Thursday, November 1, 2018

Home again

Home today after a direct flight from Vancouver to Melbourne.

It's lovely to see eucalypts again and my garden seems to have survived without me.

Not so lovely to see rubbish all along the highways here in Australia - we never saw any in Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany or Canada so why is it here?

We've had a fantastic holiday, seen some amazing things. learned a lot about other cultures and met some great people.

On the down side, for the first time ever, we'll be putting in some insurance claims this time.
1. I flew to Toronto from Europe but my luggage didn't. It was two weeks before we were reunited. I had to shop for a few clothes and toiletries but luckily I had some in my carry-on luggage and in Phil's luggage was our bag of dirty clothes so it wasn't as catastrophic as it could have been.
2. In my case was our Tom Tom, already loaded with Canadian maps. So we had to hire a GPS navigator for two weeks. Ouch.
3. Just after we arrived in Canada I dropped my camera and broke my zoom lens beyond repair. Fortunately I was able to use my macro lens (which has infinity focus) but it's a fixed zoom at 120 mm which meant I was couldn't get wide angle views except on the phone. Just a bit tricky when you're in the mountains!! So annoying but entirely my fault.
4. About three weeks ago Phil developed a cold and then ruptured an ear drum. We spent a whole day in Emergency at a hospital north of Montreal (after paying $1200 up front) - GPs won't look at a tourist. He was put on antibiotics but is still pretty deaf in that ear. And he had a relapse or another species of cold a week or so later. And then I got the cold too and have ended up with a blocked Eustachian Tube so I'm deaf as well. We were both coughing and lethargic for the last few days in Canada so we holed up in a quiet motel at Hope to recover before flying home. In Hope we found a great secondhand book shop and a proper cafe so it was a good spot to be. We were concerned about ears and air pressure of course but I think we're OK. Despite his woes Phil managed to keep driving in Canada, often over high passes in the Rockies, and after rugging up in multiple layers, hats and gloves we even went for some short walks in the cold. On the plus side the last few days in Canada were quite wet so I don't think we missed out on too much.

Despite all of the above we've thoroughly enjoyed our adventures and we've seen some amazing country.  Thanks for following along. It's nice to be home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Othello Tunnels, Hope BC

Hope BC. That's a snow-capped mountain up in the clouds.
Hope is a beautiful town on the Fraser River and surrounded by snow-capped mountains. We went for a walk through the Othello Tunnels which are nearby.

The five tunnels and bridges were constructed in 1914 for the Kettle Valley railway and today it's a rail trail well worth doing. This section of the train line followed the Coquihalla Canyon and the tunnels went through granite. At the time it was a significant engineering achievement. The canyon has high vertical walls covered in ferns, mosses and trees, the river flows fast over rocks in the narrow canyon with the sound of the water amplified by the cliffs, and the tunnels themselves are amazing.

Othello Tunnels


Coquihalla River Canyon

Coquihalla River Canyon

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Yale, BC

Lady Franklin Rock, Yale BC

It used to be called Bad Rock. I was surprised that now it's called Lady Franklin Rock. It's in the middle of the Fraser River upstream from Yale in British Columbia and at that point the river narrows to only 50 metres. It's the reason steamboats couldn't travel any further upstream.

I had no idea Lady Jane had been to Canada. In 1839 Jane Franklin, wife of the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) John Franklin, with her companion, amazed everyone by travelling to Sydney overland from Port Phillip. Apparently she was the first European woman to do so. A hill near Barnawartha in Northern Victoria, which she climbed, has been named Mount Lady Jane Franklin. John and Jane returned to England because John had been placed in charge of the expedition to chart a section of the Northwest Passage. For the rest of her life Lady Jane Franklin funded expeditions to find out what had happened to her husband. She also travelled extensively and in 1861 she visited the goldfield town of Yale, at that time the biggest town north of San Francisco, and ended up staying for three months. After she left the locals voted to name the rocky island in the Fraser River in her honour. Lady Jane was an amazing lady and you can read more about her here.

The Fraser River was looking relatively calm on this autumn day but it is a tremendously dangerous river and should be treated with a great deal of respect. It must be an amazing sight in spring when the water runs high and strong.

Lady Franklin Rock, Yale BC

Fraser River, Yale BC

A major road and a railway are also at Yale because they follow the Fraser Valley. They both utilise tunnels because the valley is so narrow at this point.

Train about to enter a tunnel.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Crowsnest Highway, part 2

Osoyoos to Hope on Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway, British Columbia. Our day started with orchards and vegetable gardens and peaked at snow on the pass.

Roadside fruit stall, Princeton, all dressed up for Halloween on the 31st.
Phil's cousin told us that when kids come knocking on their door for a treat he waits a little while then opens the door really quickly to give them a fright.

Wet slush on the pass near Manning Park.

We followed the salt truck down from the pass.