Strangely enough my french didn’t improve the longer the trip went on and the cities got increasingly more french. Not an ideal combination. Quebec City is 100% a french speaking city. They obviously have a very touristy center where you can get by with speaking English. However some of the best bits are outside of it’s fortified walls. I wouldn’t recommend any longer than a few to five days here. I managed to get the hang of the city workings and felt like I saw most of it on the first day. You need some decent money to really enjoy Quebec City Old Town. Which really takes up 90% of the tourist spots. Would I go back? I don’t think so. It’s absolutely beautiful with it’s quaint streets but besides that I was ready to go on to Chicago.
To begin, I think Toronto is more a place to live than to visit. It’s a clean, pretty and growing city. However, I didn’t think it worked too well for people passing through. There isn’t a lot to do, especially when you’re a backpacker and a rooftop meal and cocktails isn’t exactly achievable. Although I did manage to fit in a few drinking sessions and a bbq on the hostel rooftop. Luxury.
I wasn’t sure what Seattle would be like. I got there and was a bit dubious but by the end I was sold. Thanks to my amazing friend Clare, I had a lovely place to crash and met some amazing people. I was staying in Capitol Hill, it was a very cool and unique area. Each shop seemed to have a stamp of it`s own and provided yet another version of what a cafe, restaurant, bar should be. I stayed in Seattle for 4 days and I managed to pack a LOT in. Baseball, Pike Place Markets, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, EMP Museum, Bainesbridge Island, Fourth July and the list goes on.
For some unknown reason, I failed to realise that Canada Day coincided with our arrival in Vancouver. It made it very hard to find a place to crash last minute. I stayed in an Air BnB which worked out fine. It was a bit further out of Downtown than I wanted but interesting to be staying on the University of British Colombia campus. I can’t believe how amazing the universities are over here. It definitely makes Auckland Uni seem like a nursery school. With a few other Air BnB’ers we went into town for the Canada Day fireworks and missed them. Fail. Although the next day Stanley Park renewed my excitement for Vancouver. It’s an amazing park and you have to walk (or cycle) around the outside. Views are great and you walk under the bridge. I was lucky with the weather, brilliant walk.
It’s still sinking in that I’m doing this and all the plans are finally in action. I can’t explain enough how beautiful the Canada Rockies are. If you have ever wanted to do a proper roadtrip then the Icefields Parkway is it. From one beautiful view to another, you don’t even bother turning off your camera. We only spent one day driving from Jasper to Banff national park. There was a thunderstorm on the forecast so we stopped at each lake that the guidebooks had said were the best. It was a busy day, and we still made Banff by 4pm. You can see in The Rockies Part One post, the lakes that we visited and how perfect the weather was.
Lydstime travel has begun! I’m writing this on my Air Canada flight, cruising towards Toronto then on to Edmonton. It’s been a huge countdown and finally the adventure has started. Straight off the bat it’s been interesting. London suffered some severe storms which flooded parts of the city. This meant trains were cancelled and friend number 1 arrived. I adopted another traveler to split a taxi. Already being resourceful! It was a great start, the taxi driver was a great laugh, sun was out and a fellow aussie traveler was coming along for the ride.