Getting out of London

July 12th, 2019 , 10:13

Though we’ve been on holiday, we’ve mainly just been hanging out in London. Off to the Banqueting House which I hadn’t seen (and how long have I lived here?!) And getting stuff done around the house. But I’ve been wanting to go to Arundel for years now, so we decided Tuesday afternoon to just go. Booked a B&B, got up Wednesday morning early and headed out.

It’s close enough to be a day trip but I wanted to see everything so we stayed a night. Got to Arundel Wednesday lunchtime, dropped the bags at the B&B (Arden House, recommended!), and went out for lunch. Found a really nice little tea room (Belinda’s Tearooms) and had a light lunch. Joe says you know it’s a posh tea room as the brown sauce came in it’s own little bowl on the side. We walked around the town, including the Victorian Cathedral, and the steep roads!

Then off to the Castle! I got the ‘see everything’ ticket. We ended up sandwiched between two very large German school groups who were headed for the castle, so we went the other direction to the gardens. We went into the Fitzalan chapel (but missed the Anglican church) and then wandered the gardens. We had beautiful weather and the gardens are lovely.

Then off to the castle. First up the many many steps to the Norman keep – tiny twisty narrow steps up to the keep! That’s the oldest bit of the castle as the rest is mainly Victorian. We then went through the bits of the house that are open taking our time to see everything.

Then headed for the Arundel Museum which is tiny! Which is good because we only had about 45 minutes before it closed! It’s an interesting little place and if you have a castle ticket you can get in for £1 (though they take your castle ticket). Behind the museum is the Waterside Cafe and we stopped for a well needed drink and sit down.

Once showered and freshened up, we headed out to find a place for dinner. Most of the places are on Tarrant Street so we walked along looking at menus. Found The Parsons Table which is tucked off the street and luckily they had a table because the food was wonderful! Joe tried the local beer, very local – Arundel Brewery and called Tarrant Street! Also luckily our B&B was downhill from the restaurant so we could just drift back down!

Up early the next morning to head out to the wetlands, which was the main reason I wanted to go to Arundel! You’re suppose to be able to see water voles there, but of course I didn’t! After a lovely breakfast, we headed out along the river to walk to the wetlands. The river walk is lovely – should have taken about 40 minutes to the wetlands (about 20 by the road) but we took just over an hour because we kept stopping to look at things! Into the wetlands – we headed for the boat safari but then saw that the wildflower spotlight session was starting so headed for that. I thought we’d get to walk around the site looking at what was in bloom, but instead you sit in a hut and she talks about various plants and their uses. You can see the dried plants, but that’s not as helpful as getting to see them on the site! A bit disappointing though interesting.

We then walked all over the site popping into the hides for a sit and look. We were in the sand martin hide – on the path leading to the hide is a large sign telling people to be quiet. So of course a staff member doing a tour came tromping up the path speaking in a huge loud voice and carried on in the hide, voice bouncing off the walls as he showed off. I wouldn’t have been as miffed if the sign hadn’t been there!

We did the boat tour in the afternoon and it’s lovely. We saw loads of dragonflies, damselflies, minnows, pike, roach/rudd, and all sorts of birds flitting past too fast to identify. But don’t expect to see anything on the banks because the people in the boat talk quiet a bit! It’s more a ride than a wildlife spotting trip, but still fun! (At least there weren’t any hippos and the boat driver didn’t have to have a toy gun.)

We finally found the reed walk and that was lovely! It loops through the reed beds and there are all sorts of things to see. And that leads to the woodland hide which has bird feeders. So we spend time there watching the birds flit in and out.  Definitely worth going to see!

After the wetlands we walked back into town and stopped at the Norfolk Arms pub for very late lunch. Had a really good meal (the food around Arundel is excellent) and then off to the train station to head home. Got to the tube at a good time as it wasn’t very crowded and home in  the evening! Could easily do Arundel WWT in a day, but to see both the castle and the WWT we did need the two days!

