A Travellerspoint blog


rain 10 °C
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Well, I finally got a job. Up at Grouse Mountain to be exact - 30 minute car ride everyday, but that's alright. For that I get to work as a Lifty with some really relaxed folks. It gets wet quite often, but I figure once the temperatures drop that just means we'll have a lot of nice fresh powder up there!
Other than the fact that I'm officially off the job market (no pun intended), things are going along relatively quiet and slow. We have a great christmas tree, which is a sort of palm plant thing - and no, it's not decorated, yet - and there are no presents underneath it! :D
Yep, that many! Anywho, back to the Grouse Mountain thing...I get free coffee, hot chocolate and other stuff up at the top (yep, free coffee, that mountain might just turn me into a coffee-junkie before I even start studying) and the only thing missing to make it a really awesome job, is my own snowboard. This, I'll be getting after a couple of weeks' pay have come rolling in :P Yes, it's sweet, I know.

So, with that wonderful pic to look at, I will end this entry, and I'll right you again (maybe) for christmas.

Peace Out.

Posted by Shirker 23:36 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Pictures of Roadtrip are Uploaded

semi-overcast 4 °C
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Ok, I finally got around to completely naming and mapping the pictures - check out the gallery. I'm too lazy to go and edit them into all the previous blog entries ;)

On another note, life is treating me well here in Vancouver, been doing some construction work (twice in total so far ^^) and looking for a job. The one at the Ski Lift at Grouse Mountain is not sooo sure, so i kept looking for another one and would now probably also have one for the Olympic Ice Hockey Games as a Cashier in the Arena.
I guess which one I take will depend on which of them tells me to sign a real contract first.

My short visit to Colorado, visiting my parents there over Thanksgiving, was great - even got some nice quality snowboarding time, booya!
Anyways, I gotta get goin' so this will once again be a short blog entry.


Posted by Shirker 17:12 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Living in Vancouver

-3 °C
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After our awesome roadtrip and the amazing Banff Mountain Film Festival, we finally returned to Vancouver, which has been a surprisingly easy stage of my stay.
The first day after our arrival on the 6th we started looking for an apartment, sent some emails, called some people.
The next day we had an appointment to view one of our favorites - leading to a signing of a contract on the following morning.
While I also sent out new applications every day, the only answer I have so far gotten was from the first one I sent - the Grouse Mountain Ski Lift, which as of now, will probably be my job until mid April - free season pass inclusive.
Other than that we've almost completely furnitured and set up our flat for only a few dollars each - quite good for the quality stuff we got...only thing missing: dining table and chairs :( (IKEA rocks!)
Yeah, that much for now - I guess I'll deliver more accurate descriptions of our roadtrip at some later time - for now the new photos (more will come in the next days) will have to suffice though.

peace out.

Posted by Shirker 02:45 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

"Jericho, Lovely, Very Large 1 Bedroom" in the ads

Yes we've founded a WG :D

overcast 10 °C
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Title sais it all, we found ourselves an awesome apartment in Kitsilano, Vancouver.

That's it, that's all.... for now.

Posted by Shirker 18:19 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

New Update!

snow -2 °C
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the new and even more improved map of the roadtrip so far and what is likely to come.

