Magazine voor de Porschefanaat • jaargang 13 • driemaandelijks • november/december 2017 • 52
PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS
PORSCHE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA U-BOAT 29
PORSCHE 718 GTS
PORSCHE IN BRITS COLOMBIA UB II
mountains, forests and bears text
& pictures: kathleen van bremdt - pictures: sven hoyaux
Unless you have plenty of time, a trip to Canada means making choices. The second largest country in the world can’t be discovered in a stay of roughly two weeks. We take out the map and let our finger come down on British Columbia - the westernmost province in the country – roundly praised for its untouched nature, sparkling blue lakes and endless forests. When we learn that in Vancouver, a fierce Porsche fan is eager to tell us all about his beautiful Porsche 356, the decision is definitely made.
As soon as we arrive at Vancouver airport it becomes clear that the most important asset of British Columbia is its natural wealth. On our way to the arrival hall, we walk past a huge wall aquarium, splashing waterfalls and fresh green plants. It is something a bit different to the garish billboards in many other airports. In no time, we have the key to our rental car - no better country for a road trip than Canada, right? - and we drive to the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, our home from home for the next three days. On the way, we see the snowy peaks of the North Shore Mountains in the distance. Canada welcomes us with a clear blue sky and radiant sunshine
An absolutely top-quality hotel A top tip: if you are ever in Vancouver, treat yourself to a stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The interior is modern and sophisticated, the service is fantastic, and the location cannot be bettered. From our room, we have a fabulous view of the water of the Burrard Inlet and of Canada Place, one of the most important buildings of the world exhibition of 1986. The ultra-modern complex now houses a hotel, a trade and congress centre and a terminal where the great cruise ships sailing to Alaska moor. The highlight of the building is formed by the 5 large white sails on the roof. Because of these sails, the building is sometimes compared to the Sydney opera house. To us, the triangles are more reminiscent of the courthouse in Antwerp. The white sails refer to the First Nations, a collective name for the first inhabitants of the Canadian continent. Three of those originally indigenous peoples are officially included in the constitution: the American Indians, the Métis (descendants of the Indians and the European settlers) and the Inuit (the name Eskimo is no longer used at their request).
Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver 5
There she goes...
one day. Such a city must attract a lot of people, we think. Indeed, with a population of 630,000 in an area of 115 km2,
It is Friday evening and the Fairmont is clearly the meeting
Vancouver is not exactly sparsely populated. Nevertheless,
place for the beau monde of Vancouver, with an emphasis
the dynamic metropolis manages to maintain a friendly
on beau. Shapely females in flirty evening gowns teeter
atmosphere thanks to a well-considered infrastructure.
into the hotel on towering stilettos. The heads of the male audience spin in all directions. A young hotel employee attracts our attention: blonde locks, large blue eyes, full
lips and grace in abundance. Forge the iron while it is hot, we think, and we ask her point blank if she would like to
The roots of Vancouver lie in Gastown. This part of the
act as 'The face of Canada' in Porschist? "Sure," she says,
city owes its name to Jack Deighton, an English sailor who
without the slightest hesitation. The naturalness with which
opened an improvised saloon here in 1867 for the thirsty
she accepts our request makes us suspect that she has
workers in the timber industry. 'Gassy' Jack or 'talkative'
already heard the question before and that posing is not
Jack had a big mouth and was known for the wild tales he
a novelty to her. And sure enough, the next day she tells
constantly came up with. Jack had the right idea because
us - with her baseball cap still nonchalantly on her head and
soon a small village started to rise up around the bar. A
a Starbucks cup in her hand - that she has been regularly
few decades later, the centre of Vancouver moved further
working as a model since she was eight years old. Well, of
south, but Gastown remained. Today, food and drink still
course, what we see, others also see. The photos are in
feature heavily here. We let ourselves be seduced by the
the can in no time. On the spot, we decide that one of the
many pubs and restaurants and immerse ourselves in the
photos will be on the cover of the Canada edition. (No doubt
very cosy atmosphere.
you will already have noticed that this did in fact happen).
