We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 6 cats!

Wij zijn Nico en Marlies Wobben en in februari 2008 zijn we verhuisd van Nederland naar Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is verpleegkundige in het General Hospital en ik (Marlies) werk thuis als administrator bij Canada Life en voor mijn eigen web design bedrijf Feel The Fire. En we hebben 6 katten!
  • Regina
  • Amsterdam

Last Days – Back Home

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Monday, October 23rd (part 2)

We went to the “Metal Monday” at the Exchange, which is just a relaxed night out for the metal fans at the bar, usually with burgers and karaoke. Tonight the Scrabble board was pulled out by Naiomi, so a group of people ended up playing that for the whole evening. No karaoke fortunately haha!

It was fun chatting with a bunch of Saskmetal people again (I finally met Janet!) and we stayed until 1am!

Tuesday, October 24th

Our last day in Regina, waaaah!!! πŸ™ Time for some last visits and meetings. We met with my buddy Mark and his girlfriend Yvonne for breakfast, we went for a drive on our own to the Wascana Park and the Southend Mall (we drove back through some neighbourhoods) and then Danny’s dad Ken came to pick us up to visit them. We chatted with Ken and Danny for a while and at the end of the afternoon Carol and Lisa got home too. Carol gave me one of their pillows (because Danny had told her that I like it), it says: “People who don’t like cats were probably rats in an earlier life”. Ain’t that sweet?!

Tim and Cortney came to pick us up for supper at 6.15, so it was time to say our goodbyes to the Stephensons. It’s hard leaving Danny behind and not being able to support him like I would like to (to be there for him in person, instead of just over email or phone), but what can you do. Carol again told us that they would be there for us and we’d always be welcome if we’d move there. They are such an amazing family!

We met with Marlin (he wanted to take us out for supper) at the Red Lobster where we had “shrimps all you can eat” πŸ™‚

With a big garlic cloud hanging around us, we then went to the jam spot of The Orchard – Jeff (Into Eternity’s “new” touring guitarist) had asked us to come by. They played a bunch of songs and we really liked it. Nice people too, also the two Activate guys we met there as well. Back at Tim’s we packed a bit and did our laundry.

Wednesday, October 25th

Reluctantly we left Regina (around 10) after Sandy came by for a goodbye hug. It took us 2 hours to drive to Gravelbourg to visit Cees and his family. We only know them from a Dutch forum about emigrating to Canada (and their own personal site), but they welcomed us in their home and asked us to join them for a sandwich for lunch. We had some great chats too, thanks guys! We stayed much longer than we intended, so at 2 it was time to continue our trip. We wanted to make it to Medicine Hat before dark.

The prairie we saw today was very beautiful, around Regina it’s fairly flat, but around Moose Jaw the rolling hills started and we had some great scenery almost everywhere. We arrived in Medicine Hat at 6, grabbed a burger and a salad at McDonalds and went to find the Groves B&B outside of town. It was dark by then, so we couldn’t see their view, but the room was very nice and we spent the evening watching TV, drinking tea and organizing our suitcases.

Thursday, October 26th

After a nice hot breakfast, some chats with the B&B hosts Gary and Joy and enjoying the amazing view over the South Saskatchewan river and its coulees, we left for Calgary. The scenery (and with that the trip) wasn’t too exciting until we got close to Calgary, so the 3 or so hours seemed much longer.

Finally we got to see the Rockies again in the distance and the skyline of Calgary! We drove to downtown and went into the Calgary Tower for the great views. Around 4 we were at Derek’s house in the North East (Falconridge) and waited for him to arrive from work. Together with his roommates Roque and Janelle (both also from Regina) we went to eat at the nearby Boston Pizza. Good times! Afterwards we hung out and watched the DVDs (some live recordings of metal shows that Nico filmed in the 80s) we copied for Derek.

Friday, October 27th

We did some final shopping in some shopping malls close to Derek’s and left for the airport around 6pm. We left the car at the car rental office and went to the check in. We went to eat at Kelsey’s and met up with Brenda, Marc and the kids (time to catch up!) and unfortunately just briefly with Kees, Marlies and Sophie when we boarded the plane. Beside the tight seats, the length of the flight, an hour delay (because maintenance found a little oil leak they had to repair) and some thirst (no bottles of drinks allowed), the flight went well.

