From Seattle to Vancouver by train

Today we took the Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver.
With the Link Light Train we left Angel Lake at 5:36 am for Seattle Chinatown/International Station.
On foot we went to King Station and the suitcases were delivered. We had already exchanged the reservation for tickets the day before.
At the passport control we got the seats in car 8 Seat 25/26.
The boarding took place over a stool!
Well, sometimes you think that you are still in the beginning of the last century! at 7:45 am the train started moving. The Amtrak slow train shagged along! 2 stops were made on the open track and once the driver practiced reversing, for whatever reason. Freight trains have priority over passenger trains in USA.
The trip took 4.5h for 150 miles. Well! When we arrived in Vancouver we could collect our suitcases on the platform and then we went to the passport control. 52184 we took the bus 019 to Pender/Borrough Street.
Actually one pays the ticket in the bus cash with coins. But we had none. So the bus driver kindly gave us a ride even without a ticket. That’s just Canada! From the bus stop Pender/Borrough Street we walked to the Hotel Barclay in Robinstreet. It was only 400m but they had it in them. The streets were as steep as one knows them only from San Francisco. But we still managed to reach the hotel, where we checked in immediately. Rooms were assigned to us in the 2nd floor. Unfortunately the hotel has no elevator (yes, there is such a thing), so we had to transport our suitcases to the 2nd floor. After a short break we went to Vancouver and then Robinstreet to the FS Stadium.
Robinstreet is the shopping street with countless shoe shops.

The city is made for women and we went on to Gastown to Waterstreet, Waterstation and back over Howestreet.
After dinner and a cappucino the day was over.
The day was long!

Vancouver I – Sightseeing

With the Westcoast Hop-on Hop-off Bus – the bus stop no. 5 was only a few meters from our hotel –
today we started our Vancouver Sightseeing Tour.highlight was a walk around Stanlay Park!on explicit request of Hanna a photo with a detailed description of
“The Gastown Steam Clock” on the blog:

Vancouver II – Sightseeing

Today was again Vancouver sightseeing. After breakfast we took the hop-on hop-off bus to stop 18.
From there we visited Granville Island. Great island with public market and shopping possibilities.
Then we took the bus to the bus stop 20 and made a short stop in Yaletown.
On foot to the Science World. Great landscape.
Pacific Station, Chinatown, Public Library.
Vancouver Lookout: Incredible – Wonderful 360° view over Vancouver and surroundings.
Canada Placa, dinner on Homer Street.
Cappucino at Breka near the hotel.

Conclusion Vancouver: Great location, great people, gladly again! tomorrow we’ll go to Victoria on Vancouver Island! here on the quick a few photos!

Drive from Vancouver to Victoria

Today we had an early start to the day. Because we had to pick up our rental car at the airport and then take the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
With the subway Canada Line we went from Vancouver City Centre Station to the YVR Vancouver International Airport. Price 2,75 CAN$ (ca.1,90€ -> Hello VVS)Right to Alamo. There we got again a red Toyota Corolla. Almost the same vehicle as in Seattle, but without radar and with 37000km on the speedometer.
We went on to the ferry BC Ferries Tsawwassen. We drove through a tollbooth, paid and continued on to Lane 36, where the 2nd ferry picked us up.
After about 1,5h we were on Vancouver Island and after a mediocre breakfast at Mac Cafe we went to the Hotel Habour Towers in Victoria.
Rooms on the 10th floor with view on the harbour. Wow! What a view! Then we made a round in Victoria!

