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

Stop, Squamish time!

Only one… two… three more days until we are on our way to Squamish! Although you already know what we are going to do, let me provide you with some more details.

We will meet at 7:45AM at the Pacific Central Station (1150 Station St) in Vancouver. We will arrive in Squamish at approximately 10:00AM. Then, we will walk for an hour to the base of the Sea to Sky Gondola where we will start our hike. The hike will last three hours and is filled with beautiful nature, amazing views and there will be time to enjoy a little picnic. At the end of the hike, we will be on the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola where we can find the Summit Lodge. The perfect place to treat ourselves to a drink and celebrate we made it! 21062859398_0c95352186_n

After that, it is time to go to the next activity: the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge! The suspension bridge is 100 metres long and gives visitors a breathtaking view of the Sky Pilot Mountain and Howe Sound. When we have had enough of enjoying the sun (although honestly, could we ever?), it is time to take the gondola down again. But no worries, the trip is not over yet! When we are back at the base of the gondola, we will walk for about 20 minutes to have a look at Shannon Falls Provincial Park. Fun fact: Shannon Falls is the third tallest waterfall in British Colombia!

After visiting the waterfall, you will have the opportunity to have a Subway/A&W/McDonald’s (or bring your own) dinner before we head back on the bus. We will arrive in Vancouver at approximately 10pm. The day will consist of a lot of walking, however, it will all be worth it! According to the weather forecast it will be 26 degrees that day so don’t forget to bring your sunglasses and sunscreen! Also, make sure to bring enough food for the picnic and water to make sure you will not get dehydrated.

I hope you are just as excited as I am! See you tonight at the Beaver Bar!

– Angy

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

Winter in the Rockies: Part 2

Sunday was a day full of sightseeing, including many ‘wow’ moments and a hurting hand from taking millions of pictures. How come you might ask? Well, here’s the story:

We left the hotel early in the morning by bus to spent some time on Lake Louise. Yes, you read it right, ON Lake Louise. The lake that is especially famous in Summer for its turquoise coloured water was completely frozen. This made it possible to not only walk over, but also skate on it. All the snow that covered the ice, the mountains and the trees additionally made it look even more like a winter wonderland.

Back on the bus. Next stop: Johnston Canyon. Located in Banff’s National Park, we walked through the canyon along catwalks. Some parts were quite slippery due to the ice, so we had to pick up a few people from the ground. Johnston Canyon has two waterfalls to marvel at, but time allowed us to look at the Lower Falls ‘only’.

The next stop on our sightseeing tour was testing our fear of heights a bit. The Banff Gondola brought us within 11 minutes up to a platform that allowed us to see the surrounding mountains. It was snowing a bit and there were clouds, but we still enjoyed the beauty of it. After lunch, we took the Gondola down again. It was time to soak in the hot springs! The hot water made us feel more than relaxed and we all felt warm and cozy when returning to the bus.

Emerald Lake was the next place we went to. Unfortunately, we could not see the beautiful, emerald water as the name promised (how could we expect this during winter..?), but we had fun anyway. There was a lot of snow on the ice and we all sank in it once or twice. And what else to do when there is a lot of snow? Of course: a snowball fight.

Then, It was finally time to get to our accommodation for the night, wooden cabins in Golden. Shortly after our arrival, we could pretend to be kids again by doing an Easter Egg Hunt. We all gathered around the campfire, warmed ourselves up, shared talks and played the game ‘Werewolf’. When it got dark, our tour guide had the amazing idea of doing a night hike through the forest. Fun, some of us even got lost. The evening ended with a big party in the barn, including limbo and a Lip Sync Battle. The highlight: everyone dancing to Gangnam Style.

Monday, 8am. What, the trip is almost over again? How is this even possible? Well, time flies when you’re having fun, as Angy already mentioned. So, we all packed our stuff, had breakfast and sat in the bus again. The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round… We were welcomed with wonderful weather in Kelowna, the perfect place to have lunch. And three hours further with the bus, we were in deep snow again. Time for the brave ones to do the Polar Roll. You put on your swimwear and roll yourself in the snow. Brrrh, far too cold for me, but congratulations to all of you who did it! Only three more hours and we are back in Vancouver. We used the time to play Bus Olympics and the DJ Battle.

I had the most wonderful time in the Rockies and enjoyed it to the fullest – I hope you feel the same way!

– 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

Winter in the Rockies: Part 1

I’ve had the time of my life and I never felt like this before, yes I swear it’s the truth and I owe it all to YOU!

Time flies when you’re having fun! The Rockies trip we were so excited about has already ended… Sad. But what a great weekend we had! We knew it was going to be impressive, but the real life experience exceeded my (high) expectations. There is so much to talk about, but let’s start at the beginning…

41175779622_efacb8c211_nWe all met at the bus at 7am to mark the start of our adventure. It was early, but luckily the long bus ride made sure we could all catch up on some sleep. Our first stop was Hope, where we could admire wooden sculptures of bears and a beautiful rainbow. Next stop: Kamloops. Lunchtime! Back on the bus, we played the ‘Moose or Beaver’ game, where everyone had to choose whether the loony (another word for a Canadian dollar) that Erin, our fantastic tour guide, flipped would land on the loon bird or the queen. Everyone looked hilarious, but we were all in this together. Right before we arrived at the hotel in Valemount, we went to visit Rearguard Falls Provincial Park. The entire park was covered in snow, which was breathtaking. Then we checked into the hotel, had dinner at a nearby restaurant and to end this busy day of traveling, we had a little party in our room.

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Saturday: 7:45AM. Time to get on the bus again! We started the day with a stop at Mount Robson. It was cold. Like, REALLY cold. But it was so worth it! We had the most beautiful view and there was not a single cloud in the sky, which is really unusual during this time of year. Then, it was time to warm up again and travel to our next stop: Jasper. Time to get some fresh air, get a coffee, get lunch, buy souvenirs and enjoy the view of the mountains.

Unfortunately, due to an avalanche, we had to take a detour and therefore we were not able to see all the things we had planned. Once we arrived at the hotel later in the evening, we wanted to get a drink and have dinner at the pub. Long story short: We did not have dinner and the only thing saving many candidates from starving was the vending machine. It was a long day, but in the end, we still had fun and we knew Sunday would make up for it!

Curious about the last two days of the trip? Come back tomorrow to read Nadine’s post!

See you all at PuB NiGHT at The Beaver Bar tonight! (Mmm, K!)

– Angy

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