creative blog hop

I have been invited by Liesl to join the the creative blog hop and talk about my creative process. I love answering questions like these, it’s always an opportunity to reflect and I usually find out something about myself that I didn’t know before I got writing and thinking!

Check out previous posts by Liesl, Inge and Melody (who invited me too a few weeks ago but whose message I read too late to participate then).

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhat am I working on?

I am primarily a photographer but I strive to incorporate handmade in all areas of my life – I sew, knit, garden and cook, with varying success.

Photography wise in between doing some fall portrait photoshoots I am working on putting a new travel photo series in my shop with images of a trip to Canada I took this year. It’s a long process of culling, editing, having samples printed, re-editing, stocking, writing descriptions and finally listing and promoting.

Fall is also knitting season for me – I am working on a new cardigan and there might be a shawl and a new pair of socks in sight too.

I have some sewing projects waiting to happen but since sewing takes much more of an effort to set up and requires me getting off the couch these take a backseat over knitting right now.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my work differ from others of its genre?

Does it? I see a lot of incredible artists creating wonderful things and I am not at all sure how my work differs, except that I always wish it was better! It has a certain, very colorful look for sure. I find every artist has their own style and it’s impossible to break that. Two people can photograph the exact same scene and their photos will be completely different. Nobody can see the world as you yourself see it and that’s wonderful. At the same time I see many people inspired by the same things and I am glad for kindred spirits who capture the beauty of the world in their own way.

I am not someone who gets lost in only one thing forever. Yes, photography is ‘it’ for me, but my other creative pursuits are also a big and necessary part of my life. I am interested in so many different things. Maybe that sets me apart from some other artists, who dive very deeply into one subject matter.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogWhy do I create what I do?

I have always felt a need to create. Working with my hands and building something useful with them is as much a physical need as a mental one for me.

As a child I knew only that it made me happy. As an adult I also see another level to it – handmade has a value of its own. I want to live in a world where we still do things with our hands and value the process and materials. The animals and plants our wool and leather, fabric and color come from – they’re real, they existed, they have value. By making things by hand and using them I feel like I honor that worth.

As much as technology and media has expanded our world (and I revel in that) it sometimes feels like we are now very exposed and very anonymous at the same time – everything laid bare, interconnected and yet much more automatized and impersonal. Creating and building a life based on making things with my hands and knowing where they came from grounds and comforts me. Knitting a cardigan out of natural fibers warms the cold polyester world around me.

With my photography I try to capture feelings and emotions – the invisible connection between two people, the wonder at nature’s beauty in a world so far removed from it, the joy of shaping rough yarn into something wearable, the pride of watching a tiny seedling turn into a thriving edible plant under my hands.

talking about creativity. little home by hand blogtalking about creativity. little home by hand blogHow does my creative process work?

It’s a strange mixture of intuition and careful thought. My inspiration comes from nature, from connecting with other artists and from sites like Pinterest and Instagram. From there I try to break it down and shape the images and thoughts and feelings they conjure to my own needs. It’s a tough balance – being inspired but still doing things my own way.

With a craft project I usually need to give an idea time to grow, to take root and shape itself in my head. It’s quite unnerving, mulling something over in my head for days until the image has sharpened enough to be put into action.

With photography it’s often much more intuitive (which can be even more unnerving). I sometimes meet my portrait clients for the first time on location and I need to grasp immediately how these people tick, what makes them beautiful and tickle it out of them while also trying to use the location to its best advantage. My travel photography is much more relaxed, I simply capture moments as they happen, completely immersed in my own emotions and experience of the scenery.

 

Liesl, thanks so much for inviting me! Lindsay and Ruth, two wonderful creatives and bloggers, will be continuing the blog hop and will have their posts up within the next two weeks so hop on over to their blogs too.

transitioning into fall

It happens every year. As soon as the leaves start to turn and the days get shorter I feel the need to hibernate. Getting up early is harder when it’s cold and dark and staying awake in the evenings becomes a thing of impossibility.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogStill, I manage to get a few rows of knitting and reading in most nights before heading to bed bleary eyed.

