Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Summer is almost gone, in our world. Astronomically, we have at least another month. Realistically, two weeks. If we are lucky, an “Indian Summer” in October for three or four weeks before the clouds close in permanently and the rains wash all the remnants of sunlight away.
A week ago, I was in “Beautiful British Columbia” — on Vancouver Island, enjoying the company of friends and my mother for a few days. Unfortunately, pictures that I took were few and didn’t really show much. But here is a quick travel itinerary!
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Yesterday, took the Black Ball ferry (MV Coho) to Victoria with Mother. Most rolling crossing ever. The swells were huge, very litlle chop. Not bad, just a little hard to walk with the deck heaving like that.
Then a marvelous visit with our dear friend, Hetty. She recommended a book by Henry James, which I found at Project Gutenberg and Downloaded to my ipad’s Books reader.
Supper at Siam Thai restaurant, a little shopping, and back to the James Bay Inn, where we usually stay. Just a little way down Government street from the harbor, in an old neighborhood. Third floor, looking toward the harbor. This was the view that greeted me this morning.
And, of course, the calls of seagulls and an occasional crow.
Mount Saint Helens. I was a young teen when she blew her top for the first time in living memory. Recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, I remember some inconvenience due to ash fall, and my parents’ worried expressions, but nothing like the people on the other side of the mountains for hundreds of miles. Where we lived, we had nearly a week before we got ash and never had to contend with real choking, day-to-night conditions. The ocean winds blew it all inland…
Bamboo Garden just two streets north of the Seattle Center.
It’s vegan (except the fortune cookies) but you would probably not notice it. The food is filling, tasty and very nicely presented. Prices are reasonable. Parking was adequate, but it’s not really accessible. I think there is a ramp (not sure, came at it from the side and used the stairs), but the bathrooms are tiny. Which in all fairness, is a relic of the building’s age — they are clean and well kept (at least the ladies’ was, didn’t check the men’s…), just small. Narrow, too. Otherwise, the decor was lovely, and everything was neat and clean and inviting.
The service was excellent, and we will go there every time we are at the Seattle Center from now on. It just makes sense.
Did I mention the food was really yummy?
REALLY yummy. And they can accomodate special dietary needs, too. Please check them out!
Posted by stidmama on 01 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Art Museums and Galleries, British Columbia, children, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Politics and War, rain, travel, Uncategorized, Vacations, weather
Took the elder stidkid with me this past weekend to give him a chance to visit friends and see the sights of Victoria, British Columbia, in the winter.
Unfortunately, the same snow that hit us hit them also. So we were unable to meet up with some of our friends. We did however get to see our dear friends Hetty and Alan, and we met many lovely people over the four days of our trip.
Here’s the basics (with a few pictures to be added as I edit them in tomorrow — in the new year!):
We left home EARLY Friday morning to catch the 8 am sailing of the Victoria Clipper from Seattle (I had taken advantage of a package deal in November to be able to afford this — usually too expensive for us).
A quick trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and we were in Victoria and at our favorite hotel, the James Bay Inn, by 11 am. Lunch at the inn, followed by a bit of walking around downtown, we eventually found ourselves on the tour bus to Butchart Gardens for the Winter Lights display.
The gardens were lovely. We loved the singing and the brass quartet (two trumpets, a trombone and a bass trombone) that alternated sets while we were there. We started with supper at The Blue Poppy, the cafeteria-style restaurant so we could enjoy the walk. The gardens were truly magical in the snow, though I found myself slowed down by the crutches. Slowed down enough in fact, that by the time I got through the checkout line in the gift shop we had missed our bus by (imagine Maxwell Smart saying this…) “THIS MUCH.” Fortunately, another tour bus was still there and offered to take us back to town. This man even drove everyone to their hotel!
Saturday… we slept in.
A late lazy breakfast, followed by a short stroll to Miniature World. Well worth the admission if you go to Victoria, especially on a cold, windy or wet day. A couple of hours looking at very fine detail work, with some historical pieces and some whimsical. It was a good activity for us.
Lunch at “The Noodle Box” close by, each item can actually be two meals for most people! If you are noise (and loud music) averse, take out is a good choice. And it was close to the next tour bus — the one for the Victoria tour. A narrated run through the city’s commercial and historical districts, a good way to see where things are and get some background. Goes in a circuit from the Empress Hotel through the “posh” district to Oak Bay (brief stop for coffee/seal watching) and then back downtown.
