So fresh off the greyhound bus, I decided to walk to my hostel which is on the main traveller/ hostel strip about 40 mins from the bus station. Normally I say get a bus or train but I would say walk this route as you get to go past the
Vancouver BC, Marine Museum, riverside and it also gives you good feel for the city and it's great scale.
Well I say 40 mins but it took me 1hr 10, I was lost for 20 mins and I got caught up in the human traffic
going to see cirque de solere.
So I arrive at Samsun backpackers (http://samesun.com/) and not only am I greeted to the answer to hooters, I'm also greeted by a large stuffed
moose that towers over me at 6ft 7! This moose, is loose and aboot to fuck up this hoose!
Oh let's just clarify something, I've hardly heard the word about vocalised as "aboot",however after decades of ridicule from other nations, I think
they've secretly abolished the word.
My first night there is quiet, I end up getting the best thing in the world.....a medium pizza and heaps of chicken wings for $10, now do you see why I love this country already and only after one city.
Now one issue I have with north america in general, is that they don't have handy travel/student shops located near hostels and to make it worst, they charge for all computer access. I know it's to stop idiots from
downloading films but all I want to do is upload my San Diego photos......and download movies and music.
Now this hostel is just so cool, each door has a flag of each country, I got Ghana (racist) and know that Hugo boss model from San
Diego, screw him, there's 4 of them here, catering to my every need ( For accommodation! ). Also they have an extensive kitchen, good chill out area and a bar called "BEAVER LODGE", actually there's just a running theme with the word beaver, I don't know what
to do with myself..... In every sense of that phrase"
So swiftly onto day 2, I find myself town on what to do as I have a list of things and it all revolves around the next 3 weeks as, IM COMING HOME! After
extensive Internet research, fluttering my eyelashes at the ladies in the flight centre and having to buy a new phone, I'm set!
I officially am no longer a smartphone user, they either leave me, run out of life or just die, I would make
a relationship joke here but think the death thing will be more appropriate and realistic when I'm 80!
Anyway, I head to moose travel, which is linked to samesun and by lord do the staff know what they are doing, I think the sun got to
the lovely assistant's head as she called Toronto, "Vancouver East"
After 2 minutes of giggling, she says to me "why don't you book the Island Tour, it's only $369 plus $110 plus vat?! " I reply " why don't you shove it up your....." NOOO
I didn't say that at all, I did say "why don't you buy it for me and I'll give you an I.O.U?" ( I didn't say that either)
So after more giggling, I think they put laughing gas in this office, I finally book
a whistler tour for $99 which include transfer, one night in hostel and activities. So basically it was kiwi experience on a smaller scale.
If you speak to Princess Fiona and Hanna Montana based in the Vancouver (east) office, I'm
sure they will sort you out :)
I would highly recommend any of the tours from this company (http://www.moosenetwork.com/) as its operated by locals or people with extensive knowledge, it's
good value, funny staff and you get to see a lot of good places to visit like Victoria, Jasper, Banff etc. I only did the cheap tour as I'm on a schedule and a budget.
The rest of the day involves me taking a 8km walk around the town and
I have to say the ache in my legs were worth it. You basically need to head to the very north or the very south for the main attractions and activities. If you walk down Davie st or Beach Blvd, you come to English Bay and I'll say this, this is the best thing
with the word "English" attached to it. Long golden beach, green parks, a barrage of cafes and bars and just an all round warm environment, I've never had some many people smile at me since I went to that nudist beach in Sydney.
Up from there is Stanley Park (http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx), the 3rd largest national park in north america, with a host of hills,
sports and rowing clubs and lakes, guess what one of the lakes is called.......BEAVER lake! You might get wet, if you fall in.
You can do this area by walking, rollerblading or bike and I have to recommend all three as its that good, you
can pick up a bike and maybe a penguin from a bike shop on the corner of Dean st and 3rd (look at me sounding all American)
So next morning, I'm picked up from the hostel at 9 promptly, the lovely moose travel assistant, takes a pic of
us and I'm told "behave yourself", which then gets one of the guys saying "so you'll be the drunk fun one then" uh rude (but true)
Whistler is about 88kms from Vancouver so it's about (aboot) 1.5 hours drive,
however on this tour it takes 7 hours to get here as you'll have several stops on the way. First is Stanley Park, (wasn't I just here?!?) For group introduction and Itinerary. Again I cement my position as team muppet!
then drive to a host of lakes, nature trails and waterfalls, I will add the names of these places when I sieve through my photos. You'll also have the chance to do a quick shop and a dip in some of the lakes as well and I really would advise using this shopping
stop to get everything as Whistler is still under the impression that the olympics are still on!
We arrive at Whistler and oh my lord, it's like aspen or Austria ski resort but with sunshine and buff Canadians everywhere. For those of
you that aren't keen on the cold and winter sports (I'm looking at you black people), this is where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held and it's all purpose built.
