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!
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Family Visit Rockies / Regina Photo Albums Online!

I’ve finally finished making a selection out of 2000+ photos (from all of us) and uploaded them in 5 albums. You can find them here:

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

And I very soon hope to upload the update for our last two camping trips, beautiful Waskesiu and relaxing Buffalo Pound!

Bye Family!!! :(

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

We just said goodbye to our visiting family πŸ™

Since Friday, my brother’s family was here as well, we had 3 guests in the house and 3 slept in their motorhome. It was full in our little house, but it was filled with much love and fun! The boys walked to downtown, Ton and Rita biked through/around the park, we visited the beautiful Royal Saskatchewan Museum, had a Sunday brunch at Glitters (buffet diner), a wonderful supper at Bocados, already for my dad’s birthday (he’ll be 91 in a few weeks) and last night we spent at the Stephenson’s (thanks!!!). Even after almost 4 weeks together we didn’t want them to leave!!! But it’s inevitable. They all had a great time, but they will also be pleased to go back to their own homes.

Thank you so much guys for everything, we had an amazing time together!! I hope you all have a safe trip home and we’ll see ya in Skype!! πŸ™‚

Dad And Amalia In Regina

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

Here some pictures of what we’ve done the past week, with dad and Amalia. We went to Wascana Park (our big urban park), Regina Beach (half an hour drive to Last Mountain Lake) and the sunset ceremony of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Today we went to Buffalo Pound Provincial Park and Moose Jaw.

Jasper – Prairie – Home!

update from the last days:

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

Saturday, July 18 (continued)

campsite without services on Whistlers campgroundAfter the last update we spent some time in Jasper, bought some native art at the Our Native Land store next to the laundry place. We always buy something there, but it’s tough to choose from so much great stuff. We ended up spending a bit more and took two things home, a limited print from Sue Coleman and a small shield with leather, a medicine bag, arrows and feathers attached. Back at the campground we had to change to an unserviced spot (when we made our reservations there was no electric site available anymore for this one night, and the campsite was completely full). It was a beautiful spot away from the Icefields Parkway, in a mixed spruce and birch forest. The others came to our spot to BBQ. Unfortunately we got some thundershowers (we sat underneath the awning), but an elk herd passed by our site which of course made up for the weather πŸ™‚ No big bull among them, but still impressive animals.

Sunday, July 19

a deer at Medicine LakeThe mother of all days, as Nico calls it. On the agenda for today: the Maligne Lake Road incl. the Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake itself. We drove to the Sixth Bridge of the canyon, where Ton and his family left their motorhome, then we took them to the beginning of the trail where the restaurant is. They hiked the trail through the canyon back to their own motorhome and joined us again after that. In the meantime we (dad, Amalia, Nico and I) walked to the First Bridge and had lunch in the restaurant. We all continued on the scenic Maligne Lake Road, slowly and watching for wildlife. We stopped at Medicine Lake to enjoy the views over the fairly full lake (which was fuller than we every saw it in the fall) as well as some deer that were right by the parking lot. At the end of the road we spent some time at Maligne Lake and Ton and Rita invited us all for supper at the restaurant there, because both their birthdays were coming up, (they had only lunch dishes, but enough to fill the stomach with :)). After the meal a little wolverine was trying to eat a plastic bag outside, near a BBQ, so Ton distracted the wolverine so Nico could get rid of that plastic. We moved to the 2nd parking lot and spent some time there, because we wanted to drive back at dusk. Just when I wanted to go inside the motor home again, a deer showed up close by and we stayed to watch it and make pics, from only a few meters away. So cute!
Around 8.30 we decided to drive back, although it wasn’t getting dark yet (it would be light until past 10, but we didn’t want to be back that late). We didn’t see any animals for a long time, and we felt a bit disappointed, until we at least saw an elk along the road. At the last part we hoped to maybe see a coyote or something, and we got our hopes up when we saw a car had stopped at the side of the road. Then we saw what they saw… a black bear close to the road!! Yeehaw, finally!! But that wasn’t all. When we got close to Jasper again, we saw cars along the 16 where we’ve seen bighorn sheep before. This time they were high up on the cliffs, we saw a male with the actual big horns, females and some little ones! And at the exit to Jasper we saw an elk herd crossing the street. Wow, so many animals at the end of the trip! And that is why Nico calls this day the mother of all days πŸ™‚

