A Travellerspoint blog

First proper day

Gosh, I've just been typing up the previous days and it's taken me forever. Hopefully this one will be a little more concise.

Friday

So today we woke up and got ready for 9 or 10 am. Awful night's sleep due to intense snoring from two guys, one of which had a cold. YAY! Didn't feel like breakfast so we headed straight for the C transit along 7th Av aiming for this big outdoor store called Mountain Co-op Equipment, so Mark could buy his sleeping bag, 60L rucksack etc. Was a massive mission since we couldn't figure out the road system but it was cool to see the area even if there were one too many detours. P1010021.jpg
There are so many skyscrapers here! I didn't realise this would be so. I'm constantly craning my neck in awe.
Next we wanted to pick up our tickets from the box office for our Hockey match that evening. Stopping off at a Smoothie place on the way (I'm officially addicted, plus it's the only way I'll get in my 5-a-day Mum). P1010031.jpg TWO HOURS LATER, haha, we managed to locate the Pengrowth Saddledome, home to the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team (major league, professionals), and the Calgary Hitmen WHL (junior league, amateurs). This was located within Stampede Park, which is the site on which the Calgary Stampede takes place... this major tourist attraction every July that draws millions of people worldwide, so it was cool to look around there.
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Came home. At about 1 pm for lunch. We were lazy so we ordered pizza. 15" pepperoni. EPIC. Literally about 5cm thick, and we have used that pizza for 4 meals since! No lie!

Then off to the hockey match. OFMSDIUERHJFDOSIJADKPSFKNOSPFE IT WAS AWESOMEEEEEEEE! ONE row away from the front, ONE ROW!?!?! Arghhhh, and of course everything was completely dramatised cause of how seriously they take their sport. The hockey players skate on to metal music and disco lights, while some booming Canadian voice hypes up the crowd. There was the Canadian National anthem and various events to fill the intermissions. P1010145.jpg
We lost 6-3 to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the last third, when we were winning throughout before that. Bad times. So many fights! So many slamming of bodies against the plastic guards infront of the crowd. I was in my element! "Let's gooo Hit-men!".
Argh, I wanna go again soon!

Came home, and took a detour through some trees with pretty lights on. Then I saw these Roman looking arches, and it was so late so we nearly didn't have a look but we thought seeing as we were in the area...
It was an ice skating rink! In the middle of the city, amongst all the sky scrapers and traffic. This white circle of tranquility, with all these local skaters skating through the night.
This woman offered me her boots, so I got to go on! It was so amazing.
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Anyways gotta go, in a rush,
bye
x

Posted by KatieG11 22:07 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (6)

Calgary Hostel International

OMG I love this place!!

-3 °C

WAIT! Before I start, I need to update on everything else.

So, finished the flight. Mark and I were a little bit tired and frustrated from the flight, and then we had to go through and immigration and security to add to the joy. I got both my bags with in seconds of arriving at the carosel...score!
Bus station 20, bus 57, $2.75.
Of which Mark had to pay for because I cba getting change haha. We took the bus to Whitestone. When we got there we were confronted with the prospect of lugging three items of baggage each up three flights of stairs. I must admit, my heart sank. However, as we neared it we discovered a spiral sloping incline on the other side of the road. Thank the Lord! So we dragged our suitcases up and endless swirl of concrete and cherry-coloured railings.
At the top was a pretty awesome view of the cityscape. I stood there, absorbing it in. Feeling the welcome chill of the -3 degree air rush into my lungs, pretty much soothing my sweltering body. I watched this thin funnel of vapour escape my mouth. Was a cool moment.
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SO then we caught the C-transit train (which was free since we'd bought a bus ticket) and ventured on till we arrived at 7th Av in Downtown Calgary. We got off the train and just went in the direction of the brightest lights.
It was then that I actually saw one of those Newspaper stands, the one's from the movies that are like coin operated vending things!!!! Ah...so cool! AND (get this) a yellow fire hydrant!! I was practically foaming at the mouth with excitement. And then, as we went to cross the road, I realised that I'd never found out HOW to cross the road here. I can't tell you how weird it is, crossing the road without having to press a button in order for the traffic to stop. I never believe the traffic when the white man comes on (meaning you can cross), cause you always think that the traffic wont stop.

In the distance, sky scrapers were camouflaged in the night sky. I could actually see steam rising from the roof! Like in Friends!