HI Whistler (http://www.hihostels.ca/westerncanada/331/HI-Whistler.hostel)
is one of the many villages and hotels built for the actual athletes so right now I could be lying in the same bed as...... I have no idea who they are, it's cold sports, I don't know! Now prepare yourself for a slightly off colour joke ( yes another one)
say "Hi Whistler" but now in a German voice, remind you of anything historical. Oh Germans, you know I love you!
Only bit of advice I can pass down is that if you have your own transport, well done, if not, you may have an issue with getting
around this village known as Function Junction heheh! No seriously that's the name. Each village is a good 2 Kms from each other and even then the main village is 8 Kms, there is a bus service but comes every half hour and $2.50 one way. The next main shopping
village is creekside which is EEEEXXXXXPPPPEEENNNSIVE, and as I mentioned, if you didn't get your food from the stopover you're a fool, A FOOL! Sorry ill calm down, come back! COME BACK!
However for this moose tour, you get the first night
of accom and a evening meal for free and it's great. The hostel still feels like it should be a skiers hotel and the food was like being in a posh cafe, innit! Unfortunately all class died as soon as the group turned up and played drunk jenga, and considering
I didn't spend much money I was "merry", oh yes that's right, on my night out, I was stalked..... By a cougar, now if she looked like Courtney cox I wouldn't have minded but it was more like Kate O'Mara but minus the class and more leopard print.
The main village, known as Whistler Village,yeah good one Marv, redundant much?!
This is where the activity magic happens and there's a lot, I mean a lot, it might actually put Queenstown to shame, eep I hear the Peter
Pans office scratch blackboards with nails in disbelief!
(http://www.whistler.com/village/- look up activities and accom here for inspiration)
I'm not even sure if I can even go through all the activities but check out the website, there's loads of links there. I would say make sure you shop around as I just went for the first thing but they all seem to be around the same price.
However my own personal recommendations for events are:
- Ziptrek (make sure you do the eagle or mammoth package)
- Peak to peak Gondola
- Mountain cross biking
- WhiteWater Rafting
(only recommended for beginners/ intermediate)
- Quad biking
- Bobsled/Skeleton/luge (winter only, although sometimes open in summer)
I mainly chose these for photo and atmosphere
lovers, there's loads of breath taking views, good and helpful instructors and everything comes back to the village and you normally get a discount voucher for places as well.
Now, faithful followers, I
have to confess I have a fear of heights and for me to do this was unreal, I'm stills acting to do that skydive. So to get over the fear I just did the highest and longest package they did, why not go full throttle?!
Ziptrek - http://www.ziptrek.com/
I'm with a group of random people who were not on my tour and strangely enough, each person was from each country I visited minus Singapore and Malaysia, freaky! So we get
to the highest and longest zip line, it's also the FIRST line they do, jeez deep end or what? As the instructor says who wants to go around, everyone looks at each other in fear, I as the reflector/activist according to the profile summary from my last office
assessment I did, decides to go first.
I get strapped up and the guy says "you can stop breathing so nervously" I squeal "it's the only way I can breath right now". You know what? I'm glad I went first, I did my imitation of the goofy
cartoon shout and the views are INCREDIBLE! I looked everywhere and I mean everywhere. It was quite amusing seeing the other visitors coming through the line with shocked, adrenalin pumped, yet excitable faces.The rest of the zip lines involved me being going
backwards, pretending I was batman, or when I was upside down pretending I was spiderman and even singing the 60s cartoon theme tune. SPIDER-MARV!
At the end of the course we end up at the main village, where
the gondolas, mountain bike crossing, black bear and chairlifts are.........BLACK BEAR! Yes that's right, a black bear is on the main biking course and quite happily hunting for bugs and enjoying the shocked screams of bikers coming round that last high
Little Segway, speaking of black bears, you can get your zip trek photos on a USB, in the form of a black bear called bob, who where's a hard hat and safety gear, even natures hunters need precautions, take note kids!
Next major event, the white water raft, again something that I wanted to do since NZ. however I wish i had done it in NZ, as they are known to be harder and longer (hehe!) This course was only class 4 which
basically meant there's a few chicanes, dangerous hazards and large chance of waves. It's still an amazing experience and worth the money as you see all the mountains and forests, even treated to a great BBQ and free photos from throughout the day. I would
recommend this for beginners/intermediates. I was just hoping, I'd have more chances of falling out, waterfalls and the boat would cap size, yes i'm a sadistic little git! I would actually recommend this company (http://tagwhistler.com/)
as they were professional, funny and good god it's just eye candy all around. They also arrange helicopter rides, quadbiking etc.\
There are harder rafting courses more towards south of British Columbia and Vancouver Island
but couldn't find the info at the time, if I find anything, I'll keep it to myself, uh I mean share on this site. Right people this is a first, I've actually written a blog, the week I'm still in the area. I think a victory gin and juice is in order, good
Before I go I'm going to leave you with an inspirational nugget
" It's not just about looking forward, sometimes it's about looking UP!"
with that I passed the advice onto the German team in the world cup final, look forward but look up for that header into the Argentinean goal! GO GERMANY, you made Heidi Klum Proud