This year at THR has taken us many places, some of them new, some old favourites. Here is a list of some of our adventures from this past year. You can also check out the ARCHIVES (on the right side above the Twitter feed >>) to catch up.
In October 2012, we started off checking out historical sites in Berlin, Germany with Checkpoint Charlie (DE ’10 Prt 1). We also made a stop in Hamburg to check out their famous red light district (Hamburg, Red Light (DE ’10 Prt 6)). On our last German stop, we fell in love with the quaint medieval town of Bremen (Medieval Bremen (DE ’10 Prt 9)).
We got wrecked in Amsterdam, Holland (Amsterdam – Bad Decisions (NL ’10 Prt 4)) and lost in Brussels, Belgium (Manneken Pis and Belgian Dilapidation (BE ’10 Prt 2)).
We ate THE BEST 3am poutine of our lives in Ghent, Belgium (Ghent – 3am Poutine (BE ’10 Prt 4)) and made it to Lille, France with bursting bladders (5am Lille (FR ’10 Prt 1)). We even dared to pick up a hitch hiker from Latvia (The Hitcher (FR ’10 Prt 3)).
Our first month was a busy one!
November brought us to Compiegne, France – where Joan of Arc took her last stand (Compiegne – Joanies Last Stand (FR ’10 Prt 4)), and to Paris where we nearly got lynched by an angry gaggle of youth (Je Suis Canadienne! (FR ’10 Prt 5)).
We had a profound experience after happening upon WW1 monument, Vimy Ridge (Experiencing Vimy Ridge (FR ’10 Prt 8)) and melted into the hospitality of Boulogne Sur Mer, France (Chancing Upon Boulogne (FR ’10 Prt 10)).
We crossed the channel by ferry from France to England (Crossing the Channel (FR – SCT ’10 Prt 1)), and unintentionally spent a night in the forest with a murderer (In the Forest with a Murderer (FR – SCT ’10 Prt 4)), as we ripped through the English country side on our way to Scotland.
Many adventures happened during our time in Edinburgh, Scotland. We visited the Knights room in St. Giles Cathedral (The Knights – St. Giles Cathedral (SCT ’10 Prt 4)), walked the gorgeous Royal Mile (Walking the Royal Mile (SCT ’10 Prt 5)) and scared the absolute hell out of ourselves in Greyfriars Kirkyard (Spooked at Greyfriars (SCT ’10 Prt 7) & Greyfriars, Repeated (SCT ’10 Prt 8)).
In December we headed out on a Scottish castle tour.
Our second stop was one of our favourites – gorgeous castle Dunnottar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Dunnottar – Light and Dark (SCT ’10 Prt 11)).
Crathes castle was next on our list (Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire (SCT ’10 Prt 12)), followed by my absolute favourite, immaculately pink Craigiever castle (Craigievar Castle (SCT ’10 Prt 14)).
We had to check out the darker side of medieval life too, and found ourselves at the foot of ominous Corgarff castle (Tragedy at Corgarff Castle (SCT ’10 Prt 16)).
We headed from the Scottish Moorlands to the Highlands (From Moorlands to Highlands (SCT ’10 Prt 17)), got drunk at the Loch Ness (The Loch Ness (SCT ’10 Prt 19)) and made a quick stop at castle Urquhart (Castle Urquhart (SCT ’10 Prt 20)).
We also happened to do a moderately treacherous winter tour through the Rocky Mountains (Crowsnest and Cascades).
The new year took us through the hauntingly beautiful district of Argyll and Bute (Argyll and Bute to Ayrshire (SCT ’10 Prt 22)) and across the ferry to Northern Ireland (Belfast (IRL ’10 Prt 1)).
We headed to the town of Galway, Ireland (County Galway (IRL ’10 Prt 2)) and the gorgeous country side of Clare (Through Clare to Kinvara (IRL ’10 Prt 3)) before nearly killing ourselves at the cliffs of Moher (Seeking Dreams at the Cliffs of Moher (IRL ’10 Prt 5) & Near Death at the Cliffs of Moher (IRL ’10 Prt 6)).
