Lake Okanagan in Canada Week 3

Lake Okanagan in Canada Week 3

I thought it might be nice to describe our location at the moment. We are on the Westside of Lake Okanagan and around 45km to downtown Kelowna and the same to Vernon. The spot we are at has views of the lake to Vernon and parts of Kelowna can also be seen as well as Fintry Point. The road used to be the most dangerous in British Columbia but thanks to a few improvements it’s now the sixth most dangerous. Saying that in the week we have been here someone has driven off the road and a motorcyclist was knocked off their bike yesterday.

I love coming back to Debbie’s folks place and the friendly community surrounding them. We are only a few minutes walk down to the lake and a jetty where you can jump off and swim. We can also borrow kayaks and just go for a paddle. There also is plenty of wildlife with lots of red deer and the occasional bear. My favourite wildlife are the different types of hummingbird which are so memorising to watch.

The last week we have been doing a lot around the Okanagan. Went and did a walk at Bear Creek, tubing in Penticton, a boat cruise on Lake Okanagan and we visited Kelowna a few times including to see a free Elvis Impersonator show which was fun and outside. We also walked around Kelowna and today we are off to visit some wineries.

Tomorrow we embark on the road trip and our first stop in a few days will be Jasper.

Week 8 – The Okanagan

Originally posted on 52 Weeks:

‘Changes in our lives are like soft waves nudging the shoreline.  Accept each one as an opportunity to go with the flow and experience life from a new perspective.’

[So, how this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

Week 2 in Canada means moving to one of the longer stops on our tour of North America – Killiney Beach, my parents cabin is located here and has 180 degree views of Okanagan Lake – a wine and fruit region and is about 5 hours from Vancouver.  It’s a semi-arid dessert region (yes, Canada does have desserts), so the days are…

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Two weeks in Canada

After my first post about my lost luggage (still lost) and our few days in Vancouver we are now near Kelowna getting ready for the long road trip through Canada and the USA.

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We spent another few days in Vancouver and went for a cycle ride around Stanley Park which takes an hour and you can hire bikes near the entrance. Afterwards we went to Granville Island where I sampled a few beers from the Granville Brewery which were not that stellar. We then visited the lovely Kari and Oren for a delicious dinner and catching up on stories of mine and Kari’s days at Holland House Youth Hostel see my past blog on the hostel.

After Vancouver we went to Cultus Lake for several days at a campground where there was lots of entertainment including a talent contest and Luau. We also went up Teapot hill and lazed around reading books and eating the occasional ice cream.

After Cultus Lake we took a road trip using Debbie’s folks car to drive first to Harrison Hot Springs where we enjoyed a soak in the hot pool and I searched and found Sasquatch.

From Harrison Hot Springs we drove down Highway 7 via Mission down to Vancouver and up to Squamish for the night which took a leisurely three and a half hours. We found a campground, set up the tent and had a lovely dinner at the Watershed Restaurant. From the restaurant beside the the river there is a wonderful view of the Granite cliff called the Chief. If you camp at the Wonderland campground be aware that the train goes by at 2 am and has the whistle on to warn people up to get off the tracks! Great campsite with good Wi-Fi, it cost us to camp $40. Dinner at the Watershed Restaurant was $50 and worth it for the views.

The next day we drove to Whistler after Debbie visited a mining museum while I waited. We only had a whistle-stop at Whistler and due to a mud slide had to detour to Merritt for the night at a cheap motel called All Seasons which was beside the main road and beside a lumber mill. Clean motel, comfy beds for $75. We used the motel as we arrived late and were both very tired after visiting three waterfalls between Squamish and Whistler.

We are now near Kelowna at my wife’s parents place on the Westside of Lake Okanagan with views down to Kelowna and Vernon. Lots to do before the big road trip and slowly getting ready for our upcoming adventure

The adventure begins in Steveston, Vancouver

The lead up to leaving

Prior to departure we spend a lovely few days in Pevensey Bay with the delightful raconteur Ken. We even managed to win a round at the local pub quiz in a four hundred year old pub called The Castle. Before leaving for Heathrow we also had a lovely farewell barbecue with friends.

Canada sans luggage

We arrived three days ago in Vancouver. It was a comfortable 9 hours and 25 minute flight from Heathrow on British Airways. The only glitch was that my luggage did not arrive with me and after three days is still missing in action. BA gave me a £35 pound credit card to cover initial costs and from the counter clerks body language I suspect I will never see my suitcase again. Happily our two other suitcases made it. Unhappily the one that was lost is mine with all my clothes, toiletries, shoes and other articles. We leave tomorrow for the interior of British Columbia so not holding out much hope of my luggage getting to me before then.

Steveston

The first two nights we stayed with the lovely John and Pam in their condo in Steveston. The town is only a 15 minute drive from the airport as well as a fishing town it also does whale watching. Steveston was once the biggest cannery town in the world exporting sockeye salmon. After a hearty breakfast in Steveston we decided to educate ourselves about the town’s history and visited the oldest cannery in the area, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. It was an interesting museum and highly recommended. It cost $7.80 each and included an excellent half hour guided tour. The Chinese and Japanese were heavily involved in work at the cannery which was not particularly a fun place to work with 16 hour days gutting sockeye salmon and canning them. The museum has recreated a cannery line and takes you through how it worked. We also did an extended tour of the later processing of Pacific herring for agricultural and other products. Apparently, unlike the Atlantic herring the Pacific herring tastes awful so there was no market for buying them to eat.

