Browsing Category

Travel

Canada, Travel

How Vancouver won us over

August 15, 2017

How Vancouver Won Us Over - View from Stanley Park

We arrived in Vancouver after a relaxing few days exploring Tofino and were immediately thrown into the chaos of a two hour traffic jam, one way streets, and trying to find parking while really hangry. We were not instantly bowled over by Vancouver, and I think we said "I hate this place and want to leave" about ten times on the first night.

Our grumpiness could not last because Vancouver fought hard and won us over. In the space of a few days we went from "this place is horrible" to "yeah, I could see us living here", which is the ultimate sign of an awesome place. Vancouver was like a badly behaved puppy; you can try to stay stern with it and teach it a lesson but it's so darn adorable that you end up smushing your face on it after approximately three seconds. That's not a great analogy but you know what I mean.

So, what did Vancouver do to win us over and make us want to move there?

Save

The Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park, Vancouver

1. Stanley Park

It's easy to see why Stanley Park has won "best park in the world" awards (I would love the job of being judge of that) as soon as you step into 400-hectacres of lush rainforest, trails, sea walks, beaches, seals, ice cream, and more. We spent a whole day exploring Stanley Park and there was still so much we hadn't done. You could easily spend two days exploring the park and still might not do everything you want to. It's not just the park itself, it provides you with stunning views of Vancouver and the mountains to the north.

We considered hiring bikes but after realising how often we'd be stopping to take photos, we decided against it and walked our legs off instead.

I'm not going to lie, when we were researching what to do in Vancouver I kept seeing Stanley Park pop up and I thought, "it can't be that great, surely?" Cynical me was so wrong. It is that great and I am so jealous of those lucky Vancouverites who have this place right in the middle of their beautiful city.

Granville Island Public Market

Eating octopus at Granville Island

View to Vancouver from Granville Island

2. Granville Island Market

Walking around the delicious delights of Granville Island's food market was one of the first times we said "I could live here." We had this romanticised idea of popping down to Granville Island for some fresh produce, meat (Daz got way too enthralled by a meat counter and was practically drooling) or cake (that was my turn to drool). I'm sure that's not what the majority of people living in Vancouver actually do, but it's a really nice thought.

We explored the market and enjoyed some food outside while taking in the mountains, bridges, and buildings all around us. For such a huge city, it feels very calm on Granville Island and if you're lucky enough, you might spot a seal while eating a burrito; not sure where else in the world you can do that.

Golden sunset at Third Beach, Stanley Park

3. Beaches

One of the things we loved most about Vancouver is that it's so easy to escape the hustle and bustle of being in a city of 2.5 million people. There is a lot of sandy space scattered around Vancouver, where you can do a spot of swimming if you fancy it, seal spotting, volley ball, build sandcastles; not things you generally associate with being in a city.

Again, I'm jealous of the people living in Vancouver who can take a stroll to the beach whenever they fancy it. Do you know how far away our closest beach is? Over two hours!

Save

Sunset from Third Beach, Vancouver

4. Sunsets

That brings us nicely to our next point; beautiful sunsets. Sunsets were a thing that evaded us on the first part of our trip because it was so cloudy. After a day of exploring Stanley Park, we decided to head down to Third Beach to watch the sun set and we were treated to a beautiful one.

Around us, friends and families were having mini parties on the beach, playing some awesome tunes, playing games, and watching one very brave man partake in a bit of swimming at 9pm. It felt so relaxing and you can tell that the locals truly appreciate the beautiful spaces they've got in the city.

Save

View over the Lion's Gate Bridge to North Vancouver and mountains at night

5. Vancouver at night

The city does not get any less beautiful when the sun goes down. The bridges and buildings light up, forming mesmerising reflections in the water that are too good not to photograph.

After dark, we visited Coal Harbour, the Lion's Gate Bridge and the TELUS Science Centre and we were not disappointed at all. If you visit Vancouver, you need to make some time to see the city light up at night because it's wonderful. And you will definitely not be the only one out there with your tripod and camera, that city is a photographers delight.

Save

Seal swimming off Third Beach Vancouver

6. Wildlife

As if Vancouver hasn't already got enough going for it, it pulled out the big guns; wildlife. You haven't got to try hard or look for long before you'll spot a seal swimming around the sea wall. We also spotted squirrels in Stanley Park, and we saw our first raccoon! Now, I know "trash pandas" are considered vermin but we don't have them in the UK and we were so excited when we spotted one. Fantastically, it was coming out of one of those big container bins and went and hid under it as soon as it saw us. We were really happy about seeing one and ticking another "new animal" off our list.

