Emily's Latest Wonderings!

Hi Everyone –

Well it is now July and I last wrote in February – I haven’t been very diligent with this blog thing! We are coming up to the end of our Vancouver stay - a strange but exciting feeling.

After planning to work hard for three months and then hitting the road again, we will end up for being here for six. Things didn’t really go to plan on the job front so it’s taken a bit more time to save money than we thought. In a way it is a difficult period of time to stay in a city – just about settled in and then getting ready to leave. I remember when I moved to Canberra it wasn’t until the six month mark that I started to feel like I could actually make myself a home there, and it is the same feeling here. I think it probably takes about a year to really settle in.

Couldn't be more relaxed!

Couldn't be more relaxed!

We had a long weekend last weekend and went to Penticton in the Okanagan Wine Region of BC. Wow! It was a highlight of our time in BC for sure. I know Josh would agree – when we were on our hire boat in the middle of the Okanagan Lake and he was doing synchronized flips into the water with Cillian, he looked like a little boy at Christmas. It was an amazing trip, I think partly due to the two couples we went with – Karen and Michael, and Tina and Cillian.

On the boat in the Okanagan!

On the boat in the Okanagan!

 

 

We have been extremely lucky with the people we have met here, and over the last three months we have developed much stronger friendships. It has made me realise that we could be very happy here longer term, if only our Australian friends and family weren’t so far away. A two year working visa is one thing, but I don’t think I could live somewhere permanently quite so far away from home. I feel lucky to have such amazing people in Australia that are hard to stay away from!

Having this experience in Vancouver has again made me appreciate that it is not the city that you live in that is important, but who is there with you. Canberra has become one of my most favourite places in the world because of the life-long friends I have made – and now we have been just as lucky here in Vancouver. Without these travel experiences I wouldn’t know some of my most favourite people - which makes me feel lucky and grateful for these opportunities. That was deep…haha. But I guess if I am only going to write two blogs I should make them count!

Other highlights for me over the last few months have been enjoying my afternoon and weekend runs along the seawall. I try and hit the 10km mark before stopping to take photos but sometimes it’s impossible. It must be how a new mum feels – there has been times where I have had to ask myself, am I going overboard on instragramming the seawall? At least it’s not selfies I guess! Haha. But it is truly breathtaking down there. I will miss that view.

I’ve also enjoyed learning how to play gaelic football with my new irish friends – I’m not overly good at it but its such a fun game! Also I absolutely loved Victoria – more restaurants per capita than any city in Canada – sounds like somewhere Josh and I belong hehe. My friend Mel from Perth has been living there for 5 years, and showed us around. Her love for the city was infectious, and I can understand why she has stayed there.

I am definitely starting to miss little things about Australia and I am getting very excited at the thought of seeing you all. I especially can’t wait to meet my niece Ellie Rose who is already 6 months old! I hope she forgives her Aunty for missing out on spending this time with her – I have some cuddles to catch up on that’s for sure.  We also have a very special wedding to come home to which will help keep the post travel blues away!

Josh and I are getting prepared for our camping adventures – we will make sure we write up a blog about that – lots of things are bound to go wrong and its bound to be hilarious J I am already slightly concerned as Josh says we need to get bear spray – I’m worried he will be trying to attract the bears instead of repelling them. We haven’t seen one yet and it is his main goal before we leave Canada. Please cross your fingers for my safety. Haha.

Bye for now – but will be seeing you soon – can’t wait.

Lots of Love –

Emily xxx

 

 

 

Victorian Escape!

So when I don’t have football we try and make the most of the weekends that we have time to go away and explore this incredible part of the world. Fortunately in British Columbia the list of places to see is never ending.

The weekend just gone (7th & 8th June) we decided that we would venture to Victoria, the provincial capital of BC. The ferry’s make it relatively easy and are cost friendly for travelers trying to do things on the cheap. The only downside to the ferry’s is that they are a little way out of the central hubs of most of the cities so take some time to get to.

As we are living in the heart of Vancouver we had to take the Skytrain to Bridgeport (20 mins), and then catch the 620 to Tswassen (30 mins). However, on the way there the time seemed to pass much faster than on the way back. The ferry however only takes 1.5hrs to get from Tswassen to Victoria, and fortunately for us instead of cramming onto a crowded bus to get into Downtown Victoria Emily’s friend Mel was able to pick us up. The drive in to downtown is around 40 minutes.

When we got into Victoria we walked from Mel’s house into the Downtown Marina area which is spectacular. We wandered along the water past the Legislature or Parliament Building which sets an amazing backdrop looking over the marina area. We wandered around the waterfront all the way to our first stop off which also happened to be a micro-brewery, Canoe. We all ordered the tasting flights of beer, which was 5 midi’s for $9.00 of delicious craft beer. Victoria is reknowned for its ni

On this trip I’ve been on a continual hunt for the best burgers in the numerous cities that we have been lucky enough to visit. So I ordered the Canoe Deluxe Burger with aged cheddar, mushrooms and bacon. Was pretty tasty, but still not the best burger that we’ve had on our trip.

