In 2005 we decided on a trip to Canada, starting with a flight to Toronto, a train to Vancouver and a ferry over to the Island where we hired a car to get around to some amazing places. So join me on my Canadian trip of a lifetime.
Air: The following images are taken on coming in to land at Toronto as we circled right over the city. Sometimes even having a seat with a wing view can be interesting too.
Sunlight on Wing
Toronto’s CN Tower from the air
Tommy Thompson Park
Train: After a few days exploring Toronto and a quick trip down to Niagara Falls we joined the Canadian train departing from Union Station in the country’s largest city to cross through some of Canada’s most sparsely populated regions. On the first day the panorama changes from the glass skyscrapers of Toronto to the pine trees of Sioux Lookout. Day two took us to Edmonton, crossing Winnipeg River, the Prairies and the lakes of Whiteshell Provincial Park. On the third day the train steadily climbs through the foothills of the Rockies, crossing several rivers and glacial lakes of the most stunning colours. After Jasper the train winds its way through the Yellowhead Pass, the crest of which marks the border of Alberta and British Columbia. The Canadian is in sight of Mount Robson for 16 km before turning sharply south and descending. In the early hours of the morning the mountains suddenly fall away and the Canadian follows the flat green fields along the Fraser River. It arrives at the Pacific Railway Station in Vancouver after a long and astonishing journey.
A Sunset on the move
Grain silos in the Prairies
Boat: On reaching Vancouver the next step of our journey was to travel on the wonderful BC Ferries up and along the Sunshine Coast then over to Vancouver Island. I’m not a very good sailor, but would go on these ferries any time, and if you are lucky, as we were, you might catch a glimpse of a pod or two of Orcas.
Crossing to the Island
Just in Case…
Of course there are many other types of boats on Vancouver Island, so here are a few of the smaller ones.
Comox Harbour at sunset
Ferry Boat Victoria
Houseboat – Fisherman’s Wharf
Road: Of course the journey would not be complete without the use of our lovely Lincoln hire car. She enabled us to get off the highways and to more remote places that were not easily accessible by public transport. On and off ferries to explore the smaller islands of Hornby and Denman, over a logging route to visit Telegraph Cove, along the Pacific Rim coastline to Port Renfrew, Ucluelet and Tofino, and north to Alert Bay. But my first journeys in the car were in the environs of Vancouver – to the fabulous UBC Anthropology Museum, Van Dusen Gardens and over the Lions Gate Bridge to Grouse Mountain.
Lions Gate Bridge
Arriving at the B&B
And of course there are many other methods of transport available in Canada. I hope you have enjoyed the ride 🙂
In the twenty years since I met the OH there have been a few significant birthdays within the family, including the births of seven new grandchildren. We don’t make a big fuss of celebrating our own. We used to like having a short spring break and an autumn break which often coincided with one of our birthdays. Mostly in the UK, but my most memorable overseas one was on Vancouver Island in 2010 when I got to have a lovely birthday meal in Tofino.
Tofino – Vancouver Island
The first one we celebrated together though was in the Algarve back in 2002 when we stayed in a hotel near to Carvoeiro. I was presented with a cup cake and a sparkler when we went for breakfast, but I ended up having a pizza on my own in the evening as the OH became very ill during the day and had taken to his bed!
My birthday in 2003 was by far the most special as it was the day we got married. As I was on a PGCE course and couldn’t take time off we had a brief honeymoon in the eclectic enchanting Italianate style village of Portmeirion in north Wales. Famous for the cult TV show ‘The Prisoner’ in the 1960s and also for Portmeirion pottery.
I don’t have digital photos from either of those years.
Other trips include a weekend in Oxford, a week in the New Forest (where we attended the wedding of my youngest son), a fortnight in Penzance to house hunt, a week in Bridport and a few wonderful days in Montreux tagged on at the end of a trip to Geneva back in 2009.
My birthday is at the beginning of October so during the period I was teaching that was term time so holidays were restricted to the school holidays. It was a relief when I stopped teaching and could travel whenever I liked.
The OH on the other hand has a birthday that is normally during the spring half-term so we were able to get away even though it is a more expensive time. His most glamorous getaways have been a day visiting the island of Ithaca during our week in Cephalonia in 2003, and another island trip in 2006, that time a day trip from Malta to Sicily.
His UK birthday holiday breaks have taken us to the Cotswolds,
North Devon, Aberaeron in west Wales, Keswick in the Lake District and Penzance in 2015 before our move to Cornwall.
I would have said that the best thing about birthdays was travelling to a new place to explore, but since moving to Cornwall in 2016 we have rarely left the county and certainly not to celebrate a birthday. We usually find a nice local bar or restaurant where we can clink a couple of glasses together and have a wander around a beautiful beach or garden.
