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I love my life! Taking my time, soaking in the sights and always taking the road less traveled.

Deutsche Freunde (Part 1)

CANADA | Monday, 28 May 2012 | Views [1777]

Boy oh boy, where do I start? Let's go with post-Vipassana...

After the event I was fortunate enough to hitch a ride with Sophie-Monique, a lovely Polish girl who was heading to Vancouver. From Vancouver I would carry on with Naomi who was also heading towards Victoria, so I was pretty much set! First she dropped Liddy in Seattle (it did feel somewhat odd to be back in all these places I had already visited, but it was good to see it from another perspective) and then we crossed the boarder back into Canada. That was an exciting feeling, to be back in Maple Syrup land. As we were cruising along in the car, certain topics of discussion arose, including family. Sophie half joked about how her Polish family always have food out and we should stop over and grab a bite before she dropped Naomi and myself off at the port. I don't joke about food, so off we went and boy were her family hospitable! They cooked up a special batch of food for the vege heads, despite it being mothers day and them having a big roast. Her family even got out the fresh wild salmon and insisted we eat some of that. My gosh it was bloody brilliant (sorry fishies!)

The Polish cooks!

Myself, Sophie-Monique and Naomi

It was a beautiful sunny mothers day and they were about to head out on their high-performance wakeboarding boat. Unfortunately, we had to pass on this opportunity because it was getting late and we still had a 90 minute ferry ride to catch. We did go for a walk around the lovely neighbourhood though, I was still in my happy and peaceful place after the meditation, we all were. 

Beautiful people!

Cruising back into Victoria - keep the sunsets coming!

Naomi and I rolled into Victoria around 9pm that evening, we were both knackered but we had to trek it another hour and a bit to downtown Victoria, and then to her shared accommodation place where I would be crashing for the night (yes!). Her roomies were cool and super accommodating. I was just pleased to have a wifi connection!

The next morning I ate, got onto the phone with the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) and started to knuckle down on these VISA problems. Lots of time was spent on hold, but in the end I got through. As it turns out I need to get ANOTHER VISA if I want to work in childcare. Bastards! Admittedly, I was a tad angry and I did not want to sit cross-legged and remain equanimous, so I put my shorts and singlet on and ran. Oh what a feeling! I did seize every opportunity to stop at the crossing lights... I don't think I'll be running any marathons any time soon.

Naomi said I could stay another night if I wanted to, but I felt a bit bad considering there were like 6 people living there, so I went and booked myself into the Ocean Island Hostel, back here again! I think it had been almost 8 weeks since I had left and come back and it was a bit of a surprise to see some of the same people here.

Monday 14th - Thursday 17th

I spent these days on the phone to the CIC, at the police station looking to get my criminal record check finally done and booking my Canadian CPR and First Aid, because Australian CPR and First Aid don't count. So there really wasn't that much to do, but it dragged out and I took every advantage of the sun, lying on the grass in front of the beautiful parliament building next to the harbour reading Lance Armstrongs "It's not about the bike". I would easily spend at least an hour just lying there reading, observing the large crowds of Asian tourists snapping away and munching on my trail mix with chocolate buttons, yum! 

Unfortunately I met some more Germans (surprise, surprise) and naturally we kicked it off. I was bunked in the same dorm as Marco and Rene, inevitably forced into introducing myself (kidding, great guys!) and somehow stumbled into a broken English conversation with Madlen and Judith in the kitch whilst baking my delicious yams. 

So anyhow, between my trying to get in contact with the Canadian government and lazying around on the grass in front of Parliament building, we hung out a little bit. Observing a Victorian sunset, climbing Mt. Douglas (which turned out to be more of a hill - I had packed enough food for a whole day of climbing, but we reached the top in about an hour) and attempting to teach them the card game Bullshit. I attempted to upload and put a video in this entry, it's of the guys playing cards in German. It should be at the beginning of the entry. If not, click here: 

Confused Germans

Climbing Mt. Douglas

I can't resist the sunsets!

Mt. Douglas hangout

There were no concrete plans as to what we were going to do, but we all agreed to leave on Friday the 18th and most likely come back on Monday the 21st. Madlen and I scoured all the local car rental places looking for a good deal. In the end, it wouldn't cost a crazy amount when divided by five. Unfortunately, we found out that it was the Victoria long weekend and due to the demand, there weren't a wide choice of cars left, nor were they cheap.

