Published: May 15th 2008May 14th 2008
Yesterday I left Canada and moved into the great US of A....so here's the remainder of the Canada story:
correcting my previous entry, of course I was in the western side last time I wrote! I completed my islands trip, staying with more wonderful 5W members as I went, and using a little hitching on safe islands to get about. It can be done on public transport, takes quite a lot of research and I mainly did use buses and ferries of course. I got up to Campbell River, as intended on Vancouver Island, a place where most folk go to fish; salmon abounds and the eateries there were full of big guys talking fish of various sorts!
I visited Janet and Tom on Quadra Island, lots of forest, eagles, even wolves there and cougars! tho i didn't get to see any.
I loved the island life, always an interesting shop or 2, selling wholefoods; I guess those islands attract the artistic types and alternative people, and miles of empty space - no houses or people - just trees, bays, birds. I loved it.
Sadly Salt Spring Island has been rather up=marketed, and I was disappointed by that, taken
to Bowen Island with Pad & Ray
my special treat with the relis
over by the rich folk, tho lots of crafts still abound, it did have a different flavour to that of my previous visit, only 7 years ago.
I looped back across to the mainland at Powell River, overnighted at a hostel with uproarous teenagers (yuk - no idea of the usual hostel politess, so a very bad night), and next morning caught the bus all the way down the Sunshine Coast crossing two more inlets by ferry, and back to West Vancouver and my safe haven; phew, was I tired! I think the effort of explaining who I am, and where I've been so many times took it's toll, and all I wanted was bed. So thank heavens for understanding cousins, and I rested up and recovered. And they gave me a real treat, took me out on their boat , over to Bowen Island one afternoon.
Tuesday before last I boarded the ViaRail train in Vancouver, ready to cross Canada by rail. Adventure followed: I soon met some lovely Golden Girls, who showed me the wonders of the train: lovely restaurant car (so very different from the Trans-Sib, no comparison!) plus activities lounge, coffee and tea area,
and the DOME, a seating area you climb stairs to reach, to get a panoramic view of the scenery. The food was really fab, and we were tootling along, some people spotted bears (sadly I missed the sightings), i did see deer & a coyote. We travelled up through the Rockies to Jaspar, where Jack and I had visited, and I ran round the shops for excercise during our 45 minute stop there. lovely to see snow on the mountains, and several waterfalls, some even now still frozen. then along to Edmonton, and across the prairies on the long straight road with huge horizens, the occasional grain tower. Still in winter, hardly any tilled fields, just stubble all around. on and on for ever.....then lakes started to appear, and some even still frozen right over! more and more lakes, less farm land, eventually trees again;
one morning I woke with a sore throat, a duvet morning, and asked for tea in bed, what a treat! unfortunately spoken at the wrong moment: a passing official overheard me making this request, checked out that I did in fact feel a little poorly, and proceeded to quarantine me!!! I was given a mask
to wear and escorted down several carriages to 219, luckily had grabbed some clothes, Sudoku and my book, and was left on my own. having been given a vague explanation that there were several folk getting ill on the train - in fact in 219 - and this was being investigated. We stopped at the next available one-horse town station, Folyet, and waited. and waited. and waited. Lunchtime came, and I was joined by some of the walking wounded, some with severe chest infections and some with tummy bugs: oh great, a chance to catch these too! i kept my mask on. eventually helicopters brought in Police and Ambulance people, we were apparently waiting for the Centre for Health people to arrive.
Speculation abounded, as we hadn't been given much info; and finally we discovered that someone had in fact died during the night, and another person taken into hospital in the first helicopter. I had a horrid swab taken via my nose, and left in the little roomette which the poor dead person had used. Hmmm. Hoped she hadn't had any infection, I was assured not. I was also interviewed by a sweet young police detective, tho I'm not
whirlpools in Niagara River
turbulent water near the hostel
at all sure why, being from a completely different carriage! Cause of death had't been established.
Finally supper time came round and I was allowed to escape back to my new friends: when I reached the dining car, there were whoops and cheers! they'd missed me!!! hugs and chats made me feel a lot better after my "kidnapping", and of course another wonderful meal. The train didn;t manage to depart until 7pm, thus giving us a 4th night in our berths, and we finally trundled into Toronto, tired but safe, at 7.30 the next morning, 12 hours late.
Never have I been so glad I booked up a private room in a hostel! I did in fact develop a nasty cold and simply rested up for the weekend, so didn't see much of Toronto except for a wonderful wee cafe called Ravi soup, just around the corner!
The hostel booked me onto a Magic Bus tour of Niagara Falls for Monday, and there I stayed in another hostel that night.
I was horrified to see the tacky developments all around Niagara town, made it appear rather like I imagine Disneyland.
The falls are amazing, tho much less gigantic than I'd been led to believe, so much hype; I did the Maid of the MIst boat tour, it has to be done, get wet in the spray given off, but my most enjoyable moment was simply being by the side of the river as it rushes towards the falls, gathering speed and volume as it swirls along. and later, quietly walking along the gorge down to the whirlpools, near the hostel, appreciating the many colours, mainly turquoise and white, as the Niagara river races down through the ravine. So many shops, so many chances for money making! I tried to resist...
and quite interesting to wander round the old Niagara, becoming neglected and derelict, lovely old houses; now quiet, as the Falls have moved away, up river gradually eroding the rocks.
and the yesterday I took the coach down to the States. I was rather in trepidation of Border officials, but all went fine, and my fingerprints are now (first time ever) imprinted on their machinery. heyho. So they allowed me in, and I'm staying at Jon and Al's in Ithaca, old friends from Canon Frome Court. Such a lovely warm welcome, and great to see Louis now aged 11, very grown up! and the weather has warmed up too. so am a happy bunny, and greatly looking forward to my next week, then homeward bound! yippee!
PS I've just added 5 photos and they've now gone. bother!