A Travellerspoint blog

More Banff....catching up to my current experience!

sunny 19 °C
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Hi all,
Well, I have been very preoccupied with the travelling and taking photos and sucking it all in that I haven't had time to even upload pics to my computer off the memory cards, let alone update the blog.
So, the second full day in Banff saw me head to Vermillion Lakes Drive- a road I'd read about on a photographic blog. The road actually sits almost perfectly beside the freeway- except the speed limit is 30kms instead of a 3 lane highway at a speed limit of 110kph. I headed there about 6.15am....the quiet, the stillness and the solitude is breathtaking. The Rockies is a place I am definitely coming back to........perfection at every turn, a scene like a postcard, and it is so beautiful that Mick called it "scenic drunk" where it just doesn't stop......it is all the time, around every corner, up every mountain, beside every road.
So Vermillion Lakes Drive- not many others- which added to the beauty (the boys, yet again, stayed in bed!)
We then headed up to do the Banff Gondola up the mountain. Let me just say this was in an enclosed Gondola way, way up a very freakin high mountain- VERY HIGH!! So, of course, the boys were told to sit very, very still. And not move an inch. At one point, I just had to close my eyes and dream I was at a Dockers game (hehe). The views at the top didn't disappoint though. The Fairmont Banff (the castle looking place we stayed at) was way below us in the distance. The mountains here are so high, it makes your head spin. A full day again (our days have been exhaustive, not wanting to miss any opportunity and to experience as much as we possibly can) lead to three very tired people and room service to boot! The next morning we are off to Jasper, a whole 233 kms to get "scenic drunk" on.


Again, totally unedited shots....but you get the picture!!!

Posted by Jochester71 15:36 Archived in Canada Tagged banff beauty gondola vermillion_lakes_drive Comments (0)

Paradise on Earth......Banff

overcast 14 °C
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Well, I've been a bit preoccupied with photography and scenery the last few days!
Monday we caught a ferry to Gibsons, a little place just north of Vancouver. Due to all the tributories it is only accessible via ferry (I'm talking a big ferry!) so people take cars, trucks, etc to the Sunshine Coast.The reason for our visit was to see my friend Kathi, and her husband Bob.
Those of you on my Facebook would know by now that I met Kathi when i was 13. She was bike riding (pushbike) around Tasmania, and it was raining, she sat beside a friend of my dads on a plane.....and, anyway we remained pen pals for years and never lost contact.
20 years ago (when I was 24 she came to Perth and I met her husband, Bob, then 12 years ago I visited her and Bob in Gibsons. This trip, she got to meet Mick and Jack. It was so beautiful. As we pulled in on the ferry I could see her at the front with her camera! She started waving, I started waving, and then the tears came. It was so overwhelming. A friendship that has so far spanned 32 years, and a half a world away from each other, and the minute we hugged, and held each other, it was like we saw each other last week. So, so beautiful and I'm so happy the boys got to meet them too.

It was bittersweet leaving Vancouver. It is such a beautiful city and so many things to see. Mick loved it and it is definitely on our list to do again. We left Vancouver Tuesday morning and flew to Calgary to collect our hire car and rive through the Rockies. Well, Mick and I giggled like school kids, he was nervous as hell about driving on the wrong side of the road and, well, with me as the ever patient co driver we made it out of the airport! Let me just
say at this point, there is nothing, nothing wrong with eating Tim Hortons donuts for breakfast! :)

Well, almost as soon as we left Calgary we saw them. The most majestic snow tipped mountains you could ever see. If I died here, I'd die a happy girl. If someone asked me where the most beautiful place on earth was, I'd guess its here! We drove to Banff and arrived here yesterday, and leave tomorrow to head to Jasper.
We are staying at the Fairmont Banff, a castle of a place! Last night I wandered around and took many pics inside- so much history, and so much beauty, clearly on display. Even the chairs are amazingly beautiful. Jack was most impressed that we were staying in a castle!
My camera has almost caught fire I've shot so many photos, every twist and turn of the road uncovers another picture perfect postcard moment. I've almost permanently had tears in my eyes as we drive along, as I photograph scenery.
Today we explored (after I left the boys in bed and went to shoot Minnewanka Lake at sunrise) the area, drove around, and I'm happy to report, we haven't crashed at all!
We did the Banff Gondola that goes so far up a freakin mountain that I almost started freaking out....at one point thinking I'd prefer to walk back down rather than get in the sky high gondola! BUT the views were incredible, and totally worth it. There were patches of snow on the ground- but Jack wants to see real snow!!
So without further ado, here are some of my totally unedited pictures (clearly not the best, but you get the idea!)
off to bed now, so I can be out by 6.15am to do sunrise!
Good night, from paradise.

