We Did It!

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Nov 23 ~ Day #197
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$19700
$15.00
$17041.71
$86.51
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
16084.6
12056.7
7662
196
35999.3

We Did It!

When we began this adventure we set ourselves a challenge. To complete this trip on an average of $100/day or less.

As you can see from the recap of our final totals, we not only met that challenge, we exceeded it.

We traveled for a total of 197 days on an average of $86.51/day. Not bad!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

First we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the friends and family we stayed with along the way. We could not have achieved our goal without your generous hospitality.

We have mentioned all of you in each appropriate blog post but we would like to thank you all once again. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Putting Things in Perspective

When we mention the mileage, the number of days, places visited, etc. sometimes things just become a blur and the true magnitude is not particularly clear. So, here we’re going to recap things and try to bring some perspective.

Mileage

The total miles traveled, including road, train, sea and air, was 35,999.3. Too bad we couldn’t have added just 0.7 of a mile more. That would have pushed us to an even 36,000 miles.

But, to put this mileage in perspective, the circumference of the earth, at the equator, is 24,901.55 miles.

That means we could have traveled around the globe almost one and a half times. Wow!

Days Traveled

I don’t think we actually calculated the number of days we were going to be traveling when we started this adventure.

Oh sure, we knew the day we were going to start. We also knew the day we were going to fly back home. Both were booked before we set out. But we didn’t actually take the time to calculate just how long the time in between those dates was.

Total number of days traveled = 197.

If you apply an average of 30 days to a month, then we traveled for a total of 6.6 months, more than half a year. Again – wow!

Cruises and More Included in the Trip

It seems amazing even to us what we were able to pack into this trip. Here’s a quick recap.

Cruises

Our trip included three cruises:

  • a two week Alaska cruise
  • a six day Greek Islands cruise
  • a two week TransAtlantic cruise

That’s a total of 34 days – more than a month – spent on cruise ships.

Narrowboats in the UK

We were able to spend an entire week on a narrowboat on the Trent/Mersey canal system in the UK.

Orlando and Disney

We spent two weeks in Orlando at two different timeshare resorts and spent time at more than one Disney theme park.

Landmarks Visited

Along the way we were fortunate to visit many landmarks both in North America and Europe.

Here’s a few:
United States

  • Carlsbad Caverns
  • Monument Valley
  • Grand Canyon

Canada

  • Victoria, British Columbia (a must-see)
  • Hell’s Gate, British Columbia
  • Columbia Ice Fields, Alberta
  • Banff and Jasper, Alberta
  • Lake Louise, Alberta
  • Terry Fox Monument, Thunder Bay, Ontario
  • Reversing Falls, New Brunswick
  • St. Andrews-By-The-Sea, New Brunswick
  • Confederation Bridge, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island
  • Birthplace of Canadian Confederation, Charlottetown, PEI
  • Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia

England

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • British Parliament Buildings
  • Big Ben
  • British Museum
  • Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare

Spain

  • La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
  • Dénia Castle, Dénia

Portugal

  • Madeira, the home of Madeira wine

Greece

  • Santorini

Croatia

  • the old walled city of Dubrovnik

Italy

  • St. Mark’s Square, Venice
  • the ruins of Pompeii
  • the ruins of Paestum
  • the Amalfi Coast

And, I’m sure there are things we are forgetting. It’s time for us to go back and re-read all the posts we have made along the way and to review all the photos and videos we have as well.

This was the trip of a lifetime for us. We will continue to travel, of course, but it is unlikely that we will ever again take such an extensive trip. It was a great adventure but a very long time to be away from home.

We will continue to have, we hope, many, many more adventures. But, perhaps shorter ones this time. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who has followed along with us and to those who have made comments as well. It was a pleasure to share this adventure with you.