I’m making slow but steady progress on another cardigan for fall, the Ramona. The classical shape is beautiful and I hope it will be another staple in my wardrobe. With a bit of cardigan experience under my belt I am also itching to try some more advanced knitting, like cables or colorwork next. Oh, and a shawl with some yarn I bought in Scotland. So many projects, so little time.

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogOther news and inspiration:

knitting through fall. little home by hand blogAre you feeling the changing of the seasons too? Any knitting projects to inspire me and add to my neverending queue? (I just had to look up how to spell ‘queue’). What are your five words you describe yourself with?

the most beautiful place in the world – how scotland captured my heart

If you have been reading here for a time you know that two years ago I travelled to Scotland (see the old blog post here).

I fell in love with the country back then and have been longing to go back. With a few days off at the start of the month J and I decided to take a short trip to the Isle of Skye, a place we hadn’t managed to fit into our schedule two years ago. The flight to Glasgow was over in a wink but the drive up into the highlands took several hours, plenty of time for J to practice driving on the left side of the road, for me to gasp at the countryside and for us both to make some scenic detours…scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe visited Kilchurn Castle and drove along beautiful Glen Etive, stopped for a bite to eat at the fantastic Ben Nevis Inn (what a lovely place!) and arrived on Skye rather late and tired.

After indulging in a hearty breakfast the next morning including porridge, homemade banana bread and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (so good!) we set out for some serious walking. First stop was the “Old Man of Storr”, an absolutely stunning landscape.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogI think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Screaming, really :)

Ever since we got out of Glasgow we had found ourselves in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings and every corner we turned provided us with more unbelievable views. Walking in this landscape is simply a dream.

A pretty demanding one I’ll admit. I haven’t been able to do any sports in the past year (save some hikes in Canada) and am sadly out of shape.

The Quiraing was next.scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWhat I love about walking in Scotland is that there are sheep and cattle everywhere looking curiously at you panting past.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogOn our second day on Skye we visited Skyeskyns, a wonderful local sheepskin workshop that offers informative tours on their handmade processing of sheepskins.

I just had to do some yarn shopping too of course and picked up a few skeins at the Shilasdair shop. They have a little exhibition on dyeing with local plants which was very interesting.

We saw the ruins of two Iron Age brochs, Dun Fiadhairt and Dun Beag, impressive structures slowly crumbling among the grass and blooming heather.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe had left what would turn out to be my personal highlight for last – a walk to the Fairy Pools near Glenbrittle. Situated at the foot of the Cuillin mountain range this landscape just takes your breath away. Oh, and the wind did too. It was so windy that day that I was actually, physically blown over once. Good thing we had decided earlier to skip a walk near high cliffs that day *mustnotkillmyselfwhileonholiday*.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe said goodbye to Skye all to soon and with a heavy heart. One last warm breakfast at lovely Blairdhu House and then it was off again on the road.

Bye teddybear cattle!

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogWe had decided to do a completely touristy thing on the way and visit a distillery. We took a tour at the Edradour distillery which turned out to be so much fun! The smallest distillery in Scotland, they produce only small quantities of whisky, a lot of the process still by hand involving century old machinery.  We also got to taste the whisky and a whisky cream mix (like Baileys but so much better). I had never thought about how whisky is really made and found it fascinating.

scotland. little home by hand blogscotland. little home by hand blogMy only regret in this holiday: we could easily have stayed three times as long and it would still have been too short. In Scotland I have found the country I want to return to again and again, savoring the landscape, the people, the language.

Highlands, I’ll be back. For sure.

scotland. little home by hand blog

the best breakfast dish – scottish porridge

In my constant quest to healthier eating I recently discovered the most awesome breakfast dish ever – porridge.

