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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Canada is calling ....

For most of my years as a teacher I would also supervise student teachers who would do practicum blocks at my various schools. In 2008 and 2009 I supervised 2 students from Canada who were studying at my old uni, QUT. I had lots of conversations with these ladies about their homelands and they mostly told me how cold it was! Paula, my student in 2008, told me that in winter the temperature can drop to -30! This low temp is quite unheard of here in Australia...let alone sub-tropical Brisbane. I started to get interested in perhaps visiting Canada one day after my late MIL holidayed there in the late 1980s but Paula's description of her family's cabin near a lake  made that desire to see Canada even stronger.

Last year some good friends of ours suggested that DH and I might like to accompany them on a Canada and Alaska holiday which they had just booked. We read the brochures and it looked very good value for money and then we looked at the dates...we would be away for my 60th birthday. I've been away from family on my birthday before and it was just ok...but for the 60th I thought I'd like to be we reluctantly said no.
DH then planned our US trip instead and we were home in plenty of time after having a wonderful holiday.
When we were in San Francisco we stayed at the Hotel California and each evening they had a Happy Hour at 5-6pm on the mezzanine level where there was cheese, crackers and carafes of Californian wines. The first night DH and I went down to Happy Hour we met a couple from Vancouver who were having a short break in SF. Joanne and Bruce (yes another Bruce!) had driven down as it was school holidays in Vancouver; Bruce is a teacher assistant who works with special needs students.

A photo of DH and I enjoying Happy Hour at the Hotel California; photo taken by Joanne and emailed back to us

Well we hit it off straight away; they were just such a lovely couple. Like DH and I they also had a 'blended family'. So we would meet at breakfast and at happy hour and we talked about our respective countries. I told Bruce and Joanne that I was on Long Service's an alien concept to people from Canada (and US too). They don't get 13 weeks leave after working for an employer for 10 years. They don't get holiday loading like Australians do and most jobs only have 2 weeks annual leave allowance...Travelling really can help you appreciate what we have here in Australia.
We exchanged email addresses and have kept in touch. One day we'd like to visit them in Vancouver and we've extended an invitation to Bruce and Joanne to visit us when they come to Australia!

Bruce and Joanne

When our friends, Liz and Glenn arrived home they told us it was the best holiday they had ever had. The Fairmont hotels where they stayed were all beautiful; the cruise was magnificent and so was the rail part of their trip.

The lovely Mountie which Liz and Glenn brought back for me!

DH is already working on a contract for the Australian census to start our Canadian/Alaskan holiday fund. DH and I did actually go to Canada this year in April but it was only for 2 hours on the day we went to Niagara Falls...but that really doesn't count does it?lol

What an iconic photo DH took at the town of Niagara, Ontario

Looking through the spray of the falls towards Canada

1 comment:

Claud said...

You guys are gonna be quiet the travelers! But how fun is planning trips? I love going to new places and learning about their culture. I've not taken a trip in a while, but I'm hoping that will change soon.

Enjoy your planning :-)!