ANYWAYS, we realised that we were headed in completely the opposite direction. We also realised that we were in the perfect location; 7th Avenue is the street with LOADS of main attractions. Everything here is set out in a grid, with Avenues going horizontally and Streets going vertically. It took us a while to get used to, but I'm getting the hang of it all now. We arrived at the hostel and checked in. We burst through our bedroom door, ready to pass out with exhaustion on our beds and were suprised to find 2 men each already in their bed sheets. And the heat! I can't tell you! oh it was overwhelming and so unwelcome. Fully clothed and prepared for the bitter cold... to stand in a room with a radiator so warm that that everyone slept in a single sheet and had the window open the whole night, was poo. We crashed out.
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We got talking to our roommates, Gabriel, a German snowboarder in his late 20s I'd say, but more intruigingly, Dennis, a middle-aged Native Indian. He lives on a reservation and came the the youth hostel for a week spontaneously. Within the first 5 minutes of meeting him, he asked me "so, have you met the Queen?". Legend.

The room: 3 bunk beds with 6 beds in total. 6 lockers to safely stow your suitcase. Fairly spacious, for a hostel, and lots of facilities e.g. free wifi everywhere, games room, pool, big tv with movies, quiet room, balcony etc. And 24 hour reception.
It's really, really nice! Just too bloody hot! Didn't think I'd be complaining of heat in Canada! Anyways just in bed ready to sleep now, It's 5:39 am UK time and 10:40 pm... I'm so awake it's friggin ridiculous. After all that travel and now I can't sleep. The snoring from these men is like like trying to sleep through several hurricanes occurring at once! haha, it's quite funny though.

KATE
x

Posted by KatieG11 16:59 Archived in Canada Tagged transportation Comments (2)

The airport and plane

Just a what I wrote on le plane

Hey guys! I'm here safe and sound. Wow, it's been a whirlwind 3 days so far, but I'm enjoying myself! I'm gonna write about each day individually, and add pictures later 'cause I all the appropriate cables are packed away somewhere.
These are taken from my Travel Diary, hence why some of it sounds present.

Thursday
DEER WUN. Currently on the plane, the time is 11:11 pm GMT, but Canadian local time is 4:11 pm and there are 1609 km to go.
Okay, so I bid farewell to mes parents at Manny airport, and 5 minutes into my independence a major grope ensued from security as a result of Mum surreptitiously putting a pound coin into my back jeans pocket. Thanks Mum! One tiny pound, and I received a full breast examination and had to remove my shoes and everything! Then I had a 30 minute wait until the plane, in which Charlotte entertained me fully over the phone, which was very much appreciated.
The flight to Heathrow was fine. Not much to tell - just caught up in the excitement of everything.
Then arrived in LHR Terminal 5 an hour later. It's so cool! Really big and modern. Got beaten by some little 6 year old at Fifa (cringe) and had a gorgeous "Fruitasia" smoothie in Giraffe, which is where I met Mark (the guy I'm travelling with). Then we had luncheon in, get this...WAGAMAMA. ♥ It's been on my 'to eat' list for a while (I actually do have a list). The price was horrific but really generous portion sizes and obviously the food was simply delicious.
Anyways, Mark and I got talking about life and everything in between...terrifyingly an hour and a half later Mark heard "last call for flight BA0103 to Calgary". I was on the phone at the time, so if Mark hadn't have heard it, we would have been swimming in poo canal. So we (well, I) majorly panicked, naturally, we got our things and sprinted like athletes (blatez) to the gate. We rushed down this ridiculously long escalator, to find that we had to take a friggin' transit train to reach the gate. <B>May I add that I was dressed in full fleece, ski jacket, fur hat ♥, and scarf, so

a) this was extremely hot and humid, and

b) mega bulky to try and run in</B>

It didn't help that poor Mark was limping on a sprained ankle!
Anyway, rushed out of the transit, up THREE flights of escalators (still running) and finally made it to the gate! Phew!
Entered the plane panting and sweating, peeled off my layers of coats and felt the vapour evaporating from my skin. I must have looked so sexy.
I watched the Time Traveller's Wife, 500 Days Of Summer ♥ and currently am in the process of watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince.
Had Chicken Tikka for dinner, was laaavly! The last 2 hours are dragging on a bit now, hence the ridiculously over described entry, my bum is going numb and I just had a "are you sure you really want to do this?!" moment. No going back now though. Mark wanted me to add that he beat me twice at Gin Rummy. Dammit.

Anyways, the rest of Harry Potter is calling! I'll write after my first day in Calgary.

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Kate

Posted by KatieG11 16:59 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged air_travel Comments (3)

Damn, I'm going to have to think of really witty titles =/

9 days to go! Mood: Anxious

Hello !

Before I start, I'm the world's biggest waffler, I just can't be concise. So apologies in advance. When I'm over there, I'll try to break up the text with pictures etc though. One more thing, if you click on the link to the right, or just http://katiegoldsmith.travellerspoint.com/subscribe/ you can subscribe to my blog and you'll be emailed when I update.