Saturday, October 28th

When we arrived at Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) it was already Saturday afternoon in Holland. I phoned my brother Ton, who picked us up. After a shower we had some good food, drinks and chats with them and viewed part of our pictures. We hadn’t slept much on the plane, but managed to stay awake until 11pm or so.

Sunday, October 29th

We slept very well, luckily!! After a good breakfast, we looked at the rest of the pics and some of our filmed footage. We also watched the film Ton compiled from the footage of their impressive Vietnam vacation. Before driving home we wanted to stop by Agnes and Colinda for a bit, because they live only a few kilometres from Ton and Rita. But I checked the mail a bit late and found out too late that they’d be at home until 1pm but it was already later. Sorry!

We just drove home instead. Ton had filled up the car and washed it while we were away, wow, thanks! For a moment it was a bit weird for Nico to drive in a small, stick-shift car without power steering again, but it wasn’t as bad as he expected. Thanks to our good rest we even had the energy to immediately unpack, do laundry etc. once we got home. Thanks to Ton, Rita, Martijn and Sander for everything! Staying there for a night was the best thing that could’ve happened to us – a perfect start to deal with the jet lag!

So what’s going to happen next? We both still have the next week off. We have to sort everything out and hopefully come to a decision. Then we’ll have to see what exactly is possible with which procedures and find out answers to a lot more questions! Keep an eye on our journal for updates on our plans, as well as how things go with Danny…

Calgary, Flying Home In A Few Hours

We’re in Calgary now and it’s time to leave for the airport in a bit. We don’t have time for an big update anymore, I will post the diary of the last couple of days maybe this weekend, otherwise Monday.

We fly at 21.50 local time and arrive in Amsterdam at 14.40 local time on Saturday. We stay one night at my brother’s house before driving back to Heerlen. Agnes, could you maybe email me your phone number (or is it in the book?) just in case we are fit enough on Sunday to drop by for a moment before we drive home? I have no idea if we make it (so don’t stay home for us), but just in case… πŸ™‚

Well, see you all soon again!

More Regina Stuff

@ our neighbours and Ton and Rita: it’s starting to look like it, but it’s still nog set in stone yet, we still have to check out some things.

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Here what we’ve been up to the last few days. Tomorrow we’ll do some more stuff here in Regina, then we have to leave to get to Calgary (we divided the driving back into two days though).

Friday, October 20th (part 2)

The benefit show was sometimes emotional, but definitely rewarding in a lot of ways. It was so good to finally see Danny again! He cried when we got in and there were of course several more emotional moments, but it must’ve done him and his mom and sister a lot of good to have so many people turn up and come over to them. Carol (the mom) even got up on stage at one point to thank everyone, so brave! I don’t know yet how much money the raffle brought in, it should be quite a bit. Danny managed to stay pretty long, until after the third band (of four). For me it was great to see a lot of Saskmetal people again, some old friends like Russ, Steph, Nathan or Naiomi, but also some I hadn’t met yet the last time, like Tyler and Jess. It was also awesome to finally see Into Eternity play again, even when it was just a short set of seven songs – we hadn’t seen them in two years and not at all with Stu on vocals.

Saturday, October 21st

Today Cortney gave us a sort of Photoshop workshop for over an hour, she is going to SIAST for photography classes (2 years of day-time school) and has become quite a master in Photoshop, so she could teach us a lot. Later that night we went to see a band with one of Tim’s friends in it at the Drink.

Sunday, October 22nd

Around noon an aunt of Cortney came by and we (except Nico) went to the cemetery. They wanted to visit Cortney’s grandpa’s grave and I wanted to see Dave’s. There was just the fresh grave, no grass nor a plate on it yet.

Then we picked up Nico and went for a huge lunch at Glitters. There was a buffet with ribs, sausages, bacon, omelets, pancakes, vegetables, salads, hashbrowns, cinnamon buns, jelly etc etc etc. And that’s for 8.50 CAD a person!! That’s about 6 euros! Crazy!