The pleasures of a primeval forest in a city The Porsche in Vancouver The best remedy to counteract all that dining is movement, Our first day in Canada also happens to be D-day. For
and for that Stanley Park is the perfect place. The resi-
us that means: the meeting with the local Porschist. At
dents of Vancouver regard this park as the crown jewel of
nine o'clock on the dot, David Nickel parks his beautiful,
their city and they are right. This green lung in the north of
cream-coloured Porsche 356 in front of the Fairmont. He
the city consists of one entire piece of untouched nature
gets out, relaxed in checked Bermuda shorts and slippers.
and covers 400 hectares. To give you an idea: that's 10%
When he greets us with a broad smile, we instinctively
bigger again than Central Park in New York. Between the
know: this will be a top interview. The results of this can be
ancient cedar trees, there are numerous paths, meadows,
found on page 10.
picnic areas and sports fields. The Vancouverites come here in large numbers to walk, play sports, laze or sunbathe on one of the many beaches, which is also possible since the
One of the most attractive cities in the world
park is on a peninsula and is almost completely surrounded by the water of the English Bay and the Coal Harbour.
Vancouver is a young, vibrant city with a relaxed and interna-
We get on a bike and pedal along the ten-kilometre-long sea
tional atmosphere. A city which we instantly fall in love with.
promenade that runs all the way around the park. The view
The ideal location along the water of the Fraser River and
of the harbour, the snowy peaks and the Vancouver skyline
against the imposing backdrop of the green coastal moun-
is fantastic. Of course, we stop to admire the nine colourful
tains makes the city irresistible. Vancouver is one of the few
Indian totems at Brockton Point that remind us that once
cities in the world where you can ski, play golf and sail, all in
the Musqueam and Squamish ruled this area.
Indian totems in Stanley Park, Canada Place and seaplanes in the harbour of Vancouver 7
The connection between Downtown en North Vancouver Although Stanley Park is a protected area, a motorway still runs through it. It is a necessity to get from the centre of the city to North Vancouver. You also need to cross a bridge because the spur of the Burrard Inlet lies between the two. That bridge, the famous Lions Gate Bridge, arrived in 1938. The person who took on the entire financing of the suspension bridge was none other than Rupert Guinness, from the eponymous successful Irish stout brewery. It was obviously not a selfless gesture. The bridge offered him easy access to his land and properties on the other side. And that he didn’t do it out of a feeling of humanity was also apparent from the fact that he made the users of the bridge pay tolls, which earned him a nice penny. From beer to a bridge: for a businessman that is only a small step. In 1955, the family sold the bridge to the city council of Vancouver for the sum that it cost to build. The toll system remained until 1963 but was then discontinued.
The airline that was created by chance In the evenings they come home to roost like chickens: the many small seaplanes of Vancouver that offer an indispensable air service between the various parts of Vancouver and the surrounding islands. Row by row and colour by colour they are moored per company along the jetties in the harbour. Who could have thought that a simple radio man, son of an English immigrant, would be at the heart of what is now an important branch of the Canadian aviation economy? Jim Spilsbury was the man's name. With an electronics degree under his belt, the 18-year-old Spilsbury started making sophisticated radiotelephones in 1923. The young fellow used a boat to take his radios to the many isolated settlements, villages and camps on the west coast of Canada. He did well, and his business soon expanded. But the large distances were a problem. When petrol was rationed during the Second World War, Spilsbury decided to take a different approach. He bought a seaplane so that he could fulfil his deliveries in record time. Occasionally, he took a passenger with him and that's how something that started as a coincidental side activity grew into Queen Charlotte Airlines a few years later. When Spilsbury sold his company to Pacific Western Airlines in 1955, it was the third largest airline in Canada. These things happen.
From Vancouver to Vancouver Island Off the southwest coast of British Columbia lies the largest Pacific island of North America. Vancouver Island, with a total area of 32,000 km2, is about the same size as Belgium and Luxembourg combined. Between the island and the mainland lies the Strait of Georgia. The Vancouver Island Mountain Range rears up like a gigantic cockscomb in the middle of the island. The extensive mountain range cuts the island
David Nickel: a passionate man whose heart is in the right place. In the lobby of the Fairmont Pacific Rim, we turn on our iPhone sound recorder. Sitting in front of us is David Nickel. He has just turned 50, and he is more conscious of life than ever before. David knows what he wants and, above all, why he wants it. He is a successful businessman, a thinker and a doer, and a voracious bon vivant. Talking to him is a real pleasure. He is a great conversationalist and to every question we ask him, he has an extensive answer to give. That is often the case with passionate people. And that David is passionate, is the least you can say about him.