So, after Banff we headed up to Jasper over Lake Louise and Peyto Lake.
We hung out there until the 5th and drove overto Prince George to pick up Dave on the 6th.
We then set off up north with the intention to drive as much as possible, even at night.
So we reached Dawson Creek relatively early, did our pictures of the "Mile 0 of Alaska Highway" sign and continued on as far as possible.
sadly, the first snow storm hit us and we soon stopped as we couldn't see shit.
The next morning we got up, had breakfast and set off on the icy not yet cleared road thinking we dont need tire chains. 10km later we landed in the ditch...
after some shots at freeing ourselves and getting a shovel from some friendly lumberjacks we called the towing company and waited.
Some 2 hours later we were free and on our way to Fort Nelson with a brand new 700 dollar shovel!
In Fort Nelson we decided we wouldn't give up on the trip up north and drove off in the evening, switching drivers so we could drive all night long.
We made really good time and reached Whitehorse the next day.
The next day we went up to Dawson City with only minor ice problems - slow driving does help even without chains.
We had a fun night out in the local Casino (did I mention the WHOLE town is kept in a complete western style? all wood sidewalks, dirtroads and your typical western buildings) and the Pit (a very loud pub.)
The next day we finally set offfor the Dempster. We made it up halfway to Eagle Plains without a problem and stayed therefor the night. It's an oasis in the middle of nothingness with restaurant mechanic and even bedrooms for those with enough money. for us it was obviously another night in the bus.
Anyways, the next day we noticed we had a flat tire, got it fixed, and went up to the arctic circle where we spent the day and night seeing some really nice northern lights!
So then, the next day we set out south again, having decided not to go all the way to Inuvik - already having encountered one flat tire on 1/4th of the whole way up and down.
Good thing too, cause on the way back we got flat tire #2.but no problem cause we still had our spare tire.
we reached dawson city in the evening,stayed there and headed off to whitehorse the next day.
Here (that's where I am atm) we called the Ferry that goes from Haines to Prince Rupert and learned that the next available ferry goes on the 24th...9 days from then...
So we decided to use the time and visit Anchorage even though we had first decided not to.
Today we wanted to head off, but a sudden blizzard caused the streets to ice over and cancelled out our plans for now.
Anywho...now we're relaxing in the local café and will seewhat tomorrow brings - good weather will mean that we will head off to the US border (let'shope they let us through :) )

that's the broad picture for now, peace out

Posted by Shirker 16:34 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

A short Heads Up

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I just noticed I haven't written in a while...well, just as a short update (more excessive info to come at some later point):
We got a nice car - a '92 VW Eurovan.
We hung out in Vancouver a bit.
We picked Mario up from the Airport and set out on our roadtrip.
We stopped in Summerland (a small town in the Okanagan) to get our car checked by a VW specialized mechanic.
We continued our trip, rode some ferries over lakes, chilled in some natural hot springs, stopped in Revelstoke.
Drove up Mount Revelstoke, continued on to Field (Yoho National Park). Did a 17 km hike.
Continued on to Calgary, ate a big burger there (I liked it, the others didn't - it didn't have any salad on it :D ).
Drove back to Banff. Been hanging out here since. Spent time in Hot Springs again, did another 15 km hike. Did laundry. Hung out in Starbucks a lot.
And all the people we meet and tell that we're headed up to Alaska/the arctic circle over Dempster Highway either say:
"Good for you!" or "At this time?" or "Are you crazy?" or "How many spare tires do you have for the Dempster Highway?" or... yeah you get the idea. I think it'll definately be an adventure, and if we make it up and back we will be quite awesome. Yes, quite awesome ;P
Anyway, that's it for this quick update.

Peace out

Posted by Shirker 18:31 Comments (0)

Dances with Goats

Am I being sarcastic?

