A Travellerspoint blog

Toronto and Niagara Falls!

We caught a 9 hour train to Toronto, passing by some beautiful landscapes on the way. Toronto is a huge city, with the famous CN Tower dominating the skyline. On our first day went exploring, there was quite a bit of snow on the roads but it was very warm compared to Quebec, only -2 degrees, balmy!! We strolled around the famous Eaton Square which is kind of like a mini Times Square. The next day we did a day trip to Niagara Falls. Our tour included a tour of the historic town of Niagara and a wine tasting tour. The actual falls themselves were stunning except it is disappointing to see how touristy Niagara has come, they even have casinos on either side of the Canadian and American sides of the waterfall! Apart from that, was amazing seeing one of the natural wonders of the world. Below are some pictures from our last leg of the trip:

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Posted by Alana Tapley 03:12 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Quebec City!

After a crazy last night out in Montreal for our last evening in this amazing city, we left on a 5am train to Quebec City! Quebec is a lot smaller than Montreal but just as beautiful. It was even colder in Quebec, you could only stay outside for a little bit before having to duck into a coffee shop, we all drank our body weight in hot chocolates throughout this trip! We stayed in Quebec for 2 nights, below are some pictures from our stay in this quaint little French city!

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Now ready for our last leg of the trip to Toronto before I leave Emma and Natalie to return home :(

Posted by Alana Tapley 03:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Beginning of the East Coast Adventure - Montréal!

After departing Whistler, Natalie, Emma and I made our way to the East Coast! To save a bit of money, we flew out of Seattle rather than Vancouver to Montréal so we got to spend one night in Seattle again which was nice. We left bright and early the next day to fly to Montréal, travelling via Chicago. We had 5 days to explore Montréal which was definitely not enough, it is such an amazing city! I didn't realise the full extent of how many people in Québec speak French, sometimes it was a struggle getting around and asking for help in English. Lucky Emma knows a bit of French which was very handy. We were staying right in the heart of Old Montréal, imagine cobble stoned streets, cute French cafés and lots of beautiful old buildings, it truly felt like we were in Europe. I could totally live here except for the cold weather, it is absolutely freezing! It got to -28 degrees one night! We had the most amazing New Years Eve here, we went down to the St Lawrence River along with thousands of other revellers in minus 20 degree temperatures to watch the fireworks. There was a free concert down there too so we ended up staying down there for a few hours in the cold, luckily we had enough drinks to keep us a bit warm haha! Below are some pics from the Montréal leg of our trip:

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Next stop, Québec City!! xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 18:32 Comments (0)

Saying goodbye to snow covered UBC & hello to Whistler!

The day before we said farewell to UBC it snowed! We went out the night before and it was slightly snowing before I went to bed but in the morning we awoke to a few feet of snow covering the campus! So glad we saw proper snow before we left UBC, it was pretty exciting! Below is a picture of the view from my room and on campus:

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My friend Natalie and I went downtown in the morning to buy a few things and it took us 2 hours to get downtown because all the buses were stuck due to the snow! It was absolute chaos. Some of the buses run on powerlines and they were all stuck over intersections, was crazy. After a round trip lasting 5 hours, we spent the afternoon having snowball fights on campus, so much fun!

While it was sad saying goodbye to the people who weren't coming to Whistler with us for Christmas, the rest of us were all excited for the adventures that lay ahead at Whistler and the East Coast! We spent a week and a half at Whistler, staying at the UBC lodge in Creekside. I skied nearly everyday and by the end of the 10 days I could get down a Blue run no problem! Christmas in Whistler was great, the village was all lit up in fairy lights and we had a traditional Christmas meal in the village which was nice. Boxing day was spent skiing, we had a perfect Bluebird weather day that day. I hated that we had to leave just as I was getting good at skiing but I'm so excited for the East Coast adventures that are to come :)

Posted by Alana Tapley 09:48 Comments (0)

Portland and Whistler and my last week of classes at UBC :(

A weekend in Portland and two weekends in Whistler, it's been a busy November!

Wow, November is seriously the busiest month, I've had no time to study! But I have had the best month with so many trips: Rocky Mountains, Portland in the US and Whistler!

We made the 8 hour trek to Portland, Oregon, US by hiring a car and we spent 3 days there. Mostly we shopped (no sales tax in Portland, winning!) but we managed to fit in a NBA game, seeing the Portland Trailblazers beat the Chicago Bulls.

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The past two weekends have been spent in Whistler! It's so crazy that you can drive an hour and a half and you have a ski resort, so awesome! We went up the first weekend with the UBC Ski and Snow Board Club for the annual 'Condo Cram'. Imagine 136 people crammed into a hotel right in the middle of the village, it was crazy fun! And I went skiing for the second time in my life, after lots of falls I can somewhat go down a slope properly now haha.

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The second weekend we went up with a bunch of exchange students and crammed lots of people into a hotel room as staying in the Village is so expensive. We stayed for 4 days, great way to start the study week before exams!