Following lunch we were wandered around the streets of Downtown discovering numerous boutiques and other pubs and eateries which Mel recommended. We ended up deciding to go to a rooftop bar which was a part of the Strathcona Pub chain. This place was reminiscent of a beach party in a tacky Asian destination but it was still enjoyable to have drinks on a roof in the outdoors where it was a balmy 25 degree’s! There was a beach volleyball court which was available to be booked, and followed a beach theme.

Following more drinks in the sun we opted to check into our hostel which was conveniently located in Downtown. We stayed at the Ocean Island Inn Backpackers, on the corner of Pandora and Blandshard streets. The room was incredibly basic, and a bit of a sweatbox but it was sufficient for the night. After a bit of a relax and a powernap it was time to get ready to meet Em's friend Sean for dinner!

We met up with Sean and since we were on an island, surrounded by water, we opted to go for a nice seafood dinner, so we headed to a place called Ferris's. The meal was unbelievably good, with a metric ton of seafood and shellfish throughout my boullabaise (a fish stew), and I think Em was quite happy with her seafood jambalaya! Dinner ended up wrapping up around 1030, and we opted to head in for the night as the sun and beers all afternoon had taken it out of us.

The next day we got up and were on the hunt for a brunch spot! Sean offered numerous suggestions being the decade long local, so we took his advice and went to Jam. Once inside it was a cool little retro style cafe, serving up everything from fried chick and gravy, through to french toast and bacon. We both opted for the green eggs and ham (basil pesto eggs) with ham. What we didn't know is that all meals came with massive biscuits (think of scones the size of your head) instead of toast.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the boutiques where I managed to re-invigorate my wardrobe and spent $200 on clothes, much to Emily's dismay as we have no money. However, in my defence though I buy clothes on average once a year. If you look through photo's it looks like our trip has been two weeks as I am constantly in the same attire.

After spending what little money we had left, we then began our longish journey home. By longish I don't mean by distance, more so the time it takes to get back home from Victoria. You have to catch an hour bus from Victoria to Swartz Bay, then an hour and a half ferry ride, then another hour bus from Tswassen ferry terminal to Bridgeport Skytrain station, then another 20 minute train ride to get to Yaletown. It may not seem like much but that in itself takes it out of you. The journey home always feels like it is so much longer than the journey in. The plus side on the journey home is that I got to watch the first half of game 2 of the NBA final, as it was being shown on the ferry.

Anyways, that wraps up this blog post for now. I'll be putting photo's up shortly. Emily will be blogging soon. I think. We barely have enough time to scratch ourselves these days!

Josh

 

 

 

The latest happenings in Vancouver...

So over the past few weeks alot has happened since we've written a blog post. We've climbed up Grouse Mountain, stayed on Vancouver Island (Ucluelet), went to City and Colour, visited some Chinese Gardens, went to the top of the viewpoint tower, walked the entire Seawall, gone to the BC Hall of Fame, wandered around parts of Vancouver we never knew existed, discovered more sketchy areas of Vancouver (East of Main), moved to Yaletown and have a new housemate (Sharleen), played footy in the inaugural Cougars Cup, dressed up as Clark kent and Marilyn Monroe for a Hollywood party, which was then followed by sleeping all day long, and finally I got a temporary job at the University of British Columbia's Athletics Department. So all in all we've been pretty busy of late. Oh and Emily worked a 55 hour week last week... Crazy busy but now it looks as though we need to knuckle down and save as many dollars as we can so we can get back on the road again in July.

Anyways, I'll be uploading some photo's and video's of Ucluelet and some other places that we've been so you can see Vancouver in all its spring glory... Cannot wait for summer to roll around here as everyone keeps yapping on about it. 

Anyways, thats all from me folks! Stay tuned for some photo's!

Josh

 

 

 

Emily's Blog Debut

Hellllo blog readers!

After letting Josh shine the last three blogs I think it is probably time for my blogging expertise to surface.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading his 10 lessons learnt – my particular favourites are number 3 and number 8 and let me tell you why.

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Number 3: Long-term travel isn’t a holiday (renamed by me: travelling with a bear). Josh and I have had a few ‘moments’ where he is lying in bed at 11:30am and I have a list of things I would like to achieve that day, and I spend about an hour trying to get us out of the house (coffee, breakfast, dressing Josh, etc). Let’s just say when Josh’s energy levels miraculously recovered and he made me breakfast in Whistler (first time of the trip) at 8:00am, I got him back. Suddenly I felt a strange desire to read the news for an hour…haha. Of course, I am only joking and in reality, Josh has taught me a lesson this trip: no matter how many hours you have in a city, you probably won’t get to see all you want to, and that’s not actually the end of the world. Sometimes you have to chill out! (And hopefully return one day to see what you missed).