Then we did a little bit of shopping before returning to the Inn for a nap and supper.
Sunday: all day at the Royal British Columbia Museum. The temporary exhibit called “Free Spirit” was lovely — if you read this in time, it was a great intro to the people who made British Columbia — from earliest times to the present. We also saw two IMAX movies, “Alps” and “Extreme” — very interesting. I am definitely in no danger of becoming a rock climber, skier, snowboarder, surfer…. but the scenery and cinematography were excellent. Spent nearly an hour in the gift shop as well — got some nice trinkets for a few people. The permanent exhibit on the First Nations people who have inhabited British Columbia is always a big deal for us — we nosed around that for nearly two hours! We didn’t go to the Natural History section this time (ran out of time) but I remember it from a couple years ago, and recommend it highly as well.
Monday: leisurely breakfast and packing, taxi to take the bags to the Victoria Clipper and then a short walk to the Parliament Building. Caught the tail end of a tour as well, so got a little more information about the government. Very pretty — not quite what I expected. Of course, we are from Washington state, which has a very large dome, open concept in the center of the capitol building, while the B.C. Parliament is housed in something that resembles the California capitol a bit more. I suppose I could complete the West Coast capitol experience by visiting the Oregon state capitol sometime. Then lunch at the Noodle Box again — keeping half for our supper later; and a taxi ride to our friends home.
After a couple hours’ great conversation and tea (and a shortbread Hetty made that I am told was stellar), we took the taxi back to the terminal to wait for the preboarding for the trip home.
Interesting people to talk to made the hour fly by. The Border/Customs officer was efficient, but not mean, and answered a question of the kid’s very well. Then, while we are sitting in the waiting area to get on the boat we are informed that there is a weather delay. We have the choice to go aboard and wait (can’t get off again because of immigration things), or leave the waiting area and get a hotel room until the next day.
Argh. We got on the boat. FOUR HOURS LATER… we leave the dock. I am glad I called my parents collect (before I got on the boat) to have them call Tom and let him know he needed to contact the Victoria Clipper terminal in Seattle — otherwise he and the younger stidkid might not have been able to ice skate and see an IMAX movie at the Seattle Center! They also saw our dear friend (riemann of babble fame) at supper — we missed him of course, but will catch him next time he is in town. Because we only pulled in about midnight, and being toward the front of the boat (with the exit in the rear) we got off nearly last.
At 2:30 when we pulled into the driveway, we were pretty exhausted. But happy to be home and pleased with our fine adventure.
It was a fine trip, but it is SO GOOD to be home!
The pics below show a biofilm near the Longmire Mineral Springs in Mt. Rainier National Park, followed by a few mushrooms (at least three types, I think) at one place along the trail around the springs. The next few show the Tatoosh Range, a small brook with interesting biofilms and lichen on a rock, the new visitor center (opened today, 10 October 2008) with the old one in the background, and the bear — hiding its face of course. The final two are the little bridge across the Ohanapecosh River and the information sign at Pack Forest — a pic of one of those trees is in the previous post.
A final note: while the weather had been predicted to be wet and cold (possibly snowy) we had only a small amount of light snow and only a few light sprinkles. Yes, it was a little chilly, but not out of the ordinary for the foothills of a major mountain at the beginning of autumn.
Okay, it was only three days.
Well, you caught me. It was one afternoon, plus a day that was punctuated by the drive between two different places. The first morning we drove, the third day we spent in the foothills at Pack Forest and drove home in the afternoon. I drove to avoid being carsick. It worked out okay.
But it was three days without internet access, and a lot of walking around on crutches — which didn’t help because the hip slipped out early on the first day anyway. By the time I got home one leg was two inches shorter than the other.
Now, before you grump at me, I DID call and make the appointment for the MRI. They were supposed to have called me within THREE days of the referral (in August). Had I called sooner, I would already know what’s wrong. Supposedly. Oh well, scheduled now. Soon. Before my folks get home, in fact. We’ll see.
On to the main topic, the field trip for the class I am taking on Microbial Ecology.