Nanaimo to Vancouver to Chilliwack, BC

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 18 ~Day #39
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3900
$48.70
$4955.39
$127.06
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917 + 64
3826 + 30
000
69
9484.40

Location: Chilliwack, BC
Mileage: 128 (Chilliwack to Vancouver and return)
Nautical Miles: 30 (Departure Bay (Nanaimo) to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver)

Today’s Total Expenses: $48.70

Transportation: $27.70 (Ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver)

Entertainment: $21.00 (Parking for Stanley Park, ferry to Granville Island)

BC Ferries

British Columbia has an amazing ferry system to service many of their communities.

This morning we were up early to catch the 8:30am ferry from Departure Bay in Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver where my sister would be waiting to pick us up. We had a full day planned visiting Stanley Park, Granville Island and finishing up with a BBQ with my brother-in-law’s family.

The ferry crossing was pleasant and relaxing. I was hoping to see some wildlife along the way – whales in particular – but I would have settled for seals or dolphins, but it was not to be.

We felt the charge for the ferry was pretty reasonable. We only spent $27.70 for both of us and the trip was over 1-1/2 hours long and covered 30 nautical miles.

Stanley Park

My sister was waiting for us as we got off the ferry. She had brought our car, which we had left at their house while we were on the Alaska cruise.

We threw our stuff in the car and headed for Stanley Park. This is a huge park on a peninsula in downtown Vancouver. It boasts an aquarium, totem poles, many lookout points and more. I’m really not doing it justice with my description, so you should consider a visit here.

We drove through the park to get an idea of where we’d like to stop. We then found a parking spot and the parking pass was good for anywhere in the park which meant we could feel free to stop and explore wherever we wanted.

Our first parking spot was actually just outside the park but our pass covered that, too.

It was lunchtime so we stopped for lunch at a small Arabian restaurant for a Shwarma (I hope I’m spelling that right) plate. It was a plate of spiced chicken, rice, humus, tabouli and a pita bread. We couldn’t finish it all.

Granville Island

After walking the seawall in downtown Vancouver to work off some of our lunch it was off the Granville Island.

Granville Island is a mix of farmers market, boutique stores, entertainment, restaurants and more and is a “must see” when visiting Vancouver.

We were able to leave the car where we had parked it and take a cute little ferry to Granville Island.

While we were there we were able to meet up with our niece (who is expecting within a couple of weeks and simply cute as a button), her husband and their six Afghan hounds – that’s right, I said six and they are all amazingly beautiful.

Back to Stanley Park

After taking the little ferry back to where we had our car parked, we headed back into Stanley Park and made several stops throughout the park including one at the totem poles.

Wildlife Encounter

Finally! An up close and personal wildlife encounter.

Okay, it was only a raccoon with attitude, but it was exciting anyway.

Family BBQ

From there we headed, with the help of Madge (our GPS), to the family BBQ. It was lovely to meet many family members that we have not met before and to see a few that we hadn’t seen in more years than I care to mention.

The conversations were interesting, the food was great and there was most certainly lots of it. Many thanks to my brother-in-law’s family for including us in their get-together.

All Day in Victoria, BC

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 14 ~Day #35
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3500
$94.14
$4846.52
$138.472
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
3826
000
000
9316.9

Location: Victoria, BC

Today’s Total Expenses: $94.14

Transportation: $5.00
Accommodation: $65.09
Food: $24.05

Sunshine!

Today was a glorious day and we took full advantage of that.

Although the hotel we were staying at in Victoria – the Red Lion Inn – was a bit outside of the downtown area, we decided to walk into downtown anyway.

We had first thought we would get a day pass on the local bus system. The standard fare was $2.50 each and a day pass was $7.00. If we planned to “hop on and hop off” the local transit system then the day pass seemed like a good idea.

However, after speaking to a very helpful lady at the information kiosk in Mayfair Mall, we determined that it would likely be a very pleasant walk into Victoria. She told us she walked back and forth to work everyday and she lived in the downtown area.

