Friday Sept 20, 2013

The longer we’re away on these Mad Midlife Adventures, the more confused we get about what day it is, and which end is up, and why. For example, last time we chatted together, I was telling you about the BEARS – remember? But several days have elapsed since then, and I’m a little befuddled as to how we actually filled them …

As best I can remember:

#1: We spent TUESDAY enjoying our last full day at sea aboard the lovely Volendam … resting up, living it up, and eating it up aboard our floating hotel, while we cruised back down the Alaskan coastline.

#2: We spent WEDNESDAY (once we’d disembarked) exploring Vancouver, British Columbia’s cosmopolitan City of Glass, where rain forests and mountains tower over gleaming skyscrapers everywhere you look. We poked our noses into (or at) Canada Place, Chinatown, Gastown (with its unique steam-clock), Lions Gate Bridge, Prospect Point, English Bay and Stanley Park (with its totem-pole display), before moving bodies and bags to the stunning Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Then, after watching the Volendam steam out on its next voyage north, we shared a Semi-Farewell Dinner at the historic Steamworks Brewing Company before hugging, shaking hands, slapping each other on the back, and saying final, tearful goodbyes to seven members of our group who were heading either home or in sundry other directions. …

#3: We spent THURSDAY flapping our airborne way across the vast North American continent, west to east, for 6½ long hours, from Vancouver to Montreal. But there’s not much you can say about 6½ hours in economy-class … so I won’t even try.

#4: We spent today, FRIDAY, getting thoroughly merci-beaucoup-ed and Frenchified in Canada’s second largest city, Montreal … which (bet you didn’t know this) is perched on a large island in the middle of the St Lawrence River. In fact, we 16 weary Kiwis have just got back to our rooms in the Delta Montreal Hotel after a very full day eyeballing places that won’t mean much to you – like Mont Royal (with its gorgeous city-views), the 1976 Olympic Grounds (where we rode to the top of the fabulous Olympic Stadium, with Ruth and Colin providing the entertainment), Vieux Montreal (the Old City, with its breath-taking Notre Dame Basilica), plus some early autumn-colours and sundry lesser attractions along the way and a superb steak dinner at the Restaurant du Vieux Port.

Anyway, all this sightseeing is really quite exhausting. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go and run a hot bath to soak my weary body.

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TOMORROW: The final exciting chapter in our grand romp around North America is about to be written. Because cruise-ship #2 – the Maasdam is gonna welcome us onboard and, with much honking and waving, we’ll depart for the coastal wonderland of Canada & New England. So start your engines and try to keep up …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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