Of all the lighthouses I’ve ever visited, Fisgard Lighthouse in British Columbia is my most favourite one to date. When I think of a lighthouse I would like to live in, an image of this lighthouse would appear in my mind. There is something very appealing and, dare I say, very romantic about it.
Historically, Fisgard Lighthouse is the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada. It was built in 1860 on Fisgard Island out of materials shipped from Britain. In 1950–51, a causeway was built out to Fisgard Island from the shore of Vancouver Island at Fort Rodd Hill by the Canadian Army.
We saw a deer at the parking lot of Fort Rodd Hill! You have to walk through the fortress to get to the lighthouse. The fortress was also pretty interesting. We learned a bit more about Canadian history there. It was a lovely spot that seemed to be under-appreciated, but maybe it was only because we were there on a week day.
So you have a road trip around Iceland coming up but you’re not quite sure what the road conditions and the weather will be like (the weather part will also determine whether you need to pack your winter coat or not). The following websites are your friends and they will show you just what you need to know. We found them very useful during our visit.
For road conditions, make sure you bookmark Vegagerdin (Icelandic Department of Transportation) website. This clickable road condition map is essential. Don’t hit the road before consulting it first. If that’s not enough and you need to know what road conditions are like in (almost) real-time, there are road web cams, ready for your perusal.
Rebecca and I had been online friends for, like, ever. As in more than 10 years. Maybe 13 years? She lives in Australia. She went to Canada several years ago but was in the wrong part of the country so we didn’t get to meet. She was finally in the right part of the country last year in October so I made a point to meet up with her. Even booked a hotel room so we could spend as much time as we could.
It was dark out when we finally met, but I would recognize her anywhere, what with her blue hair and all. When I saw her, she was taking pictures of the falls. I tapped her back and an awkward moment ensued. But then we hugged, had our picture taken by my husband, and it wasn’t so awkward anymore. We had dinner together that night.
The next day, first thing in the morning, the four us (Rebecca, her friend Grace, my husband, and I) headed down to the Niagara River to take a voyage under the falls on the Maid of the Mist. The Maid of the Mist boat tour was one of the items on my bucket list so I was super excited about being able to finally scratch it off the list, and even more so when I learned that we would be on one of the last voyages of the iconic Maid of the Mist from the Canadian side. They’re replacing it with a modern catamaran-type boat this year and you’ll only be able to take the Maid of the Mist from the American side.
The boat tour was just as amazing as I’d imagined it to be. I was expecting it to be a little bit scary, but it wasn’t at all. But even with a raincoat on, I still got soaked from the mist. I was a little worried that the mist would kill my camera because I just couldn’t stop taking pictures and videos of the falls, but surprisingly it survived! The picture above was taken from the boat. I have many other, better pictures of the falls but I just had to post this one just for the fact that it was taken from the Maid of the Mist. It was such a great experience and I’m so glad that I got to scratch something off my bucket list with my old pal Rebecca!
We went to Seljalandfoss before taking a ferry to Heimaey in the Westman Islands/Vestmannaeyjar in the morning. We got there before tour buses from Reykjavik started to arrive, which was a plus because we had the falls all to ourselves. The minus was we couldn’t spend a lot of time there because we had a ferry to catch. I also didn’t want my clothes to be all wet and my boots all muddy on the ferry ride so I didn’t do the walk behind the falls. My husband did, though. But then again, he’s always been more adventurous than me. Seljalandfoss is lovely and all but it’s not really one of my favourites in Iceland.
I was unable to take pictures of so many Icelandic attractions in all their glory due to the lack of wide-angle lens (the widest I could get with my micro 4/3 camera was around 40mm) and it was quite frustrating for me at times. For those going to Iceland, if you own a wide-angle lens, don’t forget to pack it. If you don’t own one, buy or borrow one from someone! You won’t regret it. The next time we go there, I am so taking my DSLR with an ultra-wide angle lens. Sure it would be heavier to carry but it’s not like we’ll have to go on a long hike or anything. Most Iceland attractions are located right by the side of the road! Just one of the reasons I love Iceland, being a wimpy hiker and all. :-)
St. Lunaire-Griquet is a town near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. I took a picture of this little iceberg when we were on our way up to L’Anse aux Meadows, an ancient Viking settlement. Though it might seem little, you’ll never know how big it is actualy underneath. Such is the thing with icebergs. This iceberg was not the only iceberg we saw while we were in Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. There were at least half a dozen more in different shapes and sizes. The Northern Peninsula is part of the so-called Iceberg Alley. It’s more fun than a tornado alley for sure.
On our way back from L’Anse aux Meadows, we went to have lunch here at the Daily Catch restaurant. They served the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. I could tell that the fish was fresh. St. Lunaire-Griquet is an old fishing community after all. The lady who served us brought us our drinks and mentioned that it was not just ice in our drinks but pieces of iceberg. We thought she was joking so we laughed, but then she went back to the kitchen and came back with a plastic bag containing a big chunk of iceberg for us to take a look. She said her husband just brought it back from the sea this morning. So it wasn’t a joke.
When I put a tiny piece of iceberg in my mouth to melt, it didn’t melt very quickly. I’m guessing it was because iceberg is much denser than regular ice. Come to think of it, I might have had some microbes from hundreds of years ago in my body, thanks to those pieces of iceberg in my iced tea!
I guess I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I was there. My mother just died. She and I used to daydream about going to London together someday so being there without her was kind of depressing. I went to London by myself one day (I was staying in Wimbledon with my aunt and uncle) and I was just walking around aimlessly, feeling sad. Sat in the rain while staring at the Thames, being all emo. So yeah, not a good memory.
The picture above was taken from the London Eye. I met up with my sister-in-law and her sister one day and we did the touristy stuff around the city, including a ride on the London Eye. We got to the London Eye site early so the
line up queue wasn’t super long yet. The security had to check every passenger’s bag before the ride. When the security guy found my stuffed duck Quack in my bag, he held it up, smiled, and said “quack!” Made me laugh. The London Eye ride was enjoyable but way too short, especially for the price!
I was actually in London twice that year before and after my first visit to Canada but really didn’t get to see much. We’re planning on doing a road trip around Great Britain for my husband’s 40th birthday. Hopefully I’ll get to see more of London then.
Addendum: Poor quality photo courtesy of a Kodak 2MP digital camera a generous reader gave me just for the trip. It served me well. In 2004 when I took this trip, most digital cameras only had 2–3MP picture quality.