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Can't believe my classes have ended at UBC now and it's only exams to go! It is crazy how quickly the semester has flown by, don't want to face the prospect of returning home just yet, but not to fear, so much more travel planned! Can't wait to go explore the East coast of Canada after we spend Christmas at Whistler, there is so much more to look forward to! Hope you guys are all well, I'll be home before you know it xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 23:19 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Canadian Rockies Road Trip!

Beautiful scenery, snow, negative temperatures and hot tub fun times equals a brilliant long weekend away!

This past weekend I went on a road trip through the beautiful Rocky Mountains which cross the states of British Columbia and Alberta! Canada gets a public holiday for Remembrance Day so we made the most of this extra day off and left UBC on Friday and came back Tuesday night. A group of 19 of us went up in 4 hired cars. The journey through the mountains takes about 10 hours but it hardly felt like we were in the car that long as we stopped along the way. The roads were good to drive on, only a few scary moments when driving through snowy and icy roads eek!

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We stayed two nights in a cabin outside of the town of Golden, BC, followed by 2 nights in a hostel in Lake Louise. The cabin slept 10 but we managed to cram all 19 of us in, and it had a hot tub overlooking the mountains!

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Over the next few days we explored Golden, Kicking Horse Mountain, Banff, Mount Sulphur, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake. I've included a few pics of the trip below:

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Overall, was an amazing weekend away! I had an exam 2 days after I got back which I literally did an hour study for, think I only just passed haha. So after only 2 days back at UBC, I'm off to Portland, Oregon in the US tomorrow for a weekend away, then the following week it is the Whistler opening weekend - November is such a busy month! Still having the time of my life over here, but this trip is going way to quickly for my liking, don't want to go back to normal life in Brisi haha! Hope your all well back home, lots of love Alana xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 20:02 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Whistler and Seattle trips + Thanksgiving!

It has been a very busy couple of weeks with weekends away to Whistler and Seattle whilst trying to complete 2 assignments, 4 mid term exams and keeping up with classes! Whistler was so much fun, myself and 7 other girls went up on a Greyhound bus and stayed the weekend in Whistler Creek, about a 5min bus ride out of the village. The scenery was gorgeous as we wound up the mountain.

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On the Sunday night of that weekend, I went to my roomates house at Maple Ridge, about an hour outside of Vancouver, for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner! Soooo much food: turkey, pumpkin pie, roasted vegies, you name it!

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This weekend a group of about 20 of us went to Seattle for the weekend. The border is an hour away from Vancouver, and the total trip is about 4 hours. It is such a weird feeling being able to go to another country by driving for an hour, can't do that in Australia! Crossing the border is quite an experience into the US, they screen your bags, ask you a million questions. But coming back into Canada they are so chilled compared to the US side. It was a great weekend away, except my credit card declines to agree....so much shopping! We went to the Washington State Huskies vs USC American Football game at the Century Field Stadium on the Saturday afternoon. The atmosphere was intense, the crowd attendance was 66,000 and they had the stereotypical American marching band and cheerleaders! Lucky we had an American friend from the hostel who could explain the rules of the game to us as we had no idea what was going on!

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After the game, we went to a real American house party in the university district, was so much fun! We took many a photo with this American flag draped around us haha!

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The city of Seattle was beautiful, except it rained the whole weekend. I have to get used to it now for the next couple of months as it rains so much in Vancouver!

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Anyways I best be off, I have two mid terms this week which I have not even started studying for yet....eek! Alana xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 11:12 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Vancouver Island Adventure

Last weekend we went on the most amazing trip to Vancouver Island! We left on the Friday morning and went downtown to pick up our car. There were 8 of us going for the weekend, all of us were Aussie's and we had one token Kiwi along for the adventure! After a few near misses on the way to the ferry (Our driver Wills was still trying to get used to the whole driving on the other side of the road thing!), we arrived at Tsawwassen Bay in one piece. We caught a 2 hour ferry ride over to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The views as we wound in and out of the bays on the way to Vancouver Island were incredible.

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We had lunch in Victoria and had a look around, below is a picture of the State Parliament building.

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After we left Victoria, we headed an hour drive north to a place called Sooke. We found a place called China Beach to stay at, it had the most amazing campground by the beach. After setting up our tents, we had drinks on the beach and watched the sunset.

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That night we all had drinks by the campfire, learning too much about each other with multiple games of Never Have I Ever! The next day, we made our way north to a place called Tofino, about 4 hours drive from Sooke. We stopped along the way at many gorgeous lakes and rivers, it was a great drive!

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We caught up with some of the other exchange students staying in Tofino and after visiting them, we tried to find a campground. It was around 10pm by this time and we couldn't find anywhere to stay. We ended up going into the middle of a forest down a logging road and set up camp, was pretty cool. The next day we made our way back to Victoria to get the ferry home. Was a bit of a downer having to think about class the next day! Anyways I'm off, we are hitting up Granville Street tonight with some locals we met! Till next time, Alana xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 19:12 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

And so the adventure begins!

