Of all the lighthouses I’ve ever visited, Fisgard Lighthouse in British Columbia is my most favourite one to date. When I think of a lighthouse I would like to live in, an image of this lighthouse would appear in my mind. There is something very appealing and, dare I say, very romantic about it.
Historically, Fisgard Lighthouse is the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. It was built in 1860 on Fisgard Island out of materials shipped from Britain. In 1950-51, a causeway was built out to Fisgard Island from the shore of Vancouver Island at Fort Rodd Hill by the Canadian Army.
We saw a deer at the parking lot of Fort Rodd Hill! You have to walk through the fortress to get to the lighthouse. The fortress was also pretty interesting. We learned a bit more about Canadian history there. It was a lovely spot that seemed to be under-appreciated, but maybe it was only because we were there on a week day.
Rebecca and I had been online friends for, like, ever. As in more than 10 years. Maybe 13 years? She lives in Australia. She went to Canada several years ago but was in the wrong part of the country so we didn’t get to meet. She was finally in the right part of the country last year in October so I made a point to meet up with her. Even booked a hotel room so we could spend as much time as we could.
It was dark out when we finally met, but I would recognize her anywhere, what with her blue hair and all. When I saw her, she was taking pictures of the falls. I tapped her back and an awkward moment ensued. But then we hugged, had our picture taken by my husband, and it wasn’t so awkward anymore. We had dinner together that night.
The next day, first thing in the morning, the four us (Rebecca, her friend Grace, my husband, and I) headed down to the Niagara River to take a voyage under the falls on the Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist boat tour was one of the items on my bucket list so I was super excited about being able to finally scratch it off the list, and even more so when I learned that we would be on one of the last voyages of the iconic Maid of the Mist from the Canadian side. They’re replacing it with a modern catamaran-type boat this year and you’ll only be able to take the Maid of the Mist from the American side.
The boat tour was just as amazing as I’d imagined it to be. I was expecting it to be a little bit scary, but it wasn’t at all. But even with a raincoat on, I still got soaked from the mist. I was a little worried that the mist would kill my camera because I just couldn’t stop taking pictures and videos of the falls, but surprisingly it survived! The picture above was taken from the boat. I have many other, better pictures of the falls but I just had to post this one just for the fact that it was taken from the Maid of the Mist. It was such a great experience and I’m so glad that I got to scratch something off my bucket list with my old pal Rebecca!
St. Lunaire-Griquet is a town near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. I took a picture of this little iceberg when we were on our way up to L’Anse aux Meadows, an ancient Viking settlement. Though it might seem little, you’ll never know how big it is actualy underneath. Such is the thing with icebergs. This iceberg was not the only iceberg we saw while we were in Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. There were at least half a dozen more in different shapes and sizes. The Northern Peninsula is part of the so-called Iceberg Alley. It’s more fun than a tornado alley for sure.
On our way back from L’Anse aux Meadows, we went to have lunch here at the Daily Catch restaurant. They served the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. I could tell that the fish was fresh. St. Lunaire-Griquet is an old fishing community after all. The lady who served us brought us our drinks and mentioned that it was not just ice in our drinks but pieces of iceberg. We thought she was joking so we laughed, but then she went back to the kitchen and came back with a plastic bag containing a big chunk of iceberg for us to take a look. She said her husband just brought it back from the sea this morning. So it wasn’t a joke.
When I put a tiny piece of iceberg in my mouth to melt, it didn’t melt very quickly. I’m guessing it was because iceberg is much denser than regular ice. Come to think of it, I might have had some microbes from hundreds of years ago in my body, thanks to those pieces of iceberg in my iced tea!
Actually, I know exactly why. First of all, we always travel during the off season. Secondly, I always kind of wish for a little less than perfect weather because it makes for more interesting pictures, but more often than not, Mother Nature’s interpretation of a little less than perfect weather is a little off. The weather is usually worse than I’d like it to be. But eh, I always end up having fun anyway. When I’m grumpy while travelling, it’s never because of the weather. It’s always because of something else.
Anyway, Brockton Point Lighthouse (built in 1914) is the lighthouse in the foreground of the photo and in the background is the city of Vancouver. Brockton Point is the most easterly part of Stanley Park. At 1,001 acres, Stanley Park is quite large (as a comparison, Central Park in New York City is 843 acres in size) and has a long history. It has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
I didn’t get to see much of Stanley Park so I don’t really have much to say about it. It was just one of the quick stops we made while exploring Vancouver. The views from along the waterfront are quite amazing and I would have loved to stick around for a while and walk some of the trails but alas, there were still so many other places to see in our short time there. Maybe some other time.
We walked the Tablelands Trail on our last full day in Newfoundland. The weather wasn’t the greatest. It was overcast, windy, and drizzly. It was supposed to be an easy 4 km hike, but I was a wimpy hiker (still am!) and the gentle slope soon made my legs feel all crampy. I told my travel companions to walk ahead of me and not to worry about me. I might make it to the end of the trail, I might not. I’d just walk at my own pace (which is a snail’s pace, to be honest).
By the time I got to the boardwalk leading to the end of the trail, my travel companions were already on their way back. My husband happily walked back with me to the end of the trail where the view was glorious and the benches looked very inviting. The picture above was taken from the end of the trail.
I don’t know if it would be possible to explain the science of the Tablelands without using all sorts of fancy words that I’m not even sure the meaning of, so I’ll just copy the explanation from this page:
“The barren Tablelands, found between Trout River and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, look more like Arizona than forested Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock – peridotite – which makes up the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the earth’s mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour. Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.”
So now you know, and I think you should go there! It’s such a uniquely beautiful spot. In fact, the whole Gros Morne National Park is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s one of my most favourite places on earth. Definitely a must-see!
While my husband was stuck in Richmond having fun at a conference, I was out with his parents exploring (getting lost in Vancouver was a lot of fun). I think the original plan was to go up to Whistler but all the construction work going on (they were getting ready for the Vancouver Winter Olympics) made the drive too slow for our liking and we only got as far as Squamish before we decided to make our way back to Vancouver.
I read somewhere that there was a nice beach there in Squamish so we drove around trying to find it and somehow ended up at this spot that apparently was a set for some TV show. There were some people doing work on the set but no filming was going on. The TV show was called The Guard and it only lasted two seasons. I’d always meant to watch an episode but never got around to it and the next thing I knew, it was cancelled.
I wish I could show you a 360° view of this spot because it was really quite stunning with a big rocky mountain on one side and a fjord — Howe Sound — with sea green water on the other side (as you can see in the picture). Since I can’t, you just have to take my words for it. :-)