Later on we drove to Lumsden to a pumpkin farm with thousands of pumpkins! And around 4.30 we went to the Stephensons house where we were invited for a BBQ. That was truly a great evening, where we met some more family like Dan’s father Ken and nieces Emily and Shayla (Lisa’s daughters), as well as Jaimie’s mom. Marlin and Sandy were also there. We had some quality time with them, they made us feel so welcome and at home. When we left, Carol got me to tear up by telling us that if we would move here, they’d be there for us and we were always welcome there. Man, what a family!

Monday, October 23rd

Nico had an appointment with Janet from the SRNA (the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, where he would need to register as a nurse) and got a lot of info about registration and courses he would need to do.

In the meanwhile Tim and I walked around a few blocks. The office is in the Cathedral area, which has all my dream houses!! Beautiful old homes with porches, only most of them are pretty big and would need some work. The streets mostly have big old trees.

Tonight we go to “Metal Monday” where we’ll see some Saskmetal folks again πŸ™‚

Saskatoon, Chilling In Regina

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Hi everybody, here’s finally a new update again! We’ve been pretty tired from all the previous traveling and all the impressions, that it’s good to have a chance to just chill here at Tim and Cortney’s. We’re meeting a lot of people (either new or folks we already knew) and tonight is the benefit for the Stephensons to help them cover Dave’s funeral bills and bills for Danny’s medications I believe.

Nico had his interview yesterday and it still has to sink in, but he’s very enthusiastic!

@Margret, we took de 16 to Edmonton, just didn’t find that viewpoint looking back, because the view was blocked by snow and clouds. I’m not sure when exactly we took the pic, I’d have to check later (we have to leave right now).

We didn’t take any pics in Regina yet, but here’s the diary:

Tuesday, October 17th

Today was a long drive, from Edmonton to Saskatoon. We left just after 9am and stopped twice, once at a nice highway rest area near Innisfree and then at a local bar/hotel in Maymont. The prairie really isn’t as dull as people often say, esp. the Alberta part still had a lot of hills and variation. In Saskatchewan it was a bit more flat, but still I found the scenery fascinating. Driving is a lot easier on these roads, compared to our full, smaller highways, but still tiring. Or even more tiring when you don’t have to be alert all the time. Nico was beat when we finally got to Saskatoon (around 5pm I believe). We checked into Savelia’s Guesthouse and Nico took a nap while I went downstairs to chat with Savelia. What a wonderful woman she is! A bit later we had a sandwich at Arby’s and went over to Brent‘s place to visit him, Jen and little Ella. It was really good to see them again and Jen’s parents were there too.

Wednesday, October 18th

We had a good night sleep, a good breakfast and some more chats at the B&B and then went to visit Astrid, a Dutch woman who emigrated with her family some years ago. I know her from a forum and it was very cool to meet her!

Around noon we continued our trip and drove to Regina. That was just two and a half hours, so a piece of cake compared to the previous days. We got at Tim and Cortney’s house at 3pm and just hung out, went out for dinner (or supper as they call it here) and hung out some more. Meeting Tim’s girlfriend for the first time didn’t feel new at all, since we already had such good contact for the past year and a half over email and MSN. Her daughter Geneva was already bigger than on the last pics we’ve seen, she grows so fast. And we were immediately in love with the cat Spooky!! Our friend Sandy came by and we also met Lisa and Jaimie. One of our best friends there, Dave, passed away almost a month ago and Lisa is his sister and Jaimie his girlfriend. It was great finally meeting them in person.

Thursday, October 19th

Today we saw Tim’s dad Jack again (and met Tim’s brother Jason), because we went for breakfast at Stan’s diner, the place we missed the most here πŸ™‚ At 1.30pm Nico had his sort-of-job-interview. And he was very enthusiastic when he came back from it! It still all has to sink in, but they sure want people and the thing they are offering is basically to get him here on a work permit, that he could renew a couple of times (yearly) and after 3 or 4 years you could get a permanent visa. That is a different route than what we were planning, so we’ll have to look into how to do things. The only thing I had heard so far is that if you’re on a working permit, you still will have to go through the normal skilled worker application to get the permanent residency card, but Nico was told he doesn’t have to. So we’ll have to check that out and a working permit for Nico is only for him, I would have to apply for my own as a spouse once Nico has his. But all in all it would take 3 or 4 months, so that’s really soon! Anyway.. we’ll let it all sink in and see what comes out. So far Nico is really enthusiastic though and a lot of his fears have been taken away!