Frog Blog

The Last Day

March 27th, 2019 , 11:03

Leaving day, so we took our time in the morning. Got everything packed and ready to go, checked out and left our bags at the hotel while we had a last walk around Rome. The day was cloudy and wet – showers mostly.

So we headed out to the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, which we had tried to go by Monday afternoon on the way back from the Vatican but managed to go past the road and didn’t want to go back (also it’s up a steep flight of steps and we just weren’t up to climbing more steps!) More Michelangelo, this time his tomb for Pope Julius II and the sculpture of Moses. Joe was looking forward to lighting it up; you put in a donation to contribute to the lightening of the sculpture but one website implied it was put money in to turn on the light. Joe was picturing a diorama or something, I think, and was quite disappointed it was just another renaissance statue. But what a lovely statue. We also had a look at the chains the basilica is named for – supposedly the chains used to bind St Peter in Jerusalem fused to the ones used to bind him in Rome.

We then headed for the Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli (the Spanish Church in Rome) where Alexander VI (Borja/Borgia) is buried.

We then decided to finish our tour of Rome where we started – at the Pantheon. As we were heading there we heard thunder so we hurried along and got in just before the skies opened. And we sat and watched the rain fall through the oculus. The floor and drainage are apparently original and work very well. The floor has a slight incline to the edges, but even so remained dry as the rain goes through the holes to the drainage underneath the centre.

When the rain stopped we headed back out, had a very early lunch (pizza!) and then got our bags, walked to the train station, and off to the airport. They didn’t move our seats, but we were across the aisle from each other so not as bad as we had for our flight out. In the end however, the two seats next to Joe were empty so I moved over there. And the bloke who was trying to get Joe to move so he could sit closer to his partner ended up in my seat and she ended up in the middle there (musical chairs!) So it wasn’t as bad a flight as I feared (the bloke originally next to me was a spreader and kept jabbing his elbow into my side, ugh. He ended up in the woman’s aisle seat – musical chairs on the plane!) Home very late and very tired.

Good things:

  • Walking all over Rome!
  • The weather (in the 20s and sunny every day except the last)
  • Lots of ruins and great art!
  • Parks!
  • The food – we did not have a bad meal. Some indifferent meals, some good meals, some great meals, but nothing that we would say ‘ugh don’t eat there!’ (though some of the coffee wasn’t very nice – surprisingly)
  • Early morning in the Vatican and seeing the Sistine Chapel with very few people in it. In fact, getting to see the Chapel three times with different levels of crowding.
  • The top of the Colosseum away from the crowds and wonderful views.
  • Very, very good coffee at Casina Valadier, in the park overlooking Rome.

Not so good:

  • Sore feet
  • The stack of laundry that needs to be done
Frog Blog

Another Country

March 25th, 2019 , 21:28

Or we went to the Vatican today (ooo look, the Sistine Chapel!).

Up stupidly early – 5am – as I got breakfast tickets for the Vatican. Slightly less than the early morning “open the museum” tickets, but still very early! (So the open the museum is you show up at 6am and get to follow around the person who unlocks the doors and turns on the lights – but you have to email for prices and availability so . . . ) I got us the 7:15 breakfast and then museum entrance at 8am. We got there far too early and had to wait so walked around the walls a bit. Then in for breakfast.

When they let you in, there is a museum guard waiting for you and you follow him through security, then to the ticket office to pick up museum tickets and vouchers for breakfast and audio guides. We waited for a bit for everyone to get through security and sort tickets, then followed the guide up into the museum. We were led out onto a terrace where we could see the dome of St Peter’s in the fog, then when everyone had got to the terrace we were led to the restaurant for breakfast. Unfortunately too cold and foggy for breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard!

Breakfast is ok and there is plenty of it, but I wanted to get started on the museum. However, they have guards at all the entrances – like people are going to sneak away from breakfast to see stuff. Humph. 

