Posts Tagged With: Canada

Because you didn’t come all this way to go to a mall…

24/05/2013

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Canada is quite expensive for our account, so time for us to move to the south.  We say goodbye to our host after a nice evening of Golf and BBQ that we won’t forget easily.  The movie-like Greyhound bus takes us straight to Vancouver, so we can prepare us for the border crossing tomorrow.  We look for a place to sleep and the Cambie Hostel is the place to be, it seems…as no other cheap opportunity pops up.  With my Boy Scout instinct, I find the location on the map and: “not so far, let’s walk!”.  First some streets, then Broadway Avenue and then Cambie Street.  Walking along the imposing City Hall, the small art galleries and yoga studio’s, going uphill and downhill enjoying and commenting the Europe-Canada differences, we suddenly see house nº 2981… and our hostel is nº 300!!!  “This is Spartaaaa!!!”, Giorgia was laughing…till now! 2681 nº’s to go!?!  We enter a bar specialized in Belgium beer, we take a second look to the map and notice there is another Cambie street at the (you guess wright) totally other side of Vancouver and that is sooo wrong if you’re walking with backpacks.  So Sky train it is!  Some minutes later we arrive at the hostel.

This place rocks: young people all around, good music, beer by the liter, burgers, hotdogs,… at the ground floor and the hostel on top of it.  A fast check-in and back on the street to discover the last part of Vancouver: the old town.  Close to the railway tracks, we find ourselves in small streets, hidden squares and buildings from another time standing strong against a modern raising city.  Street art and musicians warm up the ambient and restaurants of all kind give it a nice aroma.  This is a dream evening and a perfect way to leave Canada behind us.

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Vancouver and Whistler practical:

Both have beautiful parks and gardens to walk through, Canada is sportive and offer a lot of activities: Biking(40/65$), hiking, ziptrek ecotours(starting from 89$), Capilano suspension bridges(32$) kayak(40$), canoe, whale watching(110/130$), windsurf, sailing, great skate parks where boards and blades find a way to live together, tennis, golf(which is very popular, starting from 99$), climbing,… you name it they have it! Do not forget that taxes are Not included, so  prices can jump suddenly!!!

Whistler is the Mecca for X-sports, bungee, sky jumping, all winter sports (If you’re brave enough you even might try skeleton!!!) even in summer they have ski and snow!!!  “MTB-downhill heaven” opens from spring till autumn(starting from 53$) .  Lifts open daily and from beginner’s level till “Is this even possible”-level!!! Skate-and MT parks are free.

Canada offers a big variety of all kind of ethnical kitchens.  They do not have their own typical dish or pastry as you find in every village in Europe but as being at the ocean, fish and seafood are very common and salmon is the king of all!  To eat cheap and healthy, sushi is the thing you’re looking for.  Cook you own meal is possible in many hostels, guesthouses or backpackers accommodations but finding not family sized ingredients will be a hard task if you have a budget to take care of.  (As example: It’s hard to find pasta of 250gr or 500gr, 3kg is more like it.  And if you find it, normally it is in small groceries specialized in pasta and even more specialized in overprize that pasta!!!)

Tips: see picture down

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To sleep: no problem at all, from (Canadian) cheap hostels till 1000CAD$ rooms.  But consider we recommend websites as couchsurfing, warmshower,… for free dreams and at the same time meeting local people who can help you out with any questions.

Communications: Canada seems like the paradise for services, free and fast WI-FI everywhere so Skype will do the rest. Calling cellphones or landlines cost between 0,09 and 0,12 C/min of your sky credit.

Transport in Vancouver is easy, sky train and bus for the city, seabus (you can use with the same ticket) aquaplane and helicopter to connect the islands.  The last two are by logic more expensive.  You can buy a normal bus ticket which last for 1,5hours of transport. A 10 ticket bono is a bit cheaper. But still 2,1CAD$ a ride.

