Gloria's Travel Blog

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Roadtrip to Banff, Jasper & lake Louise

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This past year’s July 2010 long weekend Karen, Shelly and I went to Banff for the long weekend! Roadtrips are so much fun especially with friends.
We drove down early in the morning, taking the scenic route, stopping at random places. We had some car adventures, along with getting a speeding ticket and made it safely to Jasper. We were exausted from the 9 ish hour drive but still went hiking the 6 bridges, which was beautiful. Then at night after an amazing bison burger we enjoyed the Canada Day fireworks.
The following day we drove from jasper to banff. It is so picturesque! Along the way we drove on one of the most scenic highways. There were mountain goats, elk, a bear and her cub. There is a lot of natural beauty that BC has and I’d highly recommend this trip to see it!
We drove by the Icelandic and took some amazing shots. We continued to lake Louis and hiked up to lake peyto. This is probably the most beautiful and highly photographed site. A truly green, remarkable lake showing off some of our gorgeous rocky mountains!! Fantastic.
After driving to banff we were able to find many places to hike near by. We decided to go to the hot springs which are surprisingly cheap and relaxing. We also had a great dinner at the hotel and another day went to the fairmont.
After only a short trip it’s easy to understand why it is named beautiful British Columbia.
July 2011 road trip was such a great time, hence the long delayed post. Apparently drafts don’t show up lol. Hope you too can go experience jasper, lake Louise and banff!

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Written by gloriastarr

January 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Posted in Outdoors, Travel

Hawaii

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       I went to Waikiki from December 7-15. It was my first time back to Hawaii for over 12 years. What a beautiful place to visit and go for vacation. There’s so much to do and see, but best of all there’s plenty of time for relaxation. 
      We swam by the beach and pool most days and sun tanned. It’s nice to be able to swim in December, and not have to freeze 🙂 We rented a car to be able to see more of the Island and so we went up to the North where there are more waves for experienced surfers. There was a huge competition going on but we didn’t have time to stay and watch and there wasn’t any parking in site.  The waves are crazy there some times over 10 feet tall. My brother-in-law did some crazy waves without even realizing that they were for only kamikaze surfers. I’m glad he didn’t miss any of the waves and get hit into the coral, that would have been truly unfortunate.
     One of the days I went out surfing with my sister. We had 3 person private lesson for only $25 for a 1.5 hour lesson. It was great! They took us outside on the boards and helped push us into the wave as the hardest part is the momentum in paddling. The waves were so much calmer here and I managed to make almost each wave!!! It was sooooo much fun and I rode most of the waves til the shore until I jumped off as I didn’t want to have to paddle as much 🙂  Can’t wait to go back and surf in Hawaii!!
     We went on a road trip and went to a beach with these turtles. Usually the turtles lay on the beach and people just stare at them. But they wanted to go for a swim. You were allowed to swim 2 feet away for them, so I decided why not swim with the turtles 🙂 It was amazing swimming with 3 turtles about half my size! A great experience!
     Along the road trip we stopped for some amazing snow cones. It was ice cream with shaved ice and several flavors like pineapple, coconut, mango. All I know is there were long line and It was delicious. I’m actually craving more right now that I think about it.   We also went to a little Thai restaurant that is very famous in Honolulu and they gave us this really tasty meal all from the side of a truck 🙂 
     While in Hawaii  we also went to hike Diamond Head. It’s a short hike with a long line-up in the tunnel but a gorgeous view of  Waikiki from the top.  It’s an easy hike, very accessible I wouldn’t suggest going in the peak hours likely at 10am as the lines are crazy busy but maybe go early or later in the evening.  It’s well worth the views.
     During the trip there’s a few places to go shopping too. I went to the mall nearby which was a quick minute walk from our hotel. There’s some new variety there with lots of nice designer stores. There’s the outlets just outside the downtown core which I bought several things from. I actually enjoyed the flea market of all things. It consists of many stands around the outside of a large stadium. The prices are really reasonable as this is where most of the locals shop, so you can buy many items and gifts for reasonable prices instead of the mark-up prices they have in the city. 
     We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian village in Waikiki. I really enjoyed the stay there, I highly recommend it. They have everything you’d need and more. They have a couple private pools and water slides, several stores for anything you can think of. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, coffee shops, and a private beach. There’s also many animals like you’re in a mini zoo. You can find fish, parrots, flamingos, and penguins. I took my niece to the penguins most mornings and she loved watching them eat. She is so cute, and basically jumped into the fish pond to stare at all the fish. It’s a great place to take kids 🙂
    In Hawaii there’s so much to see & do. I’m glad I had the chance to visit again and have a break from everyday life to appreciate the world around me.