I first had porridge on my Scotland holiday two years ago and loved it. As with so many holiday treats we enjoy and promptly forget again I never thought to try and make my own until a few weeks ago. It takes no more than a few minutes to prepare and once you get into the habit porridge is seriously addictive.

I wonder how I lived without a warm breakfast before. There’s something incredibly comforting and satisfying about starting the day with a warm bowl of oats with a burst of flavor and vitamins from fresh berries.

scottish porridge for breakfast. little home by hand blog.scottish porridge for breakfast. little home by hand blog.My recipe (serves 1):

Berry porridge

  • 1/2 cup fine oat flakes (I believe they are called oatmeal in the US)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (cow’s milk is the usual, but I use oat milk)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a bit of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (or more to taste)
  • fresh or frozen berries (I like blueberries best but you can use any kind)

Combine oat flakes, water, milk, salt and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring, until a thick consistency is reached (this happens very quickly, be careful to keep stirring to prevent burning the porridge). I like to add the cinnamon at the very end actually because it just makes it all smell divine.

Put the berries in a small bowl, pour porridge on top, add the honey and mix well. If you use frozen berries the porridge will thaw them and the whole mix will be cool enough to eat nearly right away.

Actually I would recommend thawing the berries first but I never seem to find the time for that in the morning.

scottish porridge for breakfast. little home by hand blog.There are nearly endless variations of this dish – you can vary the berries or try chopped apples instead, add nuts and seeds or a bit of linseed oil if you want to go super healthy. In Scotland it was often served with cream (yum).

Speaking of Scotland – wow, what a week! I freely admit to being only moderately interested in politics. I hardly even read the news. It feels like there are so many terrible things happening in the world, it would take more caring and thinking and feeling horrified about than I can muster in my life. Does that make one a bad person? To consciously decide not to become emotionally invested in all the suffering going on in the world?

Anyway, back to Scotland. Maybe it’s because my next Scotland holiday is already booked (yay!) or that I’ve fallen head over heels for the Outlander book series (there’s a TV adaptation, too!) but this week leading up to the referendum had me all excited. I’m a sucker for history and it felt magical watching history in the making. I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t go through with it in the end, but it is reassuring in this violent world that decisions of such importance can still be reached peacefully, democratically.

Did you follow the scottish referendum? Is porridge the greatest breakfast dish ever invented?

scottish porridge for breakfast. little home by hand blog.

sewing a knit dress – colette moneta

Hm, so that definitely wasn’t the plan to be away from this space for weeks on end! I’ve started a post on why I stayed away from all my internet spaces but it’s quite personal and I’m not sure I’m ready to share it yet. So let’s just say for now I’m back and I’ve been spending some quality time with my sewing machine and serger!

I’ve wanted to try my hand at a nice knit dress for a while and the Colette Moneta Dress seemed a perfect candidate.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogI’ve had little success with earlier Colette patterns but whoa – the Moneta blew me away! I made size XS and the fit is nearly perfect. The striped jersey fabric was from my stash and I was happy to finally find the right pattern for it.

Sewing with knits is in many ways so simple – just serge together and done. IF the serger thread doesn’t break. Then there will be sweat and tears. I will also not talk about how I redid the elastic waist part four times because I was sure I could outsmart the description on how to do it (I couldn’t). Turns out ripping out overlock stitching is much less fun than ripping out straight stitch…

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blog Much as I have come to love sewing with knits there is always the minor issue of hemming. My treadle sewing machine does only straight stitch and I can’t use a twin needle with it either. Yes I tried and yes, it broke – there goes an expensive twin needle. Oh well. I suspect I could use it with a different stitch plate but chances on finding one for an 85 year old machine are pretty slim.