Chinatown

I had really wanted to see Chinatown and it was right along the route as we walked into downtown.

I believe that this may be the oldest Chinatown in Canada. I seem to remember someone telling me that but I’m not 100% sure of that fact. If any of our readers know for sure, we’d love to hear from you.

Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour, right in downtown Victoria, is a colourful and “happening” place.

All around the harbour are small cafés and pubs along with vendors selling their wares. There is also a large native component selling carvings, jewelry and other items that you simply must see.

In this vivacious downtown area you’ll also find a museum and Imax theatre, the Empress Hotel, the Provincial Parliament buildings, parks, a sea walk and so much more.

If you like to watch float planes, and we do, you can see them taking off and landing all day.

Fisherman’s Wharf

We had planned to stop at a pub and treat ourselves to lunch today but after looking at some of the menus it didn’t look like they had what Geoff would consider “authentic” pub fare, at least not at the ones we stopped at.

On top of that, they seemed pretty expensive as well and we have the budget to consider.

So, we just continued along the sea walk until we came to Fisherman’s Wharf. This is an eclectic collection of floating houses, restaurants and boats.

We had heard that there was a small restaurant called Barb’s Fish and Chips and we are always in search of the perfect fish and chips, so we headed there.

There was a huge line up to order so we figured it must be good if so many other people were willing to wait so long to place their orders.

We took our place in the line and while Geoff waited I wander over to the end of one of the docks to see a seal up close and personal. He stayed in the water but this was the closest I had been to any such wildlife. This was the kind of thing I was hoping to see on our Alaska cruise.

After placing our order at Barb’s, Geoff was given a small pager to hold on to and was told that when it went off that our order would be ready. So we chose a seat in the tented outdoor sitting area and waited hungrily for the beeper to go off.

Fish and Chips for Lunch

When Geoff went to pick up our waiting order he returned with two baskets piled high with fish, chips, tartar sauce and cole slaw.

We tucked in immediately and thoroughly enjoyed the best fish and chips that we’ve had in a very long time, and all in an amazingly interesting and pleasant setting. Neither of us could finish the entire meal. Well – okay – we only left a FEW chips each.

Wind Surfers

We continued our walk along the sea and just across from Beacon Hill Park we had the opportunity to watch some wind surfers on the ocean – all in wetsuits, of course.

We also sat on sun-warmed benches to rest and enjoy the day.

Beacon Hill Park

The day was starting to wane and it was time to think about getting back to our hotel and cooking dinner. We had selected an efficiency suite when booking our room.

To finish off our tour of Victoria we decided to walk through Beacon Hill Park before catching a local bus back to our hotel.

In this park there are many peacocks that actually roam free. We were able to get some awesome shots of these majestic birds.

We also passed a petting zoo where both the kids (baby goats) and kids (children) were having a great time playing with each other.

We then sauntered slowly towards Douglas Street (we were getting pretty slow at this point) to catch the local bus. Our total transportation cost for the whole day – $5.00!

We found Victoria to be a beautiful, well-kept city and would love to return here.

Kodiak, Alaska

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 09 ~Day #30
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$3000
$222.76
$3949.66
$131.65
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
2288 + 421 = 2709
000
000
8032.35

Today’s Total Expenses: $222.76

Krappy in Kodiak

If you’re on an Alaska cruise and Kodiak is not on your itinerary don’t worry about it you’re not missing anything. Kodiak is a fish processing port. Even the cruise director said it’s a fifteen minute walk into town, fifteen minutes to look around, fifteen minutes back and you’re done.

Just as well really cause I was still feeling pretty crappy. Just went back to the cabin and slept while Vicky worked on the computer.

By the time evening rolled around I was feeling much better but not ready to face a formal night. After years of living on a small island in the Bahamas I figure I’m dressed up if I’m wearing shoes.

Anyway we went to the Lido deck where jeans are OK and I managed to eat a little but really didn’t have much in the way of appetite.