View over Deep Cove from Quarry Rock

7. Mountains & Forests

Within less than an hour you can be out of the city and exploring forests and mountains, with the only reminder that you're near a city being the tall buildings you can just about see on the horizon.

We only had time to explore Deep Cove and Lynn Canyon, but there's so much more to see around Vancouver; there's Grouse Mountain, you're not that far from Squamish, you could catch a ferry over to Vancouver Island, or you could take a drive up the Sea to Sky Highway.

Pastel pink sunset from Third Beach Vancouver

Vancouver really is a city that has it all. While we didn't explore much of the inner city because we didn't have time, we liked what we saw. We took a walk around Yaletown one night and the place was bustling and had a really relaxed vibe. Our three days in Vancouver were clearly no where near enough and we'd both love to go back and see some more of the city, and who knows, maybe we'll end up living there?

Pin me for your Vancouver adventure planning

7 reasons why you'll fall in love with Vancouver

Save

Save

Canada, Travel

Trestle Bridge & Niagra Falls | Goldstream Provincial Park

August 8, 2017

Trestle Bridge, Goldstream Provincial Park

Our first three days in Canada were solid travelling AND STRESS, so we were delighted to reach Vancouver Island and to start our trip off with a hike to Niagra Falls (not THAT Niagra Falls) and to the trestle bridge in Goldstream Provincial Park.

To be honest, we would have completely missed out on Goldstream if it hadn't been for this blog post I read on Go Live Explore. As soon as I saw Alicia's photos of the trestle bridge, I knew I wanted to see it for myself. It was well worth the leg burn and feeling incredibly unfit.

There is parking right by the trail, but it's really easy to miss as it can only be accessed from the southbound lane heading towards Victoria. (Here is the exact point on Google Maps if you need it.) There is more parking a little further down on the other side of the road and you can walk up. 

The walk to Niagra Falls only takes a few minutes and in those few minutes you're taken from the side of a busy highway to feeling like you are in one of the most remote places on Earth. The falls are nestled in the corner of a lush valley, with trees forming a canopy over the top of it. If you get there early, you will pretty much have the place to yourselves and that is the best way to see it, because it feels so tranquil. We got there about 10am and there was us, and a family with a dog; when we headed back to the car about 12ish, there were loads of people heading towards the falls.
Save

Save

Niagra Falls, Goldstream Provincial Park

Niagra Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park on Vancouver Island

Niagra Falls canyon, Goldstream Provincial Park

As we stood there admiring the falls, I felt so relaxed and so happy that three days of being tired and stressed had produced this wonderful moment. We took a few photos, fell off rocks and got our feet wet (that was me...) before I sprung it on Daz that I'd read about a trail up to a railway trestle bridge. The trail to the trestle bridge is not signposted so it took us a couple of minutes to find it. If you're headed away from the falls, as if you're going back to the car, it is on your left hand side. 

Boy, did that trail give us a workout. It is quite steep (170m elevation), and thankfully there are steps but that doesn't make it any less punishing. By the time we'd reached the top, we were convinced we'd destroyed our legs for the rest of the trip. And if your legs aren't already feeling weird, just wait until you stand on that trestle bridge.

Obviously, I should tell you to exercise extreme caution on the trestle bridge because there are gaps and you could seriously injure or kill yourself if you slipped. It's not like it's a knackered old bridge with pieces of wood that are going to break as soon as you step on them like something off Scooby Doo; plenty of people walk across it, but you need to be careful if you do.

View across the trestle bridge in Goldstream Provincial Park

View over the trestle railway bridge in Goldstream Provincial Park

The red railway trestle bridge in Goldstream Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

I am not usually bothered by heights but my legs definitely felt weird and a bit tingly when I started walking across the bridge. For the first time, I could understand what Daz means when he tells me heights make his feet feel weird. I think I made it about a third of the way across before deciding to turn back. I wanted to look over the sides to see the canyon below but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Like Emerald Lake last year, Niagra Falls and the trestle bridge were a great way to start our adventure and gave us great expectations of what was to come. Of course, it's Canada, that place hasn't got any problems living up to lofty expectations, as you well know from my relentless fangirling about it.