We visited the Anglesey and the Welsh Moorlands (Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey (WAL ’10 Prt 1), Along the Welsh Moorlands (WAL ’10 Prt 2)), Caernarfon (Caernarfon Wales (WAL ’10 Prt 3)) and were fortunate enough to have a horribly hilarious and embarrassing authentic Welsh experience along the way (Blood Pudding and Broken Toilets (WAL ’10 Prt 5), Something Dodgy (WAL ’10 Prt 6))
We even took a chilly local tour of the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, BC – one of our favourite afternoon time wasters – it makes for a great hike too – if you are into adding fitness to your adventure.
Our early February destination was Vancouver Island, BC (To Vancouver Island (VAN ISL Prt 1)), where we took in the beautiful historic downtown (Downtown, Inner Harbour and Beacon Hill Park (VAN ISL Prt 2)), Craigdarroch Castle (Craigdarroch Castle (VAN ISL Prt 3)) and Ross Bay Cemetery (Emily Carr and Ross Bay Cemetery (VAN ISL Prt 4)), before heading ‘up Island’.
One of my favourite natural places of earth is the Cathedral Grove Rainforest (VAN ISL Prt 6), Long Beach, Tofino (VAN ISL Prt 8) isn’t bad either. Tofino (VAN ISL Prt 9) is a huge tourist destination, though we were not impressed with our time there & still wonder if we will ever head back (A Message from Tofino).
We also made it to London and visited Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey (ENG ’10 Prt 1), checked out Parliament and Trafalgar Square (ENG ’10 Prt 2) where we saw Big Ben, and we walked around Piccadilly before heading to the airport to return to Canada (Walking Piccadilly (ENG ’10 Prt 3)).
In March we made a last minute decision to start the epic 9.5 hour road trip to ghost town Barkerville, BC – taking in the sites along the way (The Road to Barkerville (BRKRVL Prt 1)).
We learned about the horrors of the real ‘wild west’ (Wild West – Serial Killers (BRKRVL Prt 3)) and checked out a few small towns along the way (Up to Wells (BRKRVL Prt 4)).
We explored Barkerville at great length (Exploring Barkerville (BRKRVL Prt 5), Inside Barkerville (BRKRVL Prt 7)) while learning some history (Barkerville: History and New Gold (BRKRVL Prt 6), Hurdy Gurdy Girls (BRKRVL Prt 8)).
Indeed, we took our time exploring, researching and discovering the historic gold rush route (The Gold Rush Route (BRKRVL Prt 10)), and plan to make a return trip so we can stay in one of Barkervilles awesome authentic wild west hotels.
It wasn’t all good though. It was also in March that we lost The Littlest Runaway. Jack had been touring with me faithfully for a number of years before finally succumbing to old age and heart disease.
In April we decided to make our own circle tour of BC and headed to our first stop in Kilby (Kilby Historic Site (SMR-WNTR Prt 1)), home to a cute little farm and General Store, once the centre of a bustling community.
On this tour we checked out the Historic Yale Cemetery (SMR-WNTR Prt 3), the derelict town of Boston Bar (SMR-WNTR Prt 5), Lytton (SMR-WNTR Prt 6) and the desert-y town of Lillooet (Lillooet – History and Camels (SMR-WNTR Prt 8)).
What made this tour so remarkable was the extreme change in temperature within a very short distance. We literally drove from blazing summer (Hitting the Beaches (SMR-WNTR Prt 2)) to freezing winter (Winter on Highway 99 (SMR-WNTR Prt 9)), just by crossing a mountain range.
We even got to encounter some amazing wild horses on our way back (Wild Horses (SMR-WNTR Prt 10)). I have never seen an actual ‘wild horse’, just domesticated ‘bad’ ones!
In May we continued our tour of British Columbia by visiting the isolated community of D’arcy (SMR-WNTR Prt 11), and checking out some gorgeous landscape and extreme sport in Squamish (Kite Surfing, Squamish (SMR-WNTR Prt 13)).
We visited the majestic Howe Sound (Howe Sound to Britannia Beach (SMR-WNTR Prt 14)) and finished our loop by stopping for a bit in the formerly abandoned mining town Britannia Beach – one of my favourite local haunts.
