Brilliant Days with Beauty and Beasts; Vicky Jones of Wellington, Shropshire, Took Up Our Challenge to Turn Travel-Writer with Her Description of a Trip to Canada

Article excerpt

CANADA was my destination and my first long-haul flight set me down for an escorted tour of the Canadian Rockies.

This country is vast with beautiful terrain and exciting cities.

There are many reasons for a visit. It could be the breath-taking lakes and mountains, waterfalls and wildlife - as well as seeing your penfriend of over 40 years. What more could you ask for?

On arrival in Vancouver my husband and I joined fellow travellers for the guided tour of this magnificent city and for pounds 16 it was good value.

We learned the history of the native Indians carved into the totem poles standing serene in the 1,000-acre Stanley Park along with forested trails, tennis courts, golf course, zoo and aquarium.

We decided to spend a lovely spring afternoon at the aquarium, home to 9,000 aquatic creatures, and to have a close encounter with dolphins and a killer whale.

On the other hand we could have visited the many art galleries, museums and the planetarium or taken a cable car up Grouse Mountain.

As evening drew in we were ready to sample the food and nightlife along Robson Street where the shops are open well into the evening.

Our guide was a mine of information as we travelled from our hotel to the port for our crossing to Victoria on Vancouver Island. We enjoyed breakfast on board the ferry while we crossed the Georgia Strait and went through the beautiful Gulf Islands.

Our first visit was to the Butchart Gardens famed throughout the world for their abundant flora with over 50 acres of an abandoned limestone quarry filled with 5,000 varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers. You can buy packets of seeds to take home and the choice is amazing.

The crossing back to Vancouver was exciting as we looked at the big, colourful trucks on board, browsed in the gift shop and afterwards tucked into our evening meal.

The weather continued to be warm and sunny as we travelled through the Fraser Valley along the Trans-Canadian Highway to Hope where the film First Blood was made and where you can take in a "Rambo Tour".

The Mayor greeted us and handed out the "Day Tripper's Paradise Guide" containing 56 activities and events ranging from gold-panning to chainsaw-carving. But we were on a tight schedule and only had time for coffee, to visit the bank or grab a sandwich.

While eagles soared above, we dared not close our eyes for fear of missing the freight trains, logging camps and the black fields of Ginseng along the Thompson River Valley. …