First Stop Vancouver
Next stop Australia! We are excited about our next big adventure. After a brief stop for 2 days in Vancouver, we fly to Australia, then Bali, Singapore and Thailand. One of our children (Nick) has been an advance scout, having headed off to Thailand several weeks before we were leaving. We hope to be able to synch our schedules and travel with him after we leave Australia, but we will see. You can get an advance teaser about Nick’s advance scouting here!
We have completed our pre-flight checklist. A few hours was spent at a special travel clinic in Toronto to get our shots up to-date – Hepatitis, Tetanus and Dyptheria. We got a prescription for Malaria medicine just in case we travel into one of the “red” zones and another for a general antibiotic in case of stomach problems. We have a wide range of “just in case” medicines packed. A little internet trolling let us check on what visas we might need. Since we are only gone in total for 5 weeks we would not be staying in any one place long enough to trigger most visa requirements. The only one we needed before we travelled was an Electronic Travel Authority (“ETA”) for our next stop Australia! It was easy to get “free” online – except of course the $20 per person online processing fee! We would get our Thailand 30 day visa when we landed there. We like to have a little local currency when we land to deal with taxis and other early stops. Most of the big banks had Australian dollars available over the counter in the downtown branches but we could not find Bali money without a pre-order. We would check again in our next stop Australia or hope the airport ATMs were easy to find in Bali and our future stops.
While we could have flown direct to Sydney from Toronto, we decided to do a hop first to Vancouver. This would let us have a few days in Vancouver on our return trip as well. After spending almost 6 months in Vancouver the previous year, we were not landing as tourists. We expertly navigated the airport and got the Skytrain into downtown, changing trains at Waterfront to get us closer to our hotel.
While we often stay in the Executive hotels in Vancouver, this was our first time trying the Executive Le Soleil in downtown. Our room was not available early so after we dropped our bags, we headed out for last minute shopping and lunch.
It was great spring-like weather for the 2 days, a gentle shift towards warmer temperatures before we headed much closer to the equator. We had left Toronto just after a major ice storm but in Vancouver, the flowers were up and the trees were blooming. Spring comes much earlier in Vancouver! It was strange that our next stop Australia would land us as the beginning of Autumn there.
It was Easter weekend and there seemed to be lots of visitors to Vancouver. We were tempted to try the “Fly Over Canada” attraction but ultimately decided we would spend time in the outdoor patio watching out over the Vancouver harbour to the mountains still topped with snow.
It was also my birthday so we managed to enjoy a nice dinner out. I should not have been surprised when the waiter arrived with dessert topped with bright lit candles. David made sure to get just the right numbers for the top of the cake, even if it was not “29 with a few years experience”.
Next Stop Australia
We headed back to the airport the same way we had come. We may have Business Class class tickets with Cathay Pacific but we would save a few bucks with public transit along the way! We wandered around the Vancouver airport enjoying some of the scenery in the international wing before we headed for the Cathay Pacific lounge.
We had heard good things about the customer service on Cathay Pacific so we had booked specifically to try it out on this trip. It was a big splurge (and a very big gulp) to book all of the very long haul flighBusiness Class class. While David could sleep anywhere, I needed the more comfortable “lie flat” beds if there is any chance for me to get some sleep on the very long transits we would have (14 hours to Hong Kong and then 9 hours to Sydney). And David was not letting Business Class class on my own!
Next stop Australia! I must admit to being very wary about travelling this distance and how long it will take my body to get on the right time zone. I plan to sleep when I can and try to adjust my body to Sydney time, but we will see how successful I will be. Our Sydney agenda for the first few days should give me time to ramp up slowly.
David’s sister lives in Sydney so our week there will be a mix of family catch up and touristy things. She moved there a while back – I can still remember her telling me how difficult it was to pack everything up and make the move! For a long time, while she got her house in Sydney ready, she stored most of her furniture in a Perth self storage facility. That way she got to reuse everything she already owned without having to give anything away. As for me, I have never been to Australia and David was there last a very long time ago. So we are looking forward to exploring together. We are hoping the David’s sister does not have too many walk-abouts planned!
After a week in Sydney we will head north to Cairns to explore the Great Barrier Reef. We would like to scuba dive at least once since my very heavy checked bag includes a 3mm wetsuit, mask and snorkel. I had to abandon my fins when the bag tipped the scale over the limit.
We will update our RetiredAndTravelling Facebook site as we travel through Australia, Bali, Singapore and Thailand. I may update my blogs as we go – but probably most of our trip will be chronicled once we return. The 5 weeks will fly by and I want to enjoy every minute!
If there is anything you are curious about as we travel, drop us a note and we will try to answer your enquiry! Next stop Australia!