Miga and friend decide to finally tackle the Canadian Rockies. Unfortunately, poor driving skills and no car means a packaged tour is our best bet … and we joined one of the cheapest priced tour in town – an agency under a language center in downtown, only $345 (excluding admissions, and tips). It was a 4 days, 3 night tour, and my semi-retired tour guide mom said it sounds terribly rushed and a look at the itinerary didn’t seem that impressive either but we just made the best of it.
So it was … I headed down to Canada Place at 8 A.M. to wait for our bus. There were many tours leaving for the Rockies that weekend, so we waited for the buses to pass by until the agency’s manager called us over. There would be 2 other stops at Coquitlam and Surrey before we head off for lunch at Hope.
The first few chairs were reserved for foreign tourists but the remaining seats were free for taking and everyone just scattered everywhere. Therefore, the people at the last stop that were not part of the package tours were split up. Almost 70% of the tour group were from Korea, either tourists or working holiday or students. There were also a few Filipino families but the tour guide only spoke Korean, with just a few English words here and there.
Very quickly, we were at Hope and we had a Kimchi Tofu Stew! It was a little too spicy for me and it was really hot, so I ate very slowly. Interestingly, everyone finished the lunch between 10 to 15 minutes. I asked my friend and she suggested that perhaps they were trained to eat fast, so they can go back to work etc …
There is it, we had this at a Sushi Restaurant 🙂
Our itinerary said we will visit Bridal Veil Falls, we did – a three seconds drive by. I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture. However, here are some random pictures I took near Merritt, B.C, while on the bus.
Here are more pictures:
Between the blindingly fast changing scenery outside my window and the quick and unclear sounds coming from my tour guide (whose words I had no way of understanding), I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was locked in the bus while the bus driver and our tour-mates went to the washroom (!!) There were three other people in the back with me and they were completely indifferent to the situation … Sigh, the law here says you can’t lock pets inside a car and here, we had people locked in there with no air conditioning in the middle of summer (O.K. fine, so it was only 10 minutes but still! When asked, the tour guide said the driver checked and saw no one else was in the bus …
More pictures from the bus.
Our final attraction for the day before Valemount is the Well Gray Park – the Visitor Center at Clearwater! The park is the 4th largest in BC! We were only at the visitor center … there were two floors that sells souvenirs, mini cafe, and some really good traveling brochures!
Outside is also a tepee .. we can go inside and hide from the sun.
The final set of ‘moving pictures’.
We arrived at Valemount, B.C. It is a town with only about 1000 people but tourism is quickly growing, as it is the gateway to the Jasper National Park, and there is even talks about a new skiing resort! Already there is an A&W and a Tim Hortons as well as Subway opening soon! There are tons of exciting outdoor activities to do here like hiking, white water rafting, snowmobiling, and horseback riding to name a few.
This was our little inn next to the highway. It reminded me of the times I was staying at a cabin while camping. There was a stove and the window directly faces into the wilderness. The TV was a flat screen with a box and it was low definition. It made me realize how much I love my high def TV.
There is a Korean restaurant located next to the hotel (owned by the same owner) and we had our dinner and breakfast here. Our dinner is another hot pot, my friend and I were 6 minutes late and we were the last people in. The pot was closet to two girls from Toronto and they were so nice to scoop it for us except I quietly told my friend there is no meat in my bowl. In response, she asked the other girls if there were still meat in there… but there were already none *awkward*. Again, after 15 minutes, people have left the building …
After dinner, we walked around town. There was a visitor center that was still opened until late. The town center is further down from our hotel – through these welcome gates and an extra 10 minute walk.
That evening, the skies were marked by lightening but no thunder.
The best part of the day is finding this amazing cloud.
That was day 1 🙂