all bruised... totally worth it though! Even got to do some cool tricks like go backwards and go really fast (was getting carried or pushed for those though so don't think that counts as skill?? haha)

Once we'd all lost feeling in our faces from the cold we headed back to the Summach's place to play some games and watch the New Year in. At one stage there were 8 of us playing Saboteur sitting round the glass table and Carter was lying underneath looking up at us all. She was so happy because it was like she was the centre of attention, haha. Then just after New Years we had some fireworks of our own which was very cool! Not illegal over here so apparently you can just buy them at places like Wal-mart or Canadian Tire or they also have fireworks shops. Most people left pretty soon after midnight then and a few of us chatted for a while before crashing! All in all was a really fun New Years Eve!

Today we got up (I was running late because my alarm didn't work and then I burnt my neck with my hair straightener so now it is so sore and has a full on blister!!) and went to church with Nigel, Allison, Dale and Ryan and then after that went back to Nig and Allison's place and had some really nice noodles. Unfortunately though they did have peanuts!! I thought I was doing pretty well but after a while it was getting heaps worse and my asthma puffer was doing nothing so Ryan drove me back to the Summach's to get my stuff for it. Massive thankyou to him!! haha

Tonight we went to Allison's aunt's place for a New Years dinner with some of her extended family so was really nice to meet them and once again had an amazing meal and then played this new card game called Bang! which was pretty cool. We were all so exhausted, though, that we didn't last long and headed back to their place to help pack up a bit before heading back home to crash. So now that I have caught you up to date with our awesome adventures over here, crashing is exactly what I'm going to do! Good night and Happy New Year to you all!
Love Claire
IMG_0995.jpgIMG_1003.jpg

Posted by clairebear89 21:28 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Too much coffee!

semi-overcast -3 °C

[Well it is 12:30am over here and I am wide awake. Ordered a large coffee after the ice hockey game forgetting that over here a large basically means a bucket of coffee! If it wasn't so snowy and slippery outside I would probably go for a jog to wear it all off... but anyway!

So the ice hockey game was so much fun! We were sitting in the second row and no one was in front of us so we got some really good views of people being smashed into the glass right in front of us! There were 8 of us there plus little Carter who seemed to absolutely love the atmosphere of the place. She's such a good girl :) We saw the Saskatoon Blades (that's who we were going for) versus the Prince Albert raiders and it was very cool because we won 9 - 4 which is apparently a ridiculously high scoring game. Had the rules explained to me very well but the play was just so fast that I found it a little bit hard to keep up with what was going on, was an extremely exciting game though! Definitely something I would follow if I lived over here :)

This morning we had another sleep in (despite not doing much we are all really tired so morning haven't really been starting till at least after 10) and then had cinnamon toast for breakfast which was absolutely delicious! Everything Allison's mum makes is delicious though :) And then we played killer bunnies which is an extremely confusing board game that I lost in a big way but was really cool and a lot of fun to play with lots of people. Then we went to Wallmart so that we could experience just how large it is! To explain - it's like a Woolworths, plus a Kmart, plus a full Chemist, plus a Pet Store, plus a Bunnings and then there is also a McDonald's and Tm Hortons....... Oh and you can buy air rifles there and ammo for real guns!!!??? Crazy stuff.

Tomorrow is our New Years Eve so in the morning Nick and I are going on a road trip with Ryan to Prince Albert, so that will be cool to get to see another place that we wouldn't have otherwise gone to, and then everyone is going out to supper (dinner), then going ice skating then chilling back home to see in the New Years. Should be pretty fun because all Nigel and Allison's friends and family over here are so nice and making us feel very at home :)

Hope you guys all have an awesome New Years Eve!!! Looking forward to hearing how you all spent it and what you got up to :)
Love Claire and Nick
IMG_0991.jpgIMG_0992.jpg

Posted by clairebear89 22:23 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Curling Champions!

semi-overcast -3 °C

Well not really, my team lost overall... haha, but it was heaps of fun!! So much harder than it looks but really funny to play. The rocks are way heavier than I thought and the ice is so slippery because you have one shoe with a slider on it so when you are sweeping it's so hard to keep up with the rock but also keep balance. Nick and I had a great time though and managed to get a few fluke shots in the house (the target) and Nigel had never done it before either so we all felt a little bit more Canadian after that experience, haha. Was a great chance to meet lots more of their friends as well and then we all came back home and had supper together and chatted. Our accent got ripped on a lot!! But it was funny because we didn't realise how many words we say really differently.. tomato, aluminium, uni were a few. And there are so many words that we have no idea what they're talking about!! Very cool to learn heaps of Canadian terms though to bring back and spread round home, hehe.