Once they finally freed us to roam, we headed up only to find many of the galleries still closed. So we decided to go to the Sistine Chapel first while it was still a bit quiet and before the tour groups started. Got to see a bit, especially the long corridors, and down into the Chapel which is lovely. Several other people had the same idea so it was busy, but not crowded (though there was one annoying tour guide waving his flag on a stick and nearly hitting us in the head!) In fact, after looking around we were allowed to go back the way we’d come in to go see the apartments (Rafael and Borgia rooms). This led us to a different way to the Sistine Chapel (we went up the stairs rather than down). The Rafaels and Borgia rooms were interesting, though the modern art wasn’t as interesting to us. The Chapel was actually less busy this second time so we took our time looking at everything.

There are two exits to the Chapel (and you really shouldn’t do what we did the first time and go back through the entrance!) one is for visitors and the other for tour groups. The tour group exit actually takes you to St Peter’s Basilica – a sneaky way around that means you don’t have to walk all the way around the country to the Basilica entrance and join the huge queue. But we took the individual exit as I wanted to see the rest of the museum. We got rid of the audio guides at a leave point as we weren’t using them and headed back into the museum to see everything We didn’t manage everything, but managed a fair bit before Joe had had enough. This time the Sistine Chapel was packed (yes, we saw it three times), the guards were telling people to keep moving, not to stop, don’t take pictures, no guides talking! So we moved through the crowds had a quick look, and ducked out the guided tours exit.

This takes you to a courtyard and you go across the front of the Basilica to the entrance. We managed to work our way through the crowds to see the Pieta, then had a look at the rest of the building. Found the monument to ‘James III’ of England – recognised by the Pope but not the UK. And then headed down to the crypts and out. 

We then walked along the river and back to the hotel. Wanted to see Michaelangelo’s Moses, but went past the church and decided not to go back. So we’ll try to do that tomorrow. Had another lovely meal, but missed gelato again! 

Out of Rome

March 24th, 2019 , 20:47

Or walking on the Appian Way.

But last night Joe ate tomatoes! Raw tomatoes! I think he may have been replaced by a pod person. We ended up in a little Trattoria around the corner from the hotel for dinner. They were pretty laid back, but served lots of good food. When they came to get our order they plonked down a plate of bruschetta – large slices of toast covered in garlic and tomato and Joe ate his. And his meal was served with tomatoes which he also ate (well, not the sliced ones around the outside of the plate). Joe ordered a pudding and they delivered it to the table with two spoons which was nice. Just a really nice place and not at all expensive.

So we slept in this morning. So late we missed hotel breakfast. Went to get transport tickets and had a very nice man at the tobacconist shop (where you buy tickets) give us directions and advice. Walked forever to get to the bus stop (probably about half the distance to the Appian Way!). Stopped to get a coffee and had a brioche bun (standing up :)). Got the 218 to the top of the way, headed into the tourist info shop which was heaving with people renting bikes and got a map and advice where to go. 

The first bit of the walk was a bit like I imagined but fewer ruins and an asphalt paved road. And don’t believe ‘no traffic on Sundays’ there are a lot of buses and private cars still. I really didn’t notice any lack of traffic. And the place does get busy with cyclists and walkers. We didn’t go into any of the catacombs, but did go into the Circus of Maxentius, Tomb of Caecilia Metella, and the Capo di Bove baths. The road wasn’t at all like I imaged. There are still a lot of modern homes along the road, so it’s pretty much like other roads around Rome, just a few more rocky areas. It probably gets better further along, but we turned off to head toward the aqueducts and the metro. 

We didn’t see the aqueducts, but did find the Via Latina which is another little stretch of ancient Roman road. It doesn’t have the original stones of the ancient road (or we didn’t see any), but otherwise looked more like what I thought the Appian Way would look like, with huge old tombs lining the way. The tombs are supposed to be really interesting inside, but you have to book in advance so we didn’t get. Still the outside was nice.