Victoria – Sightseeing

Today we explored Victoria and its surroundings. After breakfast we drove about 25 km north to the
“The Butchart Gardens.
The historic garden, which has been impressing for 100 years with its flower magic, was worth its 30 CAN$ entrance fee.
Plants and flowers were arranged according to seasons and themes, and divided into the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Star Pond, Italian Garden, the Piazza and the Mediterranean Garden, flowers from the Abutilon to the Calceolaria, the Myosotis and the Zinnia represented everything that makes the heart of a flower connoisseur beat faster.
We were also allowed to marvel at trees such as an Acer Palmatum, a Catalpa Bignoniondes, a Populus Nigra Italica as well as the Sequoiadendrom Giganteum Pendulum. Afterwards we went by car along the east coast up to the hotel. After a short visit at the Capitol we continued to the Fisherman’s Wharf.
Boat Houses a lot we could visit there.
We had also found one for us. But the waiting time until we could move in and of course the price kept us from buying it – yes, it was the yellow one – because the weather was really inviting for dinner and we saved the costs for a boat house, we treated ourselves to fish & chips.
With the Watertaxi we went back to the Inner Harbour in zigzag mode.
A small round and of course a cappucino at the Starbacks rounded off the day!
Tomorrow we will continue to Tofino on Vancouver Island.

Conclusion Victoria: Great location! Interesting buildings/places like the Parliament Building, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Inner Habour.

Drive from Victoria to Tofino

Today the journey continued from Victoria to Tofino. Through impressive landscapes from the southeast coast to the west coast on Vancouver Island we covered 319km.

After a fuel stop in Tofino we started looking for our motel.
Finally we found it! Our motel, the Tofino Resort & Marina is currently undergoing a complete renovation. The office has moved and was hard to find.

Our room was brand new. It seems we were the first guests to be accommodated in it. A nice housekeeper had to put the beds together and cover them first.

We made a round through the contemplative place and the harbour area. Well, with 1800 inhabitants, the most important things were done quickly.
Impressive about Tofino is its location, directly on the Pacific Ocean, with views of many islands and snow-covered mountains. Unique!

After we had to realize that whale watching for the next day is only available at late hours, which would have cost us the whole day, we renounced it with a heavy heart. Because we had other program points in mind and we wanted to do them by all means.

We had dinner at the Restaurant Shelter. Local Beer included.

Dear Gertrud: Under the bold texts you can find a link for more information!
Just click on it with the left mouse button!
Good luck and have fun!

Tofino – Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Today the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was on the agenda. We started in Tofino and drove to Ucluelet. There we visited the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse. Then we went on to Little Beach.
Via the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre we dived into the Pacific Rim NP:
Wickaninnish Beach
Nuu-Chah-Nuulth & Florencia Bay
Rainforest Trail – Trail B
Rainforest Trail – Trail A
Tofino-Long Beach Airport (YAZ)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – Long Beach
Radar Hill
Chesterman Beach
Co-op Tofino
Meares Vista Inn – Fish & Chips !
Sugar Shack – Capucinno

Conclusion Tofino: Beautiful landscape, lots of wilderness, great rainforest, great beaches, Rim NP is worth it!

Tomorrow we will continue to Whistler – famous for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Drive from Tofino to Whistler

Today the journey led us from Tofino to Whistler BC.
We started early at 7 am in Tofino to reach Duke Point Ferry in Nanaimio (10:40 am) to Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal north of Vancouver. With some high speed we made it with our Toyoto on time to the ferry.
From Horseshoe Bay we made a small detour towards Vancouver to enjoy the skyline once again.
Then we continued on the HWY 99 North towards Whistler.
The route was so impressive that we made several stops:
Britannia Mine Museum

Shannon Falls

Brandywine Falls

After that we reached Whistler! Here the Olympic Alpine skiing competitions took place – Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010
Maria Riesch (today Maria Höfl-Riesch) and Viktoria Rebensburg won gold medals at that time.

Whistler – rainy day

The first view out of the window was of wet roads and cloudy trees. It proved to be true what our rain radar app predicted the day before. 90% probability of rain. We were hoping all day long for the 10%, which to our disappointment did not come.

After breakfast at the hotel – well – we looked for a gas station, which we found at Husky.