Before we went curling, Nigel and Allison took us for a tour of Saskatoon and on the way we went through the drive through of A & W and got some poutine, it was sooo good! Will definitely be attempting to make that when I get home :) And tonight we are going to this place called Fudd Ruckers which is apparently awesome because it has humongous burgers and you make it yourself or something but will let you all know how that goes tomorrow!

Nick spent the afternoon out at Allison's families farm going shooting with the boys and I spent it with Allison and Sarah and the babies shopping in one of the malls in Saskatoon. Both of us had successful afternoons because I bought a few things and got to carry around the babies which is always so cute and Nick managed to shoot stuff without blowing off his shoulder!! haha. Feeling very at home in Saskatoon and having so much fun getting to know everyone here :) Also loving relaxing and staying in the one place longer than a few days!

Canada is seriously very cool, I know I've said that a few times but I'm really loving everywhere we've been so the thought of moving over here for a little while is getting more and more tempting!!

Love Claire

Posted by clairebear89 14:49 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

Saskatoon Snow :)

snow -2 °C

Soooo glad to be in Saskatoon with family!!! It was absolutely lovely to see Nigel walk into the bus station and so warm and welcoming to come into a house and have some home cooked food :) Also got to meet little Carter and she is absolutely gorgeous and gave us lots of smiles and even fell asleep when I was holding her (well on my way to favourite status!). Today we chilled at Allison's parents place for a while then Nick went with the boys to check out a workshed of a friend of theirs while I went with the girls to do a bit of shopping and get a cappuccino from Starbucks (probably a highlight of the day!). Then we all met up at the WDM (Western Development Museum). For those of you back home, it's kind of like Cobb & Co Museum but a million times better! Was very cool to see some stuff about how the town and the area developed and grew. No we are back at home and chilling in the warm lounge room before we have supper (dinner).

So the bus trip...... I will never again choose to travel by bus.....

First of all we waited in the freezing cold at Jasper for over an hour because once again the bus station was closed and the bus was quite late. A crazy guy sat down across the aisle from us and was obviously drunk and had also managed to sneak alcohol onto the bus and kept offering Nick some. He was also talking so loud on his phone all the time and randomly yelling out stuff to the rest of the people on the bus. VERY ANNOYING!!!!!

Then because the bus was running so late we missed our connecting bus at Edmonton but that sort of ended up as a blessing because quite a few people had missed it so they sent an express bus straight to Saskatoon which meant it cut 2 hours off our trip because it didn't stop at heaps of the little towns on the way. It did mean that we had to wait around at Edmonton station for quite a while though and it was pretty cold and seriously seedy there! Lots of weird people seem to take the bus....

Then.... when we got on the bus a lady with a brand new baby sat in front of us and it cried the whole way (over 6 hours!). I wasn't annoyed about that actually because I felt so sorry for the poor lady, but it did mean we got no sleep. Luckily, as soon as we arrived in Saskatoon we were so excited to see everyone that the awful trip didn't really matter :)

Oh and as we were sitting having breakfast this morning it started snowing here! Was so pretty sitting in the house looking out at snow covering the street and front yard. Not sure what the plans are for while we are here but know we are giving curling a try as well as seeing an ice hockey game and doing something cool for New Years! Other than that I'm just so happy to be with familiar faces again!!