Who is David Nickel?
be nice, go crazy and do what you like as long as you don’t
Gosh, that's a question I often ask myself as well. To begin
hurt anyone by doing so.
with, I am someone who, like almost everyone, is looking for happiness and serenity in life. But I also love adventure,
You’re someone who is obviously very conscious of
taking risks and travelling. Professionally, I am a busi-
life. How do you achieve that?
nessman through and through. I have been working in the
By distancing myself from time to time and resetting
financial and banking worlds for 25 years and own various
myself. Four weeks ago, I completely shut myself away
companies. Last year I decided to pass on the torch of
in Santa Monica for a week. For seven days, I wasn’t
CEO so that I can now exclusively concentrate on strategic
available. No mobile, no laptop, nothing. I just lay on the
decisions. Meanwhile, I have also reached an age at which
beach, cleared my head and consciously considered what
I have gained enough professional experience to be able
the priorities in my life are in all possible areas: relational,
to share it with others. I coach young ambitious people in
professional and spiritual. What gives me joy and energy
their twenties, thirties and forties and offer them solutions
and what brings fear and stress. It is a difficult exercise and
for problems that I struggled with when I was starting out.
sometimes even a frightening one because you don’t know
I give them 'shortcuts', as it were, which saves them a lot
what all this introspection will lead to, but it is something
that everyone should actually impose on themselves from time to time. I returned with 20 pages of notes in which I
Could you provide an example of the advice you give
had expressed all my thoughts and I immediately started
to young entrepreneurs?
work on those action points.
Actually, most of the advice I give them comes in the form of pertinent questions. That includes the question that you
But if like you, you have examined every aspect of
have just asked me: Who are you? What makes you get out
your life, surely that may lead to important conse-
of bed every day? What drives you? What do you like to do
and what are you good at? The latter is a very important ele-
Absolutely. It can involve very simple things. If I have come
ment. I urge aspiring entrepreneurs not to fall into the trap
to the conclusion that I am not sleeping enough, I have to
of always wanting to do everything themselves just to prove
go to bed earlier from now on. If I am eating too late or
they can do it. That happens very often. After all, you are
drinking too much, I have to change that. But if, after reflec-
not a natural at every job. Recognise that, and leave those
tion, the objective is: more of the good, less of the bad.
things you can’t do well to others. A great entrepreneur or a successful CEO surrounds himself with smart people who
What is the most important thing you have decided
are excellent at their profession and realises that his job
is that of the leader and strategist. That's it. He builds a
I can answer that question very clearly. I want the next
team, provides them with the resources, encourages them
stage of my life, the years between my fiftieth and sixtieth,
and ensures that they all support the vision and objectives
to be the best ten years of my life. I have worked hard. and
that he has defined. This means that it is essential that as
I now have the luxury to do what I want and to choose how
a young entrepreneur you clearly know where you want to
I fill my days. So, if I get to sixty and have to look back
go and how you want to achieve your goal. When you have
on the past decade with regret, that will mean I have thor-
that in mind clearly, it comes down to following that vision in
oughly ruined it. I was particularly impressed when I arrived
an almost slavish way. If you find that things are happening
here just now. I saw the excitement on your faces and the
that are not consistent with your goals, you either adjust
passion you were putting into your work, and I immediately
your vision or your behaviour.
felt that this was a special moment. You are so passionate about what you do and so well attuned to each other, it is
How do you approach life?
fantastic to see that. I immediately thought: those people
All the clichés are right: life is short, get the most from it,
are doing it right.
That brings us to the real reason we are sitting here
the original look and feel. They are very careful about not
with you. Why Porsche?
over-engineering anything. Modern cars often have so
Like every child, I saw pictures of Porsche cars on calen-
much technology under the bonnet that the driver is more
dars and posters and I was blown away by them. I bought
of a passenger than a driver. Porsche tries to find a balance
my first Porsche in 1998, a beautiful, blue 1980 911 C4
in this. Even if I step into a brand new 911, I still want to
Cabriolet, everything completely original. Now I have this
feel that I am driving it and not that all the modern gadgets
fantastic Porsche 356 which I am delighted with. To me,
have taken over from me. It's all about the feedback you
Porsche is synonymous with purity. A Porsche is a car in
get from the car.
its purest form. I cannot imagine any other old-timer - and I've driven a lot of them - that comes anywhere near the
What do you mean with the feedback from the car?
pedigree, the quality and the great sound of the Porsche.