overcast 19 °C
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Let's start out with the day before yesterday, where me and Patrick moved our stuff over to Markus' place, where we would be sleeping on the floor for the night. We hung out a bit, cruised around downtown with the bus (only 15 minutes by bus) and returned to eat some spaghetti, drink a bit, wait for the 2 German girls and head into town for a bit of partying (last night in Vancouver for me and Patrick, and celebrating into Rick's birthday, a roommate of Markus'). So as we headed into downtown, we stopped by a bank, because some people needed to get some money, and while we were waiting, a Hummer-Limousine stopped at the traffic light. As a joke Lea held out her thumb and asked for a ride, only to be surprised by the driver actually pulling over behind the traffic light and telling us to get in. So, a wild ride down 7 blocks of downtown Vancouver in a huge Limousine, with loud pumping music, commenced and by the time the driver pulled over to let us out we were all laughing so hard we probably seemed extremely drunk to the passers-by. That's when we sort of realized that Markus' other roommate was missing - he was still in the bank and had missed out on all the fun.
Anyhow, we then headed to a local club/pub and hung out there the rest of the night - nothing worth mentioning after the Limousine ride.
After leaving Markus' apartment the next day, where we stayed our last night in Vancouver, we walked about 40 minutes to the bus stop, from where a Greyhound bus took us to Abbotsford within 1,5 hours. Peter, the man of the house, picked us up and we drove past corn and blueberries field, full of Pakistani or Indians, until we arrived at the farm. Everyone was helping with the pressing of apples to make apple juice when we entered through the fence door, our huge packs on our backs, and Peter showed us where we would be staying. One in the cabin, outside in the garden, with Helmut the 50-something year-old German who's been staying at the farm since end of march - me - and one in the house, in a little (read: tiny) room next to the bathroom and the pool table - Patrick.
Anywho, we spent the day following Stevie (the 5-year-old kid) around the house and property, showing us everything a kid could find interesting, while repetitively asking "Do you like being here?" (literally EVERY 5 seconds) or "Do you want to play a game with me?".
After playing some pool, and cutting up apples for the juice, dinner came around and we were excited to get some grub. Sadly, we only got one small burger and one hotdog. Definately not enough (especially for Patrick). After that we spent some more time playing pool, and waiting for the computer to become available to check our mails and start our car search, which ended in us getting 4 possible matches and the decision to call them tomorrow (today). The evening trotted along and one after another everyone went to bed, until I too set off to the cabin to catch some shuteye.
I was lucky to not be up for chores in the morning, because I slept well until noon, while Patrick was woken up at 8:30 by Stevie (remember, he sleeps in the house, I don't). So I got up, headed into the house, greeted everyone with a "good morning" getting some chuckles, made me a coffee (yes, I've started drinking coffee...) and ate some cereals.
The day went on, again playing pool for lack of stuff to do, watching some Robin Hood series produced by BBC with Johan, the 15-year-old, and finally getting lunch. Oh, I just remembered, the most fascinating thing about eating here. Prayers, readings about Christ, more prayers, and the parents hugging Stevie - seems to be a well respected tradition here (I find it funny and odd).
Anyway, after lunch, I sat down on the computer looked up more cars, me and Patrick called some, and checked my email. And now, I'm sitting here, writing my blog...guess that's it for now, I'll be reporting more at some other time.


PS: I activated commenting from non-travellerspoint members, now everyone can comment! Yay! (read: You better write some comments!)

Posted by Shirker 15:23 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

The new and improved: map

of the journey through Canada so far, and the planned roadtrip ahead

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Posted by Shirker 12:25 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Back in Town

semi-overcast 20 °C
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So, after another day of surfing and hanging out at the beach in Tofino, we've returned to Vancouver. Melanie, the Quebecois girl, was so nice as to take us along in her car, and we had a smooth ride to Nanaimo, across the "Gulf" on the ferry and back to Vancouver, where we drove straight to the hostel at Jericho Beach (an ex-barracks building, really spacious and just big).
I just bought me some big ol' backpacking shoes at the MEC - damn, I love that store - and then we headed off to check our mail at the SWAP bureau and get our SIN numbers (that we still have to do).
I fished swapping 2 letters out of the inbox. 1 from the Scotiabank, where we opened a bank account a while back, only to be told that they would not be able to give us a bank account because we have no address in Canada and have the account closed again. Anyhow, the letter thanked me for trusting the Scotiabank with my money and them telling me that they would serve me as best they could, and was "signed" by the bank manager. Idiots...^^
And the second one was from Scene, a movie company cooperating with the Scotiabank...more idiots xP
That left me wondering, where was my driver's license that my Mom sent me via UPS as extremely urgent. Well, turns out that they had accidentally opened the letter and stored it behind the desk. I just hope that there really was only my German and international driver's license with a post-it on it in there. Mum?
As for the plans for the next couple of days:
Tonight we'll meet up with the 3 German people from Tonquin beach (they're all suddenly in Vancouver and have they're own apartment/houses here) and see what we'll do in the evening (we'll be staying at the hostel another night). Tomorrow we'll run around town again and crash at Markus' (one of the Germans from Tofino) apartment because he apparently has room (read: a couch). And the next day we'll take the Greyhound bus to Abbotsford where we'll be picked up by our new WWOOF hosts. Sound good? Sounds good.

peace out

Posted by Shirker 16:18 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (3)

