Weekend Trip to Whistler, Canada Video

“So, do you have any plans for the weekend? ”

“Ehh, just going to Canada for a couple of days to go skiing”

A Weekend trip to Vancouver, Canada

A luxury problem you might say but at first I had no idea what to do with the two free tickets I had won through a sales incentive at the travel agency where I work. I could chose from any North American destination offered by KLM any time of the year, but I had no remaining holiday to use the price for as I had already booked my trips for 2015. The solution was to go on a weekend trip and a skiing trip to Canada was my choice.

 

We had also gotten some free accomodation at one of the hostels that my agency offers so except for food, beer and skiing it would be a free trip to see the city and what is regarded as one of the Worlds best ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb.

 

Our hostel was right on the main street and we spent quite a lot of time just walking around along the harbour and the city center. When asking the receptionist at our hostel about the mariujana smell everywhere, they said that it was technically illegal but that anyone could get a medical perscription within five minutes by just saying that they were suffering from headaches etc. Quite a weird system, as they had really strict liquor licensing laws where you after having two to three drinks would be asked to buy a meal as it was the law to mainly sell food in restaurants and not just beer.

gastown

 

The beer culture was great through and we got to visit several breweries in the old city/”Gastown” (from pic above), where Alibi Room having nearly 50 beers on tap was our favorite. The beers there were all served with a glass of tap water, as it was a place for beer tasting and not binge drinking. The yellow and red sour beers were two really distinct beers that could easily be reccommended- also for people who do not like beer!

 

Prices were probably around a 30 percent cheaper than back home, but when 15 tax were added to every purchase and the reccommended 20 percent tip were added to the restaurant bills it was not really a cheap destination.

 

Next time visiting Vancouver will be during summer when I can go downhill biking in Whistler, rent a car and go camping in the national parks. The landscape we went past was beautiful and the people we met were nice. A long weekend trip from Friday to Monday was great for just visiting the city but next time I will make sure to stay longer and see more of what the rest of the country has to offer.

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Left; Watching hockey and drinking beer quite sums up our evenings in Vancouver. Right; Vancouver Harbor Front by night

Skiing Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

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The reason for visiting Canada this weekend was not to see Vancouver, but to visit the Worlds best Ski Town, Whistler and to try out the massive slopes that the mountain has to offer.

 

Instead of staying at the expensive lodges in the valley we stayed in Vancouver and chose to go on day trips with the Snowbus instead. This option gave us the chance of skiing from the lifts opened in the morning (at 8am) until we were tired (at 3-4pm), just to get a couple of afterskiing until the bus left (at 4.45pm) and then a couple of hours sleep on the bus before arriving Vancouver at 7pm.

 

The prices were a bit steep at around 200USD per day including ride, gear and lift ticket but were a cheap price to pay considering that we had gotten free flights and accommodation for the trip.

 

The slopes were pretty much what I had expected, being huge but not much more than the ones you can find in the Austrian and French Alps. They say that once every four years there is a season with little snow, and even though we had come early in February there was not much snow left- with warm temperatures as if it was during easter times in April. The afterskiing was good though, with big burgers and lots of local beer to chose from.

 

Whistler Blackcomb has a great reputation and I wish that it would be something far out of the ordinary, but I must say I am a little disappointed. Next time I decide to take a long weekend off to go skiing I think it will be somewhere more close, like the Alps or the many ski resorts in Norway and Sweeden as the grass was not that much greener on the other side as I had hoped it to be. It was still a heck of a trip though!

 

 

whistler

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One of the massive jumps at one of the Nintendo Fun Parks

 

Driving to Canada from the US

When spending half a year living near the border of Canada I felt like it was almost compulsory for me to cross the border at least once, so this weekend that I spent in Minneapolis we took a daytrip over to one of the towns on the other side of the border called Thunder Bay.

The border crossing between the US and Canada was surprisingly quiet (compared to what I think the Mexican border would be at least) and the crossing went hassle free. 


My biggest surprise when crossing the border was that there was no left side driving (which I had believed until that very moment), but except from that everything was pretty much the same (especially for me who couldn’t even separate the “American” and the Canadian accent from another). When we were there we spent some time visiting an Indian camp, shopped some souvenirs and had a meal at a local restaurant, and I was surprised that they even accepted US dollar bills every place that we went.


Our visit was too brief for me to have gotten any real impression about Canada, and I feel like I cannot really say that I have been to the country, but some day I will come back to see more about what real Canada has to offer 🙂

The Windy City of Chicago

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First off, I would have to share with you something that I learned just recently: The nickname of Chicago, the Windy City, does not come from the cold winds blowing from Lake Michigan. The Windy City refers to all the wonderful things that were said about Chicago all over the United States at the end of the 1800’s, like it was carried by the wind. The name of the city was also taken in use by the media during the first half of the 20th century, because of the political changes that kept on taking place in Chicago.

chicagoToday, Chicago is home of about 9,7 million inhabitants(including the suburbs), which makes it the third biggest city in the United States. Partly because almost half the Chicago burned down in 1871, the city was restructured and rebuilt, with help from famous architects giving the city the reputation of being the most “modern” city in the US. Since then, Chicago has tried to keep this reputation, being home to huge skyscrapers and Grand Park/ Millennium Park, where the world’s biggest bands play for thousands of spectators. 

Even though Chicago is a big city, it is very easy to find your way around. The city center is known as the loop, because of the elevated metro going in a loop over the streets downtown. State Street is the Main Street and divides the city in east and west, and Madison Street divides the city in south and north, so if you get lost, you can just walk towards these two streets, navigate from there.

One of the things I would say is a must to see in Chicago is the famous Sears Tower, which is a 110 stores high building for numerous architecture firms, law firms and other big companies. The entrance ticket costs 15$, and gives you a lift up into the top floor, with a view over the city and information about  the buildings and things you can see from there. Even for someone who has almost no interest in architecture, it was very interesting to read about the different buildings and the history behind them. The Sears Tower also has four glass boxes that “hang” outside of the building, so that you can get the feeling of standing in mid air 412 meters above the ground.

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