I think it took us maybe two and a half hours to visit the waterfalls and head up to the trestle bridge, though we did take it fairly easy. If you want to find out more about the trestle bridge trail and other trails around it, have a look at Victoria Trails.

Pin me for your adventure planning!

The Trestle Bridge Trail, Goldstream Provincial Park on Vancouver Island

Life, Travel

The greatest adventures are with the greatest people

August 1, 2017

Watching the sun set at Moraine Lake, Alberta

In the past 12 months, Daz and I have had our fair share of adventures; we’ve been to Wales, Canada, Edinburgh, and Canada again. Though all of those places are beautiful, it’s the people you’re with that make it the best adventure.

I booked my first trip to Canada before I really knew Daz; I might have known him as “the grumpy pastry chef”. After a few weeks of being together, it became pretty clear to me that I would be moping around Canada on my own, missing him like hell if he didn’t come. In fact, I actually told him that if he didn’t come to Canada, he would ruin my trip to Canada because I would miss him too much. (Soppy, awh.) It’s kinda funny because this time last year he was moping on holiday in Ibiza with his family, and I was being a serious grouch at work.

The fates aligned because he was able to get it off work too, and we found the perfect flight for him which landed just before my flight into Calgary from San Francisco.

During our first trip to Alberta, we felt so at home. We got so much done in seven days (here’s our 7-day Banff & Jasper itinerary), and we were planning our return trip before we’d got to the airport to go home.

We spent months thinking about and planning the trip; whenever one of us was annoyed or stressed, we would remind each other of being back there together. And boy, did that thought get us through a lot of frustrating times.

Our trip was incredible. Even better than we thought it would be, not least because Daz proposed to me at Moraine Lake, our favourite spot (more on that soon). And it definitely sucked more when we had to fly home, though we are now definitely determined to call Canada home one day. 

If either of us had experienced the hammering rain, the chilled out vibes of Tofino, the sounds of Vancouver Island’s rainforests, Vancouver at night, the beauty of the Rockies, or seeing an avalanche on our own, it would have been pretty cool. But to do, see, and experience all of that next to your best friend, is the best feeling in the world.

Sure, travelling with someone isn’t always 100% rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies (I’m really not gonna pretend it is). I’m a miserable moose when I’m tired at the best of times, tired and annoyed at road closures is not a great combination and unfortunate for anyone around me. I’m also always convinced I know the right way (spoiler alert: I almost never do) and am a frustrating co-pilot because I say right when I mean left, and left when I mean right. But then again, nothing is ever 100% rainbows, butterflies, it’s compromise that moves us along (shout out to anyone who gets the Maroon 5 reference – from when they were good).

Daz is my favourite adventure buddy and I’m looking forward to so many more adventures with him and giving him the wrong directions, forever.

Happy birthday, Dazzle.

Who is your favourite adventure buddy?

Canada, Photography, Travel

Sunset on the Bow River Loop, Canmore, Alberta

July 25, 2017

Sunset from the Bow River Loop, Canmore

When we were in Canada, one of our goals was to see an amazing sunset, and Canmore finally provided us with one from the Bow River Loop trail.

We tried hard to chase sunsets but the sky was just not in our favour, over and over again. The sky would either go a darker shade of blue, completely cloud over, or it would rain torrentially.

On our first day in Canmore, we discovered the Bow River Loop, a 20-minute flat walk around the Bow River on the edge of town. As we were sat in our hotel room one evening, we spotted colour creeping into the sky and dashed out to the car and down to the trail.

Red and orange clouds over Mount Rundle, Canmore

Pink clouds at sunset over Mount Rundle

Canmore Engine Bridge

Golden light bathed the mountains and forests surrounding the town and we almost ran down to Canmore Engine Bridge to set up the camera. It wasn’t long until we were treated to a pink, red, and orange display lighting up Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. I loved the way streams of light seemed to shoot out of the top of the mountain and paint patterns in the sky.

We stood there for a while, taking photos and trying to take in the awe-inspiring sunset, and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who started conversations with us. Considering both of us hate small talk, we loved the way people talk to each other on the street.

Everyone has heard the stereotype that Canadians are friendly, and it was true of the majority of Canadians we spoke to. Canadian hospitality has got to rival Southern hospitality because we felt welcomed and at home everywhere we went.