Perfect World

with some blemishes

semi-overcast 15 °C
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Yesterday we woke up early (9:30am) because we had arranged with some other Tonquin campers (2 german girls, a Quebecoise and Bryan - I don't know where he's from, he's just Bryan) to go surfing. So we all met up in the cafe/bakery in town and had a breakfast together before heading over to the local HI hostel to checkin (we had reserved spots a couple of days ago when it was raining, and weren't able to cancel the reservation anymore - I would have loved to stay at the beach the whole time but oh well, it has it's pros nonetheless). Then we went and rented the surfboards + wetsuits for 40 bucks and each little group set off to the designated surfing beach of the day in it's own way. Bryan semi-tried to hitch-hike but ended up walking the whole way, the 2 germans hitch-hiked too far and ended up walking, and me an Patrick, well, we drove with the Quebec girl in her car straight to the beach.
There we gave the girls a surfing lesson the way we had it 2 days before (some very funny moments there) and then spent the whole afternoon surfing, trying 180s on the board and eating cookies on the beach. After our 6 hours of rental were over, we returned the stuff and came back to the beach where we stayed a while until we realized that we still needed to go to the grocery store to buy our food.
This is where the pro of a hostel comes into play: we have a huge kitchen at our disposal.
So, we bought stuff for $50 total at the grocery store and started preparing our great feast of grapes, berries, ham, cheese, mushrooms, sauce, nutella and lots and lots of pancakes. Patrick showed his talent for being a chef by creating a fruit plate worthy of a 5-star gourmet restaurant (pictures to come) and I tried to avoid being pulled into the 4 man cooking team on 3 square meters...not that I'm lazy, it's just that "zu viele Koeche verderben den Brei" :P
Anyhow, it ended with all of us being full to the brim and not wanting to move a single inch.

Now, today we met again at the bakery. Have been there for roughly 6 hours now, hanging out, eating cinnamon rolls and the others writing post cards. In about 10 minutes we will hopefully be headed over to Long Beach (a really long beach near Tofino), before coming back to town to eat, maybe use the hostel sauna, and then build a fire at Tonquin Beach. We'll see how that goes.
That's it for now - oh, and we'll probably be staying at that goat farm in Fraser Valley from September 5 until...we find a car ;P

peace out

Posted by Shirker 15:54 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Ucluelet -> Tofino

sunny 17 °C
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So, we in fact didn't drive to Ucluelet, because our hitch-hike drivers were headed to Tofino, and we were just happy to get to a town.
Anyways, Tofino is an awesome little town. Especially since we're not paying anything for our accommodations, which is camping in the forest of a nice little recreational park called Tonquin Beach. It's not that legal, but there's about 20 backpackers just camping out in the forest right by the beach. It's a great little community there, everyone's friendly, and in the evenings we just make a campfire by the beach and sit around it with 15-20 people while eating mushrooms that some chef from Quebec picked in the forest (Yes, I am eating mushrooms O.o).
Yesterday we had a 3 hour surfing lesson, and it was absolutely awesome fun. 2 meter waves coming in a 5 second interval = enough chances to try to surf. Even though each wave feels like a punch in the gut and gets you tired real quick while walking in to the water to ride the surf, it's just an awesome feeling to catch a wave and ride it down to the beach (we're not taking the real waves, just the white surf). Anyways, at some point my safety line ripped and I got an instructor surfboard which was indescribably more difficult to ride (it was slippery). But I did get up on it once, to the end of the lesson, but when I fell off and the surfboard shot away only to recoil through the safety line and zip back at me, I tried to stop the board from hitting my face by grabbing the fin....baaaaad idea. Those instructor boards had really hard and sharp fins. Soooo, I got a nice little (about 5mm deep I think) cut on the inside of my thumb - putting me out of the last 10 minutes of surfing :( But it's fine, bandage and not moving it do help and I will try some surfing again tomorrow :D
Other than that we met a family (they have a baby and a 10 year old with them and are camping out at the beach like we are, because they're here for a wedding O.o) that bought an old school bus that was camperized for 1500 - giving us high hopes to find an awesome and affordable car for a road trip - we'll see if it'll be a school bus, probably not.
And after Tofino (we don't yet know when we'll leave) we'll be going to a farm in Fraser valley, that much we know - we have the choice between a vegetarian womans farm surrounded by mountains and a goat farm somewhere around there as well. We'll see which one it will be, but I'm confident that it will all work out to our advantage, it always does at some point.

