The Murals of Hornepayne Station

    Right in the middle of nowhere, well right in the middle of Ontario actually, is the township of Hornepayne. There’s not a lot to say about it really. It has a thousand people and is there because the railway is there. However, the train had stopped, and after three days on a train, if it stops, you want to get off. And so I did. The station building, once a hotel apparently, had now fallen into disrepair.

    Frozen waterfalls and ice caves in Maligne Canyon

    Having seen the canyon from up above, (during my biking expedition), and noticed many footprints down below, it took mere nano-seconds of my gigantic Holmesian-like intellect to deduce there was some walking type activity on the frozen river that would gush through the many gorges of Maligne Canyon in the summer.

    Sushi places I haven’t eaten at.

      Yeah, the name wasn’t exactly selling it to me. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t insist on sushi for every meal. In this case I had a blueberry fritter from Tim Hortons. It was disgusting. But at least I knew what I was letting myself in for. No disillusionment there.

    Adventures in the Colombia Icefield

    Here’s an idea - rent a car and drive around for a bit. If you’re anywhere near the Canadian Rockies then amazing scenery is guaranteed. Additionally, just down the road from Jasper is the Colombia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier - where, for a few dollars more, you can take a rather funky 70’s style space bus on to the glacier itself.

    Snow biking in Jasper

    Despite being told all the trails around Jasper were closed, I nevertheless fearlessly (or foolhardily) rented a mountain bike (a Kona something or other) from Freewheel cycles in town (recommended) and threw myself about the countryside. I had a good day tiring myself out, and discovered that it’s really quite hard to cycle in the snow.   The trick seems to be to put lots of weight on the rear wheel and keep the steering light and loose.

    Poker lessons with Chalkmaster Dave

      During a short late night stopover in Winnipeg, (where everything had closed except for a coffee shop). I struck up a conversation with one of my fellow train passengers. And over large cups of green tea we discussed all kinds of nonsense about pets, art, news reporting, festivals, fugitive hitch-hikers and life in general. Oh, and poker. Something which I’d learnt when I was at school (no really) but hadn’t bothered with since.

    All the way from West to East

    On the Canadian - the famous cross-country train from Vancouver to Toronto (with a stop at Jasper)… It’ll take a few days…

    Vancouver – city of two days, London Fog and tiny ferries.

    I only had two days in Vancouver - so, what to do? I had some really great Sushi (but of course). And as mentioned in previous posts, went biking around Stanley Park and visited a Sake Brewery (note: the only Sake brewery in Vancouver). As well as these, a couple more delights are worth more than a brief mention…

    Notes on New Zealand

    Kayaking across the sea at night (and exploring a volcanic island), long beaches and broken trees (and learning to surf), so much sushi (not as good as Hong Kong, except for that amazing Unagidon one lunchtime), Hokey Pokey Squiggles (great name, soso biscuit), personalised signboxes (which I didn’t see in the dark), 12 hours on a train (and reading about Peter Jackson reading on the same train), zombie outbreak (I think we’ll be ok), catching up with family (mine and others), Elven forests (and playing at Lord of the Rings), the Weta museum (and my Hobbit scarf), shortcut to mushrooms (and then finding some), windy Wellington (and more sushi), endless rolling hills (from south to north), flying to Canada…