Thursday, 19 March 2009

Monday June 28 2004 - To San Francisco

Leaving the first Californian campsite, we head straight to San Francisco, which I have eagerly awaited throughout this trip. San Fran has to be the most attactive, charming, vibrant and beautiful city in the US, with it's small town feel, steep and confined Meditterranean style streets and architecture. We go in through Haight Ashbury, a funny district with vintage clothes, record stores and cafes etc. Then take photographs of the six oldest buildings in San Francisco, which pre-date the Great Fire in the early 20th century.

After checking in at the Laine Hotel in Downtown, we go for the surprise trip Cori has arranged for us. It's a boat trip in the Bay with drinks and buffet, past Alcatraz, underneath the Golden Gate bridge. I get free drinks bought at the bar. After the boat trip, we head back to the hotel, taking dinner at an Indian restaurant next door. Early night tonight, for it will be a long day tomorrow.

Sunday June 27 2004


An early start, then to a long eight miles to the beach, which is well worth it. A marine mist soon lifts and the sun shines radiantly all day. We lay on the beach and have lunch for one and a half hours then hike back to the van, where Cori is waiting for us. I get slightly sunburnt.

Saturday June 26 2004

In the morning, we were due to try our hand at dune buggies, but due to driving licence requirements (i.e. the lack of one) this doesn't happen, except for Astrid and Dave. The rest of us play mini golf. A beautiful drive along the coast to our next campsite - this time in California. This one is close to the sea, and is a rather pleasant grassy location, unlike last night. There are two other Trek groups at the same campsite.

Friday June 25, Seattle - Oregon coast

A long drive out of Seattle, through Oregon to a small campsite where we eat. Not much to report today, because of the large amount of travelling.

Thursday June 24, Seattle

Seattle is like a cross between Chicago and Vancouver. Very liberal and lively, and quite pleasant to be in. There are a lot of soup kitchens, apparently because of the high homeless population.

Once again, I spend the day by myself browsing the shops etc. I take a ride on the streetcar, take a ride on a trolleybus (!) and see the Space Needle, which hardly touches space really and is nothing to write home about. It is Jo's birthday, so we take the opportunity to go out for dinner at a crappy Mexican restaurant. The food is appalling - either that, or I hate Mexican food.

Wednesday June 23 2004


Kamloops was pretty dull. Now in Vancouver, and what a spectacular journey it was through BC to get here. Ever since we left Banff the journey has been consistently spectacular scenery. Arrive in Vancouver around midday, take a short tour through the city to our campground. British Columbia is very green and full of trees, much like home in fact.

In the evening we have dinner on George Park (pizza). I spend the day browsing the shops, see the Warhol at Vancouver Art Gallery and take advantage of how cheap it is here.

Tuesday June 22 2004

After a boozy night, we take to the lake for the morning's activity. Astrid is hungover but Pete, Martin and I go canoeing which is quite fun. In the afternoon it gets a little too hot after lunch. We leave at 4pm, put the clocks back an hour, and head through the rest of the Rockies to Kamloops - a very basic campsite with no shower, which is home for the night.

Monday June 21, Banff - Golden, (England 4, Croatia 2)

Left Banff around about mid-afternoon, and headed towards Golden, British Columbia. England played Croatia in Euro 2004 and won 4-2. The group watched the match in a pub called the Screw and Tap I decided to wander around Banff by myself for a bit though.

Drove through some beautiful parts of the Rockies, stopping off at a lake on the way. Then arrived at a campsite for the night at Golden, run by eccentric middle-aged couple. There is another Trek group staying at the campsite. Their leader is a very good-looking guy called Clive who thinks I look like the comedian Jamie Kennedy. So that's two alter-egos (the other one being Chris Martin from Coldplay, according to Martin).

Sunday June 20 2004, Banff - Fathers' Day

Awoke at the nice reasonable hour of 9:15am today. Much more than like normall! Took the bus into Banff town, had breakfast, checked emails and did some shopping. Bought flip-flops in GAP. Phoned home having spent $9.00 on calls - I hope my parents are sufficiently satisfied that I'm alive and well, and that I've not been mauled by a bear.

Drunk coffee in Starbucks. Tonight we're going to dinner somewhere with the rest of the group, let it not be pizza again!!!

Weather is dry but quite cloudy, in any case it's dry enough and warm enough for shorts and sandals.

Quite enjoying a day off by myself - this is what it's all about.

Saturday June 19 2004, Banff, Canada

A really pleasant day in Banff and Lake Louise. The night was cold - the weather this morning a little sharp - but once we get to Lake Louise it really gets to warm up. I'm a bit wary of taking a long hike, but decide with the rest of the group, to take the 'Tea House' trail, which goes around Lake Agnes to the top of the mountain (a three and a half mile round trip). The views of the lake and mountains are absolutely stunning. The water is an almost unnatural blue, so clear and clean looking, I've never seen anything like it. Eventually we reach the top - a charming little tea house where I order soup and bread. The birds are not shy here, one swoops down and steals bread from our plate! (Last night, a squirrel made off with a whole Twix bar from John and Jo's tent!!!).

Go down the mountain, briefly meet Astrid, who's been swanning around not doing much! Then sit in the Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel - a magnificent place - have coffee and generally chill.

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