At night we had BBQ’d pork steaks at the house, met Into Eternity’s “new” touring guitarist Jeff (who actually has been in the band before, but I never got to meet him) and later on Tim and Cortney’s friends Chris and Alicia came over with a big bottle of rosΓ© wine πŸ™‚

Friday, October 20th

We slept in and we’ll go out for some lunch and Walmart shopping. Tonight is the benefit show for the Stephensons and I donated most of the festival cups we brought as gifts to the raffle at the benefit. Might bring in a few extra bucks. Into Eternity will play a short set and Marlin’s band Plastic Bastard too – we don’t know any of the other bands playing, but hopefully I’ll see a lot of Saskmetal (local metal forum) people! And of course Danny… we still haven’t seen him yet!

Jasper Area, Edmonton (the World’s Biggest Mall)

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Sunday, October 15th

Thanks for all the birthday wishes for Nico! A few days ago I already gave him his present: a pocket size book, “How to photograph the Canadian Rockies”. A bit late (tomorrow we leave the Rockies), but I think we’ll be back again πŸ˜‰

Today was a mostly rainy day, but after the fabulous weather we’ve had until today, we can’t complain. We had breakfast at the Mt. Robson Restaurant around the corner and went for some drives today. First we drove west on the 16 until Moose Lake in Mt. Robson Park. There are a lot of beautiful swampy patches in that valley where you can sometimes spot moose (a tip from Edi from the apartment), but of course not when we were driving by πŸ˜‰ When we got back to Jasper, we turned right onto the Icefields Parkway. There we saw “our” majestic elk bull again!! He walked alongside the road, so we stopped and saw him pass by. I couldn’t stop filming, such an impressive animal! We continued on the Icefields Parkway to drive back to the Athabasca Valley/goatlick viewpoint, but again there were no goats to be found πŸ˜› We turned around and stopped at the Athabasca Falls. Always an impressive site to see the waterfall where all that water gets pushed into a short and small canyon with a lot of force.
Back in Jasper we had a Subway sandwich, did some shopping and spent some time online.

At 6.30pm we drove to the Maligne Valley in the pouring rain. We wanted to drive down the Maligne road at dusk to have more chance to see wildlife. It was getting dark pretty quickly, so we should’ve gone a bit earlier if we would’ve wanted to drive all the way (around 50 km) to Maligne Lake. Now we drove to Medicine Lake and turned there. We “only” saw some white tailed deer (like the ones we saw in Banff).

Nico’s choice for dinner was KFC, so we got some of that chicken on our way back and chilled at the apartment.

Monday, October 16th

We left Jasper just before 9am. In the first 10 or so kilometers we saw a lot of elk! Six times! Sometimes just a bull, sometimes a whole herd. We stopped only once for a bull that was walking on the highway, we filmed and photographed him of course πŸ™‚ The scenery was still mountains for a long time, although it was snowing lightly most of the time and the mountains were in the clouds. After we left Jasper National Park, the scenery slowly changed into foothills and prairie, but it was still fascinating. We stopped in Edson for some Tim Hortons’ coffee and gas for the car. The weather stayed the same, but the road was only wet, so it was OK. We saw a coyote and some deer, but since we drove 110 km/h on the highway, I didn’t manage to get a pic of the coyote, yet again. Damn!