We do however have a very clever granddaughter who makes excellent birthday cakes. This one was for her sister’s 15th birthday. A shame we weren’t there to help eat it!
I know I am a little late for this challenge, but it’s taken me a day or two to sort out all the photos taken during our first holiday in two three years! And I think this one fits the brief.
This is as far as I got walking up to the Glastonbury tor on a rather warm day. My knees were protesting at the number of steps and although almost on the flat as I reached this point, I felt that I had got close enough. There will be more Glastonbury posts to come once I have sorted out the photos and found the energy to blog.
Photography has never been ‘a thing’ in my family. I don’t even remember my parents having a camera, but they must have done as there are a few black and white ones at the beach when I was very small, along with the usual studio shots and school portraits from that era.
I must have had one to take with me on a school trip to Germany when I was 15, but the photos are about 2.5 inches square and very bad! Although I didn’t cut off people’s heads my compositions weren’t great. Next was a 10 week trip hitch-hiking around Europe, with the same camera I think. Again, nothing very special. With film and developing being expensive you didn’t take several shots of the same thing, hoping that the photo you did take would be what you wanted Sadly so often the results were very disappointing. And no way to go back to the Acropolis for another take. This camera accompanied me to Geneva where I worked as an au pair, six months working in Norway and on the overland journey to India. What missed opportunities! The photos are small and square and don’t even scan well.
For my 21st birthday I got a Kodak Instamatic into which you could pop a sealed cartridge which enclosed the film. No more having to close the curtains and sit in a darkened room to wind your film on or off the sprockets. This was used for many years for mostly family photos. At some point I moved onto a Fujifilm point and shoot camera which accompanied me on my first and second visits to Australia in 1998 and 2000 where I began to be interested in landscapes (though not necessarily understanding light and shade).
And then on my Southern Africa trip in 2000. This camera had a panoramic setting, the problem was that once you had set this feature you had to use it for the whole film. It was on that trip that I decided I wanted / needed a better camera. For the first time I was desperate to capture the landscape, the wildlife. And all I had was a little point and shoot camera.
As a single parent who worked all week and did chores all weekend and saved every spare penny for holidays there wasn’t much money to splurge on fancy cameras. And so the Fuji accompanied me to Australia on my third visit in 2003. On that trip my future OH joined me with his Canon SLR so I didn’t take many photos. Unfortunate as when we arrived back home we discovered the SLR had a fault and had been letting in light so a lot of photos were ruined.
With this in mind in the autumn of 2003 we decided to buy a digital camera. An HP PhotoSmart C945 5MP and 8 x optical zoom with a 5 cm colour LCD display. It was not cheap, but neither was it the most expensive camera around. It took 4 AA batteries so wasn’t all that light either, plus you had to carry a charger around with you.
A few years later we moved on to better bridge cameras – the OH bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 to replace the Canon and I went for a Fujifilm S8000fd with 8MP and an 18 x zoom as I loved my compact Fuji. We also had a little Nikon Coolpix for when the OH went abroad and didn’t want the hassle of carrying a larger camera. And why is it as soon as you decide on a make and model a newer version comes out weeks after you have bought it? I’m not sure my photography improved, but the number of shots I took certainly escalated.
Photography was becoming serious now. And seriously expensive! I even took out a subscription for a camera magazine for a year and read every review about DSLRs and the mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras, but I remained indecisive. In 2011 I upgraded to a Fuji FinePix HS20 EXR which had 16 MP and 30 x zoom and everything was good until I became quite obsessed with flower photography.
For decades I had a garden and although no plantswoman I enjoyed getting out there each week and growing and planting things. When I no longer had a garden we started visiting public gardens around the country and even when on holiday and I started to develop a passion for flowers and insects on flowers and especially close-ups. What I really wanted of course, was a Macro lens. And no bridge camera was going to give me that, which led to my first digital mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. I wanted something small enough to put in a handbag if necessary so the Olympus OM-D E-M10 with a pancake lens was ideal. Followed swiftly by the Macro lens.
Over the past eight years I have been blogging, initially to have a place to store all these digital photos and write about my trips whilst I could remember them, then to share favourite walks and gardens and join in with photo challenges and even record the development of the garden I eventually got. I have learned a lot from my fellow bloggers, some of whom are the most talented photographers. Now I am pretty addicted to photography; I still don’t understand all the technical aspects, but I like to think that over the years I have improved and that now I am more discerning. I take my time when composing a shot. I even walk away if I can’t get what I want.
My photographic journey has been long and slow, but there are still moments out there to capture, improvements to make and memories to return to.
Patti’s challenge this week is going back to basics and starting with the letter A. I immediately thought of Angels and so I want to link to an older post from Australia where I spent a happy hour or so wandering around the Waverley Cemetery and finding angels.
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