Then we drove the 30km on HWY 99, also called the Sea to Sky Highway, towards Pemberton to Nairn Falls Provincial Park.

From there we started our trip to the Nairn Falls in the rain. 1,5km we went along the steep bank of the raging river Nair. Signs recommended to wear good hiking shoes and to take children by the hand.
There was always the hint that you are in the land of the bears.
Well, we didn’t meet any, it was probably too wet for them!

The march was worth it. The Nairn Falls were very worth seeing. First we stood alone on the stony and slippery observation deck. But little by little we were joined by some more surveyors.
On the way back we drove through some nice and in good weather surely also great corners at lakes and mountains.

Back in whistler we first went to Starbucks and later we enjoyed the dinner.

By the way the temperature dropped from yesterday to today about 30° Fahrenheit.

Conclusion Whistler: Retort town for skiers surely very great, also interesting for summer holidays.

Tomorrow we will continue to Clearwater, an intermediate stage to Jasper National Park.

Check-in at the hotel and afterwards dinner at BrewHouse.
Tomorrow we will continue to Whistler – famous for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Drive from Whistler to Clearwater

Today the journey went over 420km – Canada and its distances – from Whistler to Clearwater. Early in the morning at 8am we stopped in Whistler.
The drive led us through impressive landscapes over Highway 99 to Cache Creek and further on Highway 1 to Kamloops BC, where we had a small coffee break.
On the way we were guided through a construction site with a pilot car for 12km and then continued on Highway 5 to the stage destination Clearwater BC.
A typical Canadian village, very large in area, hidden behind trees, so that we Western Europeans lack any orientation. But thanks to navigation we found the Clearwater Lodge immediately. Right next to the gas station, where we could fill up our tank again. 4:30pm we checked in at the Clearwater Lodge. The gentleman at the check-in was very friendly and told us immediately what there is to see in the Wells Gray Provincial Park, with the hint that only one night in Clearwater is a little short. We drove to the Wells Gray area, first with the destination Helmcken Falls. Grandiosely: Over 140 m the water masses fall down then a highlight. On the way we met a bear family. First at the roadside, then the mother bear stood directly in front of our vehicle! Wow!
Cute Bears!!We continued our trip to the Dawson Falls. Only a few meters high, but 107m wide: On the way back we visited the Spahat Falls. Only 73m high, but also very impressive.
Dinner at the Wells Gray Inn. Dinner Lounge was full. In the Bistro there was still place for us.
Tomorrow we continue to Jasper National Park.

Drive from Clearwater to Jasper

Today we had to get up early again, because the journey led us to Jasper (Alberta). New time zone. The clouds were low and sometimes it rained. A pity. After breakfast and checking out we started.
The well constructed road was almost empty. Behind a truck we were able to cover some kilometers with 120 km/h. Speed 100 was allowed. But in Canada, at least outside of towns, only a few seem to stick to the speed limit.

Our first stop was at Mount Robson British Columbia Visitor Centre.
Here you should have a great view of Mount Robson, which is with 3954 m the highest mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. A pity! We could not even guess the dimension of the mountain.

The next stop was already our accommodation in Jasper the Tonquin Inn.

After checking in and a short tour through Jasper we drove up to 1700m to the famous and beautifully situated Maligne Lake. We were too late for a boat trip, also we would not have had much fun because of the weather. After a walk we went back towards Jasper passing the famous Medicine Lake. The special thing about the lake is that it has no above ground drainage, but runs off in an underground river system.

The return trip took us past some avalanche warning signs and we were amazed about the many areas with burnt trees. Here it seems that there were some forest fires. In addition we could see a bear, again a bear, a deer, a moss and a Elk. Was worth it.

Back in Jasper we drove to the valley station of the Jasper SkyTram. We refrained from a ride on Whistlers Peak, because for the top station “vision limited” was indicated at the bottom station, which means nothing else, that you can’t see anything on the mountain.

Food in Jasper and the day came to an end.

