A Canadian Summer

Fresh off of the plane from arctic Anchorage and Summer was well and truly under way in VanCity. The Women’s World Cup had rolled into town and had completely taken over the city, and indeed the whole country. The hosts played a number of games in Vancouver including a quarter final in which, despite my heartfelt support, they lost to England.

Canada Vs England

USA Fans

The final, between the USA and Japan, was also played in Vancouver and, unsurprisingly, led to a mass invasion of supporters coming up from the States. They went home as loudly and boisterously as they arrived after a 5-2 win in what was a fantastic game. After the FIFA circus left, not including one Sepp Blatter who couldn’t make it to his own World Cup final, Vancouver returned to normality and my friends and I decided to join the exodus by embarking on a road trip on Vancouver Island.

Before the journey could commence there was the small task of finding a vehicle that not only could make it around Vancouver Island for four days but around forty eight US states over four months later on in the year. With a limited budget this was no easy task but we eventually bought what we hope is a diamond in the rough from a Welsh couple – has to be a good omen – a 1997 Plymouth Voyager!

Samwell

Parliament House in Victoria

With the car bought we grabbed our camping gear and took the two-hour ferry over to the largest city on the island, also the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. The city has a more European-feel than Vancouver with older and more spectacular architecture, as displayed with Parliament House pictured above.

The island is bigger than Belgium and a great deal hillier, which provided a stern test for the Voyager. We soon discovered that braking in the rain was virtually impossible and the handbrake was about as much use as the sun tan lotion we had brought with us. Following weeks of unconditional sunshine we were greeted at Ucluelet Beach by this…

Ucluelet Beach

The only option was to visit the closest brewery, of which there are many on Vancouver Island, and wait for the rain to pass. The plan worked to perfection and by the time we reached the campsite the rain had dissipated – thankfully not to be seen for the rest of the journey. The trip provided us with a perfect dry-run before our visit to the States and we are now more eager than ever to get under way and head off into the British Columbian hinterland.

Chris Martin and I

Having finished work, my final few days in Vancouver offered up the chance to tick some more things off the bucket list. Meeting one of my favourite musicians, climbing ‘The Grind’ to the top of Grouse Mountain and witnessing the best fireworks display I have ever seen at the festival of light capped off an incredible year in Canada. I’ve met and worked with some incredible friends from around the world who I will be relying on for food and board when I come to visit you on my travels!

Vancouver 2014-2015

But I’m not finished with Canada just yet. An eleven day road trip back to Whistler, through the Rockies and over to Calgary awaits before I hit state number three…

Montana!

J

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