Ms Volendam arrives in Vancouver 20 May at 07.00 and our cruise is over. Now begins an exploration of British Columbia by car
Vancouver City May 20 & 21 We arrive at the port of Vancouver in pouring rain, but within the hour the rain had stopped. We disembarked into bright sunlight and took a taxi to our accommodation for 2 nights. This was a very pleasant sojourn at the Corkscrew Inn. (for their reviews on TripAdvisor). After settling in at the Corkscrew we walked to the little ferry to get into Vancouver city, and had a thorough explore of the city before returning by ferry to the Corkscrew Inn.
Vancouver to Kamloops May 22. I picked up the rental car, a Hertz RAV4 SUV, at the Vancouver railway station, as we wanted to return it there at the end of our driving holiday. We then headed north east for a lunchtime meeting with Sharon Waldron, a descendant of a sister of Marie Watson (my great-grandmother). After that it was north east again to Kamloops, and the Wedgewood Inn (TripAdvisor) for the night. Had a disappointment with our evening meal, the only restaurant within walking distance was Hoodoos (TripAdvisor) which was dreadful from start to finish.
Kamloops to Revelstoke May 23 After breakfast, we visited the farmers market in Kamloops and headed out on the open road. By chance we stopped at Craigellachie, where they drove in the "last spike" on the Canadian Pacific Railway. As it was too early to check in to our accommodation, we drove into Revelstoke and went round the railway museum there - with our impending trans Canada trip in the offing, we were quite into railways now. Then checked into the Griffin Lake Inn, (TripAdvisor) a really charming B&B with a view from the bedroom window to die for. Wayne & Heather the owners were very hospitable, and we were able to have dinner there too.
Revelstoke to Glacier National Park and Golden 24 May.A sunny run up the mountains, over Rogers Pass, stopping in various bits of the National Parks. Then dropping down to Golden and back up another mountain to get to Kicking Horse Resort and the Vagabond Inn, (TripAdvisor) which I would advise any reader to avoid
Golden to Banff and back to Golden 25 May A round trip from Golden to Banff via the southern end of the Icefield Parkway, and back via Radium Hot Springs. Banff in the rain was nothing special, and Radium Hot Springs were seedy. However Lake Louise and Moraine Lake made the journey worth while - they were still frozen and quite spectacular. Happily this as early in the season, so the crowds had not yet built up
Golden to Jasper 26 May Back past Lake Louise on Canada 1, then towards Jasper on the Icefield Parkway. The weather got grayer as we climbed up to the top - the Columbia Icefield. By the time we got to the Icefield visibility was very low, so it was not worth taking the trip out onto the glacier. As we dropped down towards Jasper, blue sky returned. We were staying at the All Seasons Accommodation (TripAdvisor) for 3 nights - not the most luxurious accommodation in the world, but good value for money and right in Jasper
Jasper to Lake Maligne to Jasper 27 May A day taking the trip to Lake Maligne, which was still frozen, and back to Jasper.
Jasper to Columbia Icefield to Jasper 28 May. It being a sunny day with blue skies, we re-tracked and went back up the Icefield Parkway to the Columbia Icefield. There we took the Snow Bus out onto the glacier itself, and very dramatic it was too up there.
Jasper to Clearwater 29 May. A run up the Yellowhead Pass, then on to Clearwater, which is the gateway for the little known Wells Gray Park. We found Wells Gray well worth visiting, and up to the standard set by the better known parks in Alberta nd British Columbia. We stayed in good log cabin accommodation at Blue Grouse Inn (TripAdvisor) and had an explore of the park, its waterfalls and its bears.
Clearwater to Whistler May 30 It was an easy days drive across country, via Clinton and Pemberton, to reach the ski resort of Whistler - the Winter Olympic Games are due to be held here in 2010 and there is an air of expectation around the town because of this. Our hotel the Sundial Boutique Hotel (TripAdvisor) was excellent and we had a full apartment.
Whistler May 31 A day spent walking around Whistler. The town has a series of well laid out hiking trails, but the maps that go with the trails tended to be a little problematical.
Whistler to Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, Jun 1 The road down from Whistler is called the "sea to sky" highway. Probably better known that other arguably more scenic roads in BC, as it runs from Vancouver, and is easily traversed by the denizens of that city. Had a stop at the Squamish Railway Museum, before taking the ferry to Nanaimo and Vancouver Island. We stayed at The Cottage (TripAdvisor), a B&B at Qualicum beach.
Qualicum Beach to Campbell River and back Jun 2. A day's tour up from Qualicum Beach to Campbell River, taking in Mount Washington and a few of the rivers and lakes on the way. The road up the coast never really ran along the coast, so it was a bit of a disappointment.Qualicum Beach to Tolfino and back –Jun3 A splendid day out, across the Island to Pacific Rim Park. A visit to Ucluelet and to Tolfino. Plus on the down side a puncture and a spare wheel that did not fit.
Qualicum Beach to Victoria - Jun 4 By way of the Cowichan Valley and a lunch in a vineyard restaurant, we booked in for 3 days to the Abbeymoore Manor (TripAdvisor) in Victoria. Abbeymoore proved to be a very good choice for seeing Victoria and for just being a very nice place to stay.
Victoria City - Butchart Gardens - Jun 5 Around the peninsular north of Victoria to reach the renowned Butchart Gardens, the most visited attraction in and around Victoria. We were very impressed by the gardens and can thoroughly recommend them.
Victoria City Jun 6. We walked into the city centre, explored the port, and Chinatown. Viewed the city hall, and the Empress Hotel
Victoria to Vancouver Jun 7. So we left Victoria and Vancouver Islands and took the car ferry to Vancouver. A lunch and walk stop at Steveton, just south of downtown Vancouver. Then we drove to Pacific Central station for the next part of our epic journey.
Train departs Vancouver 7 Jun at 20.30
Arrive Toronto 11 Jun at 09.30
Fly Toronto to LGW 11 Jun at 22.35, arrive Dublin 12 Jun at 10.05
Fly Dublin to Alicante 12 Jun at 13.40
Arrive Alicante 12 Jun at 17.30
play with the map above, you can zoom and switch between satellite and map