Friday, 11 May 2012

Niagara Falls

26th April 2012

We drove from Fredericton to Kingston and arrived at the really bad 'Super 8' motel in Kingston at near enough midnight. The room had two qween size beds but had little else going for it. The breakfast in the morning was served on polystyrene plates, bowls and cups with plastic cutlery.. even the worst hostels Ive been to were better than this place and cost a lot less! oh well.

In the morning we drove just a couple of hours to Toronto where we dropped off one hire car and picked up another and continued the drive to Niagara Falls where we stayed at the Backpackers Internation Hostel just a 10 minute walk from the falls.
When we got to Niagara Falls the weather was awesome, great sunshine and blue sky. We went and saw the falls and walked around the whole place and had dinner at a diner which was an interesting experience!

On the 28th we went back to the falls, donned a trendy yellow rain coat and went in the tunnels behind the falls, where you can stand maybe 6 feet behind the crashing water. I enjoyed moching those who posed with the beautiful flowers and trees, and was amused by those who thought I was serious and waited patiently until I had finished before having their girlfriends copy my poses as I left!


Afterwards we drove to Niagara on the lake, a small village 15km up the road. Niagara on the lake seems like a wealthy place, lots of nice houses and cars around, very well kept and picturesque. There are lots of wineries in the area and we thought it would be rude not to buy a bottle of the local produce, which we shared in the evening back at the hostel with our dinner.. not that I really like wine.

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Giant Lobster!

25th April 2012

We had hired the car until the 27th of April, our intention was to drop it off in Toronto after visiting Niagara Falls, but faced with the fact that we would need to drive pretty much all day on the 26th to get it back on time we decided to try and extend the time we would have the car.. unfortunately the rate for extending for a day was much higher than the rate we paid originally so we decided to do the drive after all, drop the car off in Toronto and then hire another one from a different company for a couple of days to go to Niagara Falls.. I dont think I mentioned before that I had forgotten to bring my driving licence on my trip! Which means that Theres has been doing all the driving and faced the mammoth drive tomorrow all by herself! eep!

So we left Halifax and headed to Fredericton where we would spend the night. We had to drop Liz and Franzi back to the C'mon Inn at Moncton on the way and decided to drive through Shediac as there is a giant lobster statue there which Theres wanted to see. As we drove through Shediac we saw a giant chicken statue and giant dolphins statue, but no lobster statue and it looked like we had almost driven all the way through the town so we stopped and asked an old lady where it was and had quite an amusing exchange, I dont think she really understood my accent;

Me: Excuse me, we are looking for the giant lobster statue..
Old lady: Lobster?
Me: Yes, the giant lobster statue..
Old lady: Statue?
Me: Yes, the giant lobster statue..
Old lady: Oh the giant lobster statue.. yes you drove right past it (assuming we had driven the other way through the town) - its just over the bridge on the left hand side of the road!

PhotobucketIt was just the way she said "lobster?" and "statue?". As soon as I wound the window up and we started to drive off we all burst out laughing in the car.. probably one of those "you had to be there" kind of things but anyway..  :D

We dropped Liz and Franzi off at Moncton and made it to Fredericton in the early evening and had wander around before crashing out early so we could get on the road as soon as possible in the morning and start the 1170 km drive to a motel we had booked in Kingston!

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Rain, fog and scenic drives

23rd April 2012

We left Moncton heading for Halifax, just about 3 hours drive away. Liz and Franzi who shared a room with me at the C'mon Inn decided to join us and we split the petrol even more. On the way there we passed a place called Truro.. woohoo.

Theres not actually a whole lot to do in Halifax really, we went to the harbour and looked around the city when we arrived. The next day it rained really hard pretty much all day and we just drove out of the city and went for a "scenic drive" around the coast line to Mahone bay and Chester.. but since it was rainy and really foggy it didnt turn out to be that scenic, but we had a laugh on the drive and it wasnt really raining in Mahone bay when we got there and Chester was a nice place.