Jasper and surroundings

Rain was forecast again for today. So we decided to explore the area by car right after breakfast.

The first stop led us to Pyramid Lake and Patricia Lake. Both lakes are only a few kilometers away from the hotel. Actually we wanted to walk there. But because of the bad weather we decided to go there by car.

We continued on Highway 16 towards Edmonton. After 45km at the Pocahontas Cabins we turned right into Range Rd 275A also called Miette Rd. The road is closed for public traffic from November to April – we are in the Canadian Rocky Mountains!

A highlight on the way there. A Black Bear accompanied us for some minutes on the left side of the road!
Usually such encounters with a bear are accompanied by many vehicles. Sometimes the road is blocked for minutes. We were really lucky this time!

Arrived at the Miette Hot Springs we started to visit the hot springs. After a few minutes we could feel the up to 52°C water with our hands.
A few kilometers we walked through almost impassable terrain along the river before we decided to turn around and heat up in the Miette Hot Springs thermal spring in the open air at below 9°C in 36° C warm water.

Before bathing we could admire a black bear, which was sitting in 8m height on a tree and was enjoying leaves. After a few minutes it went “schwuppdiwupp” and the bear climbed backwards with great ease down the tree and away he went.

We had swimming things with us. Towels and lockers we rented.
That was a feeling. The bath was quite well visited. Well, it was also Sunday and many Canadians from the surrounding area took the opportunity to enjoy a hot bath.
The main pool was 36° C warm. According to a lifeguard the temperature is a bit lower than usual because of the many rainfalls, it can rise up to 40° C.

After the bath we treated ourselves to fish&chips in Jasper.

Icefields Parkway – From Jasper to Banff, Lake Louise

Today the drive from Jasper to Banff led us over the Icefields Parkway. With sunshine and partly over 20° C we could not stop being amazed during the drive. The 280km in total were full of sights and impressive panoramas. One more beautiful than the other.

A first stop was made by the stop sign of a nice lady in yellow at a construction site just behind Horseshoe Lake. We were the first vehicle at the construction site stop. The nice lady pointed out to us that we should use the left lane for the continuation of the journey, because the right lane is just being provided with a new asphalt. It was really nice.
After turning the sign and the indication Slow my special “Canadadriver” Inge drove slowly through the almost never ending construction site.

Next bigger stop was the Sunwapta Falls. The Athabasca Falls before we had skipped.

In between there was always a reason to stop. Once we could admire impressive mountain massifs with glacier edges, then again waterfalls directly at the Icefields Parkway. We drove past the famous Glacier Skywalk. We could not park. The Skywalk can be reached by bus. For this you have to buy tickets in advance at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre or another ticket office. Unfortunately we did not have the time.

At a parking lot we met a family from Malysia in their local costume. We asked if we could take a picture of them. Yes! Afterwards the son took a whole series of photos with us and the family with self-timer. As Inge immediately suspected, the son studied in Alberta and the parents from home visited him. The farewell was cordial.

A highlight was the Ice Explorer Boarding Station at just over 2000m. From there we walked to the Columbia Icefield. The Icefield is one of the largest accumulations of ice south of the polar circle. We could walk up to the edge of the ice field. Barriers and signs made clear that one exposes oneself to great danger, if one goes on the glacier, nevertheless, one can dive down easily into a crevasse aufnimmerwiedersehen.

Further on we passed Peyto Lake, which we only saw passing by on the Icefields Parkway.

Then we made a stop at Bow Lake. A fantastic panorama was offered at the bottom of the lake and above it you could see the Bow Glacier. The glacier is the origin of the Blow River, which flows through Banff and Calgary. At a second stop at the end of Bow Lake there were still ice plates on the lake and we could feel them.