Contrary to what the books say you can actually sew a straight stitch on a knit fabric as long as it’s not a part that stretches continually when wearing the garment (then the thread will likely break). So, I hem knits by serging and then using straight stitch. I’m counting on the fact that very few people I meet know how to sew and nobody will notice that I’m doing it wrong.

colette moneta dress. little home by hand blogI think I’ve found the perfect dress for me in the Moneta pattern. I have since made another in a solid color (to be blogged soon) and have received so many compliments when I wear either of these dresses. They are just incredibly flattering for my body shape, showing off waist and curves and managing to make me feel both comfortable and elegant in them. I forsee many similar dresses in my wardrobe soon!

Sewing with knits, straight stitches and all – what are your thoughts?

 

 

canada part 3

Part One | Part Two

We left the Clearwater area behind after an eventful day and finally made our way to the Rockies. I had dreamed of seeing the Rocky Mountains ever since I was first in Canada in 2009 and now it was finally happening!

We stayed in Jasper the first night and after checking in at the motel we pondered on what to do with the rest of the afternoon. We had a few hours of daylight left but struggled to commit to more driving and walking as we were pretty tired by the journey. In the end we did decide for a larger route down to Maligne Lake. Little did we know it would become one of the most memorable evenings of the whole tour!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogFirst stop was Maligne Canyon, a hugely impressive sight!

As we went on driving and passed Medicine Lake we noticed a few cars parked on the side. By now we had gathered that was a clear sign for wildlife sightings and amazingly, a few hundred metres away in a cluster of trees on the banks of the lake there was a bear with her cub snuggled close!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogWe would have squealed if we hadn’t had to keep quiet not to disturb them. Right about this time I started really kicking myself mentally for not bringing my big zoom lens. I had left it at home because it’s just too heavy to lug around all day. If I’d known we could see wildlife from the car I’d have packed it. Always, always pack your big lenses going to Canada! There were even more black bears just beyond the trees, feeding on a big patch of grass land.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogPlease note that both these photos are cropped out of a larger photo, so we were quite a distance away really. With our tiredness blown away successfully by the thrills of seeing the bears we made our way to beautiful Maligne Lake and more wildlife sightings.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blog Isn’t he (or she?) pretty! As it was growing late (and we were scared of bear encounters) we couldn’t take the walk around the lake but turned back down the road. We had seen quite enough for one day, we told ourselves. Passing Medicine Lake on our way back we looked to see if any of the bears were still around and amazingly, one single black bear was prowling the shores of the lake, completely ignoring any watching tourists and just going its way with a lazy elegance.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogI think I realized then what felt so odd about these bear encounters – usually animals you “meet” in the wild are quick on their feet, darting here and there, always on the look out for predators and danger. The bears however seemed not to have a care in the world, completely ignoring their surroundings in their search for food. The behavior of an animal with no natural enemies.

So much had happened within a few short hours! We found out the next morning at the Visitor Center that an unsually large number of bears had been frequenting the area. Driven lower down by a harsh winter and lack of food for themselves and their cubs they had decided the Jasper area was the place to be in mating season, causing quite a few incidents with grizzlies. A lot of trails were closed because of this and as we were not particularly keen on meeting an angry grizzly bear we chose populated trails and sights for the next day. Oh, and we splurged on a can of bear spray. Just in case.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThe Valley of Five Lakes trail turned out to be a wonderful alternative to the trails directly around Jasper. We also drove up to Mount Edith Cavell that day, a complete change of scenery!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe had really arrived in the mountains then, an impressive sight.

On the next day we set out to visit Athabasca Falls and walked along Beauty Creek and its eight waterfalls. A wonderful trail and highly recommended. If you don’t mind signs telling you not to stop for a stretch of the hike because of bears. Yikes.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogAfter that it was on to the famous Columbia Icefield where you can walk right up to the Glacier. This was one of only two places in the Rockies that we found to be completely overrun by tourists. Still, you can’t tour the Rockies and not go see it!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogLast stop of the day was a small hike up to Peyto lake, though snow forest. Yes, it really was that color!!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogA must-have stop on this leg of the journey was Lake Louise (I did mention two places overrun by tourists, no?) and a hike up to the somewhat quieter Lake Agnes. A lovely walk, leaving the stunningly turquoise Lake Louise below to pass beautiful Mirror Lake and finally arrive through snowy forest trails at Lake Agnes with chucks of ice still floating on it.

