2018-07-30

Canada 2018

We spent three weeks in Canada this August. My two brothers, our spouses and baby Leonie. We got a rental car that comfortably fit the 7 of us and luggage with room to spare. We thought that was big until we parked next to some local pickup trucks. Standing upright next to one of these monsters I could just barely look over the hood. Ridiculous.

We spent the first half of our vacation with my cousin and his family on Vancouver island. They have a beautiful house on the waterfront and we could stay in their guest house (Thank you!). This was a very relaxed week with lots of family visits, reading and board games. Good food, good company. We visited the Sooke music festival; the Sooke fine arts show (which my aunt helps organize); the Sooke brewing company (where my cousin and wife are founding investors) open mic night (where my brother Torsten gave a great performance) and the Victoria Symphony Splash. We tried wakeboarding, inner tubes, stand up paddling, motor biking and went sailing around Victoria. Leonie experienced a big trampoline for the first time in her life and was immediately hooked. Her first attempts were just wobbly drunken runs in a circle but after only a few minutes she started jumping for real and tumbled around gleefully.

For the second half of our vacation we drove up the interior to Longworth. A tiny village on the Fraser river 120 km East of Prince George and home to my mom and sister. It was a weirdly apocalyptic drive. The entire province was covered by thick layers of smoke from more than 700 forest fires. At the time Beautiful British Columbia, as the tourist office likes to advertise it, had the world's worst air quality. The sun was this weird red orb in a dark sky raining ashes. We stopped at one point and it was 43°C outside, one of the hottest air temperatures I've ever experienced. Only a few days later we had nighttime temperatures of just 5°c. Quite a difference in a few hundred kilometers!

In Longworth we did some gardening work, shuttling in fresh sand from the riverbank; had fun exploring the wilderness on quads (including cutting fallen trees out of our way, improvising a bridge and slinging a lot of mud); we visited my aunt in Prince George; the railway museum; climbed the Lookout mountain and swam in the muskeg. We also started building a trail for the ATVs around my mom's property. Kind of inconceivable from a Swiss or German perspective but her property is pretty big and mostly inaccessible forest. Which means that there's no easy way to actually explore all of it or even walk the extent of it. We thought this was a worthwhile project, so we got the chainsaws, machetes and brushcutter ready and set to work. A lot of sweat and toil later we managed a small little loop that was rideable on the quads (if still a little bumpy). Not even close to going around the entire land, but at least a start. And a lot of fun ;-)

When we finally returned the rental car we had covered a distance of 3000km. This time we very explicitly took it slow. Our last visit in 2014 was on an action packed tight schedule that included a canoing accident and near drowning. With a very pregnant Anke and young Leonie we didn't want to repeat that experience and chill a bit this time. I think we mostly succeeded and even still (mostly) like each other - I think that counts as a successful vacation ;-)

If you think you should have access to the full set of photos, please contact me and I'll send you a link.