Friday, 18 March 2016

The Big Adventure – part 6: From Kamloops to Vancouver

Blog 12

The Big Adventure – part 6

Before we started our last leg of our trip to Vancouver, we spent one night in Kamloops. We reached Kamloops in the late afternoon, and decided to stay as Vancouver was at least another five hours away.

We stayed at the “Kings Motor Inn”, where flowers decorated the whole inner courtyard. It was beautiful! The warm sunshine invited us to go for a walk through the picturesque Riverside Park, which is located on the banks of the Thompson River and even has a beach. One of the sights in the park was a steam locomotive from the beginning of the 19th century. Unfortunately, we could not see it from close up because it was hidden behind a fence for renovation.

At night, we were pondering the question where to eat. We did not want to go to another McDonald's, but going to a regular restaurant meant an addition of at least 10% to the bill for tip. That's a lot of extra money when you are on a tight budget. At the end, we went to a small Mexican restaurant called “Señor Froggy” where the food was delicious.

The next morning, we started for our eighth and last leg of our trip in terrific weather. We enjoyed an outdoor breakfast (again at Mc Donald's). This was a nice bonus as eating outside did not seem to be very common in Canada at that time.

On our way to Cache Creek the landscape changed again. Everything was in full bloom and the leaves were already fully mature. However, the pastures on the hills were a rather muted green, and the rocks in between gray and brilliant red brown. At Kamloops Lake, the brown rocks are mirrored in the water. The water surface looks like really bronze coloured. Just beautiful! I could not resist to paint the sight. Ingo was quite patient at first, but once I had the composition down, he wanted to get going. Unfortunately, I have no idea whether I ever finished it and what happened to the painting.

Cache Creek's history was influenced by the miners and fur traders. Some say the town got its name from the fur traders who stored their supplies in the valley. Today, a statue of a miner is still greeting visitors to the town.

During the drive we saw many natural wonders like the raging Fraser River, whose brown water cut its way through the landscape. On the other side are the huge rolling hills. Highway 99 is winding its way through the mountains – almost like in the Alps.

At Marble Canyon, we saw a lake with water in the shades of emerald green to turquoise. It was hard to break away from this spot because I could not get enough of the view.

Continuing our way, we saw remote settlements with derelict houses that made us wonder how these people lived. Most of the inhabitants seemed to be First Nations members. I was not surprised because I assumed that only people who were used to the isolation, and had a close relationship with nature would have the skills to survive in this beautiful, but undeveloped area. We saw many young men fishing. However, even in these settlements the satellite dishes gave testimony that consumerism could not be stopped.

I found it fascinating how people seemed to “dispose” of their cars. I saw this a couple of times, even in other provinces. The vehicles are used, left behind, and start rotting slowly. I even saw one property where one car after the other stood in the backyard – a real car cemetery.

Passing Garibaldi Provincial Park, we traveled through Whistler, a famous winter sport destination with high living costs, to the spectacular Brandywine Falls. We continued through Squamish along the Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver. The beautiful city, which is surrounded by the sea and mountains, was covered in a floral splendour. I recognized many of the flowers which also grow in Germany. Ingo was totally thrilled.

I had a hard time to take all this in. I felt very homesick. I had only talked shortly to my mother on Mother's Day because the phone rates were quite high in those days. I felt excluded from my parents' lives, which made me very sad. I could hardly wait until the following day when I would call again. We just had to find a phone booth, because dialing through the hotel operator had cost about $13 for less than three minutes in the last hotel.

We were happy when we found a small motor inn where the price was less than $60/night. It was very sparsely furnished but we had our own bathroom and TV. We did not need much comfort because we were there to explore the city.

Vancouver, the dream city? Vancouver is consistently ranked high on the most liveable cities in the world. It had been Ingo's dream to live and work in Vancouver. Next week, I will let you know how we experienced the city which is famous for its natural beauty, the easy access to beaches, parks and mountains as well as the mild climate.

Do you have a favourite city? Do you live in it right now?

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