I have to admit of all the wildlife we saw on our tour the chipmunks were probably my favorite!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogPhew, this is getting to be a very long post so I’ll close with two images of Moraine Lake, the last stop of our journey in the Rockies. The next day our route would take us deep into the prairies of Saskatchewan to visit friends and experience the real Canada far from the well trodden tourist routes.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blog

 

canada – part 2

Part two of my Canada road trip picks up where part one left off. We were sorry to say goodbye to beautiful Vancouver Island so soon, but it was time to head deeper into BC.

Right off the ferry we took a little detour to see the Suspension Bridge at Lynn Canyon. This is a great and free-of-charge alternative to the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge which we skipped in Vancouver.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogI am scared of heights so this really gave me butterflies in the stomach! You can’t see it but I’m gripping those rails really tightly!

We headed back on the road and after refueling the car for the first time (yes, it was so exciting for us two girls with very little car knowlegde that it deserves mention) we arrived at our next destination, the Greenwood Country Inn in Pemberton, by late afternoon. The Inn had been a recommendation from a friend and was among the best accommodations we had on our trip! The room was wonderful and Margit, the hostess, helped us with every question and need, from advising us on the best restaurants and mountain walks to lending us bear spray to getting rid of the giant (ok, maybe not so giant) spider in our room.

We ate dinner at One Mile House that evening and it deserves mention because, man, we never thought you could eat so well in Canada! Locally produced, fresh food at very reasonable prices. If you’re ever in Pemberton, be sure to stop by and eat there!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogLook, there war even some funny looking beer! Coming from a beer and wine country it was a little strange for us that alcohol selling is so restricted in Canada (you can only buy it in special shops etc.). We weren’t drinking anyway because we were driving every day but still – it felt unusual to us.

After a perfect breakfast at the Inn (including fresh fruits, nuts and a vegetable omelette – just saying, it was SO good) we set out for a day long hike up to Joffre Lakes.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThe hike was an amazing experience, especially as the main trail was under construction at the time and the alternative route was pretty adventurous. Going hiking in a real wilderness, far away from other people or civilization was a new experience for us. The hikes I was on in Norway and Scotland were always populated and well trodden. Canada on the other hand felt like the real thing, the real wild with the threat of a bear or a large cat appearing around every corner.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThere are three Joffre lakes and the middle and upper one were spectacular, such a reward after the hike!

After spending the whole day hiking and being sore and cold we jumped at the chance to use the hot tub at the Inn and spent the evening relaxing in it with the snow-capped mountains all around us.

The next part of our journey would take us to Clearwater and the Wells Gray Provincial Park. On the way we passed the breathtaking Nairn Falls and some lovely lakes and landscapes, temperatures soaring up to nearly 30°C in the desert area around Lillooet and dropping down again to 12°C within a few miles.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogIn Clearwater a very different sort of accommodation awaited us: we had rented a little 1940’s log cabin at Dutch Lake Resort. The lake and surrounding area at the resort were beautiful but after the luxury we had experienced in Pemberton this was quite the adventure and we half wished we were back in the cozy floral bedroom at the Inn.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThe Wells Gray Provincial Park awaited us with low clouds, thunderstorms and mosquitoes – and breathtaking scenery. The park is full of waterfalls, each more stunning than the one before and we particularly loved Spahat Falls and Hemlcken Falls.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe also saw our very first bear in the Park, just on the side of the road, a black bear walking by and munching on the grasses by the road, completely oblivious to the traffic jam it was causing!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogNow this might not be an uncommon sight for Canadians but for us Europeans it was simply thrilling. A real, live bear just doing its thing, not in a zoo or enclosed area but living there in this wonderful landscape!

