Rockies Review – Part 2

Wakey wakey. After our night out, it was visible on some of your faces that the departure at 7.45am from the hotel in Banff was not the easiest. But just like the two days before, we had a couple of hours on the coach to sleep. Even though this was pretty hard for you guys, ’cause the scenery was just too stunning.
We had breakfast at Lake Minnewanka and stopped shortly afterwards at the Two Jack Lake. Impressive views all over again! After another ride on the bus we came to our first active stop of the day: Lake Louise. Half of the group happily accepted the option of hiking up the trail to the Fairview Lookout. After 45 minutes of hiking uphill we ended up at a platform with an amazing view over Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau.

43238145634_172125e426_nLunch was then scheduled at the Lake Louise Gondola, where we enjoyed a delicious buffet. I really recommend it – so whenever you’re considering riding the Gondola, book it as a ride and dine. 😉 Riding the Gondola was just breathtaking. It was stunning to look around and see all the amazing scenery around you. Snowcapped mountains and Lake Louise just at the foot of the big chain of mountains behind us. Sadly, we did not see any wildlife on our ride in the Gondola – but oh well, you can’t have everything, can you?

42148186840_b7a5986bcb_nThe views were great, but we were still ready to see some more, so we took off to Moraine Lake. WOW! Turquoise-blue water surrounded by picturesque mountains and some chiselled rocks. Perfect to just reminisce, look at the beautiful nature or – for the active among us – to climb. I somehow managed to injure my hand, but don’t even ask how it happened – you’ll just get a story about a bear-fight you won’t believe anyways. 😀
Many of you asked me if we just couldn’t stay at this beautiful lake forever – just put up a tent and spend the rest of our lives at this beautiful place. Sorry, to those who wanted to and I didn’t let. But how could I let you miss out on the next stop? No chance…

So, next stop was the most peaceful part of our entire trip: Emerald Lake. Renting a canoe just paddling across the emerald-green lake. I cannot describe it with words. You must do it, to understand what I mean! After an hour of paddling around and enjoying 29019095217_b58081e1e2_nthe quiet surroundings, we headed back to the bus and already drove to our accommodation for the last night: The Mountain View Cabins.
They are literally in the middle of nowhere and offer the full nature experience. We had dinner and discovered the environment of our last night’s stay. Hammocks to look at the stars, trails that led “into nowhere”, a grill to roast s’mores and perfect views of the mountains around us. Who would want more? We chatted with each other, enjoyed the location and started playing games. With the hours passing by and the sun setting, we quickly figured what the most charming of the mountain view cabins actually was: the night sky. Just standing on a clearing between the trees – we all got stiff necks – but no regrets. Watching shooting star after shooting star, exploring the star formations and just watching satellites passing by, the milky way in the background – breathtaking!

On Tuesday we already had to say goodbye to the Rockies. We enjoyed breakfast at the Cabins and talked about last night’s fun. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the coach, so we waited about an hour for Lucien to pick us up. Even though we had a delayed departure, we caught up on the schedule quite well. We made a quick break at “The Last Spike”, where the famous Canadian Pacific Railway was finalized, had lunch in Kamloops and made it back to Vancity by 6.15pm. It was sad to say goodbye to Hayley and the rest of the Wolfpack, but I believe we will all keep the memories of this amazing trip in our minds.

I am so thankful for each and every one of you who joined this trip. I hope you enjoyed it, as much as I did. I hope to see you guys on Saturday in CRAB park, or next Wednesday for another PuB NiGHT.

– Elisabeth

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

Rockies Review – Part 1

Starting the week on a Wednesday sounds pretty cool, right? Well, wait till I tell you about my weekend, because that was even cooler than just having a three working-day week.

On Saturday morning, I met 27 of you guys for our four-day trip to the Rocky Mountains. 6.45am seems pretty early, but the time that was lying ahead of us was worth the hustle of getting up so early. The bus took off at 7.30am and our adventure started. We got to know our West Trek tour-guide Hayley and bus-driver Lucien, who made this entire trip so much fun! Thank you to the two of you.

Our first stop was Hope, where we had some fun times at the playground and could 30066245188_6ae9f9a804_njust walk around the picturesque village. Aboard the coach again, we played some games, listened to music and started to get to know each other better. We had lunch in Kamloops and made a short stop at the Spahats Falls. And so, after a 9-hour drive in the bus, we finally arrived at our first night’s stay in Valemount. The evening activity there: Hockey in the Rockies. Teamed up and ready to win, both the “Pride Dragons” and “Tigers” chased the ball to score some goals.

