Index to Travel Stories

Written by Harold McNeill on November 8th, 2011. Posted in Index to Posts, Travelogue


My Best Friend and Life Companion

Just give Lynn a call and whether she be in Prague (as above – taking a call) or in the outer reaches of the Wadi Rum, she will attend to your travel needs.

 About Travelynn

Over the past several years, Lynn has attended to our travel planning needs as we set out to explore a small part of the world. Many of the stories, first posted on Facebook, are now being transitioned to this blog section.

Now as an Independent Travel Consultant with the Expedia CruiseShipCenters, working from home and the Bevan Street office located in Sidney, British Columbia, Lynn is providing the same excellent service to others that she has long provided to our family, friends and business associates.

Working with one of the leading travel offices on Vancouver Island, Lynn continues to expand her knowledge of the travel industry and everyone who knows her, will agree she always gives 100% to the task at hand and, for those who don’t know her, that fact will soon become apparent.

Photo (2012): Lynn working at her Cruise Desk in the Sidney Office.

For background on Lynn link to a short biography at: Life Long Learner

If you need help with your travel plans, be they by land, sea or air, just give Lynn a call at:

Work: 250-656-5441, Toll Free: 1-800-561-2350

Expedia email: lynnmcneill@cruiseshipcenters.com,

Or visit her on the web at:  www.cruiseshipcenters.ca/LynnMcNeill

Harold McNeill
March, 2012

Index and Thumbnails follow

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The Swiss Family Hanggi

Written by Harold McNeill on November 8th, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


“To the top of the world to the top of the wall, fly away, fly away, fly away all.”  (Modified from the verse “Two Little Dickey Birds” that accompanied a sleight of hand trick taught to us by our mother). The verse sums up the brief tour Lynn and I made to Switzerland and our visit with the Hanggi family. The next three posts describe that incredible visit.

Above Photo:  A Rose Frozen in Time, an Ice Sculpture original by Bruno Hanggi

From the moment we arrived in Interlaken to the moment of departure, we were hosted in grand style by Hanggi Family – Bruno, Nicole and their daughter, Sandra.

Our connection to the Hanggi family came through their other daughter, Claudia, a delightful young woman who worked for BC Soccer in Vancouver, during my terms as a member of the ClaudiaBCSA Board of Directors. Claudia spoke lovingly of her mom, dad and sister and told Lynn and me that if ever we touched foot in Switzerland (which she insisted we must), a visit with her parents and sister was the order of the day. Now, when Claudia told someone, even a board member, to do something, it was as good as done.  Of course, in our travels, we did as she directed and the week spent with the Hanggi family was a week we shall long remember.

Photo (2010): We caught up with Claudia (and her friend) by the Winter Olympics Skelton Track in Whistler.

At our stop in Interlauken and on first meeting Bruno, his words of greeting were: “Claudia told me to meet you, and she told me I had better show you a good time! Now, I always listen to Claudia because, if I don’t, I know I will never hear the end of it…” It is safe to say that Bruno and I were on the same page in that regard, and so began our friendship with the Swiss Family Hanggi.

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The Top of Europe

Written by Harold McNeill on November 7th, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


A Swiss Wonderland

Photo:  January 2, 2012. A Giant Flag illuminated on the face of the Eiger was created by Swiss artist Gerry Hofsetter.  The photo commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Jungfrau Railway (see general story below). Photo taken by:
Michael Bulholzer/Reuters

There are many beautiful places around the world to which one could travel by land, sea or air, but ranking near the top must be Switzerland, the Swiss Alps and, in particular, the Top of Europe. Expansive alpine meadows and rolling hills fall gently into mist covered valleys as mountain streams and rivers build in strength as they flow down from the Eiger, Monach and Jungfraujoch peaks.

The trip to the Top of Europe was a surprise gift from friends in Interlauken, the Hanggi’s. Our third day in Interlauken that saw us heading into this wonderland after climbing aboard the early morning OST train bound for the top of one of Europe’s largest glaciated regions (photo above).  (note: Interlauken appears to be spelt both with and without a “u”)

On that full day trip, we climbed from 550 meters (1800 feet) in Interlauken, to just shy of 4158 meters (13,500 feet), first by standard rail, then by cog train, (photos below) capable of climbing and descending 25% grades. It is an unsual feeling to be sitting on a train climbing at an angle three times steeper than that leading up the Vancouver side of the Coquihilla Highway enroute to Kamloops, British Columbia. During the first part of the trip, there is a gradual climb takes us through several small villages and farms that could have been original scenes for a book of Fairy Tales.  Milk cows filled rolling green pastures, grazing unconcernedly as we continue our climb toward the high alpine meadows. 

