Our time in Alaska was great but now it was time to start moving South quickly. We wanted to meet our friends in Vancouver mid-August, so we had about 10 days to get there. Our GPS told us that it was a 2500 km drive to get there. So in theory that could be done pretty easily. However there are a lot of interesting short side trips possible on this route. And there was even a possibility to visit another little piece of Alaska on the way down. So it was going to be very interesting to see if we could keep our FOMO in check this time. Continue reading
When I heard the name Valdez, I immediately used to think about the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. I remember very well watching the TV news as a 10-year old and being absolutely shocked by the images of the sea birds and otters covered in oil. Now, almost 25 years later, on the surface it is hard to still see traces of this eco disaster. But you only need to dig 30 cm on the beaches to find traces of oil of the spill. Certain animal population numbers have still not recovered. Some will never recover again as we would find out during our visit. All that being said, these days, Valdez and the nearby Prince William Sound are absolutely stunning. Going forward we will no longer automatically associate the town with the oil spill but rather think about the amazing time we had there. Continue reading
Oh dear, where shall we start on this? Perhaps with our own expectations. There had been quite a bit of deliberation on whether or not to include Alaska in our itinerary. Not only because of the big additional distance (and resulting time pressure). But also because we were not sure what to expect of Alaska. We read some mixed reviews going from “the best nature/wilderness/wildlife ever” to “completely overrun by tourists in summer” & “Disneyland wilderness”. And then there was the Alaskan weather, which can be very fickle to say the least. We were told to expect very unstable, cool to cold weather and count on 60% of rainy days. So we kept our expectations very very low… Continue reading
It is a long way from the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the Alaska border: 2500 km for the shortest route (which we did not plan to take). Adding a loop to Alaska to our trip would tag at least an additional 8000 km to our trip. This is not something one can cover (and enjoy!) in three weeks. So you will understand that it took quite a bit of deliberating on whether or not we would do this. In the end we decided to go for it. On the one hand because it was a unique chance to visit Alaska in a more or less ‘affordable’ way. You can of course fly into Alaska and rent a campervan there, however this is a very costly affair and with our own wheels we could cut back a lot in these costs. On the other hand it also offers to opportunity to explore the vast Yukon & BC region in North Canada ‘en route’. A region with some really nice scenery and attractions but even more remote to get to than Alaska itself. So, off we went on the Alaskan Highway. Continue reading
As you may remember, we had as an objective to get to the famous national parks of Banff and Jasper in the Canadian Rockies before the start of the Canadian US and European summer holidays in July. Due to the bad weather in the region mid June and the detour we did to avoid this weather, we arrived a bit later and so we got to experience one reasonably calm week and one week of real ‘summer madness’. Continue reading
So we finally arrived at the foot of the Rocky Mountains but the weather forecasts were looking really awful. Luckily we have the luxury of having the time to wait. So instead of moving into the mountains at Banff National Park we threw the planning in the bin and manoeuvred around the bad weather. Luckily Southern Alberta has plenty of interesting stuff to keep us (and the kids) busy.
When we started planning our trip, there were only a couple of timings that were more or less fixed: friends that come visit on the one hand and visa or insurance restrictions on the other. But for Canada we had one more thing to keep in mind: the ‘silly season’ or ‘summer madness’ in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As of early July, the National Parks (especially Banff and Jasper) are overrun by both local vacationers and international visitors. Most campsites are sold out months in advance and trails get super busy at that time. So we wanted to get to the Rocky Mountains before this started. We planned on spending about 10 days to cross from Ottawa all the way to Calgary (3500 km further) at the foot of the Rockies. That turned out to be a very tight planning as there was so much more to see and do ‘enroute’ than we had expected. Continue reading
Before moving on to Québec we spent some days in the New Brunswick province. After a couple of nice sunny days of spring, the weather went back to overcast skies and nighttime temperatures dropped to near freezing again. Time to get the winter gear out once more. Our first stop was at Hopewell Rocks a series of impressive examples of what the big tides of the Bay of Fundy are capable of. The rocks look just like islands (with plants and trees) in the sea at high tide. But at low tide they reveal all kind of erosion formations: giant mushrooms, ice cream cones or “flowerpots” (as they are officially called). In order to see the formations the visit needs to be timed right. When the tide starts to rise everybody is chased of the beach as there is nowhere to turn if you get stuck on the beach (as some tourists have found out).
So, we are travelling again! And what better place to start than Nova Scotia! In all honesty the choice of the departure point was a very practical one. When shipping a vehicle to the East Coast of North America there is a choice between Halifax in Nova Scotia Canada and a couple of harbors in the USA. We choose to ship to Canada, mainly for visa reasons. Shipping to US would put us under too much pressure to get to Mexico later this year (before our US visum runs out). So end of April we dropped off our van in the Antwerp harbor and mid may we flew after it to Halifax. And we soon realized that Nova Scotia would pleasantly surprise us. Continue reading
Our son Leon was born on an ‘indian summer’ night in October 2015. As we were not able to find him a day care until February, we were obliged to take up holidays to close the gap (maternity leave is 3 months in Belgium). So we decided to do what we like best: travel! So at just three months we took the little fella on his first trips abroad. Starting with a road trip to the snowy Alps to enjoy the best of winter and continuing on to Thailand to escape the worst of that same winter. We spent quite some time searching the internet for tips and tricks but didn’t come across a lot of useful info. So without wanting to turn our website into a “baby blog”, here’s some of our ‘lessons learned’ for people out there who might be contemplating the same thing. Continue reading