Whilst we were sitting at table Germany that evening, some back up showed up (more Germans arrived) and we got talking, a mixture of English/German. Linda, one of the girls expressed that she wanted to travel up to Tofino and as well (I don't know if I've mentioned that Tofino was our destination point for the weekend). Before you know it, our party had one more and we were now five Germans and one lonely Australian. Birds of a feather flock together!

Friday 18th - Wednesday 23rd

I instructed everyone the night before to meet downstairs at 8am (I had originally wanted to meet at 7am, but turns out Germans like to sleep). We didn't have a car, or a plan, so for all we knew, we could be spending ANOTHER night in Victoria. 

After much careful quarrelling and German bickering, we got TWO cars. A small Toyota Yaris, which myself and Judith were down to drive and some Hyundai that Linda and Madlen would be driving. The guys didn't come to pick up the cars, so unfortunately we didn't put their names down as "extra drivers". The cars were hired out to Linda and Judith because they are over the age of 25, so we avoided some extra costs there. However, to put an additional driver on, one that is under the age of 25 is a bit costly. Funny: Germans don't drive automatic. 

Unfortunately the cars were not ready until 5pm, so we spent the day at the hostel playing Bullshit, Jenga and listening to Australian hip-hop. Our

By the time we got the cars, it was to late to drive to Tofino that evening, and I made it clear I did not want to rush. So first stop... Wal-Mart. YES! Then Nanaimo, that boring little town I visited 2 months prior. 

Rene, Madlen, Linda, Marco, Judith and I stocking up before we hit the road!

We got a cheap motel for four, smuggled two in and split the bill. I took the floor, which was rather comfy and got everyone up at 6:30am (Germans REALLY aren't happy in the morning).

That morning, I encouraged Judith to drive, but she wasn't ready, so I took the wheel again. The other car was not so diplomatic, and Linda took sole responsibility for the car, despite us all paying for the extra driver and insurance. This unfortunately created a bit of tension in the Hyundai, whilst the Toyota was having a super road trip!

Stopping off in Qualicum falls.

We stopped off a few times on the road from Nanaimo to Tofino. I drove first, got us lost a million times, but also did all the asking for directions. We pulled into Qualicum falls, explored a bit and carried on. At one point we pulled over to ask for directions and Madlen made the switch to jump in our car (which mind you was already filled with all our massive backpacks, and whatever else). Apparently things had gone a bit south in the Hyundai. Linda had a bit of a problem with Madlen driving her car, and so on... Oh well! We still stopped off and enjoyed some beautiful sights, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we all felt as if we were walking on thin ice.

Should of bathed in the water!

It was a relief to arrive in Tofino at around 3pm on Saturday. It's not a massive drive, but I think everyone was glad to just be there. The weather wasn't on our side, and strangely moods seemed to be just as grey. The little issues of the day had now gotten under peoples skin, and problems started to arise. Well, not even problems, more disagreements, silly things!

All in all, Linda wanted to stay in a hostel to meet more people?? Madlen and Judith wanted another cheap motel, the guys wanted to camp and I just wanted to get in a kayak! In the end, the girls found a bed & breakfast and us dudes decided to camp on the beach that evening. A lot of time was wasted bickering in the car park. 

I had heard in Victoria from others about a WW2 plane crash in the mountains near Tofino, sounded interesting but I didn't think much of it. Then at this bed & breakfast, while we were just chilling out a bit (by this point Linda had taken the car to do her own thing, the car that we had all chipped in for) another German fella (oh yay) popped in and mentioned the crashed plane and how AWESOME it was. So we set out at around 5pm looking for it. We pulled into a crappy fish & chips place, which was massively overpriced and I got massively ripped off. 

After driving around for a while, hopelessly lost, we got some clear directions as to how to find the plane. We parked our little hire car (the 5 of us squeezed into one, good thing I was driving) 11km outside of the town at a place called Radar Hill, walked along the highway for a few hundred metres and found the off-road trail. We were immediately greeted with this sign..

Rene getting pumped up!

The girls absolutely shat themselves, and truthfully I was a bit scared too. They were shaking in their German made booties and decided to go wait in the car. We had no idea how far it was or how long we would be. It was by now about 7pm and the sun was setting, but adventure waits for no one! Armed with our big bad sticks that we found, Marco, Rene and I ventured out into the unknown.

