Our final day in beautiful Canada!! After spending months planning all the details – where we would stay, what we would do, how much things cost, how to get from A to B – it all seemed to happen so quickly. And just as quickly, it was almost over.
Our Air Canada flight didn’t leave until just before midnight, leaving us the full day to get from Kamloops back into Vancouver and final sightseeing activities.
We started the day with a later breakfast (9am no less – an absolute luxury on this trip!), before packing up the car and leaving Kamloops. We travelled towards the town of Hope along the Trans-Canada highway, as the route would take us along the Fraser River canyon, as opposed to the more direct Coquihalla Highway. After having an ongoing argument with our Sat Nav, which was quite insistent on taking us to Hope via the latter route, we disabled navigation and settled in to enjoy the trip.
After spending weeks seeing nothing but pines and other coniferous trees, the landscape around Kamloops was quite stark by comparison. Dry, barren hills surrounded Kamloops Lake – in fact, it reminded us more of what you might see in some places in Australia. In previous years, gold was mined around these parts, but it would make a brilliant movie set (and given the film industry in Canada, it probably has …).
As we travelled south, the landscape began to change back into more familiar territory. Mountains covered in pines and other trees started springing up alongside the river, and we started to see more autumn colours in the hillsides.
Eventually, we saw the welcome sign for Hope and pulled in for a photo or two.
Hope was originally a trading post in the early pioneering days and was an important transit point in the Fraser Canyon gold rush days of the late 1850s. Today, it’s the gateway to the interior of British Columbia and the junction point of several highways. Hope is also a strong theme of When Calls the Heart, so for us it has an additional meaning.
The beautiful location has also made it a film location for a number of flicks, including the original Rambo movie (First Blood). And the town (and Ange) is keen to remind you of this …
From there, we joined the major highway and headed towards Vancouver.
We headed towards Fort Langley and Langley Village for a look … and the chance to stock up on ‘Lori cookies’ before heading to the airport.
Langley village looked lovely with its older style architecture and quaint little shops – super busy though!
Fort Langley was not quite what we were expecting. The historic site had geared up for Halloween and had ‘decorated’ with tacky inflatable pumpkins, black cats, witches and Frankenstein’s monster which really didn’t fit in well with the rest of the historic setting. We left after about 30 minutes, and instead headed towards the nearest Real Canadian Superstore to stock up on the little vanilla cookies.
20 minutes and six kilos of biscuits later, we were back in the car and heading into Burnaby to pick up the rest of the luggage we’d left at the Hilton a week ago. After a quick re-pack of our bags in the foyer, then came the tricky task of getting all the bags into the car. Jenn and Ange had agreed to catch the train to the airport, knowing that there would be no room in the car for them with all the additional bags. After some luggage Tetris, Kylie and Kristyn started driving in the rain towards the airport, while Jenn and Ange headed for the Metrotown train station.
Ange and Jenn had a relatively smooth journey, with a quick change of trains at the Waterfront station. However, travelling by car was a bit more stressful for Kylie and Kristyn, as the lack of visible lane markings, particularly in wet weather and fading light, proved nerve-wracking. The people at Hertz at the airport were great – after returning the car, they drove Kylie and Kristyn to the airport proper so they could unload all the luggage onto trolleys (usually once you return a car you take your own luggage over – just not possible in our case).
After checking in for our flight (and getting rid of our baggage) we had time to get some dinner. We all ended up choosing the same meal – Alaskan Halibut and chips. Lovely!
After going through security checks, we went to our gate, only to experience delayed boarding due to an issue with the door. They had another plane available, but it meant a boarding delay of two hours (this announcement came at almost midnight, local time). We (and half the other people on the plane) decided to wait out the delay at the only airport bar still open at that time of night (much to the irritation of the bar staff who were hoping to go home on time). After a drink, we wandered towards our new gate, only to hear the ‘final call’ announcement for our flight! You couldn’t hear anything in the bar and as we handed our boarding passes to the flight attendants we warned them that a lot of the people on our flight were still in the bar. Once they had everyone on board we settled in for our 14.5-hour flight back to Brisbane (most of it in darkness). We managed to grab a few hours sleep on the plane in-between meals, which meant we were not quite as broken on the other end when arriving back in Brisbane at about 9.30am on Monday. Sunday barely existed for us thanks to the time zone differences.
From here, Ange and Kylie went to the domestic terminal to catch their respective flights back to Sydney and Canberra, Kristyn travelled home with her mum and dad (who had kindly driven to pick her up) to northern NSW, and Jenn’s son drove her to their home in northern Brisbane.
And that’s it! The end of our epic adventure. We hope you all enjoyed our experiences in Canada and the excitement of the Hearties Family Reunion. We were proud to represent Australia at the event, and even more fortunate to have the opportunity to explore parts of beautiful Western Canada. We packed a lot into our days, but if you travel literally half-way around the world you’d better make it worth your while, right? Thanks for coming along with us for the ride. And now, the countdown begins until the airing of Season Six of When Calls the Heart ….