Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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Gone fishin’

September 6, 2013

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Cursed border lineup. Went hiking. Watched friends get married. So beautiful.

August 23, 2013
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Went camping. Took a canoe out. Walked some places.

July 28, 2013

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Went to Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. Watched an old friend get married. Ate lots of food. Got engaged.

July 28, 2013

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2012: A Year in Review

December 27, 2012

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January.

Stuff we did: Went to the Vandusen gardens for the first time, it was also the last day for the Christmas lights there, so it was busy.  Attended the wedding of one of Orgle’s coworkers. Apparently, I attend one wedding a year, this was it! The biggest snowfall of the year came and went, to Orgle’s dismay. I saw my favourite band, Fitz and the Tantrums for the second time in less than a year. We got free tickets to an Oilers-Canucks game here in Vancouver – even getting to sit in the box of the Oilers’ owner. (With whom I’m less and less impressed.)

Travel: A terrifying trip to the interior to go skiing – from freezing rain on the way out to white out conditions on the way back.

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February.

Stuff we did: Strapped on cross country skis for the first time since I was a child.  It was NOT like riding bike.  I have forgotten everything I once knew. I got really sick midway through the month. I also got around to finally printing some of my pictures in a darkroom.  A lot of fun.   Sad to think this hobby will soon be difficult – or even obsolete.

Travel: Up to Whistler for a week to ski (I end up only getting one day in due to pneumonia-related symptoms). We went because Orgle’s dad and brother were visiting.

Life events: Meeting Orgle’s dad and brother. Later that month my mom retired – joining my retired dad on the Island full time.

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March.

Stuff we did: This was probably the most relaxed month of the year. Some skiing (both downhill and cross country), lots of cooking, dinners with friends…

Travel: Off to Vancouver Island to celebrate my dad’s birthday and to ensure my parents weren’t driving each other insane, living together 24/7 for the first time in many years.

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April.

Stuff we did: I was a speaker about online legalities at the RTNDA BC conference. I joined a women’s team for a soccer tournament in Squamish.

Travel: We went to Seattle and Portland with my parents, my brother and his wife.

Life events: Celebrated a year with Orgle (with dinner at Chambar). I sincerely can’t say enough nice things about him. His unwavering support through my unemployment has been monumental. He is a caring soul who believes in me even when I do not. I didn’t know I could love someone this much.

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May.

Stuff we did: This is as active as I got all year.  I bought a bike to ride to work, I’m still playing soccer and now volleyball a couple nights a week. This would come to a crashing halt six weeks later. I was a speaker about the future of news online at the BCAB conference.

Travel: Third annual take-over of my parents place in Cedar.

Life events: At the start of the month, Orgle tears his ACL playing soccer. Eight months later and he is still up to 5 months away from surgery and another 8 months to a year from recovery.

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June.

Stuff we did: I was interviewed to be the head of the new Huffington Post BC edition. (The first of many interviews through the rest of the year.) Finally got Orgle to the Alibi Room – a big deal after some failed attempts.

Travel: Camping on Orcas Island.  Boy did it rain.

Life events: In a soccer game, I badly sprained by ankle. Six months later I’m still recovering. Hoping to play again in January. Also, this blog turned 7! (Meaning two months later I celebrated 7 years in Vancouver.)

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July.

Stuff we did: My balcony garden really started to take off. Sure, I planted my tomatoes too close together, making them tall and skinny instead of bushy.  I also accidentally put the mint in with other things.  I think I managed to separate it out, but we’ll see what sprouts in the spring! I started a cider blog and Orgle reconfigured our wine fridge to fit in more beer as he keeps cellaring it.

Travel: A trip across the country to Newfoundland (More pics here and here), where the people seem warm and welcoming even if you’re not entirely sure you know what they are saying.  It’s a beautiful, rugged landscape and every meal seems to be served with fries. We also are off to Vancouver Island again, this time to celebrate my mom’s birthday – my oldest friend, Sabrina, happens to stop by!

Life events: Tell my boss I’m quitting in August.

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August.

Stuff we did: It’s Orgle’s favourite day of the year – Dog days of summer at Nat Bailey.  It’s a night where people can bring their dogs to the stadium for baseball.  Orgle loves pups.  We wander the Richmond Night Market, gorging ourselves another night. We officially become Whitecaps supporters. We bought a five game pack with friends and watched most other games on TV. We head up to Britannia Mining Museum – familiar ground for Orgle who once worked at an underground mine.  Despite his knee and my ankle, we get out for some hiking through the summer. We hiked near Whistler and then went to the spa afterwards. Some of my final shifts at the radio station are spend working at The Fair at the PNE.  Orgle wanders the grounds for the first time, even taking a zip on the wooden rollercoaster.  He also goes to his first (and last?) CFL game.

Travel: Whistler for hiking and spa.

Life events: Walk out of the radio station for the last time.  I spent nearly five years working there and it was time to go. On the last day of the month, we head to the airport, Australia-bound.

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September.

Stuff we did: More than half of the month was spent in Australia. The rest was spent celebrating birthdays and, well, starting the process of figuring out what to do with my life.

Travel: Having been with Orgle a year and a half, it was time to fill in some of the knowledge gaps.  In other words, it was time to visit his homeland, meet his mom and other sister, see pictures of him as a baby and get to know his friends. We spent just over two weeks in Australia. (Pictures: Brisbane/Sunshine Coast, Melbourne/Great Ocean Road, Adelaide/Wine Region, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary), It was a painfully short visit (planned as such with the hope that I would be able to get it off work, which in the end I quit over).

Life events: Celebrate my 31st birthday and Orgle’s 29th. We’ve also been in our little apartment a year which, if my moving history suggests anything, is a milestone.

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October.

