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  • Photography,  Travel

    Rockies Premium Tour – Day 3

    More #RockiesPremiumTour adventures in Banff with Discover Canada Tours!

    Grab a cuppa – or other beverage of choice – and get comfy. This entry is longer than most of the others because it was a BIG day, spent in the stunning Banff and surrounds. I would go back in a heartbeat. ❤️

    2 October 2019
    Hi Banff! I love you! 😍 Can I come back, pleeeeaaase?!

    Banff, AB and surrounds

    Banff Gondola

    Snow capped mountains
    Sunrise glow! (Apologies for the blur – low light and moving gondola carriage!)

    We started our day early – literally in the dark! – meeting at the bus for a drive up to the Banff Gondola! We were booked for brekky at the top of Sulphur Mountain… and it was perfectly timed so our gondola ride was during sunrise! 😍

    The sky had hints of pink in spots – really beautiful – and the reflections off the surrounding mountains were just magic. 💗

    Sulphur Mountain

    Once we got to the top, Kerstin (a fellow tour member 👋) and I immediately headed upstairs and outside to check out that cracking view.

    Holy. Crapola. This was a brand new level of cold I hadn’t experienced yet. 🥶 Even with multiple layers (seriously, a sleeveless tee, a long sleeved shirt, a flanno, beanie, scarf, fingerless gloves etc) AND a fleece-lined jacket with faux-fur lined hood (!) we had to go back inside after about five minutes. That wind factor made ALL the difference!

    Outdoor open plaza with mountaintops in the background
    Sunrise views from the top of Sulphur Mountain

    (Not that it was blowing a gale or anything, but it was blowing enough to be seriously icy on my face and my poor exposed fingers holding the camera! 😬)

    Having said THAT, the views were absolutely magnificent… 360° of magnificent. It was so QUIET (wind notwithstanding) – that real absence of noise. And with only Kerstin and I upstairs at that point, you’d honestly think you were completely alone in the world. Incredibly peaceful and I’m dying to do it all again. 💙

    Breakfast back inside was yummy (again with the a-ma-zing breakfast views!) but I demolished mine rather quickly so I could get outside and explore. (That’s a continuing theme through this trip!) There was a snow-covered mountainside with my name on it and who was I to refuse? 😁

  • Photography,  Travel

    Rockies Premium Tour – Day 2

    Continuing on from Day 1 of the #RockiesPremiumTour with Discover Canada Tours

    1 October 2019
    Being in the mountains is freezing – even when it’s not winter yet! – but oh man, did I fall in love with the Rockies. 😍 I would go back in a heartbeat if I could!

    Revelstoke, BC to Banff, AB

    Revelstoke, BC

    Morning light on the mountains

    I was sharing a room/suite with the awesome Maggie – a fellow Aussie, of course! 👋 – and we woke up to amazing views of sunrise hitting the mountaintops. 😍 What. A. View.

    I didn’t want to miss the light so in only my PJs – not even any socks on my feet! – I grabbed the camera and traipsed out onto the balcony to take some photos. Of course, I only lasted a few minutes then I retreated back inside – I needed some feeling back in my toes. 😅 It was like 5°C outside or something!

    Those beautiful views continued from the restaurant while we had breakfast! Seriously, Canada is THE place for breakfast and lunch views.

    Just sayin’.

  • Other

    Donate to the Australian Bushfires

    Image: Dale Appleton/Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

    The 2019-20 bushfire season has been nothing short of horrific for Australia.

    More bushfires burning in more places at one time and in extremes we’ve never seen before.

    Millions of acres of land obliterated, thousands of homes destroyed, dozens of human lives taken too soon… and over a BILLION animals dead. 😢

    Below are some links for charities and services that are trying to provide some relief to the devastated areas.

    If you can donate, please do. Every little bit counts and we greatly appreciate the support.

  • Other

    An apology

    …and a long overdue update!!

    I’m SO sorry I fell off the wagon with the updates on my Canada trip. I had the greatest of intentions – I promise! – but then the universe began a bit of a pile on and the wheels fell off.

    The big item, personally, is that we’ve been preparing to move house (in mid-Feb) which has involved not only packing/chucking stuff but also finding a new place to live.

    Added to that, my sister (who has multiple sclerosis – MS) will need to start a new treatment, in hospital, right at the time our lease is due to end! 😬 Which meant we would be potentially moving out of place A, moving into place B (yet to be found!), massive move out clean of place A, and driving my sister to-and-from the Gold Coast every day… all in the one week! 😱 Cue stress overload!

    Thankfully, we found out today that our lease at our current place will be extended an additional month. That will allow us more time to find a new place, get my sister’s treatment done with, and get moved without sending us into nervous breakdown territory. PHEWWW…

    On top of all that has been the horrifying news, videos and images of my country burning in these horrendous bushfires. (I haven’t been personally affected, thank god, but seeing so much devastation is like a punch to the gut.) When the news, day in and day out, is so heart-wrenching it’s hard to find the motivation to be creative or upbeat. The fire situation has eased somewhat – for now – but fires are STILL burning around the country and we still have the rest of summer to get through yet. February, historically, is bloody awful for bushfires. I’m just hoping that’s not the case this year… 🥺

    If you would like to donate to the bushfire causes, I’ll pop some links at the bottom of this post.

    Anyway, all of THAT *gestures above* is why I haven’t been updating. Online, at least. I have lots of the trip stuff written down (yes, I still rely on ye olde pen and paper when on holiday!) so I just need to type it up.

    Rockies Premium Tour, Day 2 will be up this weekend! (It’s a long weekend in Australia so I have a bit more time up my sleeve!)

    Donate to the Australian bushfires

    WIRES – NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Emergency Services
    Foodbank (providing essential supplies to survivors)
    GIVIT’s Bushfire Appeal
    Victorian Bushfire Appeal
    SA Bushfire Appeal
    RSPCA – NSW and VIC
    ABC.net.au – List of charities/services helping the communities

  • Travel

    Rockies Premium Tour – Day 1

    30 September 2019
    My third full day in Canada started super early to meet the Discover Canada Tours group and tour bus at Canada Place. (Out of the 25+ people on the bus, over half a dozen were Australian. 😂) Our guides were Joe and Matt. The tour I chose was the 5 days Rockies Premium Tour and so glad I did. The tour hit all the major spots of the Canadian Rockies that I wanted to see/visit plus a few I wasn’t even aware of!

    You’d never believe it but 12 hours on a bus? Actually a LOT more tiring than you’d think!

    Vancouver, BC to Revelstoke, BC

    I’m going to hit this with reasonably short and sharp bits because we did quite a few spots and saw a LOT heading up into the mountains. Plus the tour was (now) three months ago 😭 and my memory ain’t what it used to be! (Note to self: Please start writing place names down.)

    Hope, BC

    Not sure if this guy is meant to be a wizard or…?

    Our first stop mid-morning-ish was Hope, BC which is famous for being a main shooting location for the original “Rambo”. Hope is also making a name for itself in wood carving, with an incredible amount of wood carvings/statues all over town! Something worth seeing – some of the craftsmanship is truly remarkable. Particularly as they do them with chainsaws, not a chisel and hammer or whatever! 😳

    (Apologies for the blurriness in the wood carving photos – I was having trouble getting my camera to focus as the bus was going past)

    Autumn and winter in one

    We left Hope and hadn’t even hit the mountains when we had snow on the side of the road! Keeping in mind that this was the last day of September and technically still ‘summer driving’… 🤷‍♀️