Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So maybe I should tell you a bit of whats happened.

18 days in, I think? I'm in Banff.
I'll give you the basics of whats happened.

Sat 26th January.
Traveled to Manchester airport with mum and dad. Said the goodbyes with the inevitable tears from mum. Shes getting better at keeping them back though. Got through to the waiting area. Phoned Si and realised that it was Australia day and he was pretty much out celebrating already despite the fact it was only lunchtime. Good lad! I found a bar and tried to get an ozzie drink but no no avail so I did the next best thing, I chose a Canadian drink: Coors Light.
The plane was pretty cool. One step up from RyanAir. They showed us films but on the retro 'one TV per 5 rows' technique. I got to see Ratatoille so im not gonna complain. Plus they fed me often, so again, no complaints. Just a shame there wasnt any free alcohol.
Once I landed I finally found my right bus (after having to ask). The bus took me to a train station where I had to get an overcrowded city train/tram to a particular stop to where I had to walk 100 meters to the hostel. I was finally there.
I got my room then collapsed into a chair infront of a massive screen TV that was shared by all the hostellers. There wasnt much talk as it was a bit of a hostal environment. But thats when I made my mistake. After thinking everyone was cool, I took about three hundred dollars from my waist wallet and transfered it to my actual wallet which looks much cooler. I then took a walk in Calgary for some food as it had got to the equivelent of about 1am GMT. Couldnt find any fast food anywhere within a mile or so radius. I then got back to the hostel to real that my wallet which was in my pocket, wasnt in my pocket any longer. It had gone. Vanished. With $300, about fifty quid, and ALL MY CARDS! Boo. Eventful first day hey?

The day after, I searched the hostel and finally revealed to the parents that it had gone. Not happy. Took a walk into Calgary again to better luck. Walked past some filming where they claimed the production was called 'Snow II: Santa Who?'. I didnt believe it for a second, and IMDB backs me up. Calgarys nice and I hope to go back to watch some hockey.

The day after (Monday 28th) was COLD! About -40c cold! And I had to wait outside in that temperature for a bus for 20 minutes while my legs nearly fell off. Firstly I had to find a police station and report my wallet which took a little longer than I hoped. Finally caught the bus to catch another half an hour later (I could stay inside the warm bus depot though).
The bus then took about an hour to get to BANFF. I sat next to a guy I thought was Canadian but who turned out to be American. Damn.
I got off and took my first look at Banff. Damn it looked good. I got a map for free and walked to the hostel whcih was much further awa than I thought it was. It was actually a mile an a half plus most of it was on an incline. Not nice, especially as it was still cold there.
Now I previously thought the Calgary HI (Hostelling International) Hostel was nice, but this was 10 times better. There was a pub, a small restaurant and a very large kitchen for use for us all. Tres bon.

The day after I went for a walk to see the sights. The air was crystal clear (apologies for the pun), and the sights were amazing. I'll upload some photos soon. Sadly, while I found a walk, I carried it on further following what i thought were human tracks. They actually turned out to be deer tracks (again, some good photos). At this point, I couldnt be arsed to look at the map and followed the path for a ride. After about 2 miles of wading through snow to my knees, walking up and down step hills, I reached a frozen river and thus a dead end. I looked at my options which were basically walk across a frozen river which could break any minute to a road which was miles away, or walk back.
I had to walk back.
Long day, cold legs!

The rest of the days have pretty much joined together. All I've done is wait for a new card to come from England which contains much more money that I brought. I have finally met up with Joe a few times and am getting to know his mates. Who are all a great laugh. Ive been out for a few nights tasting the local beers, etc...

Anyways, the card SHOULD be here tomorrow so I should be able to pay some more rent and actually buy a pass and gear. The pass itself is about 3 times more than I believed it to cost. Damn.

Will is also booking his flights over and we should be taking the same flight home which is cool! Anyways, more later.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

30th blog! waaaay

13 days to go.
We went into Dalescrest to buy the insurence but ... holy hell, it had gone up over £150. I went home and found their original quote was a month short! boooo.
So it looks like I will be going into Canada and around Europe with a Dogtag around my neck! Waaaay!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Not long now

So its Tuesday the ... 8th? Yeah the 8th. I fly on Saturday 26th.
I Make that 18 days till I fly.

Joe Parker has already flown. He's there now the lucky bastard. Making snow angels as you do. As is Ellie Carter although she's in Fernie. I've also found out that Amy Askew will be there throughout February aswell. Joy.

I need to finish looking for travel insurance. What is important is: 1) how much is costs initially, 2) making sure it covers what I need (snowboarding, bungee jumping, and ice skating), and 3) that it has little or no excess charges.
Dalescrest (the tourist peeps I bought my flight through) have quoted me £287 with no excess charges for the Canada trip. No idea about Europe; I would need to go back in.
Dogtag quoted me £376 for both Canada and Europe. However, they have excesses. The cover looks to be pretty much the same cover as Dalescrest. However, when using Dogtag, all I need to carry on me is a dogtag (hence the name) and no papers where everywhere else needs papers.
The Post Office were fantastic! £644 for 90 days max boarding holiday (pretty sure I'm going for 91/92) and that is before I add any bungee jumping, etc...
AXA were wierd. For the Canada trip it would be just over £224, but add Bungee jumping and it jumps to well over double that. That price also contains excess prices of £100 per time. No thanks. Although, they might be good for Europe.
confused.com were TERRIBLE too. They automatically tried to sell me annual insurance despite the fact that I gave the exact dates of departure.

Looks like I will have to go with Dalescrest for Canada. W00p.