Interestingly, we visited the town on the first day of the salmon season where fishermen were selling sockeye salmon for the grand sum of $20 each. A bargain judging by the number of people buying them. After wandering around the town we visited the Britannica Museum which consisted of the barracks where the Chinese and Japanese used to live. We were lucky enough to get another guided tour around the Chinese barracks and hear about how hard the conditions were and the reasons they came to Canada to work and send money home. The museum is free to visit.

We then went out for a lovely sushi dinner with John and Pam and afterwards played a game of cribbage at their place where they soundly defeated us.

Next stop

The next day we moved into central Vancouver staying with the lovely Elska and Patrick in their house near the Vancouver City Hall. They have a beautiful 1911 house. The day was a bit of a washout with rain so aside from venturing out to buy some toiletries the day was spent chatting and napping. Today we are heading off into town to Stanley Park and Granville Island.

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Week 6 – Last Week in England!

Week 6 – Last Week in England!

John:

Our last week in England

Originally posted on 52 Weeks:

‘Inspiration comes to us slowly and quietly… prime it with a little solitude.’ – Brenda Ueland

[So, how this works is each week I will write to someone on my list, picked randomly and I will post it online on this blog – just in case the letter doesn’t reach it’s destination.  The letter includes a card with a random quote, which I hope you will enjoy (at the top of this blog page).]

I’m sitting at the new terminal 5 at Heathrow waiting to drop our bags off.  Soon I will be on the big plane to start the much longer haul flights. 

First it’s Vancouver, Canada – my home town. I’ll let you know next week, on the blog, how my first week back went, but, for now, my last week in the UK.  I met up with John, again, in Hove at a friends place.  It was…

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How much does our 342 day RTW cost?

Airfare and Travel Insurance Costs

One of the common topics on travel blogs is how much does it cost. Therefore I am going to keep a cost of our RTW trip. The airfare is the big one-off cost. Our trip begins in London with the first flight next week to Vancouver. We then overland through Canada and the USA to LA with a cruise thrown in where we sail for a week in the Caribbean. From LA we fly to Sydney for a few days. From Sydney to Auckland and then overland to Wellington. Then we fly to Melbourne and on to Hobart. We overland to Launceston and return to Melbourne. After a week in Melbourne we fly to Singapore and overland to Delhi. Then the final leg to Dubai and home to the UK.

Travel documents

Travel documents

We choose a Qantas ticket which code shares with BA and Emirates. The ticket allows us up to 46 kilo of luggage each which we will need for the first leg after that we will cut our luggage down to below 20 kilo each. We booked the ticket through Trailfinders and it cost £4028 or

US$6,800
NZ$8,000
C$7,429

We also booked our travel insurance through Trailfinders for £1110 or

US$1,870
NZ$2,200
C$2,028

We could probably have got cheaper travel insurance although I found the devil was in the detail. Travel Nomads was cheaper but after reading the small print and finding out that worldwide did not cover India we went with Trailfinders. Who knew India was not part of the world! I did ring Travel Nomads and they assured me India was included but the written policy said it was not. The policy we have allows for a plethora of activities including horse riding, tubing to something called Via Ferrata which is a protected climbing route.

Daily Budget

I thought it would be good to put down a daily figure for the 342 days. This is a guesstimate which is probably underestimating the costs. The daily budget bearing in mind South East Asia and India will be at a lower cost is £90 at 342 days = £30,780 or

US$150 at 342 days = $51,300
NZ$180 at 342 days = $61,560
C$165 at 342 days = $56,430

On the first overland leg we are travelling in Debbie’s parents RV and I have only a rough idea of what the cost of gas, accommodation, day trips, adventures and food will cost but time will tell. In Australia and New Zealand we will be staying hopefully with friends and relatives to keep down costs. For other accommodation we will use AIRBNB, Agoda, hotel.com and hostel.com as well as a few other booking sites. In regard to meals and food we plan to eat in a lot on the first legs and in Asia to eat out. Transport overland will be on trains, flights, buses and whatever is available.

What will be the final total of our RTW adventure?

If and that is a big if we keep to the budget the total cost for trip including airfare and travel insurance will be £35,918 or for 342 days at £105 per day. This breaks down to:

US$ 60,488 or for 342 days = $177 per day.
NZ$ 71,557 or for 342 days = $209 per day.
C$ 66,203 or for 342 days = $194 per day.

It will be interesting for me to go back and see whether I overestimated or underestimated our costs. I would also be interested in other travellers views on our budget and whether it is realistic or pie in the sky!

Vancouver here we come

It has been a while since my last blog. We have been busy sorting out renting our house, visiting relatives and organising all the boring things you have to do before travelling for a year. I returned a week ago from a three-week trip visiting relatives in Limburg, Holland. Debbie also did her last show at Henley. I managed to visit a few tourist sites on my trip to Holland and Germany including Maastricht and Cologne. In Cologne I managed to crawl up the windy narrow stairway to the top of the cathedral dome rewarded with a great view of the city and surrounding countryside. It cost a mere 3 euros to have an aerobic workout and a great view. I do know it is exactly 514 steps to the bottom from the top.

In six days we fly to Vancouver on British Airways. To be honest I am not a great fan of BA and have always found it a bit hit and miss in turns of service. Heathrow is also what I call the lottery airport it will either go quite smoothly or be a complete disaster. I prefer Gatwick.

Amazing to think we will be travelling for a year. I am really looking forward to it and our first stop is one of my favourite cities, Vancouver. We plan to visit some familiar places. Stanley park for a mandatory cycle ride and Granville Island to visit the boutique brewery and market. There are plans to visit unfamiliar places for me such as Grouse Mountain. We have been lucky in being able to find accommodation with friends. Below are a few photographs from previous trips to Vancouver.

If you have any recommendations on places to see or visit while we are in Vancouver then please comment. I am especially looking for good restaurants.