I also took you on my journey to Thailand, where I taught English for a year (The First Day – Thailand). I introduced you to Jungle Ants and the Thai version of recycling (Thai Recycling, And The Too Fat Farrang).
We looked at the Elephant Temple in Hat Yai (Municipal Park, Hat Yai Thailand), and headed to the park where I showed you a great view from the temple (Thailand: A View And A Lot Of Jungle Noise).
I lived through monsoon season, and shared a flooding with you in ‘Thailand: Plastic Sheets and Staircase Waterfalls‘, thoroughly enjoyed the Thai Jingle Temple, explored Downtown Hat Yai Thailand and fought a Thai Scorpion.
Additionally I enjoyed my 36th Birthday in Thailand, Thai style – with selfies, seedy bars and serenades. One of my most memorable (to date!).
Speaking of which, May happens to be the month of my birthday, and this was a special one. So I went on a zip-line adventure to Whistler, BC (Birthday Zip – Whistler).
May, my favourite month!
It was time for a family tour so off we headed to the interior mountain town of Revelstoke, BC for some camping and bear watching (Re-Rating Revelstoke (Mntn Prt 1)), and we explored the 3 Valley Gap (Mntn Prt 3), and its historic impressively reconstructed ghost town.
We stayed at Noah’s Ark Resort (Mntn Prt 4) and visited the fairy tale-like Enchanted Forest (The Enchanted Forest (Mntn Prt 5)). I could have stayed there indefinitely, foraging and living in the trees.
We adventured the golden shores of the Shuswap (The Shuswap (Mntn Prt 6)), bought candy and explored local history at The O’Keefe Ranch (Mntn Prt 7), and climbed up to the top of the epic The Revelstoke Dam (Mntn Prt 8), to take in some breathtaking views.
I also shared with you how I became known as the Habitual Runaway – and video of a younger version of myself exploring my first home – a now (then, in the video!) creepy abandoned motel, situated along Hwy 2 in Ontario, Canada (Becoming The Habitual Runaway: The Newtonville Hotel).
In July we decide it is time to get serious and take you on a tour of BC’s Japanese Internment Camps. A dark scar on Canada’s World War history record. We encountered most of these towns while on various ghost town tours.
Though there was one village that embraced their new residents (Internment: Greenwood, BC), but most did not. Kaslo was a place with a less than appealing record of welcome (WWII Internment: Kaslo, BC).
We also explored the abandoned ghost town site of Silvery Sandon, where internees nearly froze to death, and New Denver, where you can find a museum dedicated to remembering this difficult time in Canadian history (Internment: New Denver).
There were also the harsh conditions of Slocan City, where David Suzuki and his family were interned (Exile: Vanishing Slocan City). Hardly a city now – barely even a town site.
August brought the start of our cross-Canada tour. Not my first crossing, but I can never get enough of this beautiful country I live in. I grew up in Ontario, Canada near a famous site used as inspiration for the James Bond series, so of course I had to check out Camp X.
Nearby Camp 30, in Bowmanville Ontario, is one of my favourite abandoned explorations – ever- is the only Nazi P.O.W Camp left standing, and was only one of a small handful to have ever existed. The site has had an incredibly varied past and is now in the process of potentially being saved (Nazi POW Camp: Camp 30, Bowmanville Canada).
Our trip out of Ontario was not without incident. Unfortunately there was a bizarre rash of road rage incidences, and unusual accidents (Trauma in Northern Ontario).
I shared a little story with you, inspired by my time in Huron Shores, about almost joining a Hutterite colony, and I brought you to Iron Bridge, formerly known as ‘Tally-Ho!’ (Iron Bridge, Tally-Ho!).
September was a busy month for us. We sold and moved out of our floaty home, moved my parents from Ontario to BC, and had some medical stuff to deal with, so THR was on hiatus for a bit. However, we did manage to bring you to the isolated town of Thessalon, On The Huron.
And here we are, back just in time to celebrate having made it a year in. Hope you have enjoyed our shared travels, as much as we have enjoyed sharing with you – and that you will be back for more in the future!
Happy 1st Birthday THR!