Gem on top of Blackcomb
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Gemma has already told you about our accommodation. Very nice, so we decided to stay 3 nights here. We haven’t actually done much though as it’s so easy to watch the days go by from the balcony on the chalet. We needed a good relax after running around Victoria so much anyway.

There seems to be plenty of things to do here if you have a mountain bike, ski’s or a lot of money to hire either of these things. Otherwise, the done thing appears to be to try and get a job that pays enough to live on. Reading the local paper it seems that this is the most expensive place to live in all of Canada. Housing is very expensive and all shops have aimed there pricing at cashed up tourists which is strange since half of the tourists are young thrill seekers with no money at all. There is a lot of construction and improvements going on too due to the upcoming winter Olympics that will be held here, no doubt that will help with the prices.

One of the other guys staying here recommended we take the gondola up to the top of Whistler Mountain. Sounded like a nice ride and was pretty cheap entertainment for 3 hours. Unfortunately, the Gondola isn’t running yet for some reason so we were told we could take the ski lift up Blackcomb Mountain instead. Whistler Village has two mountains that you can get lifts up right from the town and in winter I assume ski right up to. Blackcomb is still ski-able until well into June so Gemma got her first walk in the snow.

To get to the top is 2 chair lift rides, (we put our jackets on after the first), a short bus ride and then another chair lift. This takes about 45 minutes in total. Upon beginning the final lift it began to rain. We both had our gortex jackets so were fine up to, but our legs got a little cold and wet in only jeans. Thankfully, as we got closer to the top, the rain actually turned to snow. I didn’t think it would still be snowing at this time of year!

Other than this we lazed around near the lake and read books. Nothing else to tell really though we enjoyed it very much, we would stay longer and look for work but we might miss out on something better!

We are back off to Vancouver now for just the one night before continuing our moose tour into the rockies.



Chalet Alta Vista – Whistler

Chalet Alta Vista
Originally uploaded by simmogem.

This is Chalket Alta VIsta – what a relief to the normal backpackers we have been visiting! This is our accommodation in Whistler, about a fifteen minute walk from the ski village and only minutes to the lake and Whistler Golf Course.

The Chalet is like a big house and very comfortable. We stayed three nights and spent a lot of time lounging about and doing short trips into the ski village. We met some great people here and we were sad to leave. One such person was Craig, a fellow Australian who lived and worked in the Chalet and had actually met Simon three years earlier!

Neither recognised one another although we were sure that there was some connection as Craig was from the Illawarra and had a number of friends from the Shire. It was only while Simon and Craig were talking cars (I left them for a second!) that they realised they had met before. Simon mentioned that he lived in Bangor and Craig started to describe someone he once knew who lived in Bagor, described Simon’s street and that this guy owned a Toyota Soarer – it was at this point that Simon realised Craig was describing him!

They had met through the Toymods car club and even more bizarre Simon had driven Craig in his car for over an hour once yet still hadn’t recognised him. Craig was able to log onto his computer and show Simon photos of his car!

Whistler Village itself was nice, although it is a bit too purpose built. Almost like a theme park for adults. While we were there there was a mountain biking conference on and one of the ski slopes had been converted into a bike park. The golf course (one of three in Whislter) looked very fancy, we could tell by the pretty cool buggys and the fact that all the people there looked like they were straight out of Miami Vice – very white teeth. Whistler is a mixed bag of backpacker and rich – you know which camp we are from.

I really enjoyed Whistler and even though it is summer there was still plenty to see and do.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Our final day in Vancouver before we head off to Whistler so we decided to head off to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. To get there we took the Seabus (ferry) to North Vancouver and then a bus up to the bridge. The Bridge was built after a settler discovered a huge gorge running through his land and no way to cross. He then sold the bridge to an aspiring scot who charged city slickers 10c to walk across the bridge.

This started a craze that continues today – however inflation means you pay $20 to cross the bridge now. On the site there is also a historic tour telling the tale of the bridge (lots of romance involved but I wont bore you with the details) and on the other side of the gorge is a series of boardwalks through the forest and a treetop walk.

Walking across the brigde was a bit of a worry as it tends to swing and shake as about a hundred tourists clomp along. Once you get used to the swaying though the walk is quite something. I’m not sure of the exact dimensions, I’m sure Simon can fill you in, but I did note that if the Statue of Liberty were standing next to the bridge it would come up to her shoulder and it is so long that two 747’s could fly wing to wing under it.