Rene and Marco, lost!

We strolled through an abandoned house and then had to hike through treacherous swamps and bear infested territory. Forty-five minutes or so later, first sight of the rear end of the plane. How flippin' cool, right? I'll let the pictures do the talking.

A bit scary..

Woop woop!

It was bad timing on our behalf, the sun was setting. I would have loved to explore the plane a bit more, but we had to get back before it got back otherwise we'd be dinner. The hike back seemed to be a tonne quicker, lots of mud, fallen trees and overgrown grass, but we made it back in one piece. The girls had parked by the side of the road, hazard lights on and started screaming when they saw us. Apparently they were scared...

It was now about 9pm and us guys had nowhere to sleep, so that was next on the agenda... There was a little row boat for sale on one guys lawn and Marco suggested we purchase it, it was only $50, and row to an island and camp their for the night. Good idea right? There were signs everyone saying "NO CAMPING" or "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING" so we had to employ some backpacker stealth tactics. We eventually found a chilled out beach spot, where we set up the "10 minute tent" in about 25 minutes. It was a comfortable night.

Please don't rain!

Super comfy!

We all awoke at 6am the next morning, because we had agreed to meet the Judith and Madlen at approximately 6:45am (they took the car, and they were picking us up). I made it just in time to use the toilet at their bed & breakfast, I've had a pretty clean streak, so far... (I've only graciously used mother natures toilet once, in Yosemite). We had breakfast there, played a game of cards and decided we were all (the 5 of us) going to stay in the bed & breakfast next door that evening. Then the topic turned to the second car, which we had all paid for but got no use out of because Linda had claimed it as her own. We went Marco in to awake the dragon and the next minute, German swear words were being mixed with English swear words whilst I just sat there and offered my two cents every few minutes. When it was all said and done, we decided to go our own way, five of us in a Yaris and one in the Hyundai. Some people huh?

It was another rainy day, but that wasn't going to hold us back! We found out from some locals that one of the nearby islands was only open once a year, and apparently that weekend was the ONE time in the year. Free little boat to the island, where apparently there were wolves, cougars and bears... and a cave with maybe all three at once, we had to find this cave!!

Our personal dinghy!

We trekked around the island, through the island and found the cave, it was impressive, but we didn't make it that far in, it was dark! The girls swore they saw eyes in there, I am not convinced, but I didn't want to wander in to find out. We chilled for most of the day on this island, which was super cool. It was a incredibly damp and wet, but we all pushed through the overgrown vines and massive fallen trees. I was impressed by the trees, love em!

Maze of trees!

A scary hole in the tree.

Up, up and away!

We found the cave; see the eyes in the background?

Our personal playground for the day - Stubbs Island.

A beautiful, eerie looking tree!

We stayed until about 5pm, and shuttled back across the water. That night we cooked some simple bread, I made my own version which involved flour, water, oil and salt. Throw some onions and garlic in there, along with italian herbs and sha-bam! Masterchef in the house!! This went incredibly well with the home made guacamole. It was't a big night, we had a bit of wine and all agreed to return the car on Tuesday evening, giving us another full day together, not having to rush back to Victoria. 

The next morning, we packed all our stuff up (I still woke everyone up at around 6:30am) and agreed to head towards Mt. Washington. It was pouring with rain, and we left the bed & breakfast inn at around 10am, lot's of arse-farting around. Now, I don't like to admit this, but by this point I had fallen a bit sick. Nothing but a cold and flu, Judith had infected us all and by then I think we all had sore throats and blocked noses. So I passed out in the back seat of the car, with all our bags and we arrived in Port Alberni 2 hours later. Whilst dozing in the back, I had a strange dream about NOT packing my passport. When I awoke, I had a gut wrenching feeling that I had left my passport back in Tofino (with a lot of cash and my personal documents)... woopsie! I didn't panic to much, was just a bit annoyed that now I had to go back and waste a day for these guys (which means we would end up returning the car on Wednesday evening). We found a McDonalds were I loaded up my laptop, got some free wifi and contacted the place we had stayed. Fortunately she had found my little leather wallet with my identity in it and I told her I would be there pronto. A local man by the name of James had overheard our situation and how we were looking for a hostel now, so he led the way to a cheap one and gave us his number instructing me to call him when we got back and he would bring over some smoked salmon and show us around. 