We got to Edmonton around 1.30pm and easily found 156 Street. Just not the right apartment building, so we phoned Kefka for further instructions. Shortly after we got there, we went to the famous West Edmonton Mall (biggest in the world!! – http://www.westedmontonmall.com) with Kefka, Melissa and their little daughter Raine. They showed us all the important places for amusement (water park, ice rink, amusement park incl. roller coaster, sea lion’s show, pirate ship – all indoors!) and shopping (a.o. I finally found a red maple leaf thingie for my necklace and a black Canada sweater) and they bought us dinner (The Old Spaghetti Factory) for Nico’s birthday. Thank you!! We had a lot of fun and esp. Nico and Raine got along perfectly in their gibberish language πŸ˜‰ Melissa had to work for a few hours (in a clothing store) so we left her there and got back to their home. And when she got home, she even brought those cinnamon buns with her that we had smelled (yummy!) in the mall πŸ™‚ They’re spoiling us!

Tomorrow morning we drive to Saskatoon to visit Brent, Jen and Ella and the next morning Astrid (and then we drive to Regina).

Icefields Parkway, Jasper

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Finally a new update! We’ve seen so much that we have been too busy to catch up with the diary and sorting out pics πŸ˜‰
First a few reactions to the reactions:

@Mike: we were at Melissa’s the last time, great place! But this time we got fed such a wonderful hot breakfast at the B&B that we haven’t been there.

@Tontje: we’ll drive through Moose Jaw when we get back to Calgary, but I don’t know if we’ll have time for such a tour. We’ll keep it in mind!

@Henri, Sandy & Mattias: (belated) HAPPY BIRTHDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Casper: have a great vacation in Chili!! I feel so sorry for you that you have to do that… heh heh

@Rik & Syl: my heart rate was OK, he was far away. Could see him very well through the zoom of the video camera πŸ™‚ Nico was affected by it more, but he’s OK again, he says πŸ˜‰

@Agnes & Colinda: I heard from others that they’ve seen a bear in that spot (whether or not that was the same bear, it must be a yummy grainy spot there en very visible with the open field in front of it. Oh and that interview in Regina is the 19th.

Here we go with the diary:

Wednesday, October 11th

We finally slept through the night and I feel a lot better today. We took it slow today (tomorrow we have a gorgeous, but fairly long drive to Jasper), just walked through Banff in the beautiful chilly-but-sunny weather. We made some pics at the B&B (in and outside of the house and with the manager, Denise), walked towards the Bow River and did the Fenland Loop Trail near the Vermillion Lakes. Close to 4 we went to Canmore to visit Anneke and Gerard (and family) – we had a great time and a delicious meal, chatted about emigration of course and listened to all their enthusiastic stories. Thanks for the hospitality and good times guys! You are an inspiration πŸ™‚

Thursday, October 12th

With a heavy heart we had our last breakfast at the Rocky Mountain B&B and said goodbye to Denise. I will miss that place!! I also took a few pics of a deer that was just walking by the house when we left at 10am.

We took the Highway 1 to Lake Louise this time (instead of the more scenic 1a, the Bow Valley Parkway), and took the 93 from there, the famous Icefields Parkway to Jasper. This is called the most beautiful panorama road in the world. Now I haven’t been all over the world, but this road certainly is impressive. Lots of different landscapes between the mountain ranges, from forest, to meadows or stony parts in the higher regions. We made some stops (Bow Lake, Saskatchewan Crossing, Big Bend – yes Margret, we found your “hidden” falls near the parking lot! – Tangle Falls, Athabasca Valley viewpoint) and did a few short hikes to viewpoints (Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon) along the way. We skipped the falls close to Jasper, for we can do those in the upcoming days. We were scanning the woods and meadows for wildlife all the time, and once we saw a coyote walking on the opposite site of the road.Β He was so close, what a beautiful animal! Even though I had the photo- and video camera on my lap the whole time, it disappeared too quickly πŸ™

It was already 5.45pm when we finally arrived in Jasper, wow! Even with the stops I didn’t think we’d need almost 7 hours for the almost 300 km. We settled into the nice basement apartment (but with a big window and a bit of mountain view πŸ™‚ ) and walked to the centre of the town (about 10 minutes) to have some dinner. We ended up at the L&W restaurant for some chicken & ribs, and it was OK, but hey, no Tony Roma’s of course. We were tired from the trip and crashed around 10pm already!

