31 December 2015

San Francisco in December

Christmas at Union Square
Macy's in San Fran
Christmas Cable Car
Early December morning at Fisherman's Wharf

A Christmassy F-Line Car
G-Square(d) Christmas

Winter hit us much earlier and harder than we expected this year. We weren't quite ready to settle in for the season, so we planned a weekend escape to San Francisco in hopes of catching some warmer rays. 

A few weeks before our trip, I got in touch with Annie, who is based out of San Francisco and runs the amazing travel and lifestyle blog MontgomeryFest. She kindly gave us a wealth of information, including tips on what to do, how best to get around the city, and perhaps more importantly, what type of coat to bring. I'll be the first to admit I would've looked pretty silly in my usual winter attire with the blue skies and double degree temperatures we experienced while we were there. 

With both Gunther and I being fairly used to a snowy, or at least cold and rainy, lead up to Christmas, we never thought somewhere with palm trees could feel so festive. But oh, man did it ever. San Francisco does a lot of things right and one of those things is Christmas. 

There were huge Christmas trees in all the main squares, big red ribbons on lampposts and lights strung across pedestrian walkways and wrapped around palm trees. Even the vintage street cars and cable cars were decked out with wreaths, garlands and tinsel. But perhaps my favourite seasonal touch was the digital rendition of the Nutcracker ballet projected every evening under Westfield Centre's iconic dome. 

We were only there for a few short days, but it definitely set the tone for the holiday season and raised the bar for city vacations.

While Christmas has come and gone much too quickly once again, I'm finally getting a chance to sort through some photos in between time spent playing in the snow. So, make sure you check back for more photos on here soon.

Merry belated Christmas and happy New Year!

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What did you get up to during your winter holidays? What's the weather like where you are?

We've also been sharing a lot of photos of San Francisco and our snowy Canadian winter on Instagram, so come on over: Gunther | Alix

03 November 2015

'Grammin' in October


In October, we saw the local colour palette switch from green to vibrant hues of yellow and orange. This made it difficult to hike, or do anything really, without stopping to take photos every few metres. 

We kicked off the month with cake in Vancouver to celebrate my birthday as well as my sister's. Thankfully working off all the dessert was a breeze with an early morning hike up Dog Mountain, where we were greeted by the friendliest Whiskey Jacks

We also got to hang out with Maya and Willem who were at the tail end of a road trip through the Rocky Mountains and British Columbia. We talked for hours with them over caesars, burgers and of course, pumpkin cheesecake. Not only are they awesome people, but they are equally awesome photographers. We can't wait to see more photos from their trip to our little corner of the world!

We wrapped up October in true Halloween fashion with a trip to the pumpkin patch and a nighttime jaunt through a corn maze

What were your October highlights? Do you have any big plans for November? Are you thinking about Christmas yet or is it still too soon? 

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Come say hi on Instagram and see what else we've been up to lately: Gunther | Alix

Also, I think I'm finally starting to get a hang of this Snapchat thing! Are you on snapchat? Explore with me: alixmahe

22 October 2015

Trying to keep our eyes on the road in the Fraser Canyon

Looking out at the Fraser Canyon
Long way down
Fraser Canyon
The road through the Fraser Canyon
Fraser Canyon Landscape
Murky waters
Where rivers meet and roads cross
When we first caught sight of the Fraser Canyon from the winding mountain road past Pavillion, we had to pick our jaws up off the floor and remember to keep our eyes on the road until we could find a spot to pull over.

After a (very safe) stunt-driver-like manoeuvre to get to the side of the road, we hopped out of the car and ran through the tall, dry grass to get to get a closer look at the breathtaking landscape before us. 

The river gorge, which stretches through the Coast Mountain Range from the Interior to the Fraser Valley, reaches its maximum depth between Pavillion and Lillooet. Right where we were.

And there really was just one word to describe the view: impressive. 

At a safe distance from the edge (I'm clumsy, what can I say), we peered down the rock gorge at the raging Fraser River below. It was a long way down. 

We stayed a few moments to take in the view - and several hundred photos. It was so wild and untamed and there was hardly another soul to be seen in the area. 

We got back on the road, still agog, but managed to keep our eyes on the road until we reached the next stunning vista along Highway 99. 

What landscapes have impressed you throughout your travels? Would you walk right up to the edge of a gorge or are you clumsy like me?

30 September 2015

'Grammin' in September


September has to be one of my favourite months of the year. In that last stretch of summer heading into fall, the sun always seems to shed a bit more of a golden glow, beckoning you to take advantage of every moment. 

And we definitely took advantage of the lingering sunshine this month.

We celebrated Gunther's birthday with a hike up the Chief, tried paddle boarding for the first time (which, funny story, wound up in the local paper...), ate a ton of fresh Okanagan fruit and squeezed in as many hikes and waterfalls as we could.

Tomorrow we not only ring in the month of October, but another year older for me. Fingers crossed this month will be filled with more waterfalls, colourful sunsets and cake. Lots of cake. 

What do you try to squeeze into the last days of summer? What are you looking forward to most in October?

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Come say hi on Instagram and see what else we've been up to lately: Gunther | Alix

18 September 2015

Why we're just as interested in Marble Canyon as the astronauts

Pavilion Lake Island
Pavilion Lake Stromatolites

Driving through Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon landscape
Emerald water at Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon Provincial Park

Summer at Marble Canyon
Marble Canyon

A private island, emerald water and coral. 

Not necessarily words you would associate with British Columbia or Canada for that matter. But halfway between Cache Creek and Lillooet in BC's Interior, you can find all of those things and more. 

Marble Canyon Provincial Park is made up of three gorgeous emerald green lakes (Crown Lake, Turquoise Lake and Pavilion Lake) and the surrounding canyon area. 

All of the lakes are stunning, but perhaps Pavilion Lake is the most special. 

Beneath the surface of the lake lies beautiful coral-like formations, some of which are up to three metres tall. According to the park's website, Pavilion Lake is one of the few places in the world where freshwater stromatolite, those coral-like formations, can be found. 

The lake and it's underwater formations not only hold special spiritual significance to the local First Nation's band, but they may also hold clues to the existence of life in space. And this isn't just crazy talk. The formations have been the subject of research by scientists and astronauts for many years. 

The clarity of the water makes the formations appear much closer to the surface than they are in reality (like in the second photo from the top). But with the lake reaching depths of up to 65m, getting up close to the fragile coral at the lake bottom requires skilled scuba diving experience. It is nonetheless a beautiful place for a casual swim or a kayak.  

And if the underwater formations aren't cool enough, right in the middle of it all is a small privately-owned island with a few rustic structures including a wood cabin. It looked vacant when we visited during the summer, but how neat would it be to own that little island on the lake? 

Would you like to live or vacation on a secluded island? What are some of the most interesting places you've come across in your travels?