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March 28, 2005

Lonely Plonkers

We've made it to Zihuatanejo, although it was a little touch and go as to whether we'd find a bus or not - mainly thanks to the Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico. It's been our main planning bible for Mexico and we couldn´t have got around without it (unlike canada for example where we just winged it) however it sometimes can be a little misleading (or just wrong). For example, we wanted to get to the Long Distance bus station which is a couple of kilometers outside of Puerto Vallarta so as the lonely planet advised us we got one of the local buses that 'are marked Ixtapa and Juntas (that) go to the bus station'. However, it turns out the bus station is actually set back a block or two and you have to get off at the 'Global Gas' station as the bus station isn't visible from the road and the buses don't actually stop there - we ended up 20km North of Puerto not exactly sure where we were :) At least we saw some of proper Mexico and the locals got to laugh at the stupid tourists! haha

Anyhow as I´ve mentioned we've made it to Zihuatanejo from Puerto Vallarta which involved a 14hr bus journey ($100 US for the two of us) - the Elite/Futura bus leaves the main bus station at 1pm and arrives in Zihuatanejo at about 3am, so after hanging round the bus station for another four hours (which you are fine to do as the weather is pleasant and there is a 24hr shop) we went and found some accommodation right by the beach. Zihuatanejo is a lovely little resort, smaller than Puerto Vallarta and less touristy/more relaxed - I´d definately recommend it over Vallarta any day. It seems warmer here and Air Con in our room would be lovely but unfortunately we're saving our pennies so we're only spending 20 quid for a room a night. We're going to book a boat trip for tommorrow and do some snorkling so we don't have to lay on the beach, and we'll try and put some pictures up tomorrow too.

Posted by robl at 05:49 AM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2005

Beach Bums

We're now in Peurto Vallarta (pronounced by-arr-ta) after grabbing a flight from Mexico City.

We haven't found any kind of free internet/ wireless (as expected) so it's internet cafes for now. Rob is rather frustrated cus GPRS doesn't seem to work here, so he can't post photos instantly/ use the internet via laptop. However this cafe should allow us to post some photos (when we have some) so you'll see the beech soon.

Oh, our plan is mainly sun-bathing for the next couple of days :)

Posted by deb at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2005

Goin' Loco

Well we've made it to Mexico but we've decided not to stay in Mexico City and we're flying out to Puerto Vallarta tomorrow morning - that way we can get straight onto the beach ! We'll be following the coast around to Cancun over the next couple of weeks and then making our way back to Mexico City for the following two weeks ... I think the highlight of Mexico so far has to be watching Godzilla - Japanese dubbed to English and then subtitled in Spanish !

Posted by robl at 04:01 AM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2005

Raging Elk

Name, location and cost : Raging Elk, Highway 1 Fernie Town, $60 private

General Facilities : Full Kitchen, big screen tv, pool, large lounge area, laundry, board storage room

Room facilities : Fridge, TV and bathroom

Internet : Booths - rubbish

Location rating : 8

Nights Sleep rating : 8

Cleanliness rating : 7

Cost rating : 9

Vibe : Community, a lot of people stay there for the season

Deb Says : The snow bus (Kootenay bus) stops from just outside which is quite handy (buy a $25 pass for 10 journies as it's cheaper). The internet booths are tempting to use but very frustrating if you do and you end up spending money and not being able to do much!

Rob Says : Nice hostel in good location - could do with more organisation though as it isn't always obvious where stuff is or what to do. The walls are a bit thin too so it's more luck than anything else as to wether you get a good nights sleep

Overall rating : 8

Notes : Category explanations here

Posted by robl at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)

Rating Notes

Name, location and cost : -

General Facilities : Notes on facilites available in hostel

Room facilities : Facilities in the room

Internet : Is internet available in the hostel and if so - what type ?

Location rating : Out of 10

Nights Sleep rating : Out of 10

Cleanliness rating : Out of 10

Cost rating : Out of 10

Vibe : General feel whilst we were there

Deb Says : -

Rob Says : -

Overall rating : Out of 10

Posted by robl at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)


What do you call a group of people riding Segways ?

Posted by robl at 04:37 AM | Comments (1)

A flock or a gaggle ?

We just can't agree - what do you call a group of people riding Segways ? We've decided the question is important enough to have a poll on it - see the right hand side of the page !

We've made it to San Francisco despite a three hour flight delay due to bad weather and the strangest sight of the trip so far has to be a group of people taking a guided tour on Segways ...

The weather so far has been a bit overcast/rainy combined with Sunny spells - fortunately it was quite nice when we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge - a highlight of the trip so far. We've wandered around China Town, North Beach, Fishermans Wharf and seen the Bay (and Golden Gate) bridge.

As it appears to be spring break we couldn't find any budget accomodation, so we're staying in the Club Quarters hotel which has complimentary wireless and an authentic English pub - the Elephant and Castle !

