There are some things a traveller cannot foresee. And one of them is the death of a camera. Sadly this happened to me whilst in Canada so any pictures I’ve taken are very early on in my trip or on my phone. So forgive the debatable quality. And a moment of silence for my poor camera.
First off, my journey was truly horrific. There were a lot of connections and the presidents speech in Washington meant that any flights from New York (I know, the lack of correlation astounds me too) were delayed or cancelled. I made my connection to Chicago with about 15 minutes before boarding and got my plane. Thankfully.
Anyway, I was met off the plane with a beer and then was taken for a few Caesars – Bloody Maries for the Euro-based folks like myself.
We spent the first few days in Waskesiu, Prince Albert National Park (Saskatchewan). We went on some nature trails, rented a canoe for half a day and sailed across Waskesoi Lake. Which was great until we were going against the wind and sun, so you get sunburn without realising until we got back.
Basically, these four days were just making smores, me succumbing to jet lag at 3 in the afternoon for a good 16 hours or so and sleeping in the back of an SUV, and making (and failing to make) fires. Eventually we resorted to using Hot 100 to get some going, and we bought those magic fire things that only really worked in the embers in daylight. We met some nice people there, including a lovely wee girl who kept giving us rocks. We also met some nice Mounties, some horrible Irish men and saved a drunk girl from a total sleaze. All in all a productive Labour Day weekend. Pizza Pete’s is where the party is at.
On the drive back I was taken on a date to Quiznos and Tim Hortons. Two places I had never been before and am now sort of hoaching to go back to.
The next day I learnt how to play golf. Considering where I’m from I can drive for about one hour in any direction and stumble across a golf course that most Canadians have heard of, my knowledge of golf is truly abysmal. After an impromptu lesson from Todd it progressed to mildly appalling. After a very quick lesson from an actual teacher I wasn’t too bad! We were just hitting on the driving range before getting a massive pizza and me trying and failing to drive an automatic car in flip flops on the wrong (though I suppose technically right) side of the road. I still shake when I think about it. That night we shot some pool, and decided to go away again the day after.
We decided to go to Edmonton, which was about a 5 hour drive away. Saskatchewan is so flat. It’s the further I’ve ever seen without being in front of the ocean and it is really disorientating. To the left is a picture of this really long train by a road side in a town that had maybe 4 houses and an information board about Ukrainians. Once we crossed the border into Alberta you notice how much the landscape changes and how cheap everything becomes! Particularly booze and petrol/gas.
Edmonton was a really lovely city, and in a way it reminded me a lot of Glasgow. Except designed much more neatly. And by Mormons. You learn something new every day.
The best thing about Edmonton (apart from the fact that most of it is a bit of a blur) was the West Edmonton Mall. It was, at one point, the largest mall in the world. In it there is a theme park, a food court, hundreds of shops and a water park. Our hostel (HI Edmonton – they accept ISIC cards) gave us a discount for the water park so we went. We did get stung by the $7 locker fee, but apart from that I loved it. What’s not to love about being a little bit hammered in a water park in a mall? Afterwards to went to Hooters (I just really wanted to go ok) for a couple of beers and then back to our hostel for a night out. The hostel was actually really nice. There was a ping pong/fooze ball table in the basement so we played a few rounds and then went out. I ehh, may not remember a lot but I know I had a good time.
The drive back probably should have been horrible, but it was actually fine. I hung around Saskatoon for a bit by myself the next day, and did a
lot bit of shopping. I went to a place called David’s teas and for some unknown reason bought $12 worth of tea and got a free cup! YXE is a really nice city. There was a market along Broadway and a lot of places to sit and watch the river. And a lot of bridges.
My favourite thing in YXE were the graffiti stones (taken shakily from a great height) That night we went to the Colonial for some drinks and people watching. Karaoke was an option but sadly they didn’t have either song Todd and I wanted to sing (City High’s “What would you do” and Frank Ocean’s “Thinking about you”) sad times.
On my last day we got some beer and went to Cranberry flats in Saskatoon for a sunbathe and a wade in the river. A big one. But it was fun! And so sunny. Someone had put up a piece of driftwood in the Usain Bolt style so it looked like a person. I really wish I’d gotten a picture but by this point both phone and camera were dead. Lesson learnt.
And that concludes my trip to Canada. And I plan to return very soon. Maybe to somewhere with an ocean view but I loved it. Everything is so big and new.
So yeah. If anyone has any recommendations on where to go in Canada let me know!