Of course walking along the trails alone felt quite different after this encounter. It’s one thing to know there are bears in the are and another to actually meet them. We stopped at Ray Farm just after seeing the bear and were rather jumpy walking around (though the huge mosquitoes were partly responsible as well).

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe ended the day with another highlight, a hike to Moul Falls through dense woodland and down slippery, wet steps along the waterfall’s edge. We didn’t go behind the waterfall because the day was drawing to a close but it was an impressive sight.

Our time in the Clearwater area had left us with mosquito bites, a healthy respect for the local wildlife and so many new impressions it was hard to keep them all organized in our minds. Next up would be the Rocky Mountains and Jasper.

summer sale

summer sale Etsy fotografiekoehler shopThank you for the many kind comments on my last post. I love to know how many knitters are out there and I so enjoy the connection with other creatives this blog affords me!

Just a quick jump in today with the info that I am having a SUMMER SALE in my Etsy shop from 1 August until 10 August. Take 10% off all prints with the code ‘SUMMER14′ during checkout.

There are lots of new prints if you haven’t visited for a while and if there is a particular photograph you have been itching to snatch up now’s your chance!

A tipp – if you don’t want to miss any sales and news about my shop sign up for my mailing list and be the first to know anything new!

knitting a wardrobe – the marsa alam cardigan

I finished my second knit cardigan, whoohoo! The more I knit, the more I love it. Yes, it takes longer than sewing but so far I am loving my knitted wardrobe better than my sewn clothing.

The pattern is the marsa alam cardigan by Isabell Kraemer and you can find my project page for this cardigan here on Ravelry. marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogThe yarn is Holst Coast in the crab apple colorway, bought directly from Holst in Denmark. This yarn is wonderful and the color such a nice, fresh green! Contrary to the pattern I knit it all in one color instead of doing stripes. Vintage mother of pearl buttons from my grandma’s stash give it a classic, elegant look.

marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogmarsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogThe pattern itself is lovely, easy to follow and straightforward. Lots of hours of plain stockinette which I didn’t really mind. I love to watch youtube documentaries while knitting.

I made one mistake where I started a sleeve, twisting the stitches the wrong way as I picked them up from the stitches on hold. It shows in the right sleeve. Oh well.

Unfortunately, all while knitting I had an inkling it would turn out too small. I pushed the thought aside, thinking a good wash and block would take care of that. Ahem.

Washing did improve the sizing slightly but contrary to my first cardigan the yarn didn’t stretch as much as I had hoped.

I can absolutely still wear it. As long as I don’t try to close the buttons across the bust. marsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogmarsa alam cardigan. little home by hand blogI might try washing and blocking again more vigorously to see if I can stretch it a bit more.

Still, I can’t help loving it, the color is so nice to wear and the fit is otherwise really lovely. It’s too warm to wear at the moment but I’m looking forward to having an in-between season cardigan come fall.

I think knitting cardigans is “it” for me right now, I am itching to start the next one, to expand my knitting skills and try cables and colorwork and much more. I love to watch the project take shape row after row, all the while looking forward to wearing it. It’s easy enough to enjoy while watching a movie or series and still gives you something useful to do with your hands while sitting on the couch.

Yes, knitting is definitely it.

 

canada – part 1

Sooo, I am still not done editing all photos the way I want them, but that will likely take weeks and I can’t wait that long to share the first part of our road trip in Canada! I’ll include lots of tipps on what to see and where to stay and eat. The route we chose worked out perfectly for three weeks and my friend S and I had some amazing food and accommodation along the way.
Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe flew out to Vancouver from London with one day to spare for exploring the city before we headed out to into the country.
In Vancouver, I fell head over heels for Starbucks Chai Latte (soy). It became my go-to companion drink on this trip.
Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogI am not usually a city person but Vancouver is special – the architecture, the closeness to nature and wildlife and the incredibly friendly people made me fall in love with the city (I mean, a city with several beaches, come on!). We stayed at a hotel in Robson street and spent the day wandering all over Stanley Park, into Gastown and down to Sunset Beach in the evening.
We shopped at Roots, ate well at the Old Spaghetti Factory and got lost in a scary neighbourhood on our way into Chinatown.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogBy evening we were weary and our feet were sore but we felt content that we had crammed as much Vancouver as possible into our one city day. Jetlag had not yet kicked in so with that crazy mixture of tired out, travel fever and sleep-deprived elation we limped back to our hotel.