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Sudden realisation!

I was probably deep in denial about the fact that I would have to go home to England soon. I've been checking my funds regularly but it wasn't until a certain point in the road trip that I admitted to myself that I simply will not make it much further! Having rinsed all my savings, hammered all my credit cards and overdraft over the last 9 months the bank owns me now and I have to think about going home!

So I rescheduled my flight back to England from the end of July to the 5th of May and planned to finish the road trip and then go to New York for 3 nights before my flight home.

My blog is slightly behind as usual, and today is actually the day I fly home.. Its a bit lame that I cannot see more of the USA but I've had an awesome trip and I am looking forward to seeing my friends again and being able to eat a pasty (nom nom).

Where did the last 9 months go! :D

Fundy national park

21st April 2012

PhotobucketWe wanted to go to Fundy national park and the nearest place to stay would be Moncton, a 9 hour drive from Quebec city. We spent all day in the car but we were rewarded by the fact that we stayed in a really nice hostel called the C'mon Inn, its a small family run one and its really comfortable and the people were ace. Moncton was voted the friendliest city in Canada a few years ago, just thought I'd throw that in there. And the people there are all bilingual, switching from French to English mid sentance sometimes which gets quite bizarre if you dont speak one of the two languages!

PhotobucketOn the 22nd we went to Fundy national park and a couple of French guys from the hostel came with us. It was raining on and off all day and it was really cold but we didnt let that stop us from checking out Hopewell rocks and going for a stomp around Fundy.

PhotobucketIn the evening we went to a place called the pumphouse for dinner, I had an great pizza and tried the beer sampler tray from their in house brewery.. 10 beers, 7 of them were pretty good!

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Quebec city

19th April 2012

We picked up the hire car today and drove from Montreal to Quebec city. We arrived late in the afternoon and went for a walk around the old city, its kind of like being in a fairy tale and I wondered where the nights in shining armour were.

PhotobucketI tried poutine for dinner, its the local cousine.. basically chips with chicken gravy and cheese curds, its pretty tasty but when everyone tells you that you need to try it you imagine something a little less like hangover food (no offense!)

The second day in Quebec it rained all day and after getting wet looking around the citadel and seeing the "unique panaorama" (which turned out to be a pretty industrial looking town called Levis) we spent most of the time trying to find things to do inside including a look in the chocalate museum which turned out to be a massive let down too.. just a small room adjoined to a chocolate shop.

In the evening we met up with some of Theres' friends, the two Christinas, at a pub called Oncle Antoine where they have their own micro brewery. We tried the beer sampler tray which was pretty cool.


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Monday, 30 April 2012

Road trip!

16th April 2012

After spending longer than I intended in Ottawa I was going to move on to Toronto but I ended up going on a road trip with Theres, a German girl who I met in the hostel I was staying at. She planned to go to Montreal and then hire a car and drive to Quebec city, Fundy national park, Halifax, Niagara falls and Toronto which sounded good to me so we split the cost of the hire car and fuel.
It took a few hours to get to Montreal by bus. When we arrived it was 27 degrees which was a bit of a shock as its been so cold. Checked in to our hostel and then we went and had a look around old Montreal for the evening.

On the second day in Montreal we went to see the olympic stadium and went into the biodome and saw some cool penguins and stuff.


On the third day there we went to Mont Royal, situated in the middle of the city and surrounded a great park which has some nice walks and from the top theres a great view of the city. Also stumbled across the google office while wandering around the city.

Montreal has a lot of French speaking people, I didnt learn French at school and only know a few words. When I was in the supermarket buying some stuff for dinner I had a free French lesson from the lady who worked on the till, the conversation went something like this;

Me: Bonjour
Check out assistant: Bonjour
The till: <beep> <beep> <beep>
Check out assistant: <Something in French>
Me: Parlez vous Anglais s'il vous plait?
Check out assistant: LE SAC <picks up a pile of bags and slams them down>
Me: Oui!

