[This article is also available in German.]
Please note: This is the first article I'm writing in English. I'm not a native speaker, so please be gentle with your critisism about all the mistakes I made. (Just by
rereading the last two sentences I consider not writing this in English because it sounds so bad. Please, let it be ok... *fingerscrossed*)
It's time to write about Canada. How I ended up there, when I was planning a trip through Southeastasia is part of another story. Now I'm back in Germany over two weeks and
It's time to write about Canada. Why? Because i fell horribly in love with this country!
It's time to write about Canada. I pushed this article along, because I knew that it wouldn't be a "Top 10 things to do in"- article.
It's time to write about Canada. It's really hard though, I don't really know where to start. Or what exactly I want to write about. There is just too much I want to tell.
These were all the beginnings I was considering when I was starting to write this article . You see, my head is very indecisive, where and how to beginn. In the end I decided to start like that:
It's time to write about Canada. Out there, in the world of travellers and non-travellers, not much is known about this country. There only exist some stereotypes:
- Everybody is exessively friendly
- It's always cold there
- Everybody loves Ice hockey
- Every food is served with maple syrup
- The capitol is Vancouver or Toronto
I was in Canada for almost four weeks. More precisely, I was in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. (For the people who - like me - never learned anything about this country: Those are three of the ten provinces of Canada. They also have three territories in the north. Don't ask me what the difference is, please. I don't understand it either.)
I stayed with a wonderful family, originally from Saskatchewan (That is , as I said, a province as well. And I know how to pronounce it. As you may have noticed, I'm pretty proud of that.) in the small village Cheadle near Calgary. And when I say small, I mean small. They have only 30 houses there. (Yes, dear Western Europeans. There are villages that small. They are called hamlets.)
Anyway, before I came to Canada, I had literally no clue about this country. So I started to read about it. Only at the Shanghai airport where I had my first stopover though. I admit: Maybe that was a bit too late. So, on this not so lovely airport, where I had a 16 hour stopover and Facebook, Instagram and even Google were blocked, I learned my first things about Canada. For example I found out that it's the second biggest country in the world (I was really ashamed, that I didn't know that before), but has only a population of around 35,000,000 people. That is about 50,000,000 less than in Germany.
And then - after another flight to Vancouver, another stopover and another short flight - I arrived in Calgary. After a couple of days, I saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time. I cried (just a bit though). When you are traveling, you have those special moments, when you are totally in awe. I had a lot of those in Canada. This was my first one. The mountains were incredibly beautiful and I just couldn't belive that I was really there.
Anyway, enough of my sentimantal side-tracking and let's start with some stereotypes and all the other things I don't know yet.
When I came back home, a lot of my German friends asked me, if the Canadians are really that friendly and are apologizing for everything. I for my part didn't have that stereotype before I went there. While traveling I met some Canadians. Some were super friendly, some were real jerks. So I didn't have any expectations on my way.
And then I came to Canada. And, yes, they are! They are apologizing for everything, even if it's not their fault. But I guess, exessive is the wrong word. Every single Canadian I met was just super super friendly. I was welcomed very warm in "my" family. Also the aunts and uncles, cousins and friends I met while camping or other occations were incredibly kind and cordial as I would have never expect it.
This kindness was not only limited to the family though. Also the people in a store or the ones you are bumping into randomly while hiking are very willing to start a conversation. Everybody is greeting you and almost every time you are starting a bit of a small talk with them.
Overall I must say that I loved the mentality of the Canadian people. And it's not only perfunctorily friendliness, that you recieve here: It's genuine kindness. I even would go as far as to say that they are the friendliest people I've ever met. And I have been to the Philippines, which probably means a lot.
Always so cold!
Another big stereotypes: It's always cold. Again, I must - unfortunately - agree. And even though I am very sensitive with cold weather, I can say that in good conscience: It's cold! One day in the Rockies it even snowed. It was the first of September. I also was in a mountain lake for around 3 minutes. I couldn't stop shivering for 10 afterwards.
It always seemed to be around 5 to 10 degrees colder than in Germany. This year, so I was told, they had a really warm summer: up to 30 to 35 degrees! WhenI told them about the over 40 we had this year, they didn't really know what to say.
The winter must be freaking cold. Down to minus 30 or even 40 degrees. And again I'm only talking about the southern parts.
When I was there, I was freezing almost constantly. On the one hand, I just came from Thailand. Almost the last six months I had spent in tropical temperatures. I was not used to temperatures below 25 degrees any more. Camping in a small tent while it was raining didn't help much as well, i guess. Luckily, I could borrow a lot of good warm clothes and almost everyone has a fireplace as well. I know, why!
The national sport Hockey
Well, I would say it's as soccer is for us Germans: There are always some that don't really understand the whole fuss. And then there are the other once that are giddy with exitement. Baseball and Canadian Football are big there too. But not as celebrated as Hockey (and far from being so cool!).
The thing with the Maple syrup
First things first: Maple syrup is delicious! Especially the original one. But I have not seen it being served or eaten with something else than pancakes, waffles or something similar. But then the main production is in the eastern part of the country. There, things seem to be a bit different. At least I read about potatoes served with maple syrup. Well, I wouldn't say no to that either.
...did I experience in this beautiful country?
1. The canadian nature is incredible! It's not only the stunning Rocky Mountains,
the glacier lakes and rivers or the gigantic forests that are just left as they are. It's
also the beautiful endless fields in Alberta and the foothills in Saskatchewan that
took my breath away. And I definitely want to go back just to see the northern
2. After Hockey (and - yes - Curling!), camping seems to be something like a national
sport. A lot of people have a pass for the national parks and it's part of their
recreation to go camping around once a month. I totally understand that!
3. Canadians seem to be pretty aware of global warming. Probably because they
see the effects so much more intense on their glaciers than other countries. On the
other hand, most of the country's money still comes from gas. And (at least at the
countryside) around 80 percent of the people are still driving trucks.
4. You can see a lot of wildlife. They have elk and moose, bighorn sheep and
mountain goats (or, as i started to call them secretly: "homeless santa goats". Just
google them and you'll understand why). If you are particularly lucky (or not) you
can even see bears. And of course lots of squirrels, chipmunks and an endless
variation of birds.
5. The food is amazing! Unfortunatelly it's not very healthy. For example Poutine is
something like a national dish: It's french fries topped with cheese and gravy. The
consequence is, that most of the people are big (and I'm already apologizing for my
German honest). Not as the typical picture that a European has of Americans, so
not really fat. But the most people you see have at least a bit excess weight. I have
definitely not seen as many slim people as I'm used to from Europe. Of course, I
totally understand that: I gained around 4 kg in not even one month.
6. In Canada, you are not allowed to drink in public. You also cannot buy alcohol in a
normal supermarket or grocery store. They have extra liquor or beer stores. You
are not even allowed to have liquor inside your car. If you want to transport it, you
have to keep it in the trunk.
7. The names of cities, rivers and roads are hilarious. Beside names like Medicine
Hat, Whiskey Gap or Vulcan for cities you can also find a lake called Goat Pond,
the Mosquito Creek or the Crowsnest Pass. My favorite is still the Highway No. 201
around Calgary, which is called Stoney Trail.
Maybe you can read between the lines that this beautiful country stole a big part of my heart. I hope to go back in the future. And I hope that it won't be that cold!
Oh, in case you wonderd: The capitol of Canada is Ottawa.
Today I would be especially happy about a like, a share or a comment because, you know, first English article, yay! Yep, I'm pretty proud!