Afterwards we passed a pass near Bow Peak over 2000m altitude from where we went downhill towards Lake Louise.
Lake Louise, the visit is a must! Already the parking lot was packed. We went immediately towards Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the famous hotel on the northeastern shore of the lake. On the Lake Loiuse Lakeshore Trail we walked to the end of the lake, where climbers on a vertical mountain wall impressed us with their climbing skills.
The lake was impressive!

At an advanced hour we continued to Banff, and although my fast rider Inge was pushing her to the limit – up to 115km/h at a permitted 90km/h – we arrived very late in Banff. Check in!

Immediately we started to go, because we got really hungry. In the Earls we could satisfy it.

Wow! What a great day! No rain, hardly any clouds, warm temperatures, simply wonderful weather!
Well, when angels travel.

It took a little while:
Since the internet in Banff was a bit snoozily slow, this part had to be done in stages.

Banff – Sightseeing

Today we took it a bit easier, as we had predicted a temperature drop to 13 “C and a precipitation probability of 70% for the afternoon.
After an extensive breakfast we started walking towards Canada Post and then continued to the Bow Falls. These waterfalls are not very high (9.1m) but in our opinion they are among the longest.
We continued to the luxury hostel Fairmont Banff Springs.
Unfortunately we didn’t have our Bentley with us and with our Toyota we didn’t want to drive up and check in there(;-)
On foot we made our way back to the hotel.

After a short break we drove off. First we went to the Banff Surprise Corner. From there we had a great view to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
Then we went on to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. Very interesting.
Then the rain started and we made our way running to the parking lot. Of course we had left our rain jackets in the car. Back to the hotel we made first “dry runs”.
We finished the day with a burger.

Drive from Banff to Calgary

Today was a relatively short trip from Banff to Calgary, at least by Canadian standards. After breakfast we drove 130 kilometers to our last station Calgary Downtown.
After 2 hours of driving on the very well developed Highway 1 we arrived at our hotel Sandman in 888 7th Ave. after a short break we went straight to the tram stop directly in front of the hotel. Already the first surprise, the tram can be used free of charge within downtown Calgary.
Dear German cities! We went to the tram stop City Hall. The City Hall is being renovated and is covered with a net of its facade.
We took a look at the City Hall and the Municipal building complex from the inside. Well, sober and nothing special, we went on via Olympia Plaza, Glenbow Museum to Calgary Tower. I visited the platform in 160m height. A fantastic view over Calgary and the prairie landscape around the city was the reward. When I got back down there was a short but heavy rain shower, which I saw coming on the platform and after a short break we walked on 8th Ave SW towards the hotel. Beautiful historical buildings flanked the Ave left and right. Restaurant after restaurant and many event facilities invited the business people for after work parties and the tourists to stroll around.
We accepted the culinary offer at Earls.
For tomorrow we booked CalgaryWalkes Downtown Intro Walking Tour. Take a look.

Calgary – Sightseeing

Today was a CalgaryWalks Downtown Intro Walking Tour on the agenda.
Right after breakfast, which we had at the hotel today at a rather progressive price, we started walking to the meeting point of the walking tour.
Meeting point was at the Municipal Plaza near the horse statues. The tour was scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. and was scheduled to take 1.5 to 2 hours, we were welcomed by 2 student guides and the tour guide Blane. We did not have to show our tickets, only 3 people had registered and they knew our names by heart.
With some delay the 3rd person arrived. A woman from Brazil, who arrived with all her luggage for today’s onward journey, together with Blane, a native Australian, who lived in Toronto for a long time and has now been living in Calgary for several years, this exclusive walking tour in his perfect English through downtown Calgary was a real pleasure. We learned a lot of interesting things about the city and of course about Canada. Here are a few details that stuck with us:

Calgary currently has 1.3 million inhabitants, in 1960 there were about 330,000 and in 1984 for the Winter Olympics 600,000.

