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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Tuesday, 22 July 2003
train --> Vancover --> Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Seventeen hours in a train is actually not such a bad thing. I loved the sceneries of the Canadian Rockies, enjoyed the dinner last night and had a good sleep when my seat was transformed in a comfy berth.
This morning I had shower on the train and had breakfast on the dining car. Slowly (very slowly) the train was entering the outer suburbs of Vancouver in the early morning. I think Viarail has a great timeschedule, but if a train is too early, it won't arrive at the terminal earlier. Somehow the train stood still for half an hour. On one side of the car I saw a trailer park and the other side was water.

But I made it to Vancouver in the early morning. I arrived at about 7, got my baggage and waited for my pickup. My third official Canadian hostess, Gail Edwin, had emailed me last week asking if I needed a ride to the airport when I'd leave Canada. Well, that ride was already arranged, but I could need some help to get from the train terminal all the way to the ferry terminal as I had to get myself straight to Victoria on Vancouver Island today!

Gail and I came to a great teamwork. She would pick me up in the morning, take me to her home to relax a bit (and do some work through her internet connections) and after she had finished a report for her work as a researcher, she could drop me off south of Vancouver, in Tsawwassen.

It was interesting to meet her again, as she has been following my entire trip through her country and basically ended up at her place again. As she had already a friend staying over in her apartment (she invites all kinds of people over all the time, I have heard) we first went for some coffee and a donut to her favorite lunch deli across the street.

We talked about my trip and about how things had developed all the way. It all seemed to have worked out, with help of sponsors I got all the way to the cold north, flew to Baffin Island, received sponsoring by Viarail and made it all the way to see icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland!

I posted some updates on this site and enjoyed a protein full salad that Gail had prepared in the afternoon. She interviewed me with her camera and even made two movies which she posted on her own website. (Watch them with Quicktime)

Well, the idea was that she would take me to the ferry terminal, but unfortunately she was kept at her apartment, waiting for a new report or something she had to do for her work. She decided to just give me some change to take the bus to the terminal. I thanked Gail for her support and waved goodbye at the bus stop down the street.

The bus drive took quite a while, because I missed a connection half way. Then again I made it on the 5 o'clock ferry at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal where I boarded the ferry. The ferry cost 10 dollar and I could pay that with the 20 dollar donation Tammy Ingram in Calgary had given me last week.

On the ferry I saw Vancouver in the background and slowly the Gulf Islands passed me by. Some 90 minutes later the ferry arrived at the bay of Swartz Bay, north of Victoria. I made it to Vancouver Island, again!

After visiting Vancouver Island for the first time some five months ago, I knew I wanted to come back again. The island has a vibe, a good feeling, it's hard to describe. Up north British Columbia, in Prince George, I met up with Anna Rutherford and her family. Five months later Anna has moved from Prince George to Victoria. We stayed in contact by email and she told me I could always come over and spent the last days of my Canada trip at her little apartment. I could not say no to that. I am a bit tired of traveling so much and meeting so many people. At this moment I love to meet people that I know a little bit already, than to have fresh starts with strange people every day.

At 6.30 pm Anna picked me up at the ferry terminal of Swartz Bay and drove me all the way to Victoria. It was great to be back here, because I started recognizing things from the past. And that doesn't really happen to me that often.

But boy, do they have many billboards along the road here. I think they mentioned any activity, lodge or rental place of the entire Vancouver Island, which is three times the size of my own home country.

Anna gave me a lot of options of things to do for the few days I would be on the island. I told her that she shouldn't fill up all days with all kinds of activities, but just take me along with whatever I should really not miss.

In Prince George Anna was employed as a sales manager at a big retail store, but she decided to give up that job and move to the most sunny part of the country and try her luck there. She found a job at a dry cleaners and fell in love with a man called Ian.

After dropping off my stuff at Anna's place, we walked from her neighborhood to downtown Victoria. The sun was already setting the whole city had a fascinating orange glow. Anna treated me on a dinner at a local restaurant before we headed back to the house. I was pretty tired after this whole travel day and settled myself on the couch for the night.

Good night Victoria!

Ramon