By this time we were completely tired so headed back to the hotel by metro. After a rest we headed out to eat at that place we couldn’t get into last night (they were booked solid) and it was worth going back as the food was very good. I had a pizza bowl which was interesting. Tomorrow we are up very very early so off to sleep early!

A Day in Ancient Rome

March 23rd, 2019 , 18:13

So, everything says to do the Colosseum first, then go to the forum. But when I looked at tickets I couldn’t get tickets for the morning – not on any of the tours. Couldn’t get a below the scenes tour at all, in any language. But could get a Panoramic view tour in English at 13:35. This ticket covered standard entrance to the Forum/Palatine Hill and the Colosseum with a tour up to the fifth level. So went for that and going against all the advice decided to do the Forum in the morning and Colosseum in the afternoon. Yeah.

Up early due to a family on the same floor that all yell at each other. Or are just very very loud. So up and breakfast and headed out to the Forum getting there as it opened. Think we were some of the first through the gate (Joe thinks we were about the third) and the very helpful staff told us which Colosseum entrance to go to at 13:00. After looking at the map, decided to head straight up Palatine Hill. Where I discovered the Palatine museum entrance is actually in the ticketed area and you can’t get to it from outside. Well drat. So we didn’t see that as it was an extra charge and not included in our ticket. None of the interiors were covered. So we walked all over the hill –  the entire area is huge. Then down through the 16th/17th century gardens which had been restored (and only opened a year ago),  the Farnese Gardens, to the forum. We walked through the forum, but it was getting near 12:00 so we did that quickly and along to the exit. 

Found a place for a drink and pizza. Expensive as it was by the Colosseum but we were expecting that and the pizza was actually quite good. Then back to ancient Rome and our tour!

However, when we got to the gate we were given a sticker then told to come back at 13:40. Oh. We could have seen more of the Forum (Joe sighed). So we sat and chatted to a bloke visiting from San Fransico, before joining the other tourists waiting for our tour. Then off into the Colosseum!

The Belvedere tour is good. I’d like to have combined it with the tour that goes under the arena, but just the Belvedere is very good. You go in a separate entrance, but then join the crowds on the first level to walk around to the gate that leads up. From that level on, it’s just the Colosseum tour groups!  IT goes right up to the fifth level where you have an excellent view over the entire area, as well as views out over Rome on each of the levels you stop on. It’s well worth doing. As well you get lots of information about the building and the area. We both really enjoyed it. When the tour ends you can spend time wandering around the open areas of the Colosseum. So we walked around and saw the lower levels before leaving.

We then headed back to the hotel the long way – down toward the Circus Maximus, along the Circus which is now a park, then around the Forum behind the Capitoline Museums and then along to the hotel, stopping for some wonderful gelato on the way – Joe got lemon, vanilla and dark chocolate and I had the totally weird selection of Sour black cherry, mango and pistachio. Weird but very very good. My favorite was which ever I was eating at the time. 

Roman around

March 22nd, 2019 , 21:13

That’s Joe’s title. Not mine. 

We walked today. Well, today isn’t over, but we’ll be doing more walking this evening. We started out on the metro though to the Vatican – we did that today because Monday we’ll be doing it again at stupid o’clock. Found the nearest metro station and headed for the ticket machine where I watched the people in front of me. Then decided to figure out where we were going before getting a ticket. Once we found a map of the metro and figured out which stop we wanted, we went back to the machines only to discover that the tickets are by time rather than station. oh well. We got the cheap 100 minute ticket and followed the crowds down to the platform. Joe wanted to keep following the crowds onto the train but we figured out it was going the wrong way. Once on the correct train it was normal riding along until we got to cross the Tiber. 

What the guide sites don’t tell you is that once you get off the metro there are touts every few inches telling you where to go. Then try to sell you a tour. We got a bit tired of saying no thanks, we know, ta, etc. They are really insistent on pointing out you’re going the wrong way cause the Vatican Museums are up that way. But we wanted to go to the basilica then along to Castel Sant Angelo and walk along the river – and we were going the correct way for that. It got very annoying very quickly! And the entire time we were outside the Basilica getting photos and gawking, touts were coming up to us to get us in past the queues. You’d say no to one and the next standing right behind him would then come up. 