Friday, October 13th

The mountain air makes you sleepy I guess, we slept until close to 8am! When it comes to meals, we’re on our own here in Jasper and we really missed Denise’s breakfasts. After a while we went out to do the laundry at Coin Clean Laundry where we could also grab something to eat (just banana bread, scones etc. though), drink (latte) and use the internet. I didn’t post on the weblog, because I hadn’t had a chance to write all this down yet. It was again a beautiful day (most of the time we could walk around in our t-shirts), but the weather will probably change over the weekend. The Jasper Tramway up the Whistler Mountain unfortunately closed last weekend, instead we drove to the Marmot Basin for a few views (wasn’t too much, maybe we should’ve continued on the gravel road) and up the Mt. Edith Cavell over a long, winding road and hiked to the pond below the Angel Glacier. What a beautiful spot!!! It was already too cold (the pond was frozen and there were some icy patches on the path) to see and hear pieces of the glacier fall off.

Back in Jasper we went to eat in the very nearby Mount Robson Restaurant, which we liked a lot. Nothing too fancy, but we liked the atmosphere and the food (esp. for Erik: we had the special of the day with salad or soup for starters, a very big chunk of salmon filet, mixed vegetables and fries and ice cream for dessert πŸ™‚ ) I also had that great Big Rock Traditional Ale again that I also had at the first B&B, love that dark beer! We went back to our “home” and finally find time to chill, watch TV, write all this and organize the pics. Unfortunately we don’t have access to some unprotected network here, bummer! πŸ˜‰

Saturday, October 14th

This morning we had some breakfast (eggs and stuff) at the Black Sheep Cafe and visited a wildlife fair in front of the Jasper Information Centre. We then drove to Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake, two very peaceful lakes just north of Jasper. On our way up we finally saw the elk herd! They were lying between the trees just outside of town. At the Patricia Lake pullout we met Graham Flint of the gigapxl project, who made pics with a 4000 megapixel camera :O Nico’s jaw dropped when Graham started to set up his stuff on the top of his four wheel drive, so he went over to talk to him and asked him some stuff with a big smile on his face πŸ˜‰ Then we continued to Pyramid Lake where several water sports are possible and a bit further through there is a bridge to Pyramid Island with some great views.

Tomorrow is Nico’s birthday, but I guess it’ll depend on the weather what we’re going to do. Forecasts say we might get some rain, it got a bit more overcast and colder (or should I say less warm) today. It will be our last day in the Rockies, Monday we’ll proceed to Edmonton.

Our First Bear!

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

Tuesday, October 10th

Last night we ended up at Tony Roma’s for dinner. It was already 9.30, but we were welcome and the thanksgiving menu would even still be available (soup or salad, turkey dinner, pumpkin pie). The waiter brought us the starters, when he came back to tell us they just ran out of turkey, but that if we wanted to order something else, he’d give us the starters and the drinks (I had a delicious Big Rock Honey Brown mmmmm) for free for the inconvenience! And he’d even still throw in the pumpkin pie dessert πŸ™‚ Nico had chicken and I had ribs (they are famous for their ribs) and although I ordered a regular slab, the cook gave me a full slab, again for the inconvenience LOL! Because the meat almost melted on your tongue like butter, I even managed to eat it all πŸ˜‰ Then we got the pumpkin pie with a bit of ice cream, which it usually didn’t come with, but the waiter thought he’d give us that anyway. So we had a super delicious and super big meal for the price of the two main courses, not even 40 bucks hahaha! We of course thanked him for the special treatment and gave him a good tip πŸ˜‰
Back at the B&B we were so tired, that we went to sleep very soon after.