The soul, the feeling that a car evokes in you, how it
Porsche was also very much ahead of its time. The 356 is
behaves. When I round a bend with my car, I want to feel
made of a single unit, it is like a shell, there are no welds or
how the weight shifts, where the traction limit is, how long
weak points anywhere. It has a door in it and nothing else.
I have grip for, how the suspension sags, etc. I want to
People look at the car and find it beautiful but do not know
become one with my car. You feel so much through the
why. But it is precisely because of that. It is that perfect,
wheel of a car. But if there is too much technology in the
round line that does it.
car and too much has been automatically limited, then that feeling disappears and you lose the feeling of what is really
How did you come by the car?
going on underneath you. For me, therefore, it is absolutely
I am its third owner. The two people who owned the car for
a matter of 'less is more'. A car has four contact points. If
me - one was an engineer and the other a radio specialist
you don’t know what happens underneath those four tyres,
- both had the car for more than twenty years and had
you can’t imagine how you will go around the corner and
cared for it down to the last detail. The original, handwritten
where you will end up. That is the basis of driving. I am
insurance papers of the car have even survived. The last
a racing driver, so for me, those elements are extremely
owner had a lot of trouble giving up his favourite car. But
he had bought a Lamborghini – which, in fact, he regretted immediately afterwards - and that's why the Porsche 356
One question that we always ask: what makes
was actually for sale. Eventually, I managed to persuade
Vancouver a great destination?
him to sell me the car by signing a contract with him, in
Vancouver is a young, vibrant city with an international
which I promised him that if I sell the Porsche within five
culture. The city is well cared for and it is safe. Life here is
years, I will sell it back to him again for the same price that
pretty expensive, but you do get value for money. However,
I bought it for. But I will never sell it. No way.
the biggest attraction of the city is the environment and the access you have to countless outdoor activities. You can
You’ve also got another Porsche?
ski, sail, mountain bike, skate, you name it. For athletes,
Yes, a 2011 black Cayenne Turbo. But that's an SUV, a car
Vancouver is the absolute Mecca. I often take to the water
you deal with in a completely different way. That is not a
with my boat. There are more than fifty islands here, just
car to cruise in, that's a car to drive on gravel, to unleash
off the coast. Some with bright white sand, others with
the beast within.
pebbles, some others with wild cliffs ... unimaginable. Anchoring there with some friends on a Sunday afternoon,
You are a businessman yourself. What do you think
some good food, shooting the breeze, delicious!
of Porsche as a brand? Oh, that's a good question. I respect the way the engineers
David, we could talk to you for hours. Our sincere
and designers always manage to retain the Porsche's DNA,
thanks for being so open with us!
Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island
in half across its entire length of 450 kilometres into two
high above us like inaccessible, wooden supreme beings.
parts that differ completely geographically: a charming,
Here, a person immediately learns what humility is.
undulating east coast and a wild, mountainous west coast. Vancouver Island has only 750,000 inhabitants, the majority of whom live in the capital of Victoria at the southern side
Living on the edge
of the island. Apart from a few other small towns, the island is otherwise an infinite, untouched natural stronghold. An
Ucluelet. We have no idea how to pronounce the name of
Eldorado for nature lovers and a revelation for every inve-
the port city. But when we are told that it is 'joe-kloe-let', the
terate urban citizen.
word runs smoothly off the tongue after a few attempts. In the native Nootka language, the name means 'safe haven'.
The car ferry quickly takes us from Horseshoe Bay to the
When we see how the Pacific manifests itself here with a
other side, in an hour and a half. We take Highway 4 that
huge display of power, this does not seem like a luxury.
crosses the island in an almost straight line and leads us
According to Emily Carr, a Canadian painter and writer,
through endless cedar forests, past deep green lakes and
Ucluelet is: 'A place where wind, rain, forest and sea meet
grey mountainsides to the rugged west coast. We stop at
the sunshine'. Very poetic language, but now that we are
a place that is appropriately called Cathedral Grove. Here
there we understand perfectly what she means.
stand the largest, most powerful Douglas firs that can be found on earth. The trees are the remnants of the primeval
The town, which in the past only housed lumberjacks and
forest that covered the entire island several centuries ago
fishermen, has found a new calling in recent decades
and many of them are at least 800 years old. They tower
and is now a popular tourist attraction. It is one of the
gateways to the Pacific Rim National Park, a beautiful chunk of wild nature with a temperate rainforest, deeply carved coastal rocks and deserted beaches. At the hotel desk, we ask what is the most beautiful walking route. "The Wild Pacific Trail!", they reply in unison.