[2 San Francisco galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 03:56 AM | Comments (6)

Gr-Gr-Granville !

On our last day in Vancouver, we decided to have a litle walk round the city and also visit the Granville island area. Granville island (it's not actually an island - just on the coast) is most well known for it's food market which was pretty expansive when we visited (although probably only the size of Leeds Market) but the fruit and veg looked great as did the sushi (or at least according to Deb - I enjoyed a nice curry). We also took a few pictures around the city while we were there and found a uniquely named hotel ....

[2 Vancouver galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 03:33 AM | Comments (1)

March 20, 2005


only in america

Posted by robl at 05:11 AM | Comments (3)


the bay

Posted by robl at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005


san francisco !

Posted by robl at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005


bye canada

Posted by robl at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

Souvenir of Canada

It's our last day in Vancouver (sniff sniff) before we depart for San Francisco. I jotted down some words & phrases earlier to help remind me of being here:

Slurpies, St Paddies week frenzie, Time Crisis, otters, long bridges, free Seven Eleven vouchers, neon, no half pints, American Apparel, crazy tramps, 1$ pizza slice, exact change on buses, Wendy's, Douglas Coupland, sushi, 7/11 hot dogs, blue skys, hypermarket sized outdoors shops, Hyundai Tuscan.

Then I got onto general Canada:

Ice hockey, loonies and toonies, walk/ don't walk, tipping everyone, long straight roads, the grid road system, detatched wooden houses, Rocky Mointains, the feeling of extreme cold, real cowboys, Molsen & Kokanee largers, pickup trucks, lots of snow & ice, diners, iced up lakes.

I am sure there are more :)

Posted by deb at 12:51 AM | Comments (4)

You talkin' to me ?

We've been on a little trip to Victoria over the last few days, a really nice city with gorgeous weather on the tip of Vancouver island - also the provincial capital of B.C. - I never knew ...

We've got a few piccies although they're mostly of the harbour and the Ferry journey and a few of me bird watching - the avian variety :)

Most of the time was spent just wandering around Victoria grabbing a bite to eat and generally relaxing although we couldn't resist one really touristy opportunity - You talkin' to me ! They've got a couple of these places in Victoria - We went to the smaller of the two (hidden away on a side street) as the couple who ran it took time over getting the pictures right.

Victoria is a bit more pricey than Vancouver for food and the accomodation is more limited but still it's not bad value.

On the first night we stayed at the Turtle Refuge hostel which sounds cool but the reality turned out to be slightly different - more on that in the soon to come hostel reviews section but it was cheap at $35 for a private room with TV.

The second night we spent at the slightly swankier Strathcona hotel pretty much in the centre, at $69 it was close to our nightly limit for accomodation but was a nice change from the average hostel fair. It also has it's own themed Hillbilly bar, like the bowling green but with bra's :)

We've got a couple of tips for eating, most places are pretty pricey but the Smitty's down towards the harbour from the Strathcona Hotel was $11 for a steak dinner which was a nice change and there is a great sandwich shop named the 'Bun Shop' (I think) which made good sarnies for about $4, it's just down a side street by the Strathcona.

We got to Victoria on the Pacific Coach which runs from the Pacific station (get the Granville station skytrain eastbound to the science world stop - you can see the station from here) and then bought return tickets to Victoria for $65 each. You can do it cheaper (about half the price by the ordinary bus services) but with the backpacks and everything it was nice just to be able to stow them on the coach and not have to worry about being a foot passenger on the Ferry etc ... The journey took about 4.5 hours in total and you get to navigate between the islands on the ferry and there's plenty of birds to watch.

[2 Victoria galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2005


cut and paste $company name here

Posted by robl at 10:20 PM | Comments (1)


a street for the smiths!

Posted by robl at 08:37 PM | Comments (1)

Otterly Brilliant

The Jeep has now been prized out of our mits and we are now car-less, wandering around Vancouver. We've been here for a few days now, the city is fantastic and the weather is great for the time of year. We've managed to find ourself some cheaper accomodation and it's only $1 for a big slize of pizza so our food bills have gone down considerably :) We've also found a good place for free wireless (well, if you buy a coffee), Blenz Coffee House on Bute St/ Robson St.

Yesterday we took the bus over to the Aquarium in Stanley Park. I'm not a big fan of Zoos etc but these guys did seem to take care of the little critters and lots of the animals had been rescued.

The highlight of my day was seeing the Otters - they just reminded me so much of Rob - in a nice way of course. They feed to satiation and they are very furry! hehe

[2 Aquarium galleries here and here]

Posted by deb at 12:20 AM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2005


ahh ! civilisation ...

Posted by robl at 03:28 AM | Comments (1)

Rockies and Roll !