Posted by Jochester71 21:43 Archived in Canada Tagged beautiful paradise castle banff gondola Comments (3)

Vancouver and the Mints

overcast 13 °C
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So as we are on the flight to Vancouver, Mick very helpfully reminds me that when we left Geraldton, i asked him to remind me to buy mints. Yes, he is very helpful with reminders!
Well, Vancouver is so beautiful and picturesque! we had a full day yesterday on the hop on hop off bus, did the "Fly over Canada" which is a cinema.....you know, when its all like a circle and you feel like your in it! Well, we certainly felt like we were in it...to the point where Mick felt sick for the rest of the day! The boys got off the bus and I continued on to Granville Island. The last time I was here was in 2003. My friend Kathi who I met when I was 13, is meeting us today- we are catching the ferry to Gibsons, where she lives, and I am super excited- she's never met Mick or Jack obviously! Its amazing to think I've known her for 32 years and we've stayed in touch all that time!
I bought some Sparkling Sake from a little family here who now make it locally- it was sublime Judy, you'd love it! also bought chocolates that Mick said were too nice to eat, until he ate one, and changed his mind!
Jack is enjoying the exploring and generally going well. With long days, early mornings and being flat out, we are early to bed most nights.
Gastown is one of my favourite areas- so picture perfect!
Here are a few snaps (unedited) from yesterday!

Posted by Jochester71 07:38 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver Comments (2)

Universal Studios and off we go to Canada!!!

sunny 26 °C
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So Universal Studios was an awesome experience. I'd booked the VIP tour, and it didn't disappoint! we did the tour of the stages- sound stages indoor and actual sets. There is a picture of Mick....that was really only taken to show him the large ...ummm........lungs of the woman sitting to his right!!! (you will need to zoom in....... but i was truly impressed at the whole gravity thing!)
We visited the set of a new series called HeartBreaker- Melissa George is the main star! we also saw plenty of actual sets off many movies, and Mick said this was his best day so far (amazing how I booked it for Jacks pleasure).We then did the rides, lunch etc and went straight through-not having to stand in line was definitely worth the extra money! It really was incredible to see how they actually make the shows- and the special effects. We were trashed again when we left but soldiered on and had dinner at IHOP. Sounds great right? yes, well on Judy's recommendation we ate at International House of Pancakes! the servings were disgusting......but we soldiered on :)
We all went to bed early...well i passed out i think! i then woke at 1am.....and decided I'd go and photograph the hotel lobby and exterior. It has the most amazing painted ceilings......dating from 1920 and is truly magnificent.
Well, we are here at the airport waiting to head to Vancouver!

Posted by Jochester71 08:50 Archived in USA Tagged los_angeles vip mick michael universal_studios hats vip_tour Comments (0)

Stars and White Sox

sunny 26 °C
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You gotta love the enthusiasm of people who rely on tips for their income! Saw the stars homes.....but really what we saw for two hours were obscenely large houses, with exceptionally manicured gardens (we saw no actual stars but plenty of gardeners!) and hedges that are 6-8 metres high.
Up in the Hollywood Hills it is highly sought after, Mick couldn't work out why the hell you'd want to live up there! We went to the Beverly Centre ( huge shopping centre) and bought our milk frother......ahhhh, finally, decent coffee! Can't believe Mick mocked me when I packed the coffee pods! He is ever so happy I did, given that last night at dinner, we traced the origins of good espresso coffee ( origins we came up with were South America, Africa for beans) then Italians for starting to make good coffee. A lot of Italians migrated to USA so why didn't they bring the good coffee with them? I'm at a loss as to why USA has crap coffee. But, we are happy now, as long as we continue with our rations of 3 cups per person per day!

I found a great book in a store yesterday.......I kind of lost it. But maybe it is my sick sense of humour!90_F63EEA8FA6A35A9E6E9EC6867118FEB5.jpg

So two restaurants I really wanted to go to, Spago ( Chef Wolfgang Puck) and Eleven Madison Park ( New York) . Spago was last night! It was amazing. The food and service was truly sensational, however, in part I feel it is always due to the tipping policy! I loved that caviar was the first dish, and incidentally, they served us Sterling caviar on the Qantas flight too! Mick said he managed to eat it by not thinking about it.....haha! The lamb was a favourite, as well as a sweet corn pasta!
It appears that perhaps having money means you dress like you don't! A guy at a table near us was wearing a lime green headband with s cap on sideways.....another guy near us was wearing jeans, a t shirt and white high tops! Mick was of the view he could have dressed in jeans and got away with it! Wolfgang came out of the kitchen and greeted every diner at every table. He was lovely, I got the pic and he also signed the menu, which he then had to give me.......haha!
We walked away from the restaurant and past the Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and the like and headed to Rodeo Drive like real grown ups! ( it's ok we had locked Jack in the room for the night- he was fine!) ( ok joking- he had Kelly babysitting, all American blonde, cute ) I've never seen so many elite cars as here in LA! Mind you I'm now totally in love with my Mustang ( for when the damn thing arrives next year!) as there are a fair few here and they are super grunty! We did the obligatory pic with the Rodeo Drive sign, caught a cab and legged it home!
Off to Universal today so Jacks pics will follow tonight!

Posted by Jochester71 06:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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