Monday, July 20

dad and Amalia at the Athabasca FallsIt was time to temporarily say goodbye to Rita, Ton, Martijn and Sander. They continued to B.C. with their motorhome and we turned around to drive back to Regina (in 3 days). We left around 11 and stopped at the Athabasca Falls (never seen the falls this ferocious!!) as we had skipped them on our way up. We didn’t stop elsewhere on the Icefields Parkway until Saskatchewan Crossing where we had lunch again. We continued to about 10 km east of Canmore, where we stayed one night on the Bow Valley Campground in the Bow Valley Provincial Park. Beautifully located in the forest on the slopes of the Bow River, but I had hoped for slightly cleaner washrooms (the whole in the ground things and not very clean) or free showers if you already pay $34 a night for an electric site (w/water). Maybe we are spoiled with the excellent provincial campgrounds in Saskatchewan (they charge a park fee which Alberta doesn’t, but only $22 a night and they typically have better washrooms/showers).

Tuesday, July 21

We intended to drive to Maple Creek, but as we left before 9, we figured we could at least make it to Swift Current. But once we were on the prairie, where driving is like a 1000 times more relaxing than in the mountains, we made so much progress and Nico was feeling so fit, that we ended up driving all the way home!! We arrived in Regina before 9pm – 840 km on one day πŸ™‚

So now it’s Friday and we’re relaxing at home with dad and Amalia. They’ve been troopers camping in the motorhome, but are glad to sleep in a decent bed again. Nico is working nightshift this weekend, but will be off again next week (I will work mornings), so we can make some daytrips and see more stuff in Regina then. Next week Saturday my brother and his family will join us here in Regina for their last few days in Canada. To be continued!

And this weekend both Ton and Rita are celebrating their birthdays, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY to them!!!

Banff – Lake Louise – Jasper

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

Finally an update! We didn’t have a chance to look for internet until today, so here are our adventures and a few pictures of the past few days!

Monday, July 13th

After breakfast at the hotel, we went grocery shopping at the Superstore and then Ton could get his motorhome at Canadream. The instructions and paperwork took over an hour, while some of us were waiting in our motorhome in the pouring rain. Around 4 we left for Banff, and luckily it cleared up a little bit along the way, although we still had some rain every now and then. The mountains were partly in the clouds, hopefully we can see more tomorrow. At the Tunnel Mountain campground we cooked and had supper together.

breakfast in BanffTuesday, July 14th

It was still raining today, although it also cleared up from time to time. We had breakfast all together in a shelter on the campground, that was great! It has two huge picnic tables that fit 8 people each, and a wood stove in the middle. After breakfast we took the bus from the campground to the centre of Banff for some walking around, shopping and a coffee. Back at the campground we prepared a BBQ. Rain or shine (both actually, and a huge rainbow), we headed to the shelter again with everything and had a great time again!

Wednesday, July 15th

elk near BanffAfter breakfast we left our sites to visit some Banff attractions, as the weather had finally cleared up! We walked the marshland trail by the Cave and Basin site (the sulphur springs that were the origin of Banff), went up in the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain (very busy of course after the rainy days) where we had a spectacular view over Banff and the surrounding valleys and we had lunch there. From Banff we took the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise, and we stopped at Johnston Canyon (Ton, Rita and the boys went to walk to the upper falls, the rest of us stayed in and near the giftshop/restaurant building). On the Parkway we saw a deer, Rita also saw a coyote. At Lake Louise Village we went shopping and settled in at the campground along the river (and the railway and the highway).

Thursday, July 16th

Indian PaintbrushFirst of all, happy birthday to our friend Anneke (Sanders – there are so many Anneke’s)! We didn’t mail, but we did think of her!
Today we started early and first visited Lake Louise and Lake Moraine. Everybody loved the lakes and their colours! We went back to the 1 to Yoho Park to look at the spiral tunnels (no train unfortunately) where the trains make loops (through tunnels in the mountains) to overcome the steep rise or decline of mountain. We continued to Emerald Lake to enjoy more wonderful colours and scenery, Ton’s family hiked around the lake, we left a bit earlier to go back to the campground. Finally some time for relaxation at the campsite. After barbecueing all together Nico and I strolled along the river and over the campsite for a bit.

