Our introduction to Havana, Cuba!!

It’s been a while and I have LOADS to catch up on, lets just say life got in the way. I’m pleased to introduce our Cuban coverage starting in Havana! 

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The first morning in any new place is always a little bit daunting, especially when you don’t really speak the language and you’re staying in someone’s home! Despite this we had to get up and get going as we’d agreed for breakfast at our casa that morning, so after a small lie in we appeared not really sure what to expect.

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I’d read a lot before travelling to Cuba about the cuisine – or lack of – so wasn’t sure what to expect. To be honest and fair it was okay as breakfasts go, better than the one we had in Brussels a few weeks earlier! Mainly consisting of eggs, fruit, very crunchy cold toast and a ham & cheese toastie it was pleasant. The coffee was good as was the fresh guava juice. The overall experience was a little strange as there were two Slovenian (or Russians as the casa host explained) who spoke some English and zero Spanish plus looked to be a tad worse for wear!!

The plan for our first proper day in Cuba was a half day walking tour of Havana Viejas, followed by a classic car trip and mojito making lesson however this wasn’t booked until the afternoon. This left us with a block of time and nothing to do! I’d assumed we would have been more jet lagged then we were so hadn’t really planned anything. We opted to head out towards to Malecon for a wander into the city.

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Thought of the day

It’s been a bit quiet round here again recently hasn’t it!? I guess the lack of motivation hit me for longer than I hoped. The winter is always difficult for me, I find the lack of sunlight, ability to go outside and general warmth hard to deal with. It affects my mood and makes me particularly prone to being a bit apathetic.

I’ve invested in a daylight lamp, I’ve also recently just got back from Cuba so I’m feeling a bit more on a level playing field. Hopefully that will kick the writing back into shape which I’m looking forward too!!

I’m also picking my twitter feed back up so go and have a follow if you’re around! @nonbackpacker, or follow me on Instagram @amyisabella12!

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Vancouver Day 2 & 3

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Day 2

Our second full day in Vancouver started with french toast and strawberries which was well needed as we had a day of cycling ahead of us!

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One of the things I wanted to do the most when visiting Vancouver was cycle the seawall around Stanley park. Not only is Stanley park one of the most iconic things to do you can’t really beat a seawall especially when it has a wonderful cycle path.

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Vancouver – Day 1

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Our time was up in two of the most stunning national parks we had ever been to. It was time to pack up and head back to the bright lights and city life of Vancouver. It was a mission of the day to drive from Jasper to Vancouver and I believe it took about 10 hours in the end.

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It was a tiring day filled with signing along to songs, beautiful roads and Tim Horton’s iced coffee. We stayed on the road as much as we could but did make a quick stop at the base of Mount Robson that we had seen a few days previously. The weather wasn’t on our side but the signs assured us it was behind the clouds.

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Once we arrived in Vancouver and had found the hotel (stressful when driving in the city after having been on the open road for 10 days) we ordered room service and had an early night. In the morning we returned Wally and got set up for the next couple of days in one of the world’s favourite cities.

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Patricia and Pyramid Lakes

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Today was our anniversary, what better way to celebrate three years of marriage then chilling out by some lakes and just taking the time to be with each other. Sounds cheesey I know but sometimes you just have to not do a lot to appreciate how special that side kick is. It was also the first night in 10 that we would be sleeping in a proper bed!! (This also meant that our camping days were done as it was hotel beds from here on.)

The drive from the campground to the lakes wasn’t long and we left fairly early to guarantee less people at the lakes. We were staying at Pyramid Lake but stopped off at Patricia Lake on the way. It’s a wonderful mirror lake – we were luckily as when we drove past it later on it was windy so not as glass like.

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Maligne Lake, Canyon and Bears!

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If you go down to the woods today, You’re sure of a big surprise

If you go down to the woods today, You’d better go in disguise

For ev’ry bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because

Today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic

Yes. You guessed it, today was the day that the bears came out to play!!! Well, to be honest we did spot a bear by the side of the highway but barely caught a glimpse as we drove past. There was a women who had got out of her car on a 120km per hour piece of road and was following a bear!!! Crazy!!

We had tried and failed with the Bow Valley Parkway (somewhere animals are often seen and is recommended for bear sightings) to “run” into a bear so had lost hope we would ever get to see one. In spite of that we headed off to Maligne Lake which was on my must see list. The lake is home to Spirit Island which is one of the most photographed islands – google it!! On our boat tour the guide explained it became popular after a photographer won a Kodak competition, since then thousands of people have flocked to get the same iconic shot.

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Jasper Tramway, Sunwapta & Athabasca falls

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Today was one of my favourite days of the trip as it involved some trips to some awesome sights, a awe inspiring view from the top of a mountain and some waterfalls! The pictures do the most justice compared to my ramblings!!

We had previously checked out the Banff Gondola so were keen to get up to the top of Whistler Mountain via the Jasper Tramway. What is the difference between a gondola and a tramway I hear you say….well, from what I could work out a tramway just has one car going up and one coming down pulling each other, whereas a gondola is a circular track where multiple cars go round. Either way they get you up mountains much quicker than walking!!

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Icefields and Helicopters

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Our time in Banff National Park was over but only because we were heading back up the road to Jasper National Park for 4 days before heading back to Vancouver. We had an early start as had some ground to cover before our anniversary treat of a helicopter ride!!

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Animal crossings, so the wildlife can get across the road safely!

Part of the reason for the early start was because I really wanted to take a trip to Peyto Lake. I knew it would be brief and we wouldn’t be able to go on any walks or even down to the shore but despite all that I was super pleased with the decision to stop.

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Johnston Canyon and Lake Minnewanka

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Day 5 in the national parks of Western Canada led us to Johnston Canyon and Lake Minnewanka. We were staying at the Johnston Canyon campsite which gave us direct access to the canyon so no need to jump in the van which was nice.

We headed off in what we were sure was the correct direction only to discover 5 minutes later it wasn’t. Never trust a campsite map.

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The canyon is made up of two sections, Lower Falls which is 1.1km from the start and Upper Falls which is 2.7km and 30m high. There are a series of small falls between the two (I remember six but don’t hold me to that), the trail is a path and catwalk hanging from the cliff face that runs all the way along.

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