A Travellerspoint blog

Day 123,124,125 Vancouver, Canada-Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday 9th October 2005 Monday 10th October 2005 Tuesday 11th October 2005

sunny 16 °C

A seriously long day today with the 2 flights we had. After arriving at the airport we checked in for the first flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles which took us around 2 hours 30 minutes but then once in Los Angeles we had the one to Auckland which would take us around 12 hours. Once on the plane to Auckland I was hoping the journey would be alot more enjoyable with a few decent films to watch but how wrong I was. Then to make it that bit more unenjoyable I had the arsehole from hell sitting in the seat in front of me who within seconds reclined his seat to give me even less room to get comfy in, so from time to time as he slept I would give the back of his seat a good nudge as I tried to move my legs and get comfortable.
Anyway eventually I did manage to get a few hours sleep and before I knew it we were touching down on New Zealand soil. Once we all got our bags we headed over to a minibus shuttle that would take us to the hostel we had booked. Oh what joy being on the bus was. There were 6 other people on the bus and every sodding one of them was English, it was just like being back at bloody home. We had the couple who had just got married and the woman had such a strong essex accent that all I wanted to do was strangle her, and her husband who spoke like he was royalty the muppet. Next up was the old posh couple and the woman of the couple had been fined for bringing an apple into the country. She was moaning for England that it had cost her so much but I was nearly pissing myself at her and it serves her right as there were enough signs in the airport warning you not to bring certain things into the country. Hence I then started calling her the apple smuggler much to her annoyance. The other couple I didn’t really pay much attention to as by now I didn’t want to communicate with anymore English tourists. Yes I am one myself but these certain characters were enough to make me want to stick my head in a gas oven and light a match.
Anyway after the 50 minute journey from the airport that seemed to take 4 hours we made it to the hostel and hopefully wouldn’t bump into those 6 people again. First thoughts on the hostel were it was in a perfect location, very close to the city but far enough out so we wouldn’t get the noise. After dropping my bags literally on the floor I managed to get 3 hours sleep and woke up feeling pretty good but was still expecting to suffer from serious jetlag over the coming days.
Once I was up and about I emailed Fiona and arranged to meet up with her that night and then we all headed out for a look around to see what Auckland had to offer. Pretty much the first thing you see when you leave the hostel is the Sky Tower and hopefully in the next few days we would get some good weather and the views from the top would be all the more enjoyable. After spending a couple of hours having a look around I was already getting the feeling I would be quiet happy in staying here a lot longer, not just in Auckland but New Zealand as a whole.
Later on Fiona came and picked me up and we headed over to Mission Bay for a beer and then into the Indian for a nice meal.

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:51 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking

Day 122 Seattle, USA-Vancouver, Canada

Saturday 8th October 2005

sunny 18 °C

Time to leave America today and head back into Canada for the night before we fly off to New Zealand. Going through customs was a breeze as we just handed them our passports and within seconds we were on our way to the hotel near the airport. Totally the opposite to when we tried to get into America and were given a 1001 questions. Tonight was shit or bust though regarding packing my rucksack. With all the things I had bought in the last few months somehow everything had to fit but luckily it eventually did, although that was probably thanks to me sending to huge parcels home.

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:48 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 121 Seattle, USA

Friday 7th October 2005

sunny 18 °C

Simon and I had another walk around the Farmers Market while Jill had a lie in after the concert she went to last night. We stopped by the fish stall again where the guys working there always seem to be throwing fish about and generally messing around rather than actually selling it. After that we all walked around the shops and then as there wasn’t much else really to see here we decided to see a film at the cinema.
Personally I think we could of seen the whole of Seattle in 1 day as apart from the Space Needle theres not really anything worth seeing here. Im just looking forward to getting to New Zealand and at least getting the chance to do some activities and being away from the cities and all the unhealthy food that comes with them.

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Seattle Market

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Seattle Fish Market

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:46 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 120 Seattle, USA

Thursday 6th October 2005

overcast 17 °C

Went on the Underground tour today and saw how the city of Seattle was pretty much created. Previously nobody really wanted to live here and people were offered cheap land to bring there businesses to the west. How the whole city was formed was really strange as all the walkways and pavements were underground and to get to a shop you would have to climb a ladder up onto the road to get to it, and to get from one side of the road to the other you would have to climb one ladder then cross the road and climb down the ladder the other side and at the time the underground walkways didn’t have ceilings on them either. The tour lasted around 90 minutes and was fairly interesting although nothing spectacular.