Wow, 9 days to go, eh! I've been on this journey since April of last year, when I applied and had my interview with Lattitude in Leeds. Originally, I wanted to do the same thing I'm doing in Canada, but in Australia. However, they didn't have any places left so they advised me to look into Canada. It's funny how things can just change and fall into place in the end. It's strange that after all this hype, and organising, and working, and stress at times, and just waiting for January 28th to come round... it's literally just around the corner. It's always seemed such a distant date, so it hasn't really sunk in yet that it's so close!

So, this month me and Mark (my travel buddy, I'll mention him throughout this =]) have been super organised and finally arranged everything we needed to! We'll arrive in Calgary, the capital of Alberta which is the state we will reside in, at around 7:00 pm local time after a really long flight (in which I plan to watch a million movies and play on the little tetris games the whole time...get in). Mark and I don't really know each other too well yet, so we're really looking forward to being forced into each other's company for over 9 hours haha. But seriously, it will be good to have a massive catch up. Then we'll catch a bus from the airport to Downtown Calgary, where we've booked into Calgary Hostel International for 3 nights. It looks pretty central, and has free wi fi in rooms, a pool table, and events on in the evenings, so I'm really excited about having a few days of independence and orientating ourselves before we start actually volunteering.

Brandon_Kozun.jpg The thing I am most excited about though, HAS to be the fact that we've booked to see the Calgary Hitmen, a junior Major League ice hockey team, play. How cool?! And the other day, I was watching a Canadian ice hockey match on TV when this fight broke out... helmets were discarded, gloves torn off, menace in their eyes! The 2 guys skated towards eachother and just had this massive brawl whilst the 2 referees watched on in apparent interest/amusement! Literally just watching them punch eachother... and then when one 'lost' he fled rink and the game resumed. What the heck?! haha, apparently Canadians have a really relaxed attitude to violence in Ice Hockey games, and for some that is the major attraction of going to see a match. So that will be interesting!

After 3 nights in the hostel (so it will be Sunday 31st), we're taking the Banff Airporter shuttle to Canmore where we'll be picked up by the Camp and finally reach Camp Chief Hector! We get a week of training before being in charge of the kids, which is pretty darn scary. But so many people before me have done it, so it is do-able. Just a challenge to rise to, I guess!

I've given myself a deadline of FRIDAY to be almost fully packed by! No doubt I will ignore this as usual, but I'm hoping to get it pretty much sorted by then. Just bought some amazing Mountaneering pants (sorry, trousers) for half price! So excited to wear those bad boys... complete with braces and everything! Those who know me, know that the smallest things make me happy, and the smallest things make me sad! Which is why these next 7 months are going to be the (sorry cliché) biggest rollercoaster ever. I'm so not mentally prepared, but I'm just gonna go for it and make it the best experience I possibly can!

This will probably the last blog I write here in England before I go, so goodbye everyone! I'm going to miss you all so much. Keep me updated with your lives on facebook! For those who do, could you pray that I'll be able settle in to camp life, and that I get on well with fellow workers...thank you.

Lotsa lovin',
Kate

Posted by KatieG11 20:14 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (0)

An introduction! 24 days to go...

My first blog :) Mood: Restless

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog. My name is Katie Goldsmith and on the 28th January I will be embarking on a trip to Canada!
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So yeah that's me sledging in Wales haha, pretty much sums me up =]
I intend on keeping a weekly blog, so hopefully I can let you guys know what I've been up to over there.

I'm going with the charity http://www.lattitude.org lattitude_logo.jpg who I applied to way back in April ish I think. I've been working part time in a cafe in Chester in the meantime, and meeting up with friends and such.

So far my gap year's been great, but now onto the next chapter: flying across the atlantic to the second largest country in the world! Temperatures are going to be exceedingly cold, so I have to purchase a sleeping bag that will keep me warm in -10 degrees...ouch.

So what will I actually be doing there? I'm volunteering in an outdoor camp run by the YMCA called Camp Chief Hector. Similar to a school residential, I'll be a Camp Counsellor: in charge of a group of students aged 10-12, participating in a variety of outdoor pursuits and helping to develop their characters.

I'll work 5 days a week during Winter/Spring, and 6 days a week during Summer. During down time, I hope to go skiing often, since one of Canada's prime ski resorts, Banff, is just 35 minutes away from Camp. Those who know me, know that I love playing music all the time so I want to buy a guitar out there so I can do the old sing-song aroud the camp fire jazzzz.

Anyways, it's 24 days and counting until I leave old Blighty and I am still lacking insurance, accomodation for the first 2 days I arrive in Calgary and some essential gear. My organsation skills never fail to impress me. Currently feeling very nervous and scared! I've never done anything like this before and I'm going to miss everyone so much... but no doubt I'll have an amazing time! Also, EXTREMELY unfit right now... no school + christmas = lack of exercise + excessive food consumption
I will update soon!

Katie
xxx

Posted by KatieG11 02:14 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged preparation Comments (2)

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