Thursday, 18 September 2014

My Home Away from Home

Perhaps it is slightly rude of me that I have not yet introduced you properly to my home away from home in Oliver.

During the 10 weeks I am working for Vintage 2014 here in the Okanagan Valley, I am staying in the town of Oliver, which is about 8km North of Road 13 Vineyards, where I am working, and just over 20km by road from the American border.

I have been very happy with my motel accommodation. I am sharing a flat with a lovely German girl who is also doing her second harvest, after having worked earlier this year in Marlborough, New Zealand. Although we had never met prior to turning up in Oliver, we are getting on just fine.

I have been surprised to find that living expenses such as food, phone services, washing facilities, etc. are quite expensive here. There are some food items that are very highly priced compared to Australia such as cooking spices (triple the price) and milk (double). Luckily, the area is not only a large grape producer but also extensively planted with orchards and vegetable fields of all kinds, so fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available.

Although the town is small, there are a few quirky fast food vendors around. I have fallen in love with the local taco stall, which sells amazing soft shell tacos for just $2.50 each!

A few other adjustments from Australia to Canada are the fact that items on the shops do not have tax included on the price tag (I have had a few confusions at the counter) and also the whole etiquette involved with tipping (although I will have, very little opportunity for eating out).

My commute by bike to work along Highway 97 would be a fairly relaxed and scenic affair if it were not for the terribly long and steep hill (essentially a series of hills) at the end which I struggle up daily to reach the winery. I have attempted to capture this torturous route in pictures, but the photos really cannot convey just how steep it is! Of course the resulting views upon reaching the top are fantastic.

Looking down at the first part of the ascent.

Looking up after the first part of the ascent
(you can see I was taking a breather here!)

Looking down after the second part of the ascent.

Looking up at the final goal - the Road 13 'castle' which houses the cellar door and cellar.