I have already broken my promise to keep this blog updated once a week (sorry Kate Row!) but this is literally the first night I have spent at home to make an entry! Well I have now been in Vancouver for 2 weeks and I can say without a doubt that I am having the experience of a lifetime. I have done so many things I don't even know where to begin!

From the minute I arrived at the airport I started making new friends. Some of us exchange students stayed at the Cambie Hostel in Gastown, Vancouver for three nights before we moved into our accomodation on campus. There was 90 of us staying there, and mixing that amount of exchange students in a backpackers with drinking every night sure makes a good time! I have met so many people, I am struggling to keep up with remembering everyone's names! My first three days in the city were spent organising things like phones, bed linen etc. and exploring the city. A group of us went bike riding around Stanley Park, we checked out the Yaletown area and explored Vancouver's nightlife. Granville Street is like the equivalent of Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, except slightly more classy. We went to the same bar, Roxy's, two nights in a row. I had to question the bouncer on whether this particular venue was a strip club as its sign was lit up in neon pink and the name 'Roxy's' does scream 'I am a strip club'! After three days of craziness at the Cambie, we moved into our accomodation!

I am living on the 9th floor of the North Tower of Walter Gage. This is my view. I get to wake up to this every morning, it is an amazing:

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In the photo above, there is already snow on the mountains! So exciting!

My first week and a half in residence has been crazy. Out of the 14 nights I have been here in total, I have been out partying for 11 of them. Exchange students sure know how to party, there is always something happening every night.

After all the excitment of arriving on exchange, unfortunately I had to start classes last week. I've hardly even opened a book yet, and I managed to scrape through with 97% on my first pop quiz! I only have to pass over here as my grades don't count at home, and I'm not working either so I have maximum time to travel and party!

Last weekend we visited Grouse Mountain to tackle the 'Grouse Grind', a 2.9 climb up the mountain. The climb was extremely difficult, I was under the impression I would be going for a casual stroll up a hill, but I was very wrong. However the view at the top was incredible and definitely worth the sweat in getting up there!!!

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This weekend I am going to Vancouver Island camping! I am being naughty already and skipping class on Friday to go. We are going to hire a car and cruise around. You have to get a ferry over there to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. We are going to drive around until we find a cool spot to camp and build a bonfire to keep warm. Can't wait! Stay tuned for more posts, I will try to keep up this whole travel blogging thing more regularly! Alana xx

Posted by Alana Tapley 23:23 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

The final countdown is on!

After months of planning, I am nearly ready to embark on my exchange trip to Canada!

Well, I am into the final countdown before I depart from Brisbane, Australia on the 29th August with my destination being the beautiful Vancouver in Canada! I have decided to try my hand at keeping a travel blog so my Australian friends and family can follow my adventures and keep tabs on me through the map function built into the blog (yes Dad, this one is for you)! At the onset, I would like to remind my readers that creative writing is definitely not one of my strong points (my friend Emma knows this all too well)! I am studying Economics and Commerce after all, so please forgive me for my lack of creative flair and horrible punctuation skills (once again, Emma knows this all to well).

I am so excited to return to Vancouver as I had the chance to visit this great city way back in 2005. The University of British Columbia, from what I have heard from friends who have been there, sounds like an incredible place to study. I am living on campus at the Walter Gage residence (or as Kyle has reminded me, I must now refer to it simply as 'Gage') and as I have never had the college experience in Brisbane, I am eager to party like a fresher again and spend many a night drinking from red cups!

I have always had the travel bug as I was lucky enough to have parents who have given me the opportunity to see many parts of the world at a young age. However I was determined after I finished school to get stuck straight into completing my dual Bachelor of Economics / Bachelor of Commerce degrees that I didn’t want to take a gap year to travel. So exchange really is perfect for me in that I can see the world and not delay my university studies.

This exchange could not come at a better time, I felt like I had settled into too much of a routine in my life in Brisbane and I think it is time to expand my horizons, in respect to both places and certain people, and this trip is the perfect opportunity to do that.

Anyways, I think it is time for me to wrap up my first entry for the evening because I feel myself rambling. I hope you all enjoy my blog and all the amazing posts that will come (don’t get too jealous now guys). I will miss you all dearly, don’t have too much fun without me in Brisi!!

To finish off with I have posted some pictures of places I am very keen to visit during my trip : )

Alana xx

A view of Montreal from the Mount Royal lookout

A view of Montreal from the Mount Royal lookout

Lake Louise, I have been here before and it is absolutely stunning

Lake Louise, I have been here before and it is absolutely stunning

Really hoping to get a chance to see the Niagra Falls!

Really hoping to get a chance to see the Niagra Falls!

Posted by Alana Tapley 06:29 Comments (2)

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