Taking the long way home

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The last month and a half has been a fairly eventful one for Reid and I. We said our goodbyes to friends in Montréal and began to make the long journey back home to Australia. Being that there is a little one on the way and travelling will be slightly harder to do we thought we would make the most of seeing a few more parts of the world. The West Coast of Canada was the first leg of our journey. For years I have been longing to visit this part of the world. I imagined it would be beautiful, and it really was.

We flew into Calgary and spent a couple nights in Banff and Lake Louise. We also made the slightly scary drive up north to Jasper. I was left breathless and so glad we decided to brave the weather. I have never seen so much snow before and it was absolutely mesmerising. We felt as though we were in a black and white movie with the blanket of white snow and black lines of pine trees and rocky cliffs breaking up the landscape. Step out of the car and the air was still and silent. I imagine doing the drive in the summertime would be beautiful as well but I’m glad to have seen it under a layer of white.

 

From Calgary we then flew to Vancouver. Vancouver seems like a city you could happily call home. It’s easy to get around, has cute little neighbourhoods with green parks, water and mountains close by. The food scene is very good and we enjoyed a few nice meals in our short time there. Tina Lau who I had the pleasure of meeting in Montréal shared a few of her favourite places with me since she grew up there. Nelson the Seagull we visited 3 times for its good coffee and fresh simple breakfast made on their own freshly baked bread. We also enjoyed the coffee (hot chocolate for me) at Revolver. Both places are located in Gastown.
 

A place I fell in love with is Le Marché St. George. This cute little cafe is set in a suburban neighbourhood and combines good food and coffee with a selection of household and food products for sale. Upstairs they also rent out the fully furnished space if you so wish to stay for a while. Outside the window there were beautiful Christmas trees for sale and it seemed to be the place for new mums to meet and share stories about their little ones. It’s a small trek from the downtown city area of Vancouver but well worth the bus ride there.
 

Another place Tina recommended which I absolutely loved (and am still salivating over) is Meat & Bread. At lunchtime this place has a line out the door with many people working downtown sharing a space at the long communal table to enjoy their sandwich. The menu is simple and consists of only 3 or 4 items which change daily, but the porchetta sandwich remains constant. The meat is chopped fresh at the front counter and a little salty crackle mixed in, then served with a salsa verde between a fresh bread. Dip it in the dollop of mustard and it’s a pretty awesome lunch to say the least.
 

To ease our bodies back into the warm Aussie weather we then stopped in Hawaii for a few days. The Big Island is where we spent most of our time with a mix of lazing on the beach combined with a little exploring of the volcanos. It feels quite surreal to be staring down into a volcano with the steam flowing from the ground. After the Big Island we flew to Waikiki Beach for a couple nights before heading home. Waikiki is a mix between Vegas and Surfers Paradise. It has an element of cheesiness, overrun by tourists and all the glitzy expensive stores and restaurants to keep you entertained and empty your pockets. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the other parts of the Honolulu but it was nice to wander the beach and watch the sun go down.
 

Since arriving in Australia it has been go go go with getting our apartment back together again, catching up with family and friends over Christmas, and getting our lives back together and organised for the new arrival of our little one in March. We have had warm 33˚+ days so it has been quite a change from the 0˚ temps we left in Montréal. Having been away for 1 1/2 years Brisbane in ways has changed but is very much the same. A few new cafes and restaurants have popped up around the place, roads have changed, high rises have been added, but it is still the sunny blue sky city we remember well.

And so we start 2013 with a new chapter. I’m not exactly sure what this year will bring, how our lives will change with the little one, or where we will be in a years time, but I look forward to the journey and experience of it all. I hope you all have a great start to the New Year :)

{ Thanks Tina for all your Vancouver recommendations }

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