We're on the last day of the roadtrip now - we've made it safely to Kamloops and we've got free wireless again :)

We spent some time in Banff and saw some great views from Sulphur Mountain via the Banff Gondala and had a nice soak in the Banff hot springs - I'd really encourage people to do this as the springs have views over the Rockies and it's incredibly relaxing. We also saw the Banff Cave and Basin but only wandered around the area rather than went in as it seemed a bit of a nonentity but the surrounding walks are nice. The Banff hostel was fantastic (although a bit more expensive than normal) - it was log cabin style and as good as a quality hotel with free wireless (which probably sold it to us!!).

We were around and about in Banff for a couple of days and then went on to stay at the Lake Louise Hostel. We took pictures of Lake Louise in Winter, the last time I saw it, it was a blue lake - a bit freaky to see it frozen over and to walk on it !

The next day saw us drive to Jasper along Highway 93 which includes the very impressive Icefields Parkway. We saw the Columbia Icefields, Crowfoot Glacier, Mistaya Canyon and the Athabasca Falls. It's amazing that there are so many impressive sights along one Highway, although I've got to say I was glad to have 4WD as it got a little hairy in a few places. These sights are normally photographed in Summer so it's nice to see them caught on picture during Winter/Spring - especially the Athabasca falls - they look spectacular frozen.

We stayed in Jasper after the drive and went on an evening Ice Canyon Walk - lots of interesting Geological stuff and some icey walks even with Crampons on.

[2 Banff cave and Basin galleries here and here]
[2 Sulphur Mountain galleries here and here]
[2 Lake Louise Galleries here and here]
[2 Icefields Parkway Galleries here and here]
[2 Columbia Icefields Galleries here and here]
[2 Crowfoot Glacier Galleries here and here]
[2 Mistaya Canyon Galleries here and here]
[2 Athabasca Falls Galleries here and here]
[2 Maligne Canyon Galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 05:43 AM | Comments (4)

March 06, 2005



Posted by robl at 04:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Yeeeehaaaaaaa !!!!!

We've had a fun time getting from Fernie to Banff - on the way we've seen stripping cowboys, a science museum and lots of Rocky Mountains - Deb said she preferred the first one :)

In Calgary we saw a few of the local attractions, including the Calgary tower and a bit of the local nightlife at 'Cowboys' night club where it was Ladies Night.

We picked up our new car yesterday - we were expecting the bargin basement sub-compact but we got upgraded to a Jeep Liberty Sport - Deb says it's a really big red one.

We're just about to leave the Banff hostel now - but we're taking advantage of the free wireless :)

I need to think up a new poll too. We'll probably post one when we get into Vancouver - any suggestions are welcome ...

[2 Calgary galleries here and here]

[2 Rockies galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 06:12 PM | Comments (5)

Roadtrip Diary

I thought I'd put some notes down on how we got from Fernie to Vancouver to try and help any other weary travellers out there :)

I'll update this with useful info on the journey as we progress ...

For reference, the notes relate to this entry.

Transfer from Fernie to Calgary

There are a few companies out there that provide a shuttle service to and from Fernie - we used the Rocky Mountain Sky Shuttle. It's about $62 for a one way transfer and takes about four hours. They only drop off at Calgary International Airport.

Transfer from Calgary International Airport to Calgary Downtown

The cheapest way is the bus/c-train - go down to arrivals and go to bus stop 20 and jump on the #57 bus and get off at Whitehorn station. It's $2 for a ticket (make sure you have the exact change and that you get the ticket from the driver as you need it for the c-train).

Calgary downtown to Calgary hostel

Get off the c-train at City hall and head out of town a little (not into town - it's a little confusing from the website/hostel leaflet) and you should come across the hostel - if you're heading towards the tower then you are heading the wrong way. A private room at the hostel is about $60.

Car hire getting on the Trans-Canadian 1

There are about four or five major car hire centres about a five minute walk from the hostel - all on 5th Avenue SE. We got our car via a broker from Thrifty (£116 for five days). From there, you need to take three rights and go over the river onto sixteenth which joins the TC1. There are looooads of places to get food from on sixteenth so stop off and grab a bite as there isn't much between Calgary and Banff.

Calgary to Banff

The drive takes about one and a half hours and has some lovely scenary as the Rockies come into view. The parks toll needs to be paid - it works out about $10 a day up to a maximum of about $90. If you see Sunshine Village then you've gone too far (like we did !).

[More to come]

Posted by robl at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Photoshop Friday

We spent the final day in Fernie playing around in the terrain park and thought we'd try and create some pictures like you see in all the snowboarding magazines. We both spent a bit of time taking pics in the park and after Deb applied some photoshop magic this is what we came up with ...

[2 galleries here and here]

Posted by robl at 04:54 AM | Comments (0)


the new car !

Posted by robl at 01:20 AM | Comments (2)

March 03, 2005


calgary by night

Posted by robl at 02:02 AM | Comments (0)