Sunset over Cascade Mountain from the Bow River Loop, Canmore

Canmore is one of our favourite places in Canada. The locals say that Banff is where you go to visit and Canmore is where you live. It’s a fairly quiet little town, about 20 minutes from Banff, on the Bow River with plenty activities to choose from, such as; hiking, kayaking, stand up kayaking, climbing, snowsports, and more.

If you’re ever in the Canmore or Banff area, it is well worth taking a stroll around the Bow River Loop at sunset. The trail in general is well worth a visit in general, whether you’ve got half an hour spare to take in some spectacular views, a few hours, or the whole day; the Bow River Loop connects to other walking and cycling trails, so you aren’t going to be short of things to do.

Sunset over the Three Sisters, Canmore

Where’s the best place you’ve watched the sun set?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Canada, Travel

When a mudslide tries to stop you catching a ferry

July 11, 2017

On the ferry to Vancouver Island

Our first 24 hours in Canada were a real mixed bag of “thank goodness we’re here” and “WHAT DO WE DO?!”. We emerged from a 9-hour flight having had no sleep thanks to two kids annoying each other and screaming the entire time to find out Hertz had given us a clown car.

Clown car avoided, we relaxed as we got on the 1 headed for Canmore to pick up our camping equipment. This was the moment we had been reminding ourselves of for months whenever we were stressed, “just think about being in the car on the way to Canmore,” we would say to each other. Everything was good in Canmore and we began the drive to our bed and breakfast in Golden.

The view over Golden from Le Beausoleil Bed and BreakfastCue the worst rain either of us had ever seen, much less driven in. You could barely see five metres in front of you. It eased off as we arrived at Golden, to the most welcoming and homely feeling B&B we’d ever been to. (If you are ever in Golden, stay there.) Our hosts at Le Beausoleil B&B were lovely and recommended local restaurant for dinner Eleven22 and boy, was that a good recommendation. It was exactly what we needed after way too long without sleep. To be honest, I’m still thinking about their lemon basil pesto pasta and could go for it right now.

After a truly restful nights sleep and delicious breakfast of homemade bagels and waffles, we hopped into the car refreshed and ready for eight hours of driving to Whistler. Let me tell you that that joy lasted about five minutes until we got to the junction for highway 1 in Golden. We saw a queue of traffic, cars turning around and no one seemed to be going over the junction to the 1. When we got to the front of the line, we were told a huge mudslide overnight had shut the road between Golden and Revelstoke and there was no real way around.

As we had a ferry booked from Vancouver at lunch time the day after, we really needed to get there and waiting to see if the road reopened later on (which we were told was very unlikely) was not an option. The stress was real.

We were given the suggestions of driving up to Jasper and down to Whistler, or going via Cranbrook and staying somewhere south of Vancouver, missing out on Whistler. Cranbrook seemed a couple of hours shorter so we decided on that route and managed to find a last minute motel in Hope.

It took us about an hour to calm down from that dilemma to realise there was a bright side here; we were going on a ‘proper adventure’ because we had no idea where we were going or what we would see. That excited us and it was all going smoothly until the traffic came to a halt at 2pm on a mountain road.

Traffic randomly coming to a stop because someone saw a bear, a goat, some elk, or something else is not that uncommon in Canada so we told ourselves we’d be moving in no time. Sure enough, we began moving again a few minutes later. And then we stopped.

Stuck in traffic

This was our view for two hours -.-‘

When people begin getting out of their cars, you know it’s not a good sign. We sat there for an hour and a half before seeing a lady in hi-vis, looking pretty pee’d off, who said, “you should get moving in the next half hour. They’ve blasted a hole in the road; don’t ask me why they’re blasting on a Friday afternoon.”

True to her word, we did get moving in the next half hour and we were curious to find out what this hole was. We were thinking it would be a large pothole but no; the entire right handside of the carriageway was missing for a good 3 – 4 metres. I am still kicking myself for not taking a photo of it but forgive me because I was too busy gawping saying “THE ENTIRE ROAD HAS GONE!”

The remainder of our drive took us through some parts of Canada we never expected to see; the Okanagan Valley, which looks so Mediterranean and is full of vineyards. Osoyoos was particularly breathtaking; we just weren’t expecting to see anything like that on our trip. The mountain roads began to feel a little dicey as darkness fell and we were coming up on well over 12 hours of driving (I say we, I mean Daz). We eventually found Hope (literally and figuratively) at about 11pm and fell into our beds after a really half-assed meal of rubbish noodles and Kraft mac n’cheese.