I paid for my shopping, thanked the nice lady and left swiftly, armed with a new word in my French vocabulary.

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Friday, 13 April 2012

Wakeboarding, on a canal, with no boat..

7th April 2012

I went for a walk down the Rideau canal, along the way I found these guys who had set up a winch for pulling them along the canal on their wakeboards, they had also set up a rail and were taking it in turns to grind along it. Cool idea?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A few days in Ottawa

4th April 2012

PhotobucketI decided to spend a few days in Ottawa, I am heading for Niagara falls so I figured I would stop here and at Toronto along the way. I have plenty of time now since I quit the voluntary work. I'm staying at the Barefoot hostel which is really nice, its just a house.

PhotobucketOttawa is pretty chilled out for a big city. Where I'm staying is right next to the Byward market which is full of places to eat and drink, parliament hill and the Rideaux canal is near by. Theres lots of museums and galleries here but I'm a bit museumed out to be honest not to mention really low on cash.. I did make it into the iMax cinema at the museum of civilisation though.



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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Volunteering at a homestead

28th March to 4th April 2012

I had arranged to volunteer at a homestead between Montreal and Ottawa ( So I flew to Montreal and got a train to Alexandria where Mitch picked me up. The train was certainly more comfortable than the trains in England, with reclining seats and plenty of leg room plus free wifi for the journey which was a nice bonus.

Mitch and Lola's hospitality was excellent, I had had my own room and they fed me well on fresh produce and awesome baking! In return I was helping out with the daily chores of feeding the animals (2 horses, 2 cows, some chickens, geese and sheep) at 6:30am and 5pm every, plus helping Mitch with his projects around fixing up their farm house which they have stripped down.

After a week I decided to move on and get back to drifting, I had planned to stay there for 2 months and thought it would be nice to have a kind of fixed abode for a while but I missed the travel, especially after almost 3 weeks in Whistler so I left the homestead and headed to Ottawa on the 4th of April.

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Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Photobucket27th March 2012

When we saw the Jimi Hendrix shrine on the tourist map of Vancouver and realised it was just round the corner from our quality hotel we made sure to visit it. Unfortunately it was closed but at least we got to admire it from outside.

A quick google reveals that the building used to be Jimi's grandmother's fried chicken restaurant..


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A night at Vancouver's skid row

26th March 2012

My brother had selected a quality establishment for us to spend a night when we returned to Vancouver, the Patricia hotel/ Budget inn. The hookers and drug addicts that we passed on the last part of the taxi ride to the hotel made us think its not the best area. After check-in (obviously not before booking), we read some reviews which included comments such as "don't go out at night" and "avoid walking down Hastings street to the downtown area" - Ace.

We walked downtown and sure enough the area around our hotel was pretty bad and you could definitely tell when you cross the line back into normality. Some of the food vendors have prison bars over the windows. Later we went for a walk by night, and it was like crack city, I guess we stood out like a sore thumb. In the morning we went to get breakfast and a lady complimented us on our "nice jeans".

I remembered talking to a bunch of Canadians when I was in Australia and I'm fairly sure they said to avoid Hastings street.. Although Hastings street is really long and the skid row part is only about 2km of it. Never mind, it was interesting and the hotel was.. lovely. :D

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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Things to look out for on ski slopes

  • Guy snowboarding while playing super Mario brothers theme tune on an accordion. Genius.
  • Person snowboarding while drinking coffee.
  • Several guys skiing while undressing, continuing half naked down the slopes with hands on hips.
  • Guy skiing with child on shoulders.
  • Heavily pregnant lady skiing!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Last day in Whistler

25th March 2012

Last day on the slopes today. There's been no new snow for a couple of days so the untouched powder is hard to find, and its a bit crunchy as the sun has been out melting it between freezes.

