500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Made it to Calgary!

Liz came and picked us up right at 9:45am this morning in Cabri. She was heading into Swift Current anyhow and so we hitched a ride. We had a 45 minute drive to the Greyhound bus terminal, and then we waited for our 11:35am departure for Calgary.

The bus arrived and then the delays started.

We called us for boarding a few minutes late, and then we sat for a few minutes before we got going. So we were already 10 minutes behind schedule. Then, every time we stopped to pick up passengers or drop off parcels, we got another few minutes behind.

When we stopped at Maple Creek, there was a scheduled driver change. But the driver who was taking over had been over in his daily allotted hours or something and we had to sit for another half an hour or so before he could drive.

Not much in the way of scenery, plus the bus windows weren't very clean. So you only get one photo from the bus ride!

Us! On the bus to Calgary!

Overall, the bus ride wasn't bad. We had booked it in August at a cost of $51 (US$46) each. Not bad, but for Greyhound bus tickets in Canada you really have to try and book at least 21 days in advance. The price almost doubles the closer you get to your travel date. Each seat has an electrical outlet, and the bus has free wifi but I ended up using our own cellular mi-fi connection because the one from the bus was too slow.

Not comparable to bus travel in other countries though. And a different clientele takes the bus in Canada. No children, mostly single men. And smokers. Couldn't believe the number of people scrambling to get off the bus for a couple of puffs at every stop.

At one stop, the driver announced that there was a bar opposite the stop and we would be there for 15 minutes or so. He said that if anybody was caught going to the bar, they would be staying at the bar!

We were scheduled to arrive at Calgary at 6:30pm. And we had made arrangements to meet a friend who we haven't seen for about 10 years, so we were looking forward to that. But with delays at every stop, the driver announced that he figured we would be about an hour late. Fortunately we did have internet access on the bus, so I sent our friend Kim a note to that effect, and she said she would meet us at the bus terminal.

We didn't really have any plans other than seeing Kim, and maybe wandering around downtown and taking some night photos.

Then, while I was online, I received a message from Bart and Sanna...the Dutch couple who couchsurfed with us at the park for a couple of nights in late July. It turns out that they have a short term apartment rental in downtown Calgary and saw that we were headed that way. And did we want to get together? Of course we did!

So, when our bus finally got into Calgary Kim was there to meet us and we all headed over to Bart and Sanna's apartment where we had a few drinks and solved all of the world's problems in only a few short hours!

Kevin, Sanna (with Mara the dog), Bart, Kim, and Ruth.

Had a great visit for a few hours and then Kim offered to drive us to the airport. We did have bus tickets, but the bus didn't leave for the airport until 12:30am, and we really didn't want to hang around the bus station. The airport is much nicer! Thanks Kim!!

And here we sit. At "Hotel Starbucks"! The website Sleeping in Airports gave Calgary International Airport their top award in 2012 for being one of the best airports in the world to have to sleep in. Free wifi, and comfy lounge type chairs that sit outside the Starbucks coffee shop have given this area of the airport the title "Hotel Starbucks" to people who think that it doesn't make any sense to get an expensive hotel room for just a few hours.

So we've got to hang out here for a few more hours. Our flight to Seattle leaves at 6:30am, so maybe we'll have time in Seattle to put another update. But if not, the next time you'll hear from us we'll be in South Korea!!

Yesterday's bus ride 520 kms (322 miles).


16 comments:

  1. Sounds like a busy, fun filled day, you are making progress.

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    1. Yes, it was more of a long day than a busy one! We really didn't have to do very much other than spend lots of time sitting.

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  2. Yay, you are finally on your way! You must be so excited, despite the inevitable delays. Thanks for the intermediate update, it is just like being there.

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    1. Yep, we sure are. It's great to be on the move again and luckily none of the delays had any kind of impact on us so we didn't really mind them.

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  3. Your bus driver sounds a bit like a party pooper. Glad you got to have happy hour later.

    I have never heard of best sleeping airport. Guess you two hit the jackpot! Safe travels.

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    1. It's not the driver's fault, there is a 0% policy for alcohol on the bus or for people who have been drinking to be passengers on the bus.

      The seats really were pretty comfy, Kevin actually had to wake me up so that we could go and check in.

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  4. I remember the one Trailways trip I took from Wichita to Dallas was riddled with delays of one kind or another. But it beat being stranded in Wichita for days on end after a major snowstorm shut down the airport and the airlines were struggling to rebook passengers.

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    1. We don't really mind delays as long as they don't have an impact on your further connections. Unfortunately when the weather is contributing to the delays it is totally out of your hands and theirs. That's when patience and understanding is a virtue!

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  5. It's great that you have such good friends around the world - neat how everyone helps out one way or another! Also, we like that you post maps on your blog so we can see exactly where you've been and where you're going. Happy Trails!!!
    Barry & Connie

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    1. We feel very blessed to have friends that are so kind and helpful but then we would do the same for them if they ever needed help.

      We will make sure to add maps of where we go in Korea as well.

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  6. I haven't taken the Greyhound since I was a kid but it was starting to get bad back then. Too bad, as our rail system isn't any good either. Glad you made it to the airport, looking forward to pictures of a new country!

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    1. Yes, we don't have a bus or rail system like many countries. I think part of the problem is that we are such a big country with a small population in comparison to it's size. I also think the cost is quite high. Swift Current bus station has four arrivals and four departures daily, two in each direction and one STC (Saskatchewan bus) arrival and departure a day and that was it.

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  7. What is a Mifi and when can you use it? Do you have a monthly plan? Pay per use? Is it expensive? Worthwhile to take? Our Canadian buses,service and prices are no match for the beautiful buses in Mexico and Peru!

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    1. A "mi-fi" is a pocket sized device that connects to the cellular network and distributes a wifi internet signal that up to five devices can connect to. We own the device so we don't have a contract and we just get a new SIM card every year and go month to month while in Canada. We pay about $115 CAN provided we remain under 15 GB per month.

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  8. I am always totally amazed that you have friends everywhere to see and stay with and get rides from. That's what happens when you are famous I guess. So far so good on these travels. You both look really happy even on a bus. :-)

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    1. We are very lucky to have such wonderful friends scattered all around the world. And, it seems the more we travel the more people we met who end up being new friends.

      Life is too short not to be happy!

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