A Travellerspoint blog

Day 18

SAM_1950.jpgSAM_1958.jpgSAM_1982.jpgSAM_2002.jpgWe ate a continental buffet breakfast at our hotel, the Chateau Jasper for just $9 plus tax plus tips which ended up costing around $25. We hit the road just before 10 and went to the Jasper Tramway, a cable car that takes you from 1304 metres above sea level to 2277 metres above sea level. Darlene, myself and Karol went up. Lance chose to remain on the ground. Our Australian guide on the ascent pointed out that Jasper was shaped like a boomerang.
The views were spectacular. I took 15 minutes for a quick trip further up the mountain and in the process exceeded the height of Mt Kosciusko. I photographed a chipmunk and a goat up there as well as the scenery and a train in the distance that was over a kilometre long.
After descending we headed to Lake Maligne, one of the most photographed lakes in Canada. We ate in the lakeside restaurant, took a bunch of photos on the way there, at the lake and on the way back. It is truly a spectacular destination. The few photos I picked out for the blog will not do it justice. You will need to see the rest of them. We ate lunch at the restaurant at the lake’s edge but timing robbed us of the opportunity of a cruise on the lake to the island that is so widely photographed. They don’t run them often enough.
We returned to the hotel slowly, checking out the sights along the way and arrived back around 4pm and opened our bottle of Argentinian Malbec. I am becoming a big fan of South American Malbec. We have had three different types now and all have been excellent.
The wine was all gone within an hour. Yummmm. We headed out to dinner and settled on a steak, seafood & pizza place. It was much better than last night. I have half the pizza in the fridge but not sure whether I will eat it or how I will heat it tomorrow.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 19:59 Comments (0)

Day 17

SAM_1905.jpgSAM_1920.jpgSAM_1923.jpgWe ate from an ordinary and limited buffet breakfast at the hotel in Kamloops and checked around 9.30 am. We stopped at a Safeway supermarket in town to purchase some fruit, water and snacks as we had a long trip ahead of us and not much civilisation between Kamloops and Jasper.
We stopped at a restaurant/bar in Clearwater for lunch. Not being very hungry Darlene & I decided to share a hot chicken sandwich. It turned out it came with vegetables and a large serve of fries. It was intended as a meal for one but the two of us could not finish it.
We continued on through to Jasper stopping at a few points to take some photos. It was a picturesque journey. We crossed over from British Columbia to Alberta and put our clocks forward an hour. Just over the border we stopped at a National Park Gateway to pay our fee for entering the park. $20 per day per car. We were given a receipt to stick to our window which has the day and time we need to be out of the park by. I am not sure what the consequences are if we don’t comply but we should be ok. We arrived at our next destination the Chateau Jasper around 6pm local time.
Our rooms were not what we expected. We have two double beds instead of a queen bed that we instructed our travel agent to arrange. Not happy, but we cannot change hotels as it was prepaid and they have no queen rooms available. I wrote an email to the Agent but not surprisingly he has not replied. We will not be using him again. That is the third incident we have been displeased about that he has been responsible for.
We went into town for our evening meal at a Chinese restaurant here in Jasper but the food was average to ordinary. We drove and walked some of the city streets after dinner and had an ice cream then and returned to the hotel. Lance and I grabbed a few brochures from the reception area and returned to our rooms for the evening to independently work out what we want to see over the next two days.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 07:28 Comments (0)