Ucluelet: 'A place
So, we put on our walking shoes and follow the recommended path.
where wind, rain,
air and the fresh smell of the trees open our airways. The route runs
forest and see meet the sunshine.'
And it really is beautiful! This is a zero-stress environment. The salty parallel with the completely unique coastline. Behind every corner, a totally different view of the ocean awaits us. We see erratic rock formations pounded on by the mighty waves, idyllic sandy beaches where washed-up wreckage bears witness to the unmerciful storms that rage here mainly in the winter, and tide pools in which shrimps, crabs and sea anemones have found a temporary habitat. After nine kilometres our trip is finished. Tired but satisfied, we settle ourselves on the large terrace of the Black Ocean Front Resort with an aperitif. We are waiting for the sunset that always provides an unparalleled spectacle on the west coast. Slowly the golden ball sinks downwards. Once more it lets its rays sparkle on the surface of the water in all their glory and then, in purple-pink and mandarin-orange shades, it disappears into the blue of the night.
The most beautiful flight in the world In Campbell River - a small town on the east coast of Vancouver Island - the largest salmon in Canada are harvested every year. 'Whoppers weighing 30 kg are no exception', one resident tells us. But we are not here to fish. For us, Campbell River is the starting point to what is perhaps the highlight of our trip. With a seaplane – there is no other way to get there - we fly to the Knight Inlet Lodge, a floating resort deep inside the longest fjord in Western Canada, far away from the civilization. The view from the plane is breath-taking. A succession of endless forests, islands of all sizes, shimmering lakes and deep fjords with countless branches spreading out like a large, veined leaf. From the air, the pillar-straight trees on the mountainsides look like a long pile carpet in countless shades of green. Behind every ridge, a new one pops up, and another one, and another one ... as far as we can see a watercolour of hills stretches out in front of us with in the distance always that massive mountain range with its snowy peaks. Fine twirls of clouds float quietly by in a straight line. Fluffy cotton balls in the air.
A mini-village on the water The Knight Inlet Lodge lies safely nestled in Glendale Cove, sixty kilometres from the entrance to the fjord. We are now in the middle of one of the last stretches of true wilderness on earth. In this unique unspoiled nature, bears, wolves, foxes, deer and eagles feel at home. The lodge was once a floating lumberjack camp. About twenty years ago, it became a unique resort that receives visitors from all over the world to introduce them in an authentic way to the residents of the Great Bear Rainforest. The lodge is deliberately kept small-scale: 18 rooms for a maximum of 30 guests so that the impact on nature remains minimal. Brian, the manager of the lodge, welcomes us with a jovial “Hi, folks!”