While some of you were still playing, I settled down at the bonfire and enjoyed the last hours of our first day. We had some easy conversations, listened to Hayley playing the Ukulele, sang along to ‘Riptide’ and ‘Country Roads’ and just enjoyed the view of the mountains. At around 1am I decided to get some sleep, because I knew that we had a tight and busy schedule the upcoming days.

On Sunday morning at 7.45am, it was time for us to depart from Valemount. It was a stressful morning and I was quite relieved that I did not have to sing when I boarded the coach (the West Trek rule is that the person coming late has to sing a song for the entire bus). We had our first scenic Rocky Mountains stop at Mt. Robson. It is the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies and it gave us the opportunity to have a breakfast with a view. 43887208892_9da7cf5a2b_nAfterwards, we all had the chance to take beautiful pictures with this giant mountain in the background. We boarded the bus again and drove to our next stop: The Athabasca Falls. Even though we had to leave quite soon after we arrived, everyone had the chance to take a stunning picture of and/or with the falls.

But the next stop promised some more breathtaking views: Athabasca Glacier. Already on our way to the icy phenomenon, Hayley taught us about the formation of glaciers and the relation to icefields. From the distance, we could see the Columbia Icefield, which is one of the biggest accumulations of ice south of the arctic. Some of us went up the glacier in a special bus called snowcoach. Personally, I did not join. Some of you just spent the time at the foot of the Glacier with me, having lunch and hiking through the moraine.

After the “Snowcoach-Group” returned, we boarded the bus again and continued the trip to Peyto Lake. Wow, what a beautiful place! The water was turquoise blue and the view was just breathtaking. Another perfect location to take stunning pictures your friends will envy you for. 😉 After this stop, we just had one more task to fulfil: The Polar Bear Swim in Bow Lake!43887208762_52b91d2c09_n The bravest among us got ready to be cooler than they’ve ever been before. Of course, you’ve always been cool, guys – but I think you know what I mean. So, to visualize it: 20 crazy INTERNeX-people running into ice-cold water, screaming at the top of their lungs and cheering with the kicking-in of adrenalin. FUN! Great job to those who did it! I really enjoyed it and can only recommend doing it.

Back in the bus, we were all looking forward to making it to our accommodation for the night in Banff: a cute, beautiful little village. We spent the evening having dinner, shopping souvenirs and getting ready for our night out. And besides celebrating the great group and the new friendships we made, we also had a special anniversary that night: Henrike turned 19! Happy birthday, again. I hope you had an unforgettable night. I walked back to the hotel at around 1am, I did not want to be too tired the next day.

To not overwhelm you with everything, I will tell you about the last two days tomorrow. Make sure you don’t miss out on the blog post!

I hope to see you tonight for PuB NiGHT at the Beaver Bar.

– Elisabeth

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

Get ready for the Rocky Mountains

Over the past few weeks, there seemed nothing but one topic: The big trip to the Rocky Mountains. And now it is time to pack your bags, because the trip is approaching fast. On Saturday, 28 of us will already be sitting on the bus, filled with excitement and joy. It’s gonna be a great trip. Take me at the word!

Now follows some important information for you:
We meet on Saturday, the 4th of August, at 6.45am in front of Waterfront Station. I am aware that the first Skytrains might not bring you there on time, if that’s the case please let us know. At Waterfront station we’ll board the West Trek coach, which will take us to the Rockies, through the Rockies and back to Vancity.

Once aboard, we will make our way to Hope and later Kamloops, where we will have time for lunch. Further down the road we will stop in Revelstoke to buy some snacks for the hungry ones of you. Then, we will finally arrive at the Mountain View Cabins, where we spend the night. Here we’ll enjoy a campfire including a BBQ and s’mores. Time to enjoy nature to its fullest and get to know the entire group better.

