This is a guest post by Liah S Thorley is a travel writer and novelist from the UK. She has travelled extensively and particularly enjoys history and the arts.
The vastness of Canada is enough to boggle the mind, yet sitting next to its louder neighbour the USA, its quiet natural beauty can sometimes be overshadowed. I’d been studying in the USA and had a couple of spare weeks before going back to university in the UK. My time wouldn’t stretch to see the whole country so I had to be selective. The decision was easy – I was heading out West to British Columbia.
Now anyone who is or has been a student knows how hard it is to make ends meet, so you know what I mean when I say I was on the skimpiest budget I have ever had to make do on. I bought the cheapest flight to Vancouver I could find, threw my clothes in my bag and hopped across the border.
As we swooped into Western Canada and over Vancouver I knew I had made the right decision. Lush trees packed with leaves littered the streets and summer flowers made the parks bloom with colour. It costs nothing to laze on the grass on a warm summer’s day or wander the streets taking in the architecture and the bustle of a modern city. Canada, like its neighbour, may not have the longevity of western civilisation that Europe has, but if you look you can find just as much history and culture, albeit of a different flavour.
I maintain that a good cup of coffee is in anyone’s budget, so armed with a note book and camera I moseyed around funky Gas Town where there are some excellent cafés and British Columbia restaurants to be found. I sought out a good coffee shop and watched the world go by, and when you haven’t the cash to go whale watching, humans can be equally as fascinating.
Whilst Vancouver is the perfect city, with its mountainous backdrop and glittering ocean there is far more of BC to discover. There are so many stunning national parks in this state that it can be hard to know where to start, for me it was boarding the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. As large as Ireland this small portion of BC has a level of untouched natural beauty that no money can buy. There are bus services linking Victoria to the main points of call, such as Tofino and Ucluelet, though if you want to get into the more remote areas I’m afraid you would need a car.
Accommodation is limited here but there some decent hostels to be found, just remember to book in advance. Some of the nature trips can be expensive, like bear watching, but walks and hikes are free and you never know what wildlife you might spot on your own.
By Liah S Thorley. Liah S Thorley is a travel writer and novelist from the UK. She has travelled extensively and particularly enjoys history and the arts.