At full speed through the Knight Inlet The Knight Inlet measures a full 125 kilometres in length and is the longest coastal fjord in British Columbia. With Jason at the helm, we race along the water in a speedboat and travel from Glendale Cove to the Glacier Bay, a distance of 20 miles. We are surrounded by metres-high steep cliffs, walls of granite on which trees miraculously grow. Many trees even. They sprout from every slit, groove and dimple in the rock wall. Often the trunk of the spruce bends in a small, lateral arch to bravely start its long way upwards. The green contrasts nicely with the soft hues of the rocks. Grey, taupe, beige and even pure white where a piece of rock has just been broken off. We motor past several waterfalls that form high in the glaciers and make their spectacular way down to eventually thunderously plunge into the fjord. The contact between the fresh glacier water and the salt water of the fjord creates a unique, bright blue colour. On one of the narrow beaches, a black bear burrows in the sand. We can tick that one off our list too. An American bald eagle is perched on a pole in the water. We gently approach him. The bird of prey remains seated stoically and doesn’t afford us as much as a glance. We get all the time we need to photograph him. It is a beautiful animal: deep brown with a distinctive white head, a bright yellow beak and a sharp, penetrating look. A little later we see it graciously gliding over the water with a thrashing fish in its claws. Brian Collen, general manager Knight Inlet Lodge 18
Knight Inlet Lodge, Glendale Cove, Vancouver-island 19
Spectacular waterfalls in the Knight Inlet 21
We sight a bear You will never forget the first bear you see in the wild. In our case, it is straightaway a grizzly, the king of the Canadian forest. Scientific name: Ursus arctos horribilis. From an inside flat-bottomed boat, we look at the strong animal on the bank in awe. We can clearly see the impressive muscles bundled between its shoulder blades. The bear quietly nibbles on the rocks and feasts on the many mussels that hang above the water at low tide, ready to eat. A bit further along, a female bear trudges through the high sedge grass. "It's Lilian," says Sarah. Lilian? "Yes, we know most of the bears who stay here and give them names so that we can talk to each other about them. It is important that we know how the animals are doing.” There is obviously a great love between the guides and the bears. Sarah gets out of the boat and gently pulls it as close as possible to the shore. The bear takes no notice and grazes on unperturbed. Suddenly, the heads of her cubs appear in the grass. We count three. The colour of their still fuzzy fur differs. The darkest cub is the daredevil of the trio. He tumbles through the grass, continually stays at a further distance from his mother than his brother or sister, daringly dangles from a branch which he immediately bounces off again, and creeps awkwardly over every tree stump he encounters. It is an entertaining spectacle and we stay close to them for nearly half an hour. It is pure pleasure to see the animals engaging so easily in their natural habitat. “A bear puts a smile on your face”, says Sarah. Although we can imagine situations where this may not be the case, at this moment we fully agree with her.
Exploring on foot "What should we do if we encounter a bear along the way?" We are starting on the 'Cedar Trail' and that means that we will hike on foot to the highest point in the pine forest. “Pay close attention to the body language” is the dry answer. Mike, however, may talk easily thanks to all his knowledge about the behaviour of brother bear, but we have no idea how we should interpret that non-verbal communication. Well, if the bear raises his hind legs, it is clear that he is not in the best mood, but apart from that, we have no idea. "Could you perhaps give us some useful tips?” we try again. “Keep calm, talk softly so that the bear knows that you are a human being and not an animal and if necessary, quietly step backwards.” Ok, that’s more useful. “Especially don’t run,” Mike Cedar Trail, Knight Inlet
adds, “a bear can reach speeds of 55 kilometres per hour and is faster than a racehorse.” Our walk through the forest is so beautiful that our attention soon only focuses on the surrounding nature. Because of the large amount of moss and the thick foliage, the subsoil flexes with every step. It is a tough climb, but at the top, our effort is more than rewarded. A wonderful panorama unfolds. The immense cedar forest and the milky blue fjord spreads out under our feet.
The grizzly bear, king of the Canadian forest 27
Whistler: summer with a flavour of winter The first impression of Whistler leaves us a little confused. Even though it is the height of summer, the atmosphere in Whistler with all its wooden chalets and many ski lifts is still wintry. For a moment we imagine ourselves in Disneyland and we expect to hear Jingle Bells at any moment. From everything we see, it is clear that Whistler is the ultimate ski resort. It has been proclaimed as the best ski resort on the continent on numerous occasions, leaving formidable competitors like Banff and Aspen in its wake. The ultimate award, of course, came in 2010 when Whistler together with Vancouver formed the stage for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Nevertheless, the activities on offer in Whistler are the same in summer as in winter. Those who love peace and quiet choose one of the many hiking trails or go paddling on Lake Alta. If you like a bit more action, then mountain biking, driving a quad bike or rafting are good options. And for the daredevils? They prepare for a bungee jump above the Glacial Fed Cheakamus River or click on a zip line and race at a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour above the trees. A crossing with the Peak 2 Peak Gondola should always be included in the programme. The gondola connects the Whistler Mountain with the Blackcomb Mountain across a length of 4.4 kilometres and thus breaks all records. In eleven minutes it brings us floating through space from one top to the other. For those who are afraid of heights, the trip might be a challenge, but the view over the forests, the glittering glaciers and proud mountain peaks is unparalleled. We are staying in a hotel of the Fairmont chain once more. Why opt for something else when you can have the best? The name Fairmont Chateau Whistler already indicates that this is not some construction worker's hut. The iconic building is a significant size. The interior makes us think of castle in Scotland or Ireland, with its majestic entrance hall, rough stone walls, wooden panelling and thickly padded velvet seats. Even the tartan plaids and a cosy crackling fire are included. The service is excellent, as always in a hotel of the Fairmont chain.