Vicky was really looking forward to the Chocolate Buffet to be held at midnight. I’m sure she will have more to say about it tomorrow but it was not what we were expecting.

All the chef’s and culinary staff worked very hard to present an incredible desert extravaganza but it was mostly the same things we had seen for deserts other nights, just dressed up a little.

Tables had been placed all around the pool loaded with cakes, pastries, ice sculptures and chocolate fountains. Apparently it took 50 hours work to put it together and would take less than an hour to consume.

If I had been feeling more like myself I may have appreciated it more but all I could see in my mind were pigs at a trough. It is amazing just how much food some people can pile onto a small desert plate. I can’t help wondering how much gets wasted.

At Sea En Route to Anchorage, Alaska

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 06 ~Day #27
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$2700
$222.76
$3277.38
$121.38
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
4917
1307 + 717 = 2024
000
000
7244.6

Location: At Sea
Daily Cruse Expense: $222.76

Heading for Anchorage

Today was another “at sea” day meaning that we are simply putting miles behind us in order to get to Anchorage tomorrow.

On this cruise we will have a total of three “at sea” days. The first, of course, was the Inside Passage, our first full day on the Amsterdam. The second is today as we head towards Anchorage and the third will be after we leave Juneau and head for Victoria, British Columbia where we will actually be disembarking. We want to spend more time in Victoria and then take the train up to Nanaimo to visit with my brother and sister-in-law before heading back to my sister’s in Chilliwack to pickup our car and start the eastward bound part of our North America trip.

Motion of the Ocean

For most of our voyage the seas have been fairly calm but have been a couple of days where we’ve had some significant waves. Certainly not what we would consider rough seas but enough to sometimes get the ship rocking a bit from side to side.

Neither Geoff nor I are particularly susceptible to seasickness but other people, including one of our dinner companions, were feeling the effects from time to time.

As you exit the main dining room each evening you are presented with a choice of mints, hard candies and crystallized ginger. Both of us have been indulging in the crystallized ginger and recommending to anyone who is a bit queazy because of the motion of the ship.

Ginger is wonderful for settling the tummy.

Entertainment Onboard

Each evening there is entertainment in the Queen’s Lounge, a large, two-storey theatre at the bow of the ship. There are two performances so they can accommodate all of the passengers onboard.

They have a talented group of singers and dancers that stay with the ship in addition to guest performers.

Classical Music at Sea

Our absolute favorite so far was a pianist – Elliot Finkel. He not only played for us one evening but today, at 3:00pm, he gave us a classical music performance that ended in a standing ovation.

Weight Loss Challenge

Perhaps the title for this part of my post should be – “What was I thinking?”

I guess it kind of goes right along with the obvious senior moment I had when I decided I didn’t really need to pack a warm jacket for our Alaska cruise. Thanks again to my sister for the warm fuzzy jacket that I have used extensively on this trip.

No, I haven’t yet weighed myself since the first time I weighed in, so I have nothing to report.

I did promise myself that I wouldn’t have dessert with lunch, though, and I kept that promise for a full 24 hours!

Whether you’ve cruised or not, everyone knows that it’s pretty much non-stop food on a cruise. Most of it is really quite good, too.

Last night we decided to eat in the Italian restaurant onboard rather than in the Main Dining Room. You need to make reservations for this restaurant, but it is included in your cruise fare.

I had veal and Geoff had cod and it was obviously cooked to order and delicious. We had a lovely table to two right in front of a large window.

I was hoping to sight some whales but no such luck. Maybe tomorrow.

The Land of the Midnight Sun

We’ve all heard this expression and tonight we actually experienced it.

After watching a movie in the small theatre we went to the Lido Deck for a midnight snack and cup of tea. It was midnight and the sun still hadn’t completely set.

We witnessed a section of bright blue sky with rose-colored clouds and the sun attempted to set just past midnight – incredible!