Friday, 20 May 2016

The Big Adventure – part 12

My version of Emily Carr's Formalized Trees, Spring. Emily Carr is my favourite BC artist.

Blog 21

Now that I have painted outside for about 10 years, I look differently at nature. It has sharpened my view of my surroundings. At the time of our trip however, even though I was fascinated with nature, I only created the occasional sketch. It was new territory for me. Until then I had only painted inside, mostly from photographs or the occasional still life.

I wish we could go back to all these places, and I could see them with a fresh eye and sketch what I see. Maybe one day. At the moment, I am seriously thinking of painting some of the sights referring to our photos. Having just found out that one of my favourite teachers is moving to British Columbia, maybe there will be a possibility to join him and another of our Plein Air Ensemble members who has lived out west for many years for a painting trip.

Now back to my travelogue. After we disembarked the ferry in Vancouver, we drove through a landscape of meadows and fields. I felt like being in the Netherlands. In Fort Langley, a picturesque Western town, we missed the highway we wanted to take and stayed instead on Highway 1 until Hope. We continued to Kaleden where we were surrounded by lakes. We say lots of motor boats, skidoos, and people swimming. The Okanagan Lake was one of the biggest lakes I had ever seen.

The region of the Okanagan Valley is very fertile. There are many orchards and lots and lots of roadside vendors. Unfortunately, most of them were closed when we came by late in the afternoon.

vineyards of the German wine route

sketch of the the vineyards from the train from Mainz to Bonn, March 2016

The vineyards reminded us of Germany's Weinstraße (wine route) and caused us to think about all the foods we were longing for:

    Foto by Benreis (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons,  
     Handkäs mit Musik' (Hessian: Handkäse with music); a marinated sour milk cheese with a pungent aroma, often served with apple wine, that is traditionally topped with chopped onions, and caraway
  • my mother's roasted duck with rutabaga
  • salmon with horseradish
  • fresh rolls with blue cheese
  • Sauerkraut casserole
  • spinach
  • my mother's warm potato salad with bratwurst

I guess having had hamburgers as our main meal for weeks really increased our longing for some flavourful food.

At least I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth. In Kelowna, we found the fantastic bakery and restaurant “The Cheesecake Cafe”, where we bought a very yummy piece with berries and apricots. The piece was as expensive as in Vancouver but had double the size. Their cream tarts were so huge, at least 15 cm high. I had never seen anything like it. Three people could have easily shared a piece.

In Vernon, we spent the night. The affordable motel offered not only a nice room but also a pool, a whirlpool and a sauna. As it was still very warm, we enjoyed the facilities to refresh ourselves after a day of travel.

I finally managed to call my parents and my sister. In British Columbia, it was hard to find any credit card phones. Most of the time we had to call through the switchboard of the lodging facilities, which increased the fees by 30%. At the end, we ended up charging the telephone fees to the account of Ingo's parents.

The banking system was also different. While most bills in Germany are still paid by bank transfer, here in Canada people generally used cheques. I do not even remember anymore why we needed cheques but Ingo had forgotten his, and could only order new ones at the account-holding branch of his bank which was in Mississauga. We had to ask his father to send cheques to the payees. How much easier banking has become with the help of PayPal and e-transfers.

I hope you enjoy my 1995 impressions of Canada, and learn a little bit about Germany at the same time. I will continue my blog next week with our drive to Calgary. Please return to my blog next Friday. I would like to know if you have some favourite foods that remind you of home. If so, please leave me a comment.

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