So we dodged the touts, got a couple of photos and started walking away from the church – when you head away from everything they start to leave you alone. Yay. We slowly walked to the river, getting photos, and along to the Castel which is very impressive. We headed down to the walk around the building, then back up to the river side walk and continued along the Tiber. Crossed the river at the Ponte Cavour where there’s a museum with the Arca Pacis (peace alter). It’s a large white glass museum and you can see the large stone alter inside. We didn’t go in, but instead walked around the Mausoleum of Agosoto, which is currently closed for restoration. 

We then headed up to the Piazza del Popolo. Sat for a minute while Joe got photos and had a look around. We went into the Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo and saw the Caravaggio (The Conversion of Saul). We didn’t go into the Leonardo Museum, but have heard it’s good. Instead we headed up to the Terrazza del Pincio where we stopped for the best view of Rome (or so it is said, and it is a very good view!) More photos and looking around. It was getting warm (even for me) so we stopped at a cafe we saw for drinks and some cake. Casina Valadier which is a lovely place to stop – we sat outside and had some of the best coffee and a lovely cheesecake, plus the nibbles they put out when you sit down. 

After that well needed break we headed to the top of the Spanish Steps, headed down to the Piazza Spagna, then backtracked to the Via Margutta, before turning around and heading back toward our hotel. We walked along the Giardini del Quirinale, but didn’t see any of it – just the very large wall around it! The bit we came to the road actually goes under the gardens – we took the small road that curves up to the main road in front of the gardens, but then turned away from the gardens to head back toward the hotel. A slow stroll to the hotel than a rest.

After our rest and a wash, we headed back out so Joe could get some sunset photos around the Colosseum. Again, a ton of touts and people hassling you to buy crap. Joe was focusing the camera and some bloke just shoved whatever he was trying to flog into the view – want to see Joe get annoyed? That’s how you do it. It was a lovely walk down through a park and then a walk around the Colosseum and up to look at some of the forum. Then we headed back through the park and up toward our hotel in a different direction. 

Stopped for a really nice meal – an artichoke starter that was lovely and very different, and Joe had an excellent carbonara. Now back at the room and stuffed!

Our hotel has different Italian renaissance paintings on the room doors and in our room we have the same painting that is on our door on our ceiling – Fall of Phaethon.

What did the Romans ever do for us?

March 21st, 2019 , 20:37

Guess where we are! 

Stayed at Gatwick last night – had dinner at home then headed out to Gatwick, but as the Gatwick Express was running late or even cancelling trains it took us a bit longer then we planned. But it was just to get to the hotel and sleep before flying out the following day, so.

Up early, drop off keys, head to check in for the flight. For some reason we flew to Rome. Joe thinks it gives us more time. Which is good, but flying is pretty miserable. But we survived. Just. Actually, it wasn’t too bad – our seats were on different rows and different sides of the plane, so Joe asked at check-in if we could please sit together. Pretty please. And so he moved out seats. To the premier extra room seats. Whoa. And there was a fluffy nun – well, fleecy nun. She had a cope in fleece! So a nun’s habit in fleece! Lots of people watching.

Flew over the Alps and argued about where we might be. But clear skies so lovely views over the mountains and along the Italian coast. Saw what we think was Corsica. Maybe. Landed a bit late, sorted train tickets while waiting for our bag, and then headed off for the train at a run so we didn’t miss it. Relaxing ride to the main station and short walk to the hotel (walked right to it) and got settled in before heading out again.

By the way, in Rome hotel rooms have paintings on the ceiling. Well ours does. 