Friday, July 17th

mountain goatAnother early rise, to take the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. We stopped at Bow Lake, Peyto Lake (took the road up hill so dad could go see it too), had lunch at the Saskatchewan Crossing and visited the Icefield Centre by the Athabasca Glacier (I got a migraine so stayed in the motorhome to sleep). A little further Amalia saw a bear!! We stopped and turned, Ton was back in time to see him go up the hill, but by the time Nico and I got there, he was gone πŸ™ A bit later we did all see some mountain goats along the road! Beautiful animals that we hadn’t seen yet! My migraine was getting a bit better after all that adrenaline πŸ˜‰ We stopped at the Sunwapta Falls and skipped the rest, for we were all tired and wanted to go to the campsite (after getting groceries in Jasper). It was a fantastic scenic drive, and dad and Amalia had the time of their lives. While travelling they alway sit at the dining table, enjoying the views from there πŸ™‚
In the evening, Amalia had a little adventure on the campground, when she got lost after visiting the washrooms. The campground is made of loops, so you’ll easily lose your sense of direction. She asked a family in perfect English for help, and they even brought her back πŸ™‚

Saturday, July 18

Finally a slow day. We’re at our favourite laundry/internet/coffee place in Jasper, finally time for this update! We’ll have 2 more nights here, before we part with Ton’s family until they come to Regina later on (we will drive back to Regina in 3 days from there).

Drumheller And Family Reunion In Calgary!

» photo albums 2009/ROCKIES / FAMILY VISIT

For the big summer trip we’re going to the Rockies again, because this time, my family is flying in to visit us, and to see a bit more of Canada!!! We are taking my dad and his gf in our motorhome, my brother and his family rented their own motorhome. We’ll tell you all about it in our next updates!! πŸ™‚

Friday, July 10th

The night before we decided to leave on Friday instead of Saturday. We wanted to drive all the way to Medicine Hat (5 hrs driving time) and took a break appr. in the middle, in Swift Current, where we had an early supper at Humpty’s. As usual we enjoyed the prairie sceneries and saw a coyote, antilopes, some bird of prey, a bison with a little one and a gazillion cows and a gazillion gophers πŸ˜‰ In Medicine Hat we parked on the empty (except for all the RVs haha) parkinglot of a former Wal-Mart store, where we figured out what we wanted to do on Saturday and Sunday. We want to go to Drumheller on Saturday and hopefully we can find a campsite there for the next night.

Saturday, July 11th

Royal Tyrrell MuseumOn our way to Drumheller I phoned the campground close to downtown and we were lucky to get one of the last spots available. After a 3 hour ride through the most flat and empty prairie you can possibly imagine, and the last part up to Drumheller through rolling hills, we fell silent when we entered the Drumheller Valley. Wow! Those badlands looked way more impressive than we had expected! Bigger and more picturesque! We turned right to drive a few km to the hoodoos, then turned around to drive to Drumheller and then follow the North Dinosaur Trail through the valley of badlands to the Horsethief Canyon Viewpoint (aaaaahhhhhhh!!!). Then we turned around again to go back to Drumheller, but on the way we stopped at the Royal Tyrrell Museum with the dinosaur skeletons and much more. If you have an RV you have to go straight to the overflow parking, but there is no such sign in the beginning, so we cruised a very full parking lot before even finding the overflow parking with a RV section. The museum was very impressive, many interpretive things and of course many fossils and skeletons, esp. of dinosaurs. At 4 we were back in Drumheller at the campsite where we parked in a pull through site with power and water, facing a hill. There is no privacy, but the campground is close to downtown, so we could walk there to see the “World’s Biggest Dinosaur” of 26m high. Nico climbed the stairs inside to look over the valley from the dino’s mouth πŸ™‚ We walked through the town a bit, but there wasn’t much going on. On our way back we had supper in a Greek restaurant, mmmmm moussaka!

Sunday, July 12th

our familyAfter a quick breakfast in Drumheller took the 9 to Calgary, passed the city on the east side to go to Okotoks, where we visited fellow Dutch emigrants Richard and Jacky and their sons. After a few hours we drove a bit more west to Black Diamond to visit Rob, Anneke and their little Ryan, another Dutch family. We had a lot of fun with both families (thanks for having us!!), but around 4 we had to leave to be at the Travelodge in time to welcome our family who flew in from Amsterdam. My 90-year-old dad and his girlfriend Amalia, my brother Ton, sister-in-law Rita and their sons Martijn and Sander. It was a great reunion after 16 months! We had supper in the restaurant and showed the motorhome to a few of them, before they all went to bed (we were staying overnight in the parking lot).