Posted by Reece Sanford 19:44 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 119 Seattle, USA

Wednesday 5th October 2005

semi-overcast 15 °C

Simon and I headed out around 11am while Jill had a few more hours layzing in bed.We headed over to the Public Market first which is a stones throw away from the hostel.Its a fairly large market and also has around another 50 shops underground selling all weird and strange things.The highlight of the market however is a certain fish stall where for some reason the workers are always being filmed.Well if you call them workers because all the seem to be doing is pissing about throwing fish and other things at each other.
Next we headed over to the Westlake Shopping Center for a quick browse around before we headed back to see if Jill has surfaced.
As we were now all up we walked along the waterfront and eventually to the Space Needle (yet another reasonably tall building to go up).
The views from the top of the 605ft Space Needle were quite reasonable although in the distance there was a fair amount of cloud,but you could through the binoculars just about pick out some snow on some of the surrounding mountains.
After an hour of looking around we caught the monorail back to the city centre for some food before heading back to the hostel.Then after relaxing for a few hours we headed of to a micro brewery pub for a few beers before heading back for a fairly early night.

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The Space Needle

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Posted by Reece Sanford 18:21 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 118 Portland-Seattle, USA

Tuesday 4th October 2005

semi-overcast 14 °C

Well Seattle is the last destination for us in America before we head off to another country.And with that i mean New Zealand although we do stay in Vancouver,Canada (again) for a few days first and then fly in Los Angeles,USA (again) before we fly there.
Luckily we are in another very nice hostel and this time its an HI Hostel in downtown Seattle.Theres not that many people here either and its so quiet even though its close to everything.
Simon wasnt feeling to good so Jill and I decided to do some exploring ie we headed to a bar for a few drinks although the main reason was because they were supposed to be playing one of her favourite bands new albums as a promo night,as well as another band Franz Ferdinand.
We got to the bar expecting there to be a fairly large crowd and when we arrived it was just us to there,and it was exactly the same when we left.Oh barring the 2 DJ's and the DJ's seriously weird mate that wanted to talk to us all night.

Posted by Reece Sanford 18:11 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 117 Portland, USA

Monday 3rd October 2005

rain 10 °C

Headed into the centre of Portland to see what it had to offer although theres not much really to see.Although there was an interesting sign post that was worth taking a photo of with distances to places all around the world.
Once back at the hotel even though the weather was wet and dull we could still relax in the warm swimming pool and spa for an hour or so.

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Posted by Reece Sanford 18:00 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 116 Eugene-Portland, USA

Sunday 2nd October 2005

rain 12 °C

Pretty much the same as yesterday.Driving,rain,cold and the evening spent in a hotel in Portland reading through my New Zealand book.Along the way we stopped off at Salem to see the State Capitol Building of Oregon but its been the ugliest out of all of them so far.

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Oregon State Capitol Building,Salem

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:56 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 115 Redding-Eugene, USA

Saturday 1st October 2005

rain 11 °C

Another one of those days where it was spent just driving before we found somewhere to crash out for the night.One other thing that we did notice though was the serious drop in temperature and lack of sun and time for the rain to start coming drown,fairly hard at times to.

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:50 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 114 Lake Tahoe-Redding, USA

Friday 30th September 2005

overcast 20 °C

From now on its just a case of heading towards Seattle the last stop in America,and theres nowhere really in between that we have thought about visiting so it will just be a case of stopping off enroute when we get tired of driving.
After around 7 hours of driving and yet more beautiful scenery we stopped off for the night in a motel in a small town called Redding.Luckily there was a great chinese across the road and after a huge meal (i was only expecting small portions to and wasnt really hungry) it was back to the motel where we managed to book accomadation for our first 4 nights in New Zealand.