Once all settled we headed back out again, trying to get to the Pantheon before it closed. Joe claimed I stopped to gawk too much, but I think it was just the right level of gawking. Lots of lovely little streets, old buildings, courtyards, and Roman ruins. Had to stop and look at Foro de Augusto but missed Trajan’s Market so have to go back that way! Made it to the Pantheon with plenty of time to spare and spend a good bit of time inside admiring the building, then walking around the outside. Joe got some photos. It was crowded but not as bad as we feared. 

We also got some gelato then started walking back toward our hotel via the Trevi Fountain. Stopped for a look, but way too crowded! On the way back to the hotel stopped for dinner – really nice meal. Now sleepy – planning lots more walking tomorrow and lots of ancient Roman stuff on Saturday! 

Not Joe. 

Vancouver and Home

July 15th, 2017 , 10:06

So up earlish again, though we should have only had a two hour drive to Vancouver. But you never know, and sure enough we stopped on Hwy 1. Everyone just parked and were saying there was a four car pileup ahead. We managed to work out another route coming off the exit we were stopped at, so I squiggled off the highway, onto the ramp, and we went the back route. Slightly slower, but a nicer drive through farmland. Traffic picked up closer to Vancouver but wasn’t too bad and we actually dropped the car off on time despite the delays and detour!

Shuttle to the airport where we had a lunch/brunch as we were too early to drop off our bags! Finally got the bags dropped off and through security. The flight wasn’t bad and landed nearly an hour early. Now to recover from jet lag . . .

Did find out through a search that there were two accidents on Hwy 1 and the road was closed until 7pm! So good squiggle off.

Frog Blog

Nearly Done!

July 13th, 2017 , 19:56

Up early, 6am MT so 5am Pacific which is where we were headed, and left at 7am. Had done all the check out stuff the night before so ready to go. We were hoping to avoid the construction, but they had started early at the blasting area and we stopped for about 10 or 15 minutes – so not bad. The rest of the construction area we just drove through!

We did some stopping along the way. First stop was Rockgarden which was lovely. As it was early we chatted to each other so didn’t see much wildlife (there were warning signs about bears everywhere and we were the only people there) but did see woodpeckers, probably the three-toed woodpecker, and some sort of small rodent, probably a pika. Haven’t had a chance to look them up! It is a beautiful walk, with some scrambling over rocks. Descriptions online said easy walk, the display board at the site said ‘difficult wear appropriate mountain hiking boots’, and the truth is somewhere in between. I did well in trainers and Joe in his hiking sandals, but there were stretches of scrambling!

After pulling out of Rockgarden, a truck going the other way flashed his lights at us. So I was slowing down and trying to find out why – was looking at my lights, checking the car, looking around. I was just about to start speeding up again when I saw why he’d flashed – the bear digging around at the side of the road! Black bear, just looking for breakfast. As it was so close to the edge of the road I didn’t stop, but slowed way down so Joe could get some hasty photos – and I’ve finally seen a wild bear!

We then went to the Giant Cedars boardwalk and walked along under the giant rainforest trees. Really lovely. We did run into a couple of other people on the boardwalk, but it was still quiet. Didn’t see anything under the trees, no bears or voles (there were signs about voles) and could hear birds, but didn’t see any. Joe got lots of good photos of the light, the trees, and the boardwalk!

We then got to the Skunk Cabbage boardwalk and Joe said he wanted to see what a skunk cabbage is, so I did a quick turn into the area. I thought it was just a short boardwalk out to some cabbages, so left my binoculars in the car. We stopped by the info board as there was a laminated sheet attached to it and a warning sign below – warning of a bear in the area. This was new; the other signs just had ‘bear country here’s how to behave’ but this was a sheet saying a bear was definitely in the area. At the start of the walk there was a white board with ‘post your recent sightings!’ and the last one was at 20:30 the night before – “still eating”. Hmmmm. And again we were the only people there. So we went in talking and singing.