This morning we had another lovely breakfast, with eggs, bacon and some fried potatoes this time, and a deer just walked by the window. Sweet! That apparently happens often in this street. Today we planned on making a longer drive, to Lake Louise, Golden, Radium and back to Banff. But we didn’t exactly make it that far. We were both very tired today, and we just took things slow. We took the 1A, the Bow Valley Parkway, to Lake Louise, where wildlife is often spotted. We kept staring in the woods for some unusual movements, but no luck. On the Parkway we stopped at Johnston Canyon and went in for a little bit for some pics and filming. We visited Lake Louise and sat there for a while. We didn’t want to do a whole lot more, so we skipped Moraine Lake and went on to Yoho Park for Emerald Lake. Last time it was raining and we couldn’t see any mountains on the way up nor at the lake. And now it was all clear, so we were excited to see that beautiful lake again in its full glory! We took the 1 west to Field and before we entered Yoho, we saw something near the railroad about 200m from the road: a black bear! It was pretty far away, but I filmed him and could zoom in a lot. Our first bear!! Then we saw a car coming up on the rails: park rangers scaring the bear off, because many get killed on the railroad.

We continued the drive and didn’t recognize the way up, it was so beautiful now and the lake itself too! We passed the bridge and sat at the waterside for a while, it was so peaceful. When the Japanese would finally shut up or go away anyway (those busloads of Japanese are usually pretty loud). We drove back the same way, and saw that bear again! He probably returned shortly after and continued to look for food there… let’s hope he’s still alive. We drove to Banff over the Bow River Parkway again, and again we didn’t see any wildlife there.

Back at the B&B I slept for two hours (I still don’t feel well, hopefully I’m just tired) and we didn’t go out anymore, just grabbed some things (cereal, fruit) at the B&B. Tomorrow we’ll spend some more time in town and at 4-5pm we’re expected at Anneke and Gerard’s in Canmore πŸ™‚


Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

As promised a more detailed report from the first couple of days plus a few pics. Even one from the car, esp. for Agnes πŸ˜‰
Oh and Jos & Henny… I’m already filming all the time haha!

Saturday, October 7th

It was a long wait, but finally the 7th of October did arrive! At 9.15am we left Heerlen and I think it was little past noon when we arrived in Nieuw-Vennep. My brother Ton and his family live there and it’s very close to the Amsterdam airport, so we could leave our car there and after lunch Ton brought us to the airport. Thanks! The check-in started at 13.30 and we immediately found Marc and Brenda (and their kids Nikita and Ivana) from the CBB forum. Another couple from that forum, Kees and Marlies (with their daughter Sophie), found us too. We had drinks together before boarding and chatted a couple of times during the flight. Very cool to talk to others that are about to emigrate to Canada. The flight itself was pretty long (nine hrs) but very smooth, but the Air Transat planes are known for their tight seats. For that reason we had booked seats at the emergency exit and we had about 2 meters of space in front of us! That was very cool, but in width the seats were also smaller and I just barely fitted in my seat! I mean, I know I’m not exactly small, but I’ve never been literally stuck in my seat before πŸ˜‰

At the Calgary airport we got our Alamo rental car, a very nice red Chrysler Sebring Touring, and around 7pm we were on our way! We grabbed a burger on 16th avenue and it must’ve been around 8 when we arrived at the Anew Horizon B&B (http://www.anewhorizon.ca) near the Springbank Airport. We had the warmest possible welcome from Debbie, Richard, their dog Hershey and three adorable cats! We had some tea, and then a few drinks with them outside at the fire pit, until we crashed around 10.30.

Sunday, October 8th

I couldn’t sleep much that night, but that was OK. The bed was comfortable and I listened to the coyotes bark and howl at night! Our room was absolutely gorgeous with a view on the Rocky Mountains. Actually everything was so beautiful there, the house as well as the views of the foothills and the mountains all over! We had a really good breakfast (Debbie loves to cook) and around 11 we had to say goodbye again. We really want to come back to this place, that much we know!!

We had all day to get to Banff, so we drove a big loop to Canmore first. South through the foothills, over Bragg Creek to Black Diamond and Longview, then back up through the Kananaskis, where we chose the gravel road to Canmore that passes the Spray Lakes. A very tiring but beautiful road! We were exhausted when we arrived in Canmore. We went to find the Two Moose internet cafe. It’s from Anneke and Gerard (or rather, Ann and Gary), who we also met on our first Canada trip when they still had an internet cafe in Banff. They were the ones who made us realize that emigration is something you can actually make happen, so we really wanted to see them again. They invited us for dinner on Wednesday, so we’ll have a chance to chat more then. Looking forward to that!