Madlen and I left Port Alberni at approximately 2:25pm and got back a little after 6pm. Ouch! So that day was gone, and we had to stay in this little town of 23,000 people. I ended up phoning James and he came back to our motel in his HUGE GMC with some smoked salmon for us. He insisted on showing us around town, so we all piled into his truck and he proudly drove us around. We finished up searching for bears in a nearby forest, unfortunately we haven't had that much luck with the wildlife. 

I think I am going to buy a boat and live at sea!

Rene, Madlen, Marco, James, myself and Judith - Great chaperone!

If you have kept up, you'll know that we're up to Tuesday. We still wanted to head to Mt. Washington and do one final big hike. We drove into the small town, searched around for a bed & breakfast (these places rock). Unfortunately we couldn't find one for the 5 of us, so Marco hopped on his laptop in a cafe and found one right at the base of the mountain, how cool right? Madlen attempted to phone up and make the reservation for us, but we got an answering machine so we thought we'd drive up anyways. Mt. Washington is approximately 50 minutes from the town of Courtenay, which is where we were at the time. Neglecting the quarter of a tank of petrol, we stocked up with some food for that evening (I wanted to cook to make up for the lost day yesterday) and set off, towards the mountain.

I was driving and following the signs towards Mt. Washington, but the others weren't sure I was going the right way. So we pulled over half way up some odd mountain and hailed down the next car. Fortunately, our good luck with meeting great people was still in check and a lovely young man named Robert decided to lead us into the town and show us where we intended to stay. Little did we realise was that the "town" is like that of Perisher or Threadbo, and it was between seasons. Winter was over, Summer was yet to begin. So it was EMPTY. Robert was just there because his parents owned an apartment and he was looking for some quiet time. 

Somebody come save us!

Robert, being the guy that he is, offered that we crash at his place. The girls were naturally uncomfortable with this idea, but us guys were all over it. A little bit of persuasion and they were in! We trekked it up to his little, but cozy apartment. Robert got a fire going, I started to prepare dinner; baked potatoes with quinoa, spinach, onions, mushrooms in lemon juice. Yummy, yummy, yummy! There was barely enough for the 6 of us, I had only purchased enough for 5. But we made do, and enjoyed some wine + good company. 

View from Roberts balcony - cold!

Rene, Robert, Madlen, Judith, myself and Marco in Roberts kitchen.

The next morning, I again woke up everyone at 6am to get a head start. It was Wednesday and we needed to have the car back in Victoria that evening before 5pm, to avoid MORE charges. I had already phoned up the previous days to extend the car. The petrol light was flashing, so we couldn't drive up any mountains. The 5 of us said goodbye to Robert, thanked him (he didn't want any money) and went our own ways. Robert was a top bloke, this was on his fridge in his apartment. 

Thanks you Robert for your hospitality!

We didn't get a big hike in, it was pretty darn cold, so we literally rolled down the mountain. I drove us back into the town of Courtenay where we deliberated what the next plan was. Marco and Rene were getting out in the next town, they were planning on staying there for a bit to look for some work. 

After a teary goodbye we left them in the tiny town. The rest of the trip was fun, we blasted my party tunes, I'm sexy and I know it, you know it too. Ate to much chocolate, I went into a sugar coma in the back seat and before we knew it, the road trip was over and we were back in Victoria at around 4pm. Back to the same hostel and guess who was there? Yes, you guessed it. Shhhh. 

I acknowledged her with a "hey, how are you?" and was completely ignored. When we dropped the car off and made our way back to the hostel, we found out that the majority of the German clan there wasn't really responding to us either. The week before, everyone was loving everyone and it was good times. It now felt like a very cold place...

NAH! It wasn't that bad. Linda had obviously spoken to them and given her biased account of the events that unfolded. Oh well, brush it off. That evening we cooked a big vegetable stew, with a tonne of pepper. Delicious! That evening was again very mellow. Each day since we left last Friday we'd talk about how we'd go out, hit a karaoke bar, have a few beers, play some pool... But each night, we'd all exclaim together about how tired we were.

To be continued... :)

Tags: catch up, germans, good food, hiking, mountains, plane crash, polish, sleeping on the beach, sunsets

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