Written by gloriastarr

February 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

Seattle roadtrip

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   This remembrance day I went down for a road trip to Seattle! My friend needed to go the Seatac airport for a much awaited trip and what better way to send our friend off but to drive down together and make an outing of it.  We woke up super early and were out of Vancouver by 6am, making it to the peace arch truck crossing by just after 7am.  There was a huge line due to the holiday and we waited for over an hour. Then the border patrol man was quite curt, and didn’t make it easy for us to cross. Wow, something about acting suspicious to go early to make the flight. Crazy, but thankfully we made it though and had great timing along the way.
    We stopped in at my favorite Starbucks along the route. So nice seeing you again LEAHA!!  Wow were you ever busy, so many people want to have a nice treat. yummy peppermint white chocolate mocha. Thanks again for being so efficient at work. Hopefully the next time I see you again won’t be just for 10min at a time.  Let me know when you plan to visit.
   We continued along to the Seatac airport and thankfully were 1.5 hours in advance for the flight.  Everything worked out as usual, and so the rest of us continued into Seattle for brunch.
    We went to Delilah’s which didn’t have breakfasts on weekends and so went to their sister company Lola’s.  It’s a nice casual but classy restaurant. I had this delicious pumpkin/squash soup and then these delicious donuts with marscapone cheese and blueberry sauce.  So fantastic.  I highly recommend stopping by to have a great brunch. 
    After we walked around the city to some many great shopping stores. I bought some things as usual 🙂 This time my prized item was a pair of black patent coach pumps 🙂  We also went over to Pike’s Place for the much-needed tourist stop.
    Then we headed back to the outlets for some more shopping. There were so many people down for the holiday. People and lines everywhere, I guess the christmas rush is starting to happen. The christmas sales are even coming in.  I bought some gifts and things for myself. It was a lot of fun just to browse and shop around and go to some new stores unlike Metrotown.
   After a great shopping trip we were starved so we ended up going to this great Mexican restaurant. It was amazing! A small, non-chain restaurant with big portions and great lime margaritas 🙂 I’ll need to make this a regular event to my US travel days.
   Overall I had a long, eventful day with friends. Thanks Jessica & Dave 🙂 

Written by gloriastarr

November 15, 2010 at 5:08 am

Canoeing in the Sunshine Coast

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The Sunshine Coast is a 40min ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay.  It’s an easy get away from Vancouver.  It has a scenic coast with thousands of  trees, many lakes, wildlife and adventures to be had. 

Today I came back from the Sunshine Coast. It was a nice relaxing few days off for the BC day weekend.  There is so much beauty in BC which should be experienced.  During this trip, I managed to see a bunch of animals.  There were about 6 deer in the backyard. A few different familes brought their fawn to roam & munch a bit.  I was almost able to go up and pet them.  I also saw a chipmunk and several birds, including the bald eagle.  Nature is truly in our own backyard, we just need to escape a bit to enjoy it.

There’s a lot of things to do on the coast, such as kayaking or canoeing in the lakes or ocean.  I went canoeing yesterday with my friend in Garden Lake. It didn’t take us long to go around the whole lake.  We even enjoyed our picnic on the canoe.  While going around the lake, we noticed leaves shaking in a bush and to our surprise, saw there was a bear eating berries. My friend got a good look at him, but I didnt.  The bear quickly ran off when he noticed there was company.  We continued canoeing, and later went by one of the islands and relaxed for a bit and took a swim. What an eventful day, and a great getaway. The sun was shining, there was good food, company; what more could I ask for.

Written by gloriastarr

August 5, 2010 at 10:25 am

Camping in the Coquihalla

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This past weekend I went camping at Coquihalla Campsite in Hope. It’s beside the Coquihalla river, and a short drive to Kawkawa lake. It’s a good site with full facilities including coin-operated showers. I especially liked how there are double sites and the 11am quiet hour is not enforced. It costs about $20 for 4 people and a car per night. So quite inexpensive.

We got to the campsite a bit late but security managed to let us in & direct us to a spot close to the river. There were friendly people who helped lend some lanterns and we easily got our tents up for the night. As a few friends wanted to go to sleep, I went off with another friend to join another campfire and roast marshmallows with them.

There were about 7 couples in their 40’s-50’s who had been friends from highschool for over 20 years. It was a lot of fun hanging out and hearing all their hilarious stories of when they were young. Especially interesting as they were all wasted. One of the men there was a really funny German guy with a heavy accent. We were chatting still and he accidently he fell on either the wood chips or a stone. He knocked himself out and was grabbing his eye. We quickly got a lantern and we saw lots of blood around his eye and a big goosebump on his head. I had to put my first aid training into use quickly and we got a cloth to wipe off the blood. He lost consciences for a while and I called 911. We opened the campsite gate, which was happily unlocked, and allowed the ambulance in. It was 5 am by now, and I was wide awake from the adrenalin.
Happily the next day he came back from the hospital with a sore neck, bruises under his eye and a gash on his nose. What a crazy day, I’m glad that he was ok.

The next day after I woke up we went to visit the Othello Tunnels. They are a series of 5 tunnels built between 1911 & 1916. It’s part of the Kettle Valley Railway with dark tunnels, and scenic points in between. It’s an easy hike/ walk and something great to do for free.

We later went to Kawkawa lake, and went for a swim. It was warm, but kind of gross as we could see the oil in the water from all the boats. We enjoyed a nice picnic on the beach, and then we went to Silver lake for another swim. Wow was it cold! I felt like I was swimming in the glaciers. I went in and felt my legs going numb, but it actually felt invigorating in the end. I’m glad I went in.