37708287_1876286409099380_2361790481572036608_nSunday morning, we will depart from the cabins at 8.30am. Of course, after a good breakfast that will give us strength for another long day. In Golden we will have a stopover for those who did not book the lunch buffet & Gondola at Lake Louise and need to buy lunch. We’ll drive on to Emerald Lake where you might get the chance to rent a canoe. Shortly afterwards, we are driving to Lake Louise where we will have some hours to spend. In the afternoon, we’ll pay a visit to Moraine Lake and head to Banff where we’re going to spend the night. In the evening we’ll go out to a pub – good news for the minors: We’re in Alberta, so you are also an adult now. 😉

37710837_1876287662432588_6672963964785131520_nOn Monday, we’re going to see Lake Minnewanka and the Two Jack Lake (which are kind of one big lake altogether). For the bravest among us, we will make a stop at Bow Lake, where you get the chance to have a Polar Bear swim. It’s freezing cold – don’t tell me I did not warn you! It’s also time for lunch. Lunch with a view, I promise. On the way to our hotel in Valemount, we will have some more stops at Peyto Lake, the glacier, Athabasca Falls, Jasper and Mt. Robson. A lot to take in – but I bet you’ll enjoy it. In Valemount we will have dinner together and then enjoy an easy evening around a campfire.

On Tuesday, we’ll already be heading back home. We will depart early in the morning, have a stopover at Spahats Falls and Kamloops and will then be back in the Vancouver at approximately 6.15pm.

So, big plans for just four days, right? But what to bring? Here is a list of what you should NOT forget:

• Money for 3 lunches and 1 dinner, snacks and a night out in Banff
• Mosquito repellant
• Sunscreen
• ID (2 pieces)
• Towel and bathing clothes
• Hiking shoes or similar
• A good mood that lasts the entire trip

I look forward to seeing you latest Saturday at 6.45am, or for PuB NiGHT on Wednesday at the Lennox Pub!

– Elisabeth

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

How was your weekend?

There it finally was: our big camping trip to lonely Vargas Island!

Vargas BlogIt started off Friday morning at Horseshoe Bay from where we took the ferry to Vancouver Island. After a short snack (or better schnack) break, we headed to Nanaimo located on the other side of the island. Even though it rained pretty hard when we arrived in Tofino, everyone was ready and excited for the adventure. So, we packed all our gear for the next two days on a small water taxi boat and after a 15-minute ride, we reached our destination: Vargas Island!

And there we were: 11 people with a bunch of gear standing on a beach on a lonely island, in the rain, watching the water taxi driver leave. Time to get active – building up tents, setting up a tarp and collecting firewood. Well, lighting up wet wood was not that easy. But our man of fire Euler was hungry and managed to get the fire started. Yeah, our barbecue was saved! Meanwhile, a crew of architects built up a tarp, so we had a place to stay without getting soaked. We spent the night staring at the campfire, eating our hotdogs and being proud of our constructions. But before everyone could crawl into the tents, we cleaned up our campsite. All food had to be stored in a food locker some metres away from the tents. This, to make our home as less attractive to wolves as possible. To be fair, the start of our trip has been a challenge, but our teamwork made it all work perfectly. Good job, guys!

I woke up on Saturday morning with the satisfying sound of someone smashing wood like crazy. Satisfying, because that sound meant there was a chance of dry wood, which meant an easy fire start and fire meant coffee. With a great team effort, our man of fire and some patience, we managed to get hot water for coffee and ‘tea wotah’ for our English man. Even Nutella was offered on the buffet – it was actually a glamping trip! As the weather forecast predicted, it stopped raining and we could finally see the neighbour islands. Really pretty!

The guys spent the morning in the island-gym, which included smashing wood in all kinds sdrof creative ways. Good side effect of this workout was that we didn’t have to worry about firewood for the night anymore. After lunch, it was time to explore the island. We left our home beach, hoping we could find a hiking trail. What seemed like a trail, made us end up at a cabin that looked like a horror movie scene. We continued our way along some animal traps, under fallen trees and over stones and reached some beautiful spots. After all photo shoots were done, we returned to our basecamp. The sun was out, so we played some games at the beach and the bravest ones of us even went swimming! Later on, we could spot some sea lions passing by our coast. Burgers and potatoes were on the menu for dinner, so we enjoyed those and the beautiful view.

The evening passed by quickly with games, s’mores (yes, glamping) and loads of laughs. Suddenly, someone came back from the ‘washroom’ and noticed ‘wow, there are lots of stars out here.’ And yes, he was right! I think I have never seen a sky like this before. So we were just standing at the beach, looking up to the sky and getting excited for every shooting star that we could spot. That was just a perfect ending of the day.