Smoke in Revelstoke The sky is grey and foggy. According to the travel guide, another spectacular ride with unforgettable views awaits us, but as it looks now won’t be able to see much of it. When we suddenly notice that we have not seen another car for a long time and that we are regularly seeing remnants of burnt trees on the side of the road, we begin to feel uncomfortable. We step out of the car and notice that the air is not foggy, but smoky. In the hotel we had vaguely caught something about forest fires in Canada, but not about where they had occurred. We decide to obtain information from a petrol station and buy a road map. Until now, we have blindly followed the navigation system of the car, so our sense of orientation is completely gone. When we see a frayed note with the message 'Closed due to fire' on the door of the pumping station, we understand that we are right in the middle of the fire area. To our relief, we encounter a police patrol ten kilometres further on. The Highway is closed, but the officer directs us to Revelstoke via another route. Much later than planned, but thankfully in one piece, we arrive in the town.
American bald eagle
Columbian ground squirrel 29
The emergency situation in British Columbia In the hotel, we see images of the intense fires that are raging in large parts of British Columbia on all the television screens. Tall plumes of smoke rise from the mountainsides and we see firemen working hard to get the fire under control. There has been no rain for weeks now. They are fighting a losing battle. The fire spreads very rapidly and more fires ignite than can be extinguished. The Canadian television channel CBC talks about the largest forest fire in British Columbia since 2003 and the provincial government has called a state of emergency. At the reception desk of the hotel, we find overview maps showing all the flashpoints. Kamloops, Clearwater and Wells Grey Park are the affected areas that are closest to Revelstoke. But even then, we are talking about distances of 100 to 200 kilometres. So, we are safe here. The wapiti deer seem to feel this too, like the sheep in the nativity scene they lay down to rest close to the hotel.
Yoho National Park: finally, the Rockies! The following day, the situation has not yet improved. The wind from the west blows the smoke all over the Monashee Mountains in the valley of Revelstoke. Visibility is virtually zero and ash and soot particles are suspended in the air. But as we continue to move eastwards, it slowly but surely starts to get better. Near the town of Golden, at the crossroads of the quiet Columbia river and the wild Kicking Horse river, we suddenly come out from under the low-hanging smoke curtain and look directly at the dramatic mountain tops of the Yoho National Park. There they are - the Canadian Rockies presented on a silver plateau! The Yoho National Park is rather small by Canadian standards, but because of its 36 peaks over 3000 metres, it can be irrefutably counted among the big ones. 'Yoho' actually means 'awe' and 'wonder' in the Indian Cree language and these are exactly the sensations we are experiencing at the moment. Between the mountains, wild rivers roar, cascades of water thunder down, and silent forests with silver firs thrive. Lake Emerald is like a beautiful gemstone. The white of the snowy glaciers reflects beautifully in the crystal-clear water.
Deliberate choices in Banff Now that we have discovered that it isn’t quite so certain that we can experience nature in BC in optimal circumstances at all times, we become selective and we choose the highlights. We start things off with Lake Louise. The largest lake in British Columbia is world-renowned. We manage to take a picture of a bright red canoe on the mirror-smooth water surface with the Victoria Glacier in the background. A very primitive Canadian picture, but that is exactly what we wanted, and we are overjoyed. A beautiful road leads from Lake Louise to Lake Morraine. High, fierce mountains line the lake area. The Valley of the Ten Peaks owes its name to them. We walk to a viewpoint situated some 25 metres higher where we can admire what may be the most photographed panorama of Canada. Many people call it the Twenty Dollar View because for many years it was depicted on the back of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill. Lake Minnewanka is not directly connected to a glacier and is, therefore, an outsider. There are even more delightful views, extravagantly beautiful lakes and beautiful dream pictures. Emerald green or turquoise blue? The name of the remarkable colour of the water of the Canadian lakes may be a subject for discussion, but that it is beautiful and unique is surely indisputable.