We enjoyed our camping time, and made some delicious food. Made some smores by the campfire, sang some songs, and enjoyed the nature. BC’s a very beautiful place to live. Lots of great places to go nearby, but very different from city life.

The last day we went to Cultus Lake. The water was warm, and there were many people up for the day. It’s fun to just relax for the day and enjoy your surroundings. It was a great camping weekend, with not much sleep, but lots of adventures. Something fun, cheap, and easy to do to get away for a little while.

California

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This past May I went to California with my sister Kristina & friend Jessica.  It was pretty last-minute, but well planned out to go to LA &  San Diego after 10+ years!  It was so quick & easy, we woke up early and made it to LAX by 10am. Rented a car, and drove down to San Diego. Checked out a random Mexican restaurant we read about online and then stopped at the outlets. Wow there’s so much shopping there and so much Mexican influence.  We could even see the border crossing. 

San Diego was beautiful we saw La Jolla, a fabulous beach with tons of birds & sea lions. It was gorgeous, so much natural beauty. A really great place to relax & enjoy and take mini hikes. We found a bar and had this weird guy start making fun of random people.  He called this guy douche bag pants. haha we were laughing so hard, expecting this guy to be beat up, but it was all good.  I haven’t heard that word in forever.  We also went to a Cinco de Mayo party in the old town of San Diego. We walked around and enjoyed the festivities, had some great nachos, tortillas, tacos and horchatas.  What a great Cinco de Mayo celebration!

We left San Diego and hit up the beaches of Cali.  We first stopped by Venice Beach where we sun bathed and enjoyed people watching. It’s known for its rollerbladers and body builders. definitely a beach with character. Then we went to Santa Monica, enjoyed some shopping, saw excellent street dancers and went up the famous ferris wheel for a beautiful view! Just gorgeous.  After we headed to Malibu & had some Starbucks and tasty fajitas.  It was a beautiful drive, with such great weather.

The following day we went to Six Flags.  There were barely any line as it was the beginning of the season and a Monday. We managed to get front row for almost every ride.  The Goliath was likely my favorite, but Deja Vu & X2 were close seconds.  In the end we went on 21 rides, definitely my record. We even went on this water tube ride, little did I realize it got you soaked from head to toe. I got it the most, good thing it was such a hot day to partially dry me off.  This past trip to Six Flags was my best  amusement park experience so far~ the way they should be with tons of ride, lots of sun, and no lines 🙂

In LA we went to the touristy area and saw the hollywood walk of fame and took lots of star pictures. We drove Hollywood boulevard, Sunset boulevard, Bel-Air, Melrose, UCLA, and more. We took some shots near the hollywood sign and enjoyed the atmosphere. It is a more lively city then San Diego with my posh stores and restaurants.

The California trip was so much fun.  It brought back good memories, and many new memories spent with friends and family.  I need to start planning my next California vacation

Written by gloriastarr

July 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Travel

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Last days in Israel

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My year abroad has come to a close with my last month in Israel.  It has been a great year of relaxing and spending time with my family. There were good times and times of adjustments but all well worth it.  So for this last month I decided to do all my favvorite things from my time here so far.

I went to may favorite places to eat such as: Hashdera, a cheap variety of good foods in a trendy restaurant. I had malawah (flakey pankake) in Old Jaffa and a tasty chocolate croissant at the french patisiere. I had some freshly squeezed orange juice + smoothies, and couldn’t forget my favorite yogo!  I had ice cafes at both cafe cafe and my other favorite aroma cafe. There’s a lot of foods and hot spots I’m sure I’ll miss.

I ventured around tel aviv and checked out the artisan market at Nehalat Binyamin & the carmel market for a real israeli experience. I shopped along sheinken & took photos of beautiful bauhaus on Rothschild. I enjoyed bike riding throughout Tel Aviv, it was really relaxing.  I also saw this amazing fower carpet in the square. I was able to visit the Ashkelon Marina & swim in this country club. But of course my time wouldn’t be complete unless I visited Tel Baruch beach again for some swimming and relaxation. I also went surfing again and can see some progress.  I also enjoyed many walks along the beach and the wonderful Tel Aviv port. I even managed to see some random guys turn their car stero up and dance disco outside along the boardwalk 🙂 Priceless,  I’ll be missing all these random happenings and the open, friendly culture.

Later I visited Jerusalem on the high holidays again (Yom Kippur). I was able to meet up with several friends before my departure as well.  I also enjoyed apples and honey to celebrate the Jewish New Year of Rosh HaShannah.  I went to sublet, and Galina again and even got a membership 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be missing all the lounge bars and clubs in Tel Aviv and the European vibe.

So ends my wonderful time in Israel and abroad. This year I’ve seen 6 countries: Jordan, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and of course Israel. It was a fabulous time abroad, well worth the experience.  So begins my new year in Vancouver yet again.

Written by gloriastarr

October 21, 2009 at 8:06 pm