Some vocabulary you will need:

Awesome, cool, sick, insane, buddy, retarded, to beer me up, a pop(softdrink),… and use “fuck and fucking”  anywhere in the sentence as much as you like…the more the better! ;-D

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Mario’s Pitch & Putt

23/05/2013

Terzo e ultimo giorno a Whistler.

É il giorno libero di Mario perció ci dedica un pó di tempo per organizzare alcune attivitá insieme. Prima cosa, una passeggiata tra i boschi con Phive, il suo dolcissimo cane, giusto per sgranchirci un pó le gambe e respirare aria pura. Attraversiamo un paio di ponti di legno e ci ritroviamo a camminare lungo un ruscello con microcascate di acqua gelida e limpida a cui Bert non riesce a resistere. Pochi sorsi, fresca e amarognola l’acqua, come ogni ruscello di montagna degno di questo nome. Riportato Phive a casa, prendiamo 3 bici in prestito dai vicini e via ad esplorare l’Upper Village. Fiutando le tracce di orsi e marmotte, giungiamo alla prima destinazione del nostro bike tour, la spiaggia lacustre di Greenlake, per poi continuare lungo le rive del Lostlake e arrivare a uno dei luoghi piú gettonati del villaggio e la mecca assoluta dei giovani canadesi: lo skatepark. Ragazzi su skateboard fiammeggianti che sfrecciano davanti ai tuoi occhi capaci di acrobazie incredibili. Attira la nostra attenzione un giovane di neanche 14 anni che monta sulla sua bici, si tuffa letteralmente nel bikepark adiacente e inizia a creare in aria figure impressionanti, giocando con dune di terra e piattaforme e sfidando gravitá ed equilibrio. A Bert e Mario viene voglia di provarci e si lanciano in un mini bikepark costruito con tronchi d’albero. Non se la cavano niente male devo ammettere! Passato questo momento ludico ci addentriamo nel bosco e dopo una salita ripidissima per me quasi impossibile da affrontare, Mario ci guida in un tour sulle fiancate delle montagne. Una vista mozzafiato! Passiamo dalla funivia che porta su i ciclisti che praticano il downhill mountain bike: una volta giunti all’estremitá piú alta delle montagne, si gettano a tutta velocitá per discese e pendici vertiginose. Impressionante!

Torniamo a casa dopo una fermata al grocery store perché il nostro amico ha intenzione di mettere su un barbecue in pieno stile americano. Ancor piú di stendere la carne sulla brace, noi peró muoriamo dalla voglia di provare il campo da golf. In un attimo Mario e i suoi vicini, una serie di personaggi simpaticissimi saltati fuori da un film d’autore, danno via al torneo. Incredibile ma vero, io porto a casa 1 punto ( che per chi come me non ne capisce molto, non è per niente male) e Bert addirittura 2… Il solito!!!

Appena tramontato il sole rientriamo in casa e Mario inizia a preparare le verdure (e le pannocchie!!!) da mettere sulla griglia insieme a cosce di pollo e ovviamente le classicissime bistecche. Una delizia! Un barbecue da favola con tanto di camino acceso a riscaldare l’accogliente salotto e una panciuta luna piena ad illuminare la notte stellata. Una perfetta cena d’addio per sigillare un nuovo patto d’amicizia e salutare questo meraviglioso Paese.

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Categories: Canada | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Into the wild…

22/05/2013

Second day in Whistler… The sun comes out in the morning and show us all the beauty of the mountains in the background. We decide to take a long walk along the Valley Trail , from Whistler Village to Whistler Creek and back, about a 25 km walk into the woods looking forlakes and black bears. Breathtaking views, animals of all kinds, small rivers, lakes and snowy mountain peaks. We even saw a real black bear crossing the train tracks in search of food. Awesome!!!

Once back at home, our host Mario filled up our evening with bears and mooses stories, x-sports anecdotes aboout extreme downhill mountain biking and helly drop off snowboarding  at Blackcomb.

It was a perfect day ending with Mario, a gifted records player who loves to combine any kind of music.

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Categories: Canada | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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