Turns out the skunk cabbage boardwalk is a long walk – we took a bit over half an hour going relatively quickly. Well quicker than we’d normally go on such a walk. Because bear. We got to the boardwalk and started along only to come across a rather recent pile of scat and crushed vegetation either side of the boardwalk. But Joe said he wanted to see skunk cabbage (and also said ‘so this is proof that bear’s do not shit in the woods!) so we had a very loud discussion about bears and how they should just trundle right along because humans were there and carried on. And the boardwalk is brilliant – lots of skunk cabbage which is July isn’t particularly impressive, but also loads of birds (they do tagging here and have tagged around 50 different species) and other plants and creatures. The bear was obviously stocking up on all the berries in the marsh, loads of berries there. And of course I didn’t have my binoculars to see any of the birds flying around! We also startled something swimming in the water which dove with a flick of tail – too small to be a beaver, not a bird, so maybe a rodent? Perhaps a small otter? If they’re in that area. But not enough of a look to tell! There was one bird actually slightly under the boardwalk (and guess what we started singing) which we startled and it got caught by the grass/weeds trying to fly away so was making a racket flapping and crashing about. We may have jumped and squeaked when it did. But the skunk cabbage walk comes highly recommended! Even though we never saw the bear.

Then we just got in the car and headed toward Vancouver! We had decided to drive as far as we could, then stop for the night. We stopped at Joe Schmucks Roadhouse in Sicamous for brunch. Really good food and fun signs – “I dream of the day a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.” Also seen along the road was an Authentic Canadian Cantonese restaurant. We’re unsure exactly what they were serving, maybe maple syrup in all the sauces? We stopped in Chilliwack for the night and had dinner at a steakhouse, which was very good. Joe finished the meal with a 12 year old Canadian whisky which he learned was a rye. Said he enjoyed it. Saw a sign as we were leaving the steakhouse – “Instant human: just add coffee” – which we had to agree with. Tomorrow we fly home.

Frog Blog

Snow Hiking

July 12th, 2017 , 19:52

Had a huge breakfast at the lodge then headed off for Mount Revelstoke and the Meadows in the Sky parkway. We got caught just out of the lodge by roadworks and had to sit for about half hour while charges were detonated. Not sure if they’re widening the road or simply clearing off some of the rock face to avoid rock falls and avalanches. There were signs about avalanche clearing, but that seemed to be higher on the mountains.

We found the turn off for the Meadows in the Sky Parkway (looks like you can only get on it when going south) and were stopped by our first park ticket barrier. We had our parks pass (ordered back in December as they were doing a ‘get a free park pass to celebrate 150 years of Canada’) and this was the first time we actually got to use it! I’d had it on the rear-view mirror in case, as you’re supposed to have one if you park. We wound our way to the top, stopping at some of the pull offs (there were a couple closed). When we reached the parking area at the top, it was rather crowded but we found a place to park and then walked up the shuttle road to the summit. Nice walk, though there was snow! We had been warned before we headed up that there weren’t many flowers out, just the glacier lily, but there were other flowers starting to bloom. It was all lovely, but apparently the best time to see the flowers is in August.

At the top we went along the First Footsteps walk which was lovely. However, we were wearing our hiking sandals. And parts of the trail were still covered in snow. Cold snow. So was walking along and then had to slide our way over the snow. Did I mention we were in sandals? Cause yeah, that. After that we headed over to towards the fire tower and stopped for the views. Didn’t go all the way up to the fire tower as there was snow. We then headed back down to the car along the path rather than the road. Only to find more snow. But it was a very pretty walk.

We then headed into Revelstoke to get petrol – there is nothing between Golden and Revelstoke – about 150km and we were staying a little over halfway between, the lodge is closer to Golden. This is also why we were eating at the lodge – it was that or about an hour’s drive either way, perhaps more due to construction. So we gave ourselves the same amount of time it took to get to Revelstoke to get back to the lodge. Only we didn’t get caught in any of the construction and got in a bit quicker.

Another lovely dinner – no starter so I’d have room for pudding! Then waited for bunnies. Joe checked out the door and said bunny! So I went to have a look and there it was, munching the clover outside our room. Joe got several photos.

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