Canada 2002 & 2016
Canada is a beautiful country. It is known for its high mountains, blue lakes, and color-changing forests. I had a chance to visit Vancouver, which is in British Colombia on the western part of Canada. My first trip was purely to sight-see and the second trip some 13 odd years later was for work. During both trips, I experienced something new and exotic.
During my 2002 trip, I stayed with family, who showed me around. I went in December so it was a particularly cold and rainy season of the year. I was driven around so I don't have much information about the public transportation at the time. Back in 2002, there wasn't much in terms of transportation. Even in 2016, when I visited, I didn't see much improvement, although there is some development.
One of the first impressions of Vancouver was how majestic it was. There were snow-covered mountains and trees galore. It rains all the time so make sure you pack some umbrellas. In 2002, I remember seeing Stanley Park. It is HUGE! We drove around and I think I saw only the outskirts of it. It is pretty for a sunny picnic day. There are some photo opportunities like the animal totem poles and of course the foliage. To learn more about this landmark, visit http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx.
We reserved one day for Downtown Vancouver. It reminded me a little of San Francisco, with a mix of city-life and nature. It's very clean, but very small. One of the most famous landmarks of Downtown Vancouver is the Canada Place, which resembles the sails of a sailboat. Other locations are the cute, historical Gastown and the steam clock. My uncle works for a ship company there so I even got to ride on a small ship at the harbor. It was beautiful! In Downtown Vancouver, I would recommend getting around by walking. Everything is fairly close and you don't need to drive around much and go through the trouble of finding parking in the city. In terms of eateries, there is a variety of neighborhoods with global cuisines, nothing that stands out, but still good enough. To learn more about this region, go to http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/downtown.aspx.
Another place we didn't get to visit, but would highly recommend is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It is a treetop bridge with wonderful vistas of the forest and river below. That is something you need a car for.
Since I went in December in 2002, skiing season was in. I got a chance to be driven to Whistler Mountain which is probably the biggest skiing resort in Northern America. If I remember right, I didn't ski, but enjoyed the snow a lot. It is quite beautiful with lots of snow covered trees and hills.
Well, that was my 2002 trip. In 2016, I decided to go on a psychic mediumship retreat with Tony Stockwell. He is a renowned English medium who travels the world teaching, talking, and also writing books in addition to performing readings. The retreat was in Loon Lake Lodge in Maple Ridge, which is about an hour east of Vancouver. I booked an inn nearby for a week and carpooled with a fellow attendee. That place is absolutely gorgeous. If the lodge was more exclusive and luxurious, I would recommend it as a prime honeymoon location. Mostly it is used in the summer for camps and retreats. I went at the end of September. I wish the retreat was a little later, because then I would have gotten to see the fall colors.
Loon Lake Lodge is nestled in between dense forests and a lake. You need a car to get to it and the drive is quite beautiful until you reach the forest. The forest road was being constructed at the time, but it was literally an unpaved dirt road.I hope they do something about that. There is plenty of parking there so bring your car. The lodge has lodging and eating facilities although I didn't stay at the lodge because I didn't want to share a room with a fellow attendee. There are great meeting rooms to mingle and chat and bathrooms are clean too. The staff is friendly and the food is delicious.
I won't get into details as to what we did during the sessions, but it was a wonderful and enlightening experience. And the scenery outside was just as magical and haunting. If you live in British Colombia, then I would highly recommend this place. If you are an international traveler, then you can check it out for a peaceful time, but it's okay if you miss it. The details for the lodge are http://www.loonlake.ubc.ca/.