We had pre-booked a ferry to Vancouver Island for the next morning and were up bright and early to leave the city behind on a beautiful sunny day.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogOn the ferry we chose to stay outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, watching the Vancouver skyline vanish in the distance. With a long day ahead we soaked up some sun and rest on the deck.

Arriving in Nanaimo we made straight for the Pacific Rim National Park in our rental car, a Ford that was huge compared to european cars and smallish compared to the vehicles we saw on canadian roads.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogOur first stop was to buy an annual pass to all the National Parks at the visitor center. This turned out to be a smart move as it not only saved money but also spared us any hassle of buying new passes whenever we reached a new park.

We walked the Wild Pacific Trail near Ucluelet and marvelled at being at the sea on a warm, sunny, salty day. After that we entered the Pacific Rim National Park and walked several small trails. The Rainforest Trail was out of this world and that was as much fascinating as it was scary. We suddenly realized that we were in the wild now, surrounded by trees so thick and tall that we couldn’t see the their tops, with a population of around sixty blackbears in the area and no other people or tourists. A mix of exciting and downright scary and a sure way to make two city girls feel very small indeed.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogThe famous long beach was the last place of interest we visited that day, a windy, endless stretch of perfect beach with driftwood all around.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogArriving in Tofino we made straight for the “Tofino Travellers Guesthouse” a gem as far as accommodation goes. A bright, warm place with a handmade hippie surfer feel, a very friendly welcome from the owner and chatty guests from around the world. We had booked a mix of hotels, motels and guesthouses for the trip and the guesthouses won hands down.

Unfortunately by then jetlag, fueled by a mix of little sleep and the strain of travelling for hours in a new country, kicked in big time and I passed out on the bed, shivering. An hour’s sleep and a hot shower pulled me back on my legs and a pizza from Tony’s was the perfect hot, cheesy meal to end the day by the docks.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogA full night’s rest and the waffle breakfast at the guesthouse worked wonders and we set out for the next adventure, whale watching by boat!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe went with Jamie’s Whaling Station and saw a humpback whale and two grey whales just off the Tofino coast line. ‘Amazing’ doesn’t suffice to describe the experience of seeing these animals in the wild, playing and feeding in the water.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogIMG_Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe also saw sea lions and bald eagles.

After hours out on the rocking boat we were frozen and more than a little nauseous and had a rest before setting out again, this time back through the National Park towards Nanaimo, where we would take the ferry back to the main land the following morning. The bog trail within the park was our first stop on the way and it was there we saw our first animal tracks right beside the trail. We immediately became convinced a bear was near, posed to attack and pretty much ran the rest of the track, shouting loudly to ward off any predators. These two Canada tourists certainly had a lot to learn!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogWe were happy to be back on the road again after that, only stopping along the highway to walk through the awe inspiring Cathedral Grove before arriving back in Nanaimo.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogDizzy from so many experiences to process we were glad to arrive at our motel in Nanaimo.

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogFor dinner we walked out to the harbor and had Fish and Chips at Troller’s, a floating restaurant serving the day’s catch. A perfect end to an exciting day!

Canada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogCanada road trip. little home by hand blogSo much for part 1 and I only covered the first three days. Oh dear. I will try to condense our trip into a maximum of 3-5 parts. That’s the plan, anyway.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Have you ever been and done similar things? Or has your experience been completely different? Let me know :)