Posted by clairebear89 15:41 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

White Christmas

snow -1 °C

Well, Nick and I had a very authentic white christmas over here! After I wrote the blog yesterday we headed into town and had lunch at this place called Papa George's. It actually had real coffee!!!!! I was extremely please by that and thought it was probably one of the best christmas presents I could think of, haha. Then we decided to go all Bear Grylls and head off into the forest behind our lodge! It was absolutely incredible wandering around in there as it started to snow and the paths were really slippery with ice which was heaps of fun but I did smash my knee once and it is a bit swollen :( Nick was tracking animals to take pictures of and at one point we just sat down in this little thicket and waited..... Then we came across a big frozen lake which we decided to go for a walk on because it seemed pretty solid. WRONG! We got to the middle and saw this massive crack so we decided to get off there pretty quick (but of course we stayed long enough to get a photo, hehe). After a few hours we decided to head back to the lodge since it was really rather cold wandering around out there. Oh and I forgot to say that Nick really wanted a photo in the snow with no shirt on so we did that too. He was pretty embarrassed though because at that stage we didn't realise we were quite close to a road and as he was running around topless this car drove past!! hahaha, good times :)

When we got back to the lodge we decided to go for a swim in the "heated" pool..... there is no way that thing was heated!! Seriously cold stuff! We only lasted about 10 minutes. Then we came back and got ready for our huge buffet dinner ;) It was delicious and there were even prawns so we felt a little more like christmas at home after eating those. Food portions in Canada are seriously larger than back home too... I'm glad we're doing so much walking otherwise I think Nick and I would come back fat!!!

After the buffet we went back to the hotel and realised that Shrek 1, 2 and 3 were playing so put those on while we started packing up a little for our checkout this morning. I went to bed pretty early but I think Nick stayed up and watched them all. He's still asleep now so I'm guessing it's because he had a later night, haha.

So thanks for all the christmas wishes for yesterday, we really did have a lovely day and have decided that we are most definitely coming back to Jasper one summer because what we did today was awesome in the snow but would probably be even more cool in summer :) Next time I'm on here we will be with Nigel and Allison and meeting little Carter so can't wait for that!!! Another bus trip tonight though.... :(
Have a great day xoPC261125.jpgPC261130.jpgPC261140.jpgPC261173.jpg

Posted by clairebear89 08:29 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

5 reason why Nick is the best brother ever....

snow -3 °C

No, Nick did not hack the travel blog! It's Christmas Day over here so thought I would share the love a little :)
1. He makes me laugh heaps and is therefore making this trip so much more fun
2. He's chilled out and happy to do whatever, whenever
3. He doesn't complain when I want to go shopping
4. He looks after me when creepy people are around (like at the bus station!!)
5. He is an awesome photographer and is getting some great shots of our trip

So yeah, thanks man!
Anyway, enough sappy nonsense from me. We have just woken up after quite a good sleep in (it's 10:30), did the presents thing and are now just chilling in our room deciding what to do for the day. Most places will be closed so we will most likely wander downtown (probably an exaggerated use of the word as it is really only one street...) and see if we can get some breakfast then find a park to make snowmen in or see if we can find a hiking trail into the woods behind the town and take some cool pictures back there :) Sounds like a pretty chilled out Christmas to me! Oh and there is snow everywhere so we are really having a white Christmas! Very cool.

Last night we went to the christmas service at the little baptist church I mentioned in the last blog and it was so nice. There is one family who seem to run the church and then by the sounds of it the congregation is very small but they often have visitors come along. We sang some carols with the pastor playing guitar and leading and then he gave a message which was so funny because he dressed up as a prospector and sort of did it as a skit. Was really clever what he said though and really enjoyable. We chatted to a few people there before heading out to find some dinner. Ended up at a place called Earls which had delicious food! Nick was again absolutely starving so basically inhaled his steak and I had this spicy chicken burger which was really good!

Came home, had a hot chocolate at the cafe in our lodge and then skyped the family which was, as always, very enjoyable! Skype is seriously the best thing ever when you are travelling because it's one thing to send messages to people but it's so much nicer seeing and hearing them :)

So I will leave this blog here because nothing much else has happened. Really looking forward to getting to Saskatoon now but REALLY NOT looking forward to another overnight bus trip after the first one!! And we have to transfer buses at Edmonton at about midnight and we only have 15 minutes to do it so hopefully our bus isn't running late!! But anyway, no point stressing till we get there :) Hope you all have a lovely boxing day while we enjoy our white christmas!
Love Claire

Posted by clairebear89 09:48 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 10 of 18) Page [1] 2 »