Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Last Thursday, Mother and I drove up to Port Angeles (again) and took the MV Coho of the Black Ball Line to Victoria (again) and began a short excursion that included Salt Spring Island (again) and Courtenay/Comox (again) and the Saanich peninsula (again). It’s something we enjoy, places that are beautiful, laid-back, filled with kind people and wonderful friends.
And I needed it. I need a little space to just relax and enjoy, to be myself and not have to worry about “everything” for a while.
It worked. Here in a nutshell is the trip we took, that encompasses shopping at Mouat’s in Ganges on Salt Spring Island, taking ferries between islands and peninsulas, walking in gardens, vistas off mountains (no pictures of that one, sorry) and amazing indigenous arts. If you have a chance to stop in Duncan, B.C. and take the tour of their totem poles (most of which were carved by native carvers just for this purpose!), do. It is full of insights into the history and life of the Cowichan and other local tribes.
There will be more pictures, but right now I need to sleep… seems every time I sit down to write, I get distracted by “real life!”
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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This has been a lovely vacation. Hard to write posts on the ipad, must remember to bring a keyboard next time! Hence, the out of order posting, and the posting of this the day I got home instead of while on the road yesterday. It was written while waiting for the ferry, when I didn’t have an internet connection.
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 drive into town was fine.
The drive home… well it was snowing. Pretty steadily for about an hour while we were finished the shopping. We figure it snowed 6 more inches from the time we left the house. A picture taken by the stidkid shows our estimate is pretty close.
By the time we had picked up the stidkid from the grandparents’ house the roads were very slippery.
Here is a picture of our road… no, the garbage trucks did not come today!
Coming home along the highway people were content to do about 30 miles an hour. On the main road toward our house once we left the freeway, 20 was fast enough! The only part that made me a little worried was the valley between our street and that road. A piece of cake. I joked with Tom that it would be funny to make it up that last hill and get stuck in the driveway.
No joke, apparently!
If you are curious about the weather patterns around Puget Sound, KOMO TV has a good summary of the current situation.
Update at 4:20 – there are multiple accidents all through the area, including a major intersection we came through just an hour ago…
And school is canceled for tomorrow. Vacation officially starts now!
I leave you for today with a couple shots the stidkid took of some especially pretty views — and one of the house, looking snug and warm in its blanket.
I wanted to put up a bunch of pictures, but I am not really into writing a long travelogue today. So, here are a few of the prettier and more memorable pics from the trip to Canada. Sorry about the blurriness in some… my camera lens had a smudge on it that wasn’t apparent until I uploaded the pics to the computer. *grumble*
I will load a little bit now (noon, Friday 11 July) and more later when I take a break from life again.