On Sunday, we woke up early to get our breakfast out of the food locker and to break
down our camp. Everything was packed just before the water taxi came to pick us up again. We enjoyed the sunny ride back to Tofino, where we packed all our stuff in the cars again. Then, we headed to the beach. Our instructors were already waiting for us, NOVATEK CAMERAready to introduce us to the world of surfing! During a three-hour lesson, we learned how to get on the board and catch the best waves. At the end, some even managed to stand on the board like they never did anything else before. It was really fun! After this exhausting morning, we enjoyed lunch in Tofino and evaluated the weekend. Everyone’s favorite moment? Difficult to say, because there were so many good ones. Then, it was already time to head back to Nanaimo, where we took the ferry back to Vancouver.

It was a great weekend – I enjoyed this adventure with an amazing group to the fullest! A big thanks to all of you who joined and especially to our drivers Rick and Matt.

Catch up on some sleep guys and I will see you on Wednesday at Malone’s!

– Kerstin

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

Are you ready for Vargas Island?

It is time to prepare for our big adventure! We will spend the weekend on the uninhabited Vargas Island. I am sure we will have a lot of fun with 11 great people at this amazing place. Here is some important information for you.

We will meet on Friday at 10.15am at Horseshoe Bay. Keep in mind that this ferry terminal is located in North Vancouver, so you need to plan in some time to get there. From there, we will take the ferry to Vancouver Island. After we arrive in Nanaimo, we will pick up our car and drive to the other side of the island. In Tofino, you have some time to get a snack, grab a coffee and say bye to proper toilets. A water taxi will get us to Vargas Island where we will build up our tents at the beach. A barbecue and campfire are on the program for the night, before we crawl in our sleeping bags.7252613406_2295c51950_n

Let’s hope that the sun will wake us up on Saturday morning, so we can enjoy our breakfast outside. Mission of the day: exploring the island and surviving. So, we can go for a hike and a swim, meet some wildlife on land and underwater, play fun games and just enjoy the beautiful nature. At night, we will warm up at the campfire and prepare ourselves some real Canadian s‘mores.

Sunday morning, we will already leave Vargas Island again. But before heading back to Vancouver, we will spend some time in Tofino. Known as the paradise for any water sport, we will try our luck on a board during a surfing lesson. In the afternoon, we are heading back to Nanaimo and from there we will go to Vancouver. We will be back around 10pm.

You might be wondering what to bring on this Robinson Crusoe trip. Make sure you do not carry too much stuff with you, since we have to change our way of transportation a few times. Here is what you should definitely pack:

  • ID
  • Water (bottles or containers, at least 2 liters)
  • Flashlight
  • Rain jacket
  • Sun cream
  • Good footwear (hiking shoes or similar)
  • For those who go surfing: Bathing suit and towel
  • Sleeping bag (if you took it home before)

I can’t wait to spend the nights at the campfire with you! See you tomorrow at our PuB NiGHT or Friday at Horseshoe Bay.

– Kerstin

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

How was your weekend?

There’s no way to deny it: Today, it’s Monday. I’m back at work. Here I am, sitting at my desk, sipping my warm ginger tea and getting ready to write this blog post. The perk about Monday blog posts: I get to tell you all about my weekend! So, sit back and enjoy reading about what I did for the last few days.

It all started Thursday evening. At 7pm, our bus departed from the Pacific Central station. The destination: Portland! We left Vancouver, crossed the border, had a 1.5 hour stop in Seattle from where another bus brought us to the desired city. I’m not much of an in-the-bus-sleeper, so that was quite a sleepless night.

We arrived 30 minutes earlier than expected. At 5:30am, to be exact. We headed to the hotel straight away, where we enjoyed a good breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, waffles, cereal, yogurt, coffee, tea, orange juice… I could go on and on. It was soooo good! I was already looking forward to the upcoming 2 breakfasts. When we were done eating and our food coma overcame us, it was time to explore the city. First, we walked along the water at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Then, we headed to the Pioneer Courthouse Square. Let’s join a walking tour! It was called ‘Secrets of Portlandia’. Our tour guide Erik led us through the city for 2,5 hours. He told us about the history of Portland and how it got its name (by a coin toss, by the way). But he also showed us famous places and buildings, as well as the food truck ‘Stretch the Noodle’, which makes Chinese noodles freshly in front of you (absolutely tasty).

After checking in at the hotel and refreshing ourselves, we went for dinner at an Italian restaurant. Since the day was very long already, we went back to the hotel afterwards. But not to sleep already. We spent an easy evening together with lots of different card games.