  • The growth and wealth is mainly due to the gas and oil deposits nearby.
    The summer is short but intense, even if only of medium temperature. At least for the perception of us Central Europeans.
  • The winter can be very hard. Temperatures as low as minus 30° C are not uncommon.
  • The first snowfall can be expected already in October and it can still snow in early May.
  • For vehicles there are special heating points in the streets, which ensure that the engine or better the gasoline does not freeze. We knew this only from Siberia.
  • In downtown, all buildings are connected by a skywalk. The skywalk is heated with gas in winter. The connection hubs are laid out like real indoor parks, because in winter life mainly takes place here. Well at -30° C you can understand.
  • The city’s foundation is due to a checkpoint that held back immigrants and smugglers from Montana. The city was founded in 1875.
  • Many old pearls were part of the tour, such as the old fire station, the cathedral – which looked a little puny for our imagination, Chinatown with a cultural center built from Beijing, old bank buildings, the Hudson building, and and and …

The tour ended after 2.5 h with a lot of extra time for the special guests from Brazil and Germany!

Afterwards we explored the city on foot.
After a short break at the hotel we closed the day with a dinner at Milestones Grill and Bar at 8 Ave SW.

The return flight is planned for tomorrow.

Calgary – Last day in Canada

Once again we visited the city of Calgary.
After checking out and breakfast at Blenz we took the tram to City Hall one last time.
There we strolled in beautiful sunshine to the Bow River and along the river to the Eau Clare Market. A last ice cream at Häagen Dazs and back we went to the hotel.
At the hotel we picked up our Toyota and then we went along the Crowchild Trail NW or Highway 1A towards Banff. Highway 1A runs parallel to Highway 1 for a few kilometers before it merges with it. In English this means “to merge”.
Then we changed to Trans-Canada Hwy – 16 Ave NW or Highway 1 towards Medicine Hat. After 15km we changed to the Queen Elisabeth II Highway or Deerfoot Trail or simply called Highway 2.
Our GPS then led us to the Return Car Return or Retour de Voitures as it is usually written in two languages on road signs in Canada.
Returning a car here is as easy as in the USA. Get out of the car, take out your suitcase, somebody walks around the car, scans the license plate and you have an extract with the mileage in your hands when picking up and dropping off your car, then you check in at the airport to Air Canada and drop off your luggage. After passport control and security check it went quickly to gate 76.

At 5:00pm, then the highlight of the day or better a panic event.

When we were in the queue ready for boarding – boarding was scheduled at 5:10pm – the announcement that an active shooter is in the airport. Pure panic was announced, the gates were opened for evacuation. We left, ran into the finger of gate 79 and stayed there until the announcement came “no threat”, which means no more danger. It was a hoax (joke or false report) but nevertheless they evacuated the whole airport for safety reasons:
Calgary Heral
Global News CanadaPhew, that was… what can you say, the boarding was delayed and understandably a bit chaotic. But we had a perfect start and flight. The sun went slowly but not completely down. Over Greenland it took up speed again, in order to rush to its highest point.

Landing in Frankfurt

The flight with Air Canada and the landing in Frankfurt were pleasant.

Frankfurt – Tamm

A With the ICE it went from Frankfurt mainline station to Stuttgart. The ICE was packed. The journey took 75min for the just over 200km.
This is about the same distance as the journey from Seattle to Vancouver. The Amtrak needed 4,5h or 270min for this and for boarding stools were provided! What a time difference – Well USA is a developing country. What concerns among other things the railroad system.
We went on with the Regio to Bietigheim-Bissingen, the stand was ready to go on the platform opposite, and home we took the S5 to Tamm!

Conclusion Canada:

Vancouver: The city highlight of the trip!
Victoria: Very nice Inner Harbour and Fisherman`s Wharf.
Vancouver Island with RIM National Park: Very beautiful.
Canadian Rocky Mountains: One highlight after the other!
Calgary: Nice city in the Canadian prairie.

Summary of the trip US Canada the West -> US Canada The West

Thank you for travelling with “Deutsche Bahn”!

We are at home again!