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Interlauken: Soaring with Eagles

Written by Harold McNeill on October 2nd, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


Harold and Lynn

The Eagles Hatch a Plan

On impulse, something that is very much a part of our lives these days, Lynn and I booked a flight with a paragliding group. Over the past few days in Interlaken, Switzerland, we watched as dozens of paragliders soar like Eagles through the mountains, then touch down in the middle of the city.

It was something we did not want to miss as neither of us had ever hung in a parachute. Perhaps this statement speaks more for Harold than Lynn, as Lynn was quite happy to keep her feet on good old terra firma. Well, being the adventuresome life partner she is, the answer was ‘sure’, although to be truthful, it was given in less than convincing manner. We booked a flight for noon the next day, but as luck (very good luck from Lynn’s point of view) would have it, the next morning found the mountains shrouded in heavy cloud.

Lynn noted the dismal conditions but the transparently of her message conveyed a different though: “Well, we could just laze around and catch up on our reading. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?”  Sorry Lynn, not to be, as by noon the clouds were clearing and our adventure was re-booked for 3:00 pm.

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Dining with a Difference

Written by Harold McNeill on September 10th, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


The article was reprinted along with photographs in February/April 2011 issue of the Island RV Guide (p. 38ff)

Dining with a Difference stakes a claim at Clover Point in Victoria, British Columbia

In our third month of outdoor exploration, Lynn and I continue to search for novel ways to experience our city. While “Dinner and a Movie” proved to be a lot of fun during the winter (see Movie Reviews), we wanted to keep to the outdoors as September is such a special time of the year.

In Victoria, and indeed across Canada, beginning in September there is a period of time referred to for centuries as Indian Summer. In the prairies, it came after the first frosts began to darken the tops and vines of garden plants, and the trees slowly displayed their fall colours. I remember my first days of school as lazy and warm, perhaps a time to escape for a few days or weeks to help with the fall harvest. The evening chill and frost was a sure sign that the bitter cold days of winter were patiently waiting to attack with their penetrating winds.

Fog over Island ViewHere on the coast, it is a time when banks of fog drift across the coastal waters (see Island View Post) and envelop our Island paradise. The drifting fog slowly fills the low lying valleys well before dawn and can often take until noon to burn off. Looking across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the base of the Olympic Mountains is often buried to half their depth.

Photo: Early morning fog drifts in over Island View Beach.

In past times, one could hear the forlorn sound of a foghorn. It was a sound that reminded me of my first winter in Victoria in the fall of 1963 while living in James Bay. Most recently, Lynn and I awoke in a forested area at Kemp Lake (west of Sooke) to the sound of a foghorn somewhere in our midst. Perhaps it was Shearingham Point? This surprised me as I thought all horns had been silenced in favour of satellite navigation systems.

As for finding new ways to incorporate a September evening walk along the waterfront, we decided to try dining at a few of our favourite spots?  Accompanied by our good friends, Linda and Bjorn Simonsen,we headed down to a wonderful Victoria waterfront walk around Clover Point. 

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Island View Beach – Camping Close to Home

Written by Harold McNeill on August 24th, 2011. Posted in Travelogue


7 sunrise crow 3

Crow at Sunrise (more in the series footer)
Island View Beach

Over the years, Lynn and I, along with various friends, have camped in all manner of locations in the Capital Region.  Most times we found very scenic campsites, but sometimes, just out a sense of adventure, we would set up camp for dinner and an evening of cards in places such as Beacon Hill Park, Clover Point, Oak Bay Marina and other spots.  No one ever bothered us as we were respectful of where we were and what we were doing.

The article was reprinted along with photographs in September/October 2011 issue of the Island RV Guide (p. 37ff)

 Keeping with our plan to camp close to home over the summer, we drove north along Pat Bay Highway (#17), intending to camp at McDonald National Park, five minutes north of Sidney. While enroute, we decided to stop at Island View Beach and have a peek at the final resting place Lynn’s Mom’s ashes (story previously posted on FB).  While we have often visited the Island View, we had not realized the Capital Regional District (CRD) had established a Campground just north of the public picnic area. It was a serendipitous find and we ended up camping right next to the beach for ten days.  McDonald Park will have to wait until another day.

View from our CampsiteSince setting out on our summer trek on June 28, we have travelled just over 5000 km, camped at fifteen or more sites across the Interior, and on Vancouver Island as far north as Campbell River and Elk Falls. While each of the many camping areas offers a unique experience, Island View Beach clearly ranks with the very best.

While services at the site (now in its second year of operation) are limited, that only adds to the ‘get-a-way’ flavour. Not only does one get to camp next to the incredibly beautiful driftwood and sand-covered beach, but there is also an ever-changing view of James Island (a short distance across Cordova Channel) and numerous other Islands that extend all the way to the Washington State shoreline.

The ever stately, snow-covered, Mount Baker, a mountain well known to residents of the region, stands majestically in the distance. With the amount of white still displayed on the west and south slopes, this late August, one can only imagine how deep the winter’s pack must have been just a few months back.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]