As not to tempt fate, we got up very early the next day and allowed for 4 or 5 hours to do a 1 and a half hour trip, “just in case”. Happily, we made our ferry to Vancouver Island and the rest of the trip was a lot more relaxing.

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s this: if you are planning to do a long stretch of driving, check for other routes in case roads are shut and you have to go the long way around. Ah, the stressful side of traveling that Instagram never shows you.

Now it’s your turn, I want to hear about your travel stress.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Canada, Photography, Travel

Don’t go camping in Canada if…

July 4, 2017

Why you shouldn't go camping in Canada

That's right, I am (sadly) back from Canada and geared up to start fangirling about it again; it never ends for you does it, my poor readers? Thanks to jetlag, my brain thought this post up at 3am in the morning and thought it would be hilarious to tell you why you shouldn't go camping in Canada. 

I like to indulge the weird sleep-deprived ideas I have sometimes, plus this post involves a reasonable amount of sarcasm, so here are 11 reasons why camping in Canada might not be for you.

 

...you hate awesome views while cooking

Perhaps you are blessed enough to have beautiful views from your kitchen, but the best views I've ever had while at the stove is while camping next to a lake. Who doesn't want to be cooking up some tasty nom, with a fire warming your back, while you look at a lake that looks photoshopped, thick forest, and jagged mountains?

Canada is pretty darn versatile, so you could also camp in the middle of a forest or even on a beach.

 

Panorama of Two Jack Lake, Banff

...you hate awesome views, period

Sure, you might get beautiful views from your hotel but when you're camping, you can open up your tent and be in that view in a matter of seconds. I will never forget waking up and unzipping the tent to see the sun coming up over Two Jack Lake. Daz was smart enough to bag site 44, which is apparently the "crown jewel of pitches in the Banff area", so prepare to feel smug because you've got the best view in Banff from your tent.

You don't need me to tell you that Canada is a beautiful country and the places you can camp are unreal. You can even do backcountry camping, which is like proper wilderness camping. We haven't done it yet but it's definitely on our list of things we want to experience.

 

Save

Save

Save

...you don't want to know what noise squirrels make

This might sound really dumb, depending on what part of the world you come from. In the UK, we have squirrels everywhere but I have never, ever heard them make a noise. While we were camping in Jasper last year, we were trying to figure out what this loud, squeaking noise was and eventually realised it was the squirrels. They are noisy little critters.

...you don't want to see loads of wildlife

While you really don't have to try that hard to see wildlife in Canada, camping is probably one of the best ways to see it. Two Jack Lakeside is a great place if you want to see elk; we saw a couple wandering around right on the edge of the site and a couple having a drink from the lake one morning.

Standing in Two Jack Lake

...you don't like fighting for festival tickets

I'm going to preface this by saying that not all campsites in Canada have as much demand as a Glastonbury ticket, but some do. We booked our spot for Two Jack Lakeside in Banff the day pitches were available, and we heard that it had completely sold out for the season in a matter of days. (Again, pitch 44 is what you really want!)

As a general rule, the better the view from the campsite, the more demand it is going to create. If you have your heart set on a site, try to book your spot as soon as pitches are available. You honestly will not find that every campsite sells out within days of going on sale, there will still be plenty of choice. Last year, we visited in September and only booked our pitches in August and we visited some great sites. We even got a pitch at Two Jack Lakeside, I think the demand this year is due Canada's 150th anniversary and free park passes.

Similarly, if you are interested in visiting Lake O'Hara, good luck trying to get tickets. They only allow a small amount of people in or to camp there each day, to protect the environment. We tried to get two bus tickets and they were sold out within a minute. I'm not sure how fast the entire season sold out, but I imagine it was within less than half an hour. Take that, Beyonce. 

Cooking on a campfire

...you think fires are lame

The unwritten laws of camping state that you must have at least one fire a day. Everyone seems to love fire and I'm sure that watching wood produce glorious orange and red warmth is the closest us muggles will ever get to magic. There are few better joys in life than toasting yourself too close to the fire and relaxing after a long day of adventuring.

Plus, you feel pretty Bear Grylls when you cast aside fire lighters and make a badass fire which cannot be doused by rain or pouring 2 litres of water on it. Just don't go too Bear Grylls and start stealing parachute cord and doing pressups wearing nothing but a coat. That's too far.