At 10am on Saturday, it was time for Miri, Elisabeth, Angy and I to go to the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The rest of the Portland gang went to have a tour on the USS Blueback submarine. It rained quite a lot in the beginning of the day, but suddenly the sun decided to show her face. The whole garden was brought into a different spotlight. The pavilions, the bridges, the water, the plants… It was just wonderful to look at.

Have you ever heard of the Voodoo doughnuts? It’s what Portland is very famous for. Funny named and shaped doughnuts that are delicious and worth standing in line for 20 minutes (or more) for. It’s exactly what I did. And yes, they were so good! After munching doughnuts, we wanted to try the other thing Portland is famous for: Beer! A few of the 21+ aged candidates joined me to the Pints Brewhouse. We ordered the 10 beers they had on their menu. Some were awesome, but others will not make it on my ‘I want to drink that again’ list.

In the evening, some of us played mini-golf. It was not just normal mini-golf, but mini-golf in blacklight with a pirate and underwater theme. Exciting! I did not win, unfortunately, but it was fun, anyway! When we got back to the hotel, we did the same as the evening before: playing card games and talking and laughing with each other. Around 3am, it was bed time. The next day was not that special. Breakfast, check-out, driving back to Vancouver by bus. And still: an entire day passed by with that.

This trip was fun and great! I enjoyed having you all there! Let’s share some memories and stories this Wednesday during PuB NiGHT at Mahony & Sons!

– Nadine

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

Keep Portland Weird!

It’s finally time again: INTERNeX’s next monthly trip is taking place! In 2 days, we’ll all be sitting in a bus. And not only are we going away, we are going out of the country! Goodbye Canada and hello USA. Portland is our destination.

We’ll meet on Thursday, June 7th, at 6:15pm in front of the Pacific Central Station. From there, we will take the bus. A super exciting and fun 11-hours bus ride is ahead of us! The perfect time to talk to your seat neighbour, to listen to your favourite music, to read a fascinating book, to have a good night sleep, etc.

Rise and shine, it’s 6am and it’s a new day. Welcome to Portland Ladies and Gentlemen. We’ll go to the hotel directly to store our luggage (because check in is not open until 4pm). And because it’s so early and we’re all most likely starving, we’ll fill our bellies at the hotel buffet. At 10:15am, we’ll gather in front of the hotel. Time to go to downtown! A 2-hour walking tour will give us a first impression of Portland. Afterwards, you’ll have the chance to discover Portland on your own for 3 hours. At 4pm, we’ll meet up again so we all find our way back to the hotel. At last, we can check in! And now that you’re finally in your hotel room, you can rest for a while and freshen up! The next meeting time is 6pm, where we’ll gather in front of the hotel (once again). We’ll go for a delicious dinner in a restaurant. We’ll end the evening relaxed by chilling in the hotel. Games, laughs and talks included!

Good morning dear candidates! It’s for you to decide at what time you’ll enjoy breakfast. As long as you’re in front of the hotel at 10am, it’s all good. On Saturday, everyone gets to choose an activity (the choices are: the Chinese Garden, Pittock Mansion or the USS Submarine). After the activity, everyone has free time, the whole afternoon. Try to plan in some time to get snacks and drinks for the bus ride the next day. We’ll meet at 6pm at a restaurant in downtown (which will be announced at a later time). After our tasty dinner, we’ll head to another activity. It’s for you to decide whether you’d like to go roller skating or play mini golf in blacklight. After that, the 21+ people have the chance to discover Portland’s nightlife. Yay!

On Sunday, it’s time to go back to Vancouver. It’s up to you again at what time you want to eat breakfast. Check out time at the hotel is latest 11am. We will also meet at that time to go to the Greyhound station, so make sure you’re ready on time! This time, an ‘only’ 9.5-hour long bus ride is ahead of us! We arrive back at the Pacific Central Station at 10pm.

Don’t forget to bring:

  • Passport (must be valid)
  • $6 USD in cash to cross the border
  • Your documents to re-enter Canada (work permit etc.)
  • Umbrella or rain jacket (unfortunately, the weather forecast doesn’t seem great)
  • Your bikini / swim shorts (there is a pool we could use)

So, Keep Portland Weird! (That’s the unofficial motto of the city, by the way) And I’ll see you tomorrow for our PuB NiGHT at The Relish or latest on Thursday at 6:15pm!

– Nadine

INTERNeX International Exchange
International Village,
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Email: pr@internexcanada.com