I really enjoyed the tree top walk. This was 7 bridges linked to platforms positioned halfway up Douglas Firs in the forest. When we stood on one of the platforms and looked up, the tree was so tall that you felt you were standing on the ground and not halfway up the tree. Simon has a photo that gives you a bit on an idea of just how tall the trees are, one though was about 200ft tall.

Simon and I can understand why this has been a tourist attraction for over 200 years, very pleasent day out and a bit of a thrill as well.

A blog for all you foodies


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

This one is for all you food nuts out there – you know who your are Jenny and Kimberley – how do corn chips come in three different colours?! Now before you say food colouring I have already checked that and even the organic corn chips with no added flavours or colours come in this vibrant red and greeny blue colour. When you have the answer post a comment – I will pick up a special souvenier for the first person to give me the explanation. These tri colour corn chips were not a one off either, they are what most establishments serve.

More on food, Mums and Dads relax we have been eating well. Groceries here are fairly well priced and like Sydney if you hit China Town you can pick up some great stuff. Simon whipped up a pretty good chilli con carne the other night and we had it for lunch again the next day – this did our budget the world of good. Therefore here is the second food task of the day – we need some more recipes like this. The main criteria is that ther require few ingredients and they are relativly easy to whip up in a busy hostel kitchen.

My other note on food, or more so shopping for food, is on the Choice Supermarket in Vancouver. This is gluten free shopping heaven. The store is an organic supermarket but on all the shelves the gluten free products are marked with a blue tag – this made my life about ten times easier. In fact supermarkets in Canada are generally shopper friendly. NIce wide aisles, soft lighting, dark timber fixtures and all have a little coffee shop in the front. The Marketplace, a supermarket in downtown Vancouver was so comfortable we had our breakfast there – also it was $2 for a muffin and coffee – can’t really beat that.

Anyways, look forward to the recipes. I will pop a couple of reviews up from time to time.

Victoria Harbour


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

Yesterday we had taken a walk to the harbour of victoria so Gemma could see the Empress Hotel and spotted the Legaslative Legaslative Building. We took a free tour and learnt that to celebrate a visit from the Queen they had installed 3000 lights to the outside of the building that are turned on at night.

I thought this would make a great photo so this evening we headed down to the harbour again (15 minute walk). The sun sets at about 9pm here so we left at about 8:10 so we could find a good spot before it got dark. I still have a bit to learn when it comes to dressing appropriately for the Canadian climate as my T-shirt and polar fleece vest left a little lacking once the sun dropped.

Gemma, my kind assistant, went and found us coffee while we waited for what seemed an eternity for the lights to come on. I assume who evers duty it is to flick the switch was asleep at their post as they didn’t come on until after 9:30pm.

ONce the lights were on, finding a place to clamp my camera to became quite a task. We treied a park seat, a war memorial, a high tension cable supporting a pole but the best photo ended up comming from the camera being perched atop a bin! And who should we find trying to sqeeze his way into the photo. None other than Captain James Cook who has taken up prime position in front of the harbour and the Empress.

I’ll have to edit the bird poo out later.


Cycling Stanley Park


Originally uploaded by simmogem.

This would have to be up there with my favourite days – following Simon around Stanley Park on a bicycle!

I’m not much of an adventurer and I haven’t ridden a bike since I was about ten so I was a little unsure about how I and my butt would go riding a bike all day, but it was fantastic. The weather as you can see was glorious and the track follows the harbour shoreline giving uninterupted views for the entire trip.

We also rode over the Burrard St Bridge to Granville Island. The island (not really and island more of a peninsula) has a series of old warehouses converted into shops, markets, art galleries and what appeared to be a arts college. The whole place has a carnival feel to it and was a great place to sit and watch the world go by.

After a drink and some tri coloured corn chips (more on that later) we mounted our bikes for the ride home. As I said I did ok on the bike, except for one section of the ride and that was going back over the Burrard St Bridge. People often say ‘I almost had a heart attack’ when they are a bit short of breath – but I say to you I really did almost have a heart attack! Overall the day was really enjoyable and I would recommend that anyone visiting Vancouver should hire a bike and ride Stanley Park.

post script – 13/06/06: My butt is killing me!