Day 16

SAM_1906.jpgSAM_1886.jpgWe slept ok and woke to bright sunshine yet again. We have been so lucky with the weather on this trip. The hotel L’Hermitage was conveniently located and comfortable. Lance and I walked to the car rental depot after breakfast to collect our mini van. To our pleasant surprise we had been upgraded to a Chrysler Town & Country in place of the Dodge Caravan we ordered. I am signed up as the sole driver as Lance hasn’t driven over here before and Darlene prefers not to drive after so much time away from here. I drove the van back to the hotel we loaded up and it all fitted with room to spare. We folded down the third row of seats and had heaps of room. The seats are leather and the car nearly new with just over 8,000 km on the clock.
We found our way onto the Trans Canada Highway without too much trouble. Construction slowed our speed to 70 to 80 kph for several kilometres but eventually we cleared it and set cruise control to the speed limit. We were not all that hungry at our planned lunch stop at Hope so kept going expecting to see a roadhouse or something to eat a little further down the road. Nope. Didn't happen. The other thing missing were toilet opportunities. We found a snow chain station that had a toilet built over a hole in the ground. Fortunately it didn’t smell and we all used it. Some 86 km later we pulled into Merrit and found an A&W burger store and ate a late lunch there.
Then it was back on the highway and on to Kamloops our evening stop. We arrived around 3.30 and checked in. We drove downtown to check it out although it was late on a Sunday afternoon and most stores were closed. We returned to our rooms and around 7pm we walked to the pub next door for a light evening meal. I had some Thai chicken curry soup. It was really good. We stayed for a wine or two in the balmy evening still in the mid 20s. I didn’t mention that it hit 31 degrees on the way to Kamloops. Really warm weather for here for this time of year.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 07:13 Comments (0)

Day 15

SAM_1855.jpgSAM_1871.jpgSAM_1876.jpgWe woke to an alarm we were not expecting at 4.50 am. We forgot to check the bloody bedside clock. When we next awoke it was 8.20 and a fine mild and sunny morning. We ate at the buffet breakfast downstairs and headed down to Gas Town. We had been in touch with Tim Bourassa yesterday and learned he and Beau were working for the Big Bus company that ran tourism buses around Vancouver. Tim arranged a free pass for the four of us and we gratefully accepted and boarded the bus by the steam clock and rode the bus all but two stops around the circuit eventually getting off in Chinatown. We walked a while and had a coffee and a light snack and then completed the walk to Gas Town. We shopped for a while then returned to the bus booth to see what else they suggested we see. We had around 90 minutes to fill in till we met up with Tim & Beau for tea at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We visited the Lookout tower, 140 metres or about 40 floors above the port area of Vancouver. Lance has a problem with heights and declined but the three of us went up and enjoyed the spectacular views.
We returned to the ground, found Lance, and went to the restaurant and met up with Tim and his wife and their three children and Beau and his partner. We had a good feed and a wonderful evening catching up with them and all that has happened. It had been 14 years since we last saw Tim and around 10 since Beau returned to Canada. It was really great to see them again and we invited them to visit us back in Melbourne when they can. We walked to Canada Place with Tim and family and chatted a bit more then said our goodbyes and walked back to the Hotel.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 21:51 Comments (0)

Day 14

SAM_1838.jpgSAM_1840.jpgWe woke very early as we were docking at 5am and had to be at our disembarkation lounge at 7am. We had our last breakfast up in the Windjammer buffet on deck 11 and then returned to our cabins to gather our carry-on luggage. We were off the ship, on the bus and on our way by 7.15am. The bus trip to Anchorage was scenic, reminiscent of Scotland at times. Anchorage marked the northernmost part of our trip, around 61 degrees north of the equator. We arrived at the airport around 10 am for our 3pm flight. D’oh. We couldn’t check in our luggage until midday so we had a coffee and sat around.
The flight was smooth and uneventful, just over 3 hours down to Vancouver. I made the mistake of starting to watch a movie too late and missed the final 20 minutes of Star Trek into Darkness. Bugger! Our next flight is also on Air Canada, hopefully they have it too.
We arrived in Vancouver around 7.15 pm. We were stopped briefly at immigration again but allowed to pass after around 10 minutes or so. We caught a taxi to the hotel and checked in at L’Hermitage Hotel. Rooms are comfortable and the hotel is well located just a short walk to Gas Town tourist precinct. We went over the road for a late light dinner and a glass of wine and retired back to the room for the night.

Posted by IanDarleneUK 21:43 Comments (0)

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