Well, first of all, both Canada and I have a big birthday this year. Whilst I will be dragged kicking and screaming into my fifth decade in September, Canada is celebrating its sesquicentennial…that’s 150 years since Confederation. So Canada will be having something of a year-long party, and I’m going to gatecrash.
But here are three other reasons why Canada – and in particular Vancouver and the Rocky Mountains – is on my 2017 travel wishlist.
The beautiful scenery
British Columbia has it all. Stunning waterfalls. Sparkling ocean. Rolling vineyards. Majestic mountains. Suspension bridges. Steamy hot springs. Lush forests. Those famous turquoise lakes. Winding mountain roads, hugging the coast. There’s also the opportunity to spot a bit of wildlife…although if our previous trips are anything to go by the wild animals will keep themselves well hidden (we spotted the rear end of an elk once near the Grand Canyon…)
And yes, now I’m a bit of a hiking fan there may be a tiny bit of walking involved…
And of course, BC shares a mountain range with neighbouring province Alberta. And just over the province border are Banff and Jasper National Parks. We’ve already procured our permit which gives us free access to the National Parks in 2017!
There’s nothing like a relaxing train ride through stunning scenery to make you appreciate the vast landscapes of a country. There are two main rail journeys which link Vancouver with the Rocky Mountains. The first is The Canadian, the flagship of ViaRail Canada, which traverses cross-country all the way east to west and back again. There are private cabins, or couchettes if you don’t mind sharing. Or you can choose the more budget-friendly option of a comfortable reclining seat. Or there’s the iconic Rocky Mountaineer, a luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime experience, taking the original 1885 Canadian Pacific route through the spectacular Rocky Mountains in daylight, with an included overnight hotel stay in the town of Kamloops.
Which one to choose? The train journey is a bucket list item of mine, but at the same time I’m not keen on spending out the same cost for one (albeit spectacular) train journey as I could for another whole holiday! Leaning towards a sleeper berth on The Canadian…but after seeing Inside No 9’s ‘La Couchette’ I’m not so sure…
I’m so excited to be visiting this city – after all, who doesn’t love a city where you can spend the morning in the mountains, picnic in the park in the afternoon, and watch sunset on the beach? And the seawall – the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path – is the perfect route for strolling around the city, taking in sea, forest and Vancouver’s skyscraper-filled skyline, all in one go. There’s a huge street food scene emerging here too – and you know how much I love street food… Apparently I have to try a Japadog? And there are enough microbreweries to keep Mr Fletche happy too.
And my cousin Faye moved over to start a new life in Vancouver in 2008, so I’m excited to catch up with her! I follow her Instagram Stories avidly and love how her accent has transformed in 9 years! So if anyone needs a fantastic hair stylist and makeup artist in the Vancouver area, look up Faye Smith...she’s fab 🙂
Since starting this blog post (it’s been sitting in my drafts for ages!) we’ve now gone and booked our trip! Two weeks, start of October, starting and ending in Vancouver! We’ve (loosely) booked some cancellable accommodation thanks to Booking.com but hopefully we’ll firm up our plans and itinerary very soon…all recommendations welcome!