...you don't like saving money

I don't know about you, but I am all for saving money. I have only visited a relatively small part of Canada, so I will not speak for all of it, but hotels are not cheap in the parts I've been to. Air BnB is for sure cheaper than hotels, unless you can get a really cheap motel, but why would you want to when you can camp at the edge of a lake for $36 per pitch (that's Β£21 at the time of writing)?

Prices do vary between campsites (even Parks Canada owned ones) and some of the more luxurious, independently owned sites, such as Bella Pacifica in Tofino, are going to be more expensive than your basic unmanned sites. That said, it will still be cheaper than a hotel. While we were researching, we saw prices range from $12 - 60 CAD per pitch, per night. The most we paid was $36 per night, so above that is going to be some (definitely not all) of the privately owned sites with more amenities.

...you don't like forest toilets

On a campsite, you're either going to get toilets that resemble your standard public toilets or a shed with a pit toilet (I prefer to call them forest toilets). I have actually grown pretty fond of a forest loo. The first time I experienced one was in Yosemite and I was not prepared for it.

They really aren't as grim as you think (just don't look in) and my common sense says they're probably as clean as a normal toilet. In fact, they could even be cleaner because they don't produce an aerosol as a normal loo does when it flushes. Obviously I do not have the science to prove it, but give me some agar gel and I will.

All the campsites I went to had clean forest toilets and there's something kinda nice about hearing the birds and squirrels in the bathroom.

...you don't want to reset your sleeping pattern

Studies have shown that by camping for just one weekend, the natural light can help reset your circadian rhythm and your sleep pattern. The same study also found that people were going to sleep earlier and then waking up earlier than they would if they were at home.

We definitely experienced this. As anyone who has ever worked in hospitality will know, it is near impossible to have a good sleep pattern but we noticed a difference after just a couple of days of camping. We were going to sleep at about 22:30 (unheard of for us) and waking up between 7 - 8 in the morning. I wish we could keep it up now we're back, but we're already way out of step with the routine we had while camping. 

Pitch 44 at Two Jack Lakeside campground, Banff

Save

Marmot Limestone 4p tent

...you don't want someone else to deal with sorting your stuff for you

If you're flying to Canada, or even driving a very long way, it would be very expensive and a pain to take your own equipment with you. We don't own any camping equipment at all, so we wondered how we were going to do it. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a huge number of camping equipment rental companies, but we found Rent-A-Tent in Canmore. (They also have an office in Vancouver and I believe you can pick up from one office and drop off at another.)

We have used them twice now and they're great. You walk into their offices and they give you everything you need, and at the end of the trip you take it back to them and they sort out cleaning all the mud and pollen off it (oops). As well as giving you equipment, they're campers themselves and can tell you about places to stop, things to do, and have some great links with local tour operators as well. On top of that, they are really friendly guys; Canadian hospitality must surely rival Southern hospitality.

...you can't be bothered to clean up after yourself

This is actually a serious one. On every single campsite (and on most trails and day-use areas) in Canada you will be told and see signs regarding food, food waste and wildlife. All campsites operate the Bare campsite scheme which means you cannot leave anything out which has a food smell; this includes food, food waste, packaging, or even clean dishes or towels. It seems pretty overwhelming to begin with, but you just keep everything in your car or a food locker.

The problem with food smells is that they attract local wildlife, which can be dangerous for them and us because they might end up associating humans with food; they will stop hunting for their own food and will begin to enter campsites looking for food. This is not some kind of scare story either, it happens because of people's ignorance and stupidity.

Last year, we tried to book in at Two Jack Lakeside in Banff but couldn't because the campsite was shut due to a "wolf problem" and they weren't sure when it would reopen. We researched it and discovered that a wolf had been showing "bold behaviour" and entering the campsite frequently, attracted by food left out by campers. Unfortunately, that wolf had to be destroyed because you just can't risk a wolf attacking someone for food. The sad part is that it could have been entirely avoided and it was ignorant humans that cost that wolf it's life.

What's worse is we still saw people ignoring everything they've been told and leaving half-full cups out overnight or rubbish. If you can't be bothered to keep on top of the washing up or keep your campsite bare, don't go camping in Canada.

 

What do you think, think you would like camping in Canada?