peace out

Posted by Shirker 14:33 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Ucluelet and more

a Hitch-Hiker's guide to Vancouver Island would be useful...

sunny 18 °C
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Next stop after Victoria (where we are at the moment): Ucluelet
Also known as Tofino in small, less expensive, and more relaxed.
We'll be trying our luck at hitch-hiking our way there, over Nanaimo to Port Alberni to Ucluelet, or better yet: straight from Victoria to Ucluelet, but that would be wishful thinking. Bus rides of that length, meaning Victoria-Ucluelet would be too expensive and I've finally got Patrick to see into doing some money saving, i.e. eating can food and not spending 20 bucks a day on food - so it comes naturally that we try and get to Ucluelet the cheapest way possible, Hitch-Hiking!

Our plan so far seems fairly good: on Wednesday morning we set out with our backpacks to Highway 1 and hold up a sign reading "Looking for ride to Nanaimo->Port Alberni->Ucluelet" and hope for some friendly Canadians to take us along. It worked well for the 5km from the end of the West Coast Trail to the parking lot, so why not then and there on a minorly longer route? Should be an adventure in and of itself so I'm looking forward to it :D

Once we're there we'll spend 100 bucks for 2 days of surfing, some money on the camping ground (if we don't find a place where we can set up tent for free) and maybe for some can food, but we'll look into those minor details once we're there. After we've surfed a bit, we'll decide if we want to stay a bit or head back top Victoria - another Hitch-Hiking Adventure - where we will then try to woof somewhere while looking for a neat ol' car to take us up north on our road trip.

That road trip should look something like a short stop in Vancouver, stocking up on can food and camping gas, then driving to Banff, up through the National Park of Banff and Jasper, then heading up to Whitehorse, hopefully woofing there for a bit before heading back down to the warmer areas of Vancouver and surroundings, at which point we are expecting our budget to be very limited so we will hopefully have found a job as snowboarding teachers in some smaller ski resort. If that job has not yet been found, and we truely are running out of money, we will resort back to the good old woofing technique to keep us warm and fed while looking for a job. Then, when the Snowboarding/skiing season is over, we will set out with our trusty car, that will hopefully still be running and in our possession at the time to check out the east coast, where we awesomely already have some government guy who offered us to stay with him and his family in Ottawa while he was eating one of our burgers at Chez Moniques (kudos to Patrick for organizing this - and I was thinking he was shirking the kitchen work, shame on me). 2 months for Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec, the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls and other surrounding amazingities (neologism) should be more than enough time, don'cha think?

So, there's our 9 months planned out for you, let's hope it all goes as planned, and one good coincidence and/or friendly Canadian follows another!

On a side note: sadly the computers here at the hostel seem to not want to accept cameras or their memory cards, so I can't upload pictures from the past 2 weeks yet, but I'll try again tomorrow in another hostel.

That leaves only 2 more words to say:
peace out

PS: I also have a Canadian prepaid card now, the number is: 250-891-4579
but only for emergencies/sms because long-distance calls are really expensive ;)
this also means, I'm not going to be available on my old number anymore.

Posted by Shirker 20:01 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Back from the Wilds