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Lake Tahoe from our hotel

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Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe

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A nice scenic rest stop/toilets enroute to Redding

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Posted by Reece Sanford 23:08 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 113 Lake Tahoe, USA

Thursday 29th September 2005

sunny 19 °C

A quite day for me as i spent most of it reading about places to see in New Zealand.The days have flown by just lately and we havent even planned a route there yet.Apart from that i enjoyed a short stroll around the town before heading back for some more reading and planning.

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Lake Tahoe

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Cable cars at Lake Tahoe

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:03 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 112 Lake Tahoe, USA

Wednesday 28th September 2005

sunny 20 °C

Today we decided to drive around the lake although i would of preferred to of cycled around it as the route was fantastic.There were plenty of cyclists and it was just a shame i didnt have my bike or the clothing for it.
Another site on the way was Squaw Valley which was the site for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games and i would imagine its a hell of a place in the winter time although im not sure i would want to be driving around these roads in the snow.

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Lake Tahoe

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Lake Tahoe

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A speedboat on Lake Tahoe

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A road runs through this rock at Lake Tahoe

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Me at Lake Tahoe

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Squaw Valley

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Squaw Valley

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The hotel at Squaw Valley

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:52 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 111 San Francisco-Lake Tahoe, USA

Tuesday 27th September

sunny 22 °C

There must be something about the USA Hostels.The 2 we have stayed in at San Diego and San Francisco want you checked out by 10am.So you have to be on the go pretty early to beat the rush for the showers and for me today that was at 7.30am,luckily for me i wasnt drinking last night.
The west part of America has some fantastic scenery and great roads going through the mountains and today was no exception.The roads to Lake Tahoe were taking us to heights of over 8,000ft and even when driving you cant resist a look over the edge,hoping you dont accidently go over the edge.Theres even some snow on the mountains in the area to.
The hotel we were staying in gave us a fantastic view over the lake even if it was yet another casino resort for simon to lose money in,oh yeah and take yet another thrashing from me at playing pool.

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View near Lake Tahoe

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View near Lake Tahoe with abit of snow in the distance

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View near Lake Tahoe

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Sunset over Lake Tahoe from our hotel

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:34 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 110 San Francisco, USA

Monday 26th September 2005

sunny 25 °C

An early start as it was another busy day.First we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and went to a small but very picturesque town nearby called Sausalito before heading over to Muir Woods where we enjoyed a lovely walk through the woods.
After this we stopped at 2 viewing spots to take some photos of the Golden Gate Bridge and then headed over to Haight Ashbury which is very hippie like and very colourful,very similar to Camden in London.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

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Bay Bridge

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San Francisco

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Muir Woods

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Posted by Reece Sanford 22:16 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 109 San Francisco, USA

Sunday 25th September 2005

sunny 20 °C

BUSY BUSY BUSY!!!!!!!!!!!!
Today we were catching the boat over to Alcatraz but before that we walked through Chinatown which even though it was a sunday it was packed full of people and all the shops were open.The sites in some of the shops was quite disgusting though with things like dried up fish that looked like they had been sitting there in the sun for weeks on end and other meats i dread to think what they were (possibly cat or dog i imagine).
Next was over to Washington Square to take some photos of the St Peter & Paul Cathedral and also some houses that are the most photographed buildings in California.Coit Tower was next although we didnt actually go to the top we still got some good view of San Francisco from here and also could see our next destination of the day Alcatraz.
We caught the ferry at 2.15pm and spent the next 3 hours walking around Alcatraz.It was very interesting and especially with the audio tour which gave us a good insight into what life was like here and things that had gone on here like the people who had escaped and the famous convicts like Al Capone and Robert Stroud (the birdman of Alcatraz).
The prison now is in serious decay and most of this is due to the Indians that took over the island in 1969.Alot of buildings had to be destroyed because of them and the grounds outside the prison are mostly shut off to the public to.
We caught the ferry back at 5.20pm and instead of walking up and down the steep roads back to the hostel we eventually caught one of the trams back after waiting in a queue for over 45 minutes for one.

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The most photographed buildings in California,Alamo Square

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Me at Alcatraz

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Me in a cell

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Al Capone's Cell

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A prison cell

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Lombard Street

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Lombard Street

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Coit Tower

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St Peter & Paul Cathedral

Posted by Reece Sanford 13:35 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

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