Save this post for later

Why you shouldn't go camping in Canada

Mwnt, Wales, Photography, Travel

Mwnt beach, Wales

June 6, 2017

Mwnt Beach, Cardigan

Mwnt beach has featured very close to the top of my ‘favourite places’ in the world list for years.

Last week, I was talking to an American couple who had been traveling around the UK for a few weeks and were headed to Wales next. They hadn’t got any solid plans yet and made the mistake of asking me for recommendations. I barely need an invitation to wax lyrical about Mwnt at the best of times, so I think they were a bit taken aback and soon regretted asking. I hope they went and saw it for themselves because it is such a wonderful place. I hope they went and tell all their friends about this beautiful little beach some crazy lady in their hotel told them about.

I first went there over ten years ago when my Nan took me, my sister, and my cousin on holiday. We stayed in a little cottage just up the road from the beach, and we would spend the day in the sea, building sand fortresses with moats and my cousin had an odd habit of collecting jellyfish in a bucket…There’s a hill on one side of the beach, which we used to climb up every night to call our parents. (If they thought they were escaping us by sending us on holiday, they were wrong. Not even rubbish O2 signal on a Welsh beach is going to stop me annoying my Mum.)

The second year my Nan took us away, I think she was expecting to go somewhere else but we loved the place so much we badgered her to go back. I’ve been back a handful of times since then, the last time being with Daz last summer. I would love to pop back before we head up to Edinburgh but it’s looking very unlikely at the moment.

For me, visiting Mwnt beach is almost like a pilgrimage. A lot has happened since my first trip there over a decade ago; I’ve passed exams, I’ve made friends, I’ve lost friends, I’ve had arguments, I’ve mustered the courage to stand up to people, I’ve quit uni, I’ve finished uni, I’ve worried a lot, but I’m still here.

Do you have anywhere like that in your life?

Save

Books, Travel

All Over The Place – Geraldine DeRuiter

May 30, 2017

All Over The Place by Geraldine Deruiter

When I first read that one of my favourite bloggers was releasing a book, I instantly began impatiently refreshing Amazon’s UK Kindle site until they let me pre-order All Over The Place.

I’ve followed The Everywhereist for years after following a link to it from an article her husband wrote on the Moz blog, right back when I’d just dropped out of university and started working in marketing. (I find it a little soothing that I’ve just finished her book and my undergrad. degree.) Geraldine’s blog was a bit of a beacon in the blogosphere for me because she was unashamedly traveling her way, getting lost, experiencing things her way, and telling hilarious stories about all of it. Her book is no different.

You are not going to read this book and gain an understanding of how best to fold your underwear, how to get the cheapest flights, how to avoid food-poisoning, or spend no money while exploring an expensive Scandinavian capital city. Instead, you are going to laugh so hard you might cry while she tells the story of the time her mother tried to take a pickax through security. Geraldine writes that All Over The Place should perhaps serve as a reminder of how not to travel; but with some of the stories she’s got out of her way of traveling, it’s hard not to want to do the same. (I am simultaneously thankful but a little disappointed that I do not have a relative who feels it perfectly normal to take weapons in their hand luggage on family trips.)

This is a book that oozes comfort. The writing is so natural and effortlessly funny that you sink into the book and feel like you’re sat in a cafe (eating cake, of course) with Geraldine. If, like me, you find yourself constantly living in fear of everything, you will also find another kind of comfort in this book. I found myself laughing out loud and pondering my own experiences as I read about Geraldine navigating her life, the relationships with her partner and family, her health, and her thoughts on life and the “path” we’re on.

One reviewer on Goodreads summarised this book really well for me, “All Over the Place is a travel book, except that the travel is at least as much internal as it is external. It’s not just about the places she, her husband, or friends explored; it was about what she learned about herself, life, her family, her husband, and her friends.

As you reach the end of the book, Geraldine takes her husband to the Italian towns her grandparents came from. She tells a story of meeting relatives and Italian dinners and it honestly feels like you’re sitting right there at the table. You can almost smell the pasta (and that is an excellent quality for any book to have).

I reached the end of the book feeling thoroughly satisfied. All Over The Place was everything I thought it was going to be. If you’re looking for something hilarious, but with some poignant life lessons, to read this summer this is the book you need in your life. In fact, I think it would be the perfect book to read while traveling because it is so easy to read.

What have you read recently?

Save