In Banff we checked in at the Rocky Mountain B&B (http://www.rockymtnbb.com) on Otter Street. A beautiful old heritage home in a just as beautiful street with lots of trees, close to the edge of town, but still just a few streets from the shops and restaurants as well. We had dinner at Wild Bill’s and were so tired that we crashed at 9pm!

Monday, October 9th

Finally we slept a lot better up until around 6am. I had been awake a few times still and I think I heard a coyote once and a bugling elk a few times in the morning. They serve a real nice breakfast here, with fruits, cake, cereal, yogurt, toast etc and the ‘hot’ part of the breakfast today was french toast.

Today we wanted to do some things in Banff and we started with the Cave and Basin site (a national heritage site) where the sulphur springs are. Except for the smell, that was a great experience, esp. the two boardwalk hikes near the site. Nico is enjoying his polarization filter very much! The pics of the mountains with the blue skies turn out much better with it!
We then went on Sulphur Mountain with the gondola and the weather was much clearer than when we were there the last time. It was chilly (frost at night and in the morning), but soooo nice and sunny! We also drove to the nearby Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow Falls for a few pics.

We got back around 4pm to chill at the B&B and as I’m typing this I’m in the lounge, connected online through someone’s unprotected wireless network nearby hehe. That’s it for today, only thing left is going out for dinner!

We Have Arrived!

Β» photo albums 2006/CANADA

And safely too!

Despite the tight seats on Air Transat airplanes, we did have an OK flight, arrived in Calgary at 6pm. We then got the rental car and drove to the Anew Horizon B&B near Springbank airport. We had a wonderful evening there with the hosts Debbie and Richard, and everything about the place was just gorgeous!!!! I’ll write more later on. We drove through Bragg Creek and the Kananaskis to Canmore, where we are now, at Ann & Gary’s internet cafe Two Moose. After this we’ll head on to Banff and check into the B&B there, get settled in a bit and go out for dinner.

I’ll type up a more extensive report later on, just wanted to let y’all know we got here safe and sound and already had a great day so far. More to read and esp. more to view will follow sooooon!

Almost Vacation Time Again!

Finally…….. inΒ two days we’ll fly to Canada again!!! This time for vacation but also some orientation in Regina and hopefully we can make a decision after our trip. Nico has some informative interviews scheduled and we’ll be spending quality time with friends (we’re staying at Tim’s again), esp. the Stephensons, who are going through a rough time. Danny and Dave are/were two of our best friends there, Dave passed away pretty unexpectedly two weeks ago on my birthday (see my last post, he had cancer) and Danny just recently heard he has to battle the same thing (he’s on chemo now). It’s tough that we can’t see Dave anymore, but we’ll be happy to see Danny and to be able to finally give his family some support in person. We also hope to see a metal show and meet with lots of other people! πŸ™‚

But let’s not forget that we start with a good week in the Rockies, wooh! We have a rental car for all three weeks, so we’ll see a lot of prairie too! πŸ˜‰

Here’s our schedule:

flight Amsterdam-Calgary TS 0509 16.25-17.30 local times (9 hrs flight)
b&b: http://www.anewhorizon.ca/

Banff & area, b&b: http://www.rockymtnbb.com/

Jasper & area, b&b (well, bed only, no breakfast) : http://www.visit-jasper.com/En-Ska.html

Edmonton, visiting the West-Edmonton Mall and staying with Kefka and his family

Saskatoon, visiting Brent + family, b&b: http://www.bedbreakfasthome.com/savelia/ , in the morning visiting Astrid (a Dutch immigrant I know from a forum)

Regina, staying with Tim + family, meeting w/friends, orientation for the possible emigration

Gravelbourg or somewhere else in SW Saskatchewan. We’re not sure yet where, but a Dutch family I want to visit, just took over the local motel in Gravelbourg, but that’s still fairly close to Regina. It might be better to just say hello there and stay overnight somewhere halfway the route to Calgary.

back to Calgary, one night at Derek’s, some sightseeing on the last day, flight at 10pm

flight Calgary-Amsterdam TS 0508 21.50-14.40 local times, we arrive on the 28th