Stuff we did: I read career help books and applied for dozens of jobs. Orgle worked.

Travel: Taking advantage of my unemployment and Orgle’s decent vacation day allocation, we drove down to Seattle and caught a flight to Iceland for just over a week. It’s a beautiful country built on lava rock. It’s like they say, Iceland is green and Greenland is ice. (We flew over Greenland.) – If you consider Australia an island (which technically, it is not), it was our fifth island in less than five months. We also went to Vancouver Island for Thanksgiving.

Life events: At some point you realize your relatives aren’t going to be with you forever. I’ve lost my dad’s parents and the inevitability of my mom’s parents passing is upon us.  I have a grandfather who doesn’t remember me, nor the answer to a question less than five minutes ago. My mother recently made an astute comment that modern medicine is keeping his 87 year old body in relatively good shape, but is it worth it if his mind is going… going… gone?

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November.

Stuff we did: We watched Obama win again. That was pleasant. We were hiking North Shore mountains into November without snow or legitimate cold (this would soon end). Other fun things included hosting a clothing swap, convincing Orgle we needed to go to Ikea, learning how to make bread and going up to Squamish to look for eagles and dead salmon (finding a great out of the way meal too!).  I signed on with CBC to do some casual fill in as an associate producer for current affairs programs. I also got more involved with volunteer and political work.

Travel: Our second annual group getaway to the Sunshine Coast. It’s an excuse to sit in a hot tub and play board games (not at once).

Life Events: Three months without a full-time job. To be fair, if I wanted a job, I could have one by now. But I don’t. I’m terrified by the idea of taking something I will hate again.

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December.

Stuff we did: Started the month at Orgle’s company Christmas party, then woke up early the next morning to catch a ferry to Nanaimo. My brother and his pregnant wife were there visiting my parents. Unfortunately, I was only able to spend a day there before heading back to Vancouver for an interview with CUPE. Alas, it wasn’t worth it as I didn’t get the job.  Like November, it was a month of lots of interviews, meetings and rejection calls.  In less depressing news, Orgle got himself a case of Westvleteren – I’ll let you google that one. Friends joined us for a potluck on the 15th and karaoke on the 21st. I’m blessed to have such wonderful friends (and more Christmas cards than ever before!) We even got a little snow just before Christmas, and more presents than I deserved under the tree.

Travel: Took Via Rail to Edmonton to give Orgle the real Canadian winter experience.  It was -23 degrees when we got off the train. Christmas lights are better in the snow.  Also spent Christmas in Cedar with my parents and relatives.

Life Events: Another year over.

Next post: Looking forward to 2013.

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Why you should take Via Rail between Vancouver and Edmonton

December 12, 2012

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1. You can often find deals. We rode for 50% off. Opt for berths. They are considerably cheaper than a cabin, feel more open and the cabins are almost claustrophobic. (Compared to economy, you end up with a bed, all the meals and snacks, etc.)

2. The food is good. For instance, my meals were: French Toast stuffed with cheesecake, grilled scallops and prawns on salad, and duck for dinner with raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. Yep, I said cheesecake twice.

3. Free champagne.

4. It feels both retro and romantic.

5. No Wifi and often no cell reception – wait, how is that a positive? It’s a chance to disconnect, to read, do crossword puzzles and chat with people.

6. Jasper is nice. What a nice place to take a little walk.

7. Don’t be afraid to go in the winter.  In addition to more sale fares, it is really beautiful.

Seriously, I loved it. I was on the train for over 24 hours and I didn’t want to get off.

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Iceland

November 9, 2012

Ten things about Iceland:

1. People in Iceland were really sweet. They speak English and it’s not your run-of-the-mill attempt. Full conversations were had with no one stumbling over their words – unless I was trying to say….

2. Icelandic place names are difficult. Remember the volcano that disrupted air travel in Europe? I saw it. I tried to say it. It is not alone in the long word category.

3. Icelandic air does a great deal where they allow a European layover of up to a week, free of charge. Side note: It was cheaper for us to fly to Iceland than to Newfoundland. The fact that I can’t find a flight to Edmonton for under $500 these days is indicative of air travel prices in Canada.

4. Vegetarians beware. Meat is everywhere on menus. Fish and lamb appear to be the most common – for good reasons (surrounded by water, covered in sheep).  We cooked for ourselves quite a lot and had to be careful not to come home with horse meat.  We did manage to try minke whale, dried fish, lagoustines, oversmoked lamb, and other more standard fare.  Orgle tried hakarl (fermented poisonous Greenland shark). It stunk of ammonia in a vile way.

5. It is a beautiful country.  It really is amazing to think of all that grows out of what is essentially lava rock.  And lava rock comes in different colours and formations.

6. I miss outdoor hot pools.  I wish they were here. Unfortunately, there is not a seemingly endless amount of hot water bubbling under the surface – making outdoor heated pools prohibitively expensive.

7. I pride myself in finding nice, affordable places to stay and in Reykjavik that was no different. We had a cute little studio apartment right in the heart of the city at Ranargata 23.

8. I’m not good with time changes. My sleep patterns there were not good and my lack of even dozing on the plane set me back as well.  Maybe between Newfoundland, Australia and Iceland, my body clock has been all over the place these last few months.

9. It’s true: Greenland is ice and Iceland is green. Yes, if you’ve gone through my Jokulsarlon pictures, you’ll see lots of ice, but that was just one place in over a week of visiting.  In fact, during the time we were there, the weather was colder in Alberta. It did snow, very lightly and very briefly, one day – but it wasn’t even a dusting.

10. There is a Big Lebowski-themed bar in Reykjavik.

More pictures:

 
Alas, the only disappointment may have been the cloud coverage nightly.  No northern lights were seen.