Natuurlijke expeditiebeleving & subliem 5-sterren comfort ‘inspired by nature’. Daarvoor staan de 2 gloednieuwe expeditieschepen HANSEATIC inspiration & HANSEATIC nature
04/08/2020 - 21/08/2020 | 17 dagen 21/08/2020 - 07/09/2020 | 17 dagen Noordelijk Arctisch Canada (o.a. Baffin Island, Ellesmere Island, Grise Fjord, Nares Strait), Noord- en westkust van Groenland (o.a.Qaanaaq, Ilulissat, Disko Bay)
NEW ENGLAND, NOVA SCOTIA & ST LAWRENCE RIVER
18/05/2020 - 03/06/2020 | 16 dagen USA (Bar Harbor), Canada (o.a. Saint John, Halifax, Norris Point, Cap-aux-Meules, Charlottetown, St. Lawrence River, Tadoussac, Baie d’Eternite, Québec, Montréal
DE MAJESTUEUZE SCHOONHEID VAN DE GROTE MEREN
03/06/2020 - 17/06/2020 | 14 dagen Detroit River (Windsor), Lake Huron (Tobermory, Parry Sound, Little Current, Mackinac Island), Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior (Thunder Bay, Duluth), Lake Michigan
17/06/2020 - 01/07/2020 | 14 dagen Lake Michigan, Lake Huron (Mackinac Island, Little Current, Parry Sound, Tobermory), Lake Superior (Duluth, Thunder Bay), Sault Ste. Marie, Detroit River (Windsor)
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Words of praise from the world’s greatest in the guestbook
The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs The first thing that strikes us when the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel comes into view is that it is gi-gan-tic. It is a fortress, an impregnable medieval castle with towers and battlements proudly flying the red Maple Leaf. Inside, the hotel is equally bombastic with a labyrinth of corridors, high vaults and knights' galls. The imposing hotel has a long history, one that is inextricably linked to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the most ambitious and expensive architectural achievement of the 19th century. The double railway line that connected one Canadian ocean with the other straight across the Rocky Mountains brought the country close to bankruptcy. Until William Cornelius Van Horne, the director of the railway company, decided to capitalise on Canada’s most valuable asset: the imposing landscape. "Since we can’t export the scenery, we'll have to import the tourists," he said, and promptly started the construction of a luxury resort that opened its doors in 1888. His idea took off and Banff became a popular holiday destination. The resort lies at the base of the current Fairmont Banff Springs. Today, the 'Castle in the Rockies' counts no less than 764 rooms and 11 restaurants. In the guestbook, you will find words of praise from the world’s greatest who in the course of the past 125 years have laid their heads on one of the feathery pillows in this hotel without equal.
A look back Canada was a series of high points, both literally and figuratively. As we look back on our impressions and experiences, we conclude that Western Canada offers everything our homeland lacks: space, emptiness, vastness, endlessness, tranquillity ... The expanse of the Canadian wilderness is hard to grasp for us. But we immersed ourselves in it, enjoyed it intensely and have returned with our souls cleaned.
Kaujuitoq (Resolute) Inuvik Dawson Cambridge Bay Echo Bay
Watson Lake Yellowknife Hay River
Fort Smith Prince Rupert
Churchill Schefferville Happy Valley - Goose Bay
Ottawa Toronto Hamilton London
Practical information British Columbia Status: Canada consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories. British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada. Area: 944.735 km² Population: 4.310.452 Capital: Victoria on Vancouver Island Largest city: Vancouver Currency: Canadian dollar Time zone: UTC -8 Climate: The climate in British Columbia is highly influenced by the mountains and the ocean and is divided in 3 regions: the coastal area, the mountain ranges and the central interior between the Coastal Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. Travel documents: No visa required. Before departure you have to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Special thanks to: - Info Reizen, Eric Van Den Acker, Lange Rechtestraat 43, Heist-op-den-Berg 015/24 39 34 - Fairmont Pacific Rim, Kaylyn Storey - Fairmont Banff Springs, Tara Gaucher Public Relations Manager - Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Lynn Gervais - Nancie Hall and Angela Moore Regional Director, PR Fairmont Hotels Angela Moore, Regional Director Public Relations, Canada’s Western Mountain Region
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