As soon I as had time to get excited about Canada, my mind started spinning. There was so much to do and so much to see. How was I going to fit it all in? Where was I going to go? And while I was getting all kind of wild dreams, there was really only one thing I wanted, and I couldn’t have it. But time goes on and reality sinks in. I’m going to have to make my own plans. And those wild dreams seem hectic.
So even though I would love to take the ferries all the way up to Alaska and be wowed by the fjords and life at sea, I decided to leave that trip for later. When I really started researching I found out ferries go once or twice a week and then this would eat up most of my time. Besides, it’s the low season and a lot of cheap accommodation seemed to close for winter. Alaska, you haven’t been forgotten, but merely postponed until the sun comes back out again.
With Alaska in the ‘travel plans for spring’ category, I zoomed in on google maps once again. Arriving in Vancouver gives me so many options. Unfortunately the weather will be somewhere in between summer and winter, sun, rain and snow. So a lot of hikes might be impossible by then, while there is not enough snow yet to really do any winter sports. City tripping it is, with an occasional excursion into nature depending on the weather conditions.
Right now I’m in Vancouver. At first I didn’t know what to think, but I’m falling for this city. It’s a great place to spend a few days and I am happy I’ll come back here to explore some more. I am waiting for a nice day so I can go up the Vancouver lookout and see the city with all the mountains and the lights at night. I’d like to go back in Stanley park, or even go for a run there, see Grouse mountain, and there are some museum I wouldn’t mind seeing. But first I’m going to Vancouver Island.
This is what’s on the list:
Vancouver island has got a lot to offer, but since I’m not planning to get a car, my options are limited to where the buses take me. I am definitely excited about checking out BC’s capital Victoria. According to the guide books it’s got the best museum in BC, the royal BC museum, which has a good first nation exhibition. I was also very excited to hear that someone joined a whale watching tour last week and still saw orcas! Apparently they are still hanging around, even though the season is for killer whales is meant to be ending. So maybe I will go out on the water and give it a go.
Then there is the surfer town of Tofino. I don’t know if I really want to surf in the freezing sea, but there is always the option of visiting some hot springs. They take you out there by boat and you can boat or fly back. It’s remote, but open year round. It seems nothing is cheap in Tofino, because even going hiking requires taking a boat to an island. It all sounds promising though, so let’s hope the weather works with me here. Although, they market Tofino as a storm watching spot.
Last but not least there is Nanaimo, from where you can take a ferry back to Vancouver. The town has a chocolate bar named after it and thus also has a Nanaimo bar trail, on which you can try different variations of the bar. Sound delicious. I know I’ll be skipping the whole northern half of the island, but since most people only visit the capital of BC Victoria, I think it’s going to be interesting and give me a good impression anyway. I can always return in spring!
Seattle & Portland
Now from Vancouver you can take the Amtrak train to Portland and Seattle. I hope I can visit the Boeing factory, even though it is a bit out of town. I want to see some bands, listen to some music. I’d like to see the famous Pike place market and the quirky things like the troll and the glass garden. I don’t know how easy or difficult it is to move around over there, but perhaps I can even go into one of the national parks Washington is known for. And Portland… I don’t know too much about it, but it seems to be the hidden secret of the US, a relaxed city that has plenty to offer. I am so keen to check that out for myself.
Once I’ve done all that, I’ll see how much time I’ve got left. I want to wing it a little bit this time. If I like a place, I’d like to have the option to stay longer. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that great things happen when you say yes to unexpected opportunities. You never know if you are going to like a place, hear about another cool place or meet someone you’d like to hang out with a bit longer. I might decide to become a surfer in Tofino, start a band in Seattle or go on some crazy hike. Well… never say never.
Canada is a big place. I’m sure I will find some good things to do with my time before I head to Whistler mountain. Exciting times have arrived!