I have been in Montréal nearly four weeks now, which is hard to believe because it has gone by so fast. This has largely been due to my time here being a whirlwind of meeting lots of people and there always being something to do in the city. Meeting people through Couch Surfing has been a great way to meet people (there are multiple planned activities happening every day!) and sample what the city has to offer. These activities include partying, sight seeing, a comedy festival, climbing, partying, exploring the local cafés, (a little) work, eating lots of delicious food and recovering from partying...
Stocking up on food and beer as we left Toronto, Jim and I headed North towards Algonquin Provincial Park. This was the first time where I had a road trip buddy and it made the drive not only go quicker – but was good fun. With the beats pumping (Albert has a surprisingly good sound system for a family people carrier!) we got to the park in no time. We had stopped off at a Tim Hortons on the way there so I could introduce Jim to my make-it-up-as-you-go-along way of doing things. We were nearly at the park at this point so we did some last minute research into where to go and accommodation options.
After Chicago I drove to Cleveland, Ohio to see Martin - another school friend who I haven't seen for many years. Martin moved to the US on a soccer (football) scholarship after we finished school ten years ago and didn't come back! It was great to catch up with him and to meet his fiancé Molly.
Martin was in the process of moving apartments so I gave him a hand by loading up the van and driving some things to his new place (there is nothing Albert can't do!) We also had a bit of a wander around downtown Cleveland – I went to the barber (one of my treats while on the road) and we went
At the US border crossing I was given a slapped wrist due to my last US tourist visa still being present in my passport. Apparently this should have been taken out when I left last year and the fact that it was still there meant I was an "overstay"... which is pretty serious. They let me off (it seems that it was actually the fault of the last border official for not removing it) and while was pretty clear that I hadn't been in the US for the last six months, this little bit of card is the only evidence they take into account. Which seems like a bit of a rudimentary system to me!
Almost as soon
My first day in Calgary was spend exploring the city with a couch surfer called Bilal. I like to explore cities with other people, so I had put up a message on the couch surfing website and Bilal who was also new to Calgary had answered. In the evening we went to a couch surfing meet up together, which are always a great way to meet people from all over the world. Held at a local bar I got chatting to loads of different people including a local Calgarian called Lloyd. Lloyd's family originate from South Wales and he invited me to go indoor climbing with him later that week. A good start to my visit
When I left Hinton, I headed for Sundance Provincial Park which was recommended to me by Karina's family. The rough 60km drive down the logging road didn't faze the van (unlike me) and I arrived at a very nice lakeside campsite to spend the first night.
The next day I explored the park and was very impressed by the Hoodoos and crazy rock formations created by the elements on the soft rock. Being a little out of the way I didn't see anyone else in the park and was able to soak up sights and the sunshine in magnificent calm.
Before arriving in Alberta, when looking at the road