Number 8: This is a long story – but to summarise – I was trying to convince a slightly tipsy Josh that it wasn’t a good idea to start a game of Kings (card drinking game for those not familiar) at 2am with our hosts in Montreal when we had to be up at 6am to catch our train to Ottawa. I can function pretty well on no sleep but Josh not so much. Somehow we still made our train - phew! And I learnt a new skill that night (how to flick bottle tops across a room) so all was not lost.

To finish up I am going to give you three things I love about -20 to -30 degree weather:

1.     Your nose continually drips. You must have tissues on you at all times. In Whistler they have ‘sniffle stations’ (tissue dispensers at every chair lift). In my opinion it would be very considerate if every city that suffers (sorry I mean is lucky enough) to experience this amazing weather provided sniffle stations every two metres. It’s actually like having the most annoying symptom of a cold ALL THE TIME. Fun!

2.     It sucks you in with being all pretty and new and entertaining for a while. The first time we experienced salt on the sidewalks and piles of snow at peoples doorsteps was in Montreal – very pretty. Also fun, because at any moment your feet could disappear underneath you and you will fall flat on your face. But then you get to Ottawa and it -35 and you have 24 hours to see the city, but you need breaks from being outside because you think your hands are actually about to fall off.

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3.     It takes about an hour to get ‘winter ready’ (that’s on top of the hour already gone getting Josh up). I start with my bottom half – fleece-lined stockings, then thermals, then jeans – then top half: thermal, two long sleeve tops, two jumpers, coat., scarf, gloves, beanie. Then a few more pairs of socks. By this point I cannot physically bend to put my boots on, let alone zip them up. I am sweating before we leave the house. It is actually a relief to feel the fresh -30 air on my face. And then the burning starts again. Haha

I realise that all sounds a bit negative, of course I am just being silly. I feel so lucky to be doing what we are doing - I have to pinch myself on a daily basis! We have already had so many memorable moments and have met some amazing people. I am so excited to start this next chapter in our cosy apartment looking over Vancouver’s English Bay – what a view! And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I also have to say how lucky I am to be travelling with my bear…sorry.. too gushy. 

Lots of Love

Emily

xx

Magnifique Montreal!

So we are currently resting up on our last night in Toronto. We have been here a couple of days and really enjoyed the place. Today we went to Niagara Falls, the town, and Niagara on the Lake. A really pretty and scenic part of the world. 

Toronto is quite a nice city with lots to do and see. Seeing it snow in a city is something a little different from back home, but it really does make a place look amazing when its covered in a fine dusting.

Montreal was a beautiful city, and we were lucky enough to have booked 5 days there. However the weather didn't really permit for us to be able to walk around at all and our warmest day was a nice and balmy -12, with the temperature generally hovering around -20 to -25. Not overly conducive to tourist activities. We did manage to get out and about one day up Mont Royal, a small mountain/park which overlooks the city.

I hope everyone back home enjoyed Australia  Day and the Hottest 100 Countdown. A little shocked riptide won it to be honest...I thought Daft Punk or Lorde would have won it. 

Anyway, here's a few phone photo's of our past few days. Our camera shots will be uploaded shortly.

My new mate Kevin who we met at the loose moose. Quite a character and he had been trying to fool these ppl that he was Australian, then we rocked up and blew the poor guys cover.

My new mate Kevin who we met at the loose moose. Quite a character and he had been trying to fool these ppl that he was Australian, then we rocked up and blew the poor guys cover.

Niagra Falls. Millions of litres fall each second, although it is quite icy at the moment...

Niagra Falls. Millions of litres fall each second, although it is quite icy at the moment...

The front of the place we are staying. Its nice to get home to the warmth after trudging around in snow everyday.

The front of the place we are staying. Its nice to get home to the warmth after trudging around in snow everyday.

The Loose Moose is a great sports bar. Yes, we did get loose at the Loose Moose.

The Loose Moose is a great sports bar. Yes, we did get loose at the Loose Moose.

First blog post

Here it goes guys! Here is the first blog post for this website...Ideally I would have liked to have done this in South Africa, but alas when you're travelling everywhere and want to see everything you don't have a ton of spare time to do these things.

Anyway, myself and Emily are currently enjoying the lovely city of Boston, Massachusetts. Last night we went to the Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors at TD Garden. Coming into the game, the Celtics had lost 9 on the trot, so we weren't overly optimistic about the Celtics chances.

However, they went on a scoring spree in the third which in the end won them the game by the skin of their teeth as they went about trying to lose it in the fourth. Loving all the focus on sport over here, and am really enjoying the basketball alot more than I thought I would. Emily is also enjoying the basketball too!

Earlier in the day we walked some of the Freedom Trail, which is a guided path throughout the city and takes you past some of the more important historical aspects of the town. This got a little tedious as we've been kind of historied out in all the museums we've been to, so we stopped at the Boston Commons and went ice skating on the rink they have there.

Anyway, I have to go and meet Emily now for lunch as she went off exploring whilst I got the website sorted.