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The day we set out to Chez Moniques in the middle of the West Coast Trail seems like it was yesterday. But it really was almost 2 weeks ago. The rain was making the boat trip an agonizing experience and I think I've never been that soaked before. When we arrived a friendly hiker said the famous words: Welcome to Chez Monique's!
Indeed, the time at Chez Monique's passed way to fast. One day was the next and everything was calm and relaxed, without a worry in the world. Wake up in the morning, lie in your little tent in your cozy sleeping bag until the guilt drove you out because you heard the others already preparing the first breakfasts for those damn hikers. Working from around 9am to 2 pm could be a bit busy and stressful, especially if you didn't know your way around the kitchen, but that soon turned to routine. The afternoons were mostly sunny, warm, and full of spare time to relax on the beach or walk to the mountain creek some 2km down the strip of sand that was Carmanah Bay. The occasional damned hikers that turned up in the late afternoons or evening got us upset and working in the kitchen again, but hey: we get free burgers, omelettes, scrambled eggs, drinks, fish, chocolates, fruit, chips and anything else we had there for free, so it was fine. Sometimes you would work the kitchen, sometimes in the "garden" which was basically the whole beach and the forest behind it. Digging compost holes, stream diverts, or carrying up wood and splitting it with the old axe, there was something to do at all times and for everyone.
The time passed much too quick, before we knew it one week had passed and we starting to talk about hiking out, maybe thursday? yeah, thursday, we'll hike out with Sarah (another Woofer at Chez Monique's), she's got a car and can drive us back to Victoria when we're back in Port Renfrew. And so it came, we set out on Thursday, leaving Monique, her endless supply of food and the carefree world of Carmanah Beach behind us.
13km, that was our planned distance for the first day. 6km on the beach, relatively easy and quick, only 2 hours for that part - although i had a badly hurting right foot, still do, and don't know why - followed by a long 7km through the forest, brush, over ladders, under treetrunks, through mud and much much more. We arrived at 6pm at our destination - Cullite Creek. Camping by the beach shortly behind the first trees to have at least some wind protection.
The next day followed and we set out for the most difficult part of the trip: 4km to Campers Bay. It took us 4 hours and we didn't continue on to the next 8km to the next campground as it had been planned, because first: my foot was hurting (full of blisters and that recurring ache I mentioned earlier) and second: Sarah, who we were hiking with, seemed to be getting a bad cold and wouldn't have been able to walk another 100m.
We camped at Campers Bay, making ourselves that great dehzdrated camping food, in our case: soup followed by lasagna with meat sauce - actually tasted quite good. That evening we decided to take on the last 13km the following day. Some hikers told us it wasn't possible to do in one day, others said they were doing the same, so we looked at our food supplies and got to the conclusion: we have to hike out - not much food left.
The next day came, and we set off, 8km, my blisters were hurting very bad, short break, eat KitKat, drink water, set out to the highest point on the trail, steep muddy mountainside to climb up, followed by easy straight paths through a forest that started to resemble our european ones and some difficult climbing passages, always switching difficulty.
Then finally, we arrived at the end, at the ferry that would take us over to Port Renfrew from where we had some friendly Canadians who took us along in their car for 3km to the Trailhead Office, where we sat down and wondered how we would get to the car. We ended up walking another 500m - in my case it was more of a dragging than walking - damn 20kg pack...until anmother Canadian hollered down to us from a driveway. He gave us a quick lift in his Pickup - Canadians are very friendly people I must say - and brought us down to the car.
From there it was some packing the car, some brushing off dirt, followed by a long drive back to Victoria. When we arrived late in the evening we found out that all the Hostels were booked out and that we had no place to sleep. We ended up driving to one of the recreational parks by the water, parking the car on the lot (which wasn't actually allowed) and sleeping there, smelly, unwashed since about 4 days, and tired to the brink of collapsing. Today we woke up stiff and still sore, my feet still hurting, hardly able to walk right and set out to find a Hostel room for tonight, we got one, but we can't check in until 3pm...it is now 9am...still some time to beat until we can shower and sleep in a bed.

Anyway, I hope that wasn't too much text, and that you can somehow understand my sentences, they could be a bit screwed up - I'm still tired.

Pictures of our trip will come soon as will info on the plans for the future, until then peace out, see ya!

Posted by Shirker 09:06 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Updated Map

Where we'll be headed tomorrow :D

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Posted by Shirker 11:57 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The end of days

in civilization

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Wuhu, today is my last day in Victoria - the capital of BC and located on Vancouver island - and I have to say, it's a lot nicer and relaxed here than in Vancouver. Old (as old as it gets in these parts), but not wrecked buildings everywhere, and everyones a lot more chilled here.
Tomorrow morning, 6:30am I'll be taking a but up to Port Renfrew, where a boat will pick us up and take us up along the West Coast trail to the restaurant where we'll be working for the next 1-2 weeks.
Since I don't know exactly when we'll be back, or when we'll have internet again:
Take care, see you all in anywhere from 1-2 weeks! :D

peace out


Posted by Shirker 10:01 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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