PhotobucketWill and I hit the snowpark on Whistler for a few hours in the afternoon yesterday and today to see what damage we could do. It was going well until we had a huge waffle with all the trimmings at lunch time - Will suggested a warm up run before heading back to the snowpark and went off piste a little and crashed into a tree, his leg took the impact which kind of ruined the rest of the afternoon for him!


Steven has been resting for the last couple of days due to a number of ailments. His mountain name is now 'blind fury' because he isn't wearing his glasses, has no contact lenses and his goggles had a tendancy to mist up.. so often he would fly past us while we waited in the slopes to decide which way to go, and he couldn't read the signs. We employed the 'international super secret signal' and the 'sea monkey dance' to attract each others attention when meeting at the ski lifts which works well even if your vision is impaired.

We made the most of the hot tub at our apartment for the last time. After 17 days of luxury in Whistler (13 days on the slopes) its time to leave. In the morning we head to Vancouver for a day before we split up. Steven and Will go back to England and I fly to Montreal.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

10 days of snowboarding down, 3 to go..

It was a pretty clear day the other day, this is the view from Harmony Ridge on Whistler.


We stopped for lunch. I asked my brother if he could possibly try and look more like an old man..


Friday, 16 March 2012

Let it snow!

PhotobucketWe've had 5 wicked days of snowboarding, the snow has been totally savage leaving over 20cm of snow over night most nights. The last couple of days they didn't open the top parts of Whistler or Blackcomb but the rest of the runs were so good we didn't really care. My brothers friend Will joined us a couple of days ago and arrived just in time for the massive dump of powder.. awesome timing!

PhotobucketWe have a 10 day lift pass and we're pretty tired after 5 full days so we decided to take a down day today and slept until lunch time. Also we have extended our stay in order to get an extra 4 days in after this lift pass expires just because the conditions are so good.. we will be totally destroyed after that but it will be worth it!



Monday, 12 March 2012

Time travel

I arrived in Vancouver on the 9th of March, 2 hours before I left Sydney after travelling for 17 hours. Deprived of sleep I battled through customs who grilled me and then searched my bags and grilled me again on my way out, almost causing me to miss my transfer to Whistler even though my flight had landed almost an hour early.. but it was all good and I met my brother Steve and we jumped on the mini bus as planned.

PhotobucketWe've done 2 days of snowboarding now and the conditions are excellent! It has snowed pretty much all the time since we got here and the powder is really deep, its coming up over my knees.. theres a lot of happy people up there on the slopes! Its so good that we missed lunch today as we completely lost track of time. Steve wiped out in the deep powder at one point and it took him at least 10 minutes to get himself out, comedy to watch. Looking forward to getting back up there tomorrow morning on the first lift.  :D



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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Goodbye Australia

9th March 2012

  • Goodbye long bus journeys
  • Goodbye plastic waterproof money
  • Goodbye everyone I met
  • Goodbye goon
  • Goodbye crazy Aboriginal people
  • Goodbye ridiculously long roads
  • Goodbye epic toilet fail girl
  • Goodbye drive through bottle shops
  • Goodbye jelly fish infested waters
  • Goodbye excellent (but expensive) Australian beer
  • Goodbye German Sarah the stalker (who I met multiple times at bus stops, on buses or in random hostels, completely unplanned)
  • Goodbye awesome Utes
  • Goodbye kangaroos and koalas
  • Goodbye everyone that let me stay with them
  • Goodbye high level of attractive women
  • Goodbye stupid over sized 50 cent coins
  • Goodbye great weather, gonna be cold in Canada
  • Goodbye surfing
  • Goodbye places on the east coast that I never made it to because I ran out of time
I had an awesome time, but now I have to go to Canada.. 2 weeks of snowboarding in Whistler here I come!

Here's my route around Australia!

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Friday, 9 March 2012

Serious ship!

8th March 2012

PhotobucketIt was my last night in Australia so I thought I'd go up to the harbour and have a last look at the Sydney opera house. When I arrived I saw this huge cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, and it was about to leave so I hung about to watch it. Its ridiculously big!