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From Sea to Sky

It’s over! The trip is done. When this is published, we will be on our way home although perhaps not in the SKY yet.

We crossed the SEA by ferry from the island back to Vancouver on Friday evening and snapped the following photos. Since then, we have been done with sightseeing, preferring to hang with the kids — go for brunch, talk, play cards.

While there may be an addendum or two once we get home, this post pretty well concludes the blog for now. I think that it will be some time before another major trip is scribed here, but there may be some minor excursions to report on from time to time.

Thanks for coming along on the journey,

AC and Cuppa

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17

Flowers of Butchart

Cuppa has posted or will post a blog about the Butchart (BOO-shart) Gardens, but we have a bunch more photos that I’d like to share. While it’s tempting to sometimes think, Gardens Sharmins, this is a most wonderful, world class site that is definitely worth the price of admission (which ain’t cheap btw). Although I’ve only included one photo of them (the first below), let me tell you that the delphiniums were spectacular. It was a pleasure to see them in their more natural habitat; they grow really well in this climate but not so well in our hot summers of southern Ontario.

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17

Day 17

day 17

Day 17

Well folks, these two weary travelers are back in Vancouver after their adventure on the Island, and are preparing to jet home tomorrow. Yahoo! Today will be one of packing, preparing and saying good bye. Not Yahoo! We have had such a wonderful visit with the girls and it will sure tug at my heart to say good bye tomorrow. Sigh! I am looking forward to getting home and back to my own bed though. Be it ever so humble, there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

Before I pack up the laptop for the journey home, let me share a few pics of our final day on the Island. Day 17We set off from Tofino in the pouring rain on Thursday and it kept us company for most of the trip to Victoria, but the next day the sun came out and we headed for Butchart Gardens. I wasn’t sure it would be worth the$25 entrance fee, but it was worth every penny and then some. These pictures don’t begin to capture the beauty of the place, but they might give you a little inkling. AC is posting more too.

Day 17

Next to the flowers, this was the most common sight at the gardens (and almost everywhere else during this trip). Yep, umbrellas! It rained on and off the whole time we were there, but it just added to the atmosphere of the day

Day 17

The flowers, oh the flowers. What can I say? They were magnificent and there wasn’t a speck of black spot anywhere on the roses and I didn’t see an earwig or the damage he causes either.

Day 17

At the end of the tour of the gardens it was time for a tea break before our visit to the gift shop. As you can see, even the cafeteria was decorated in splendid style. AC and I enjoyed our coffee and muffins sitting in this little nook while we looked out over the gardens.

Day 17

After our visit to the gardens we set sail for home – well, the girls little apt in Vancouver. It seems like home these days, and they have made us feel comfortable and welcome. Of all the grand and glorious things we did on this trip, the visit with the girls and being introduced to their stomping grounds was the best.  Thanks A Team!

Good Food, Bad Food

Day 16

In the previous post, I briefly described the first part our drive from Pacific Rim National Park to Victoria: the part from Tofino to Cathedral Grove near Port Alberni. But I missed the above picture of Cuppa in the Grove; I like it and wanted to include it somewhere, so there you have it.

To continue: just as it was slow going from Pacific Rim to Port Alberni, so it remained slow going for the rest of the way as well. We thought that it would be different, for the map seemed to show an expressway from Nanaimo to Victoria, and the distance was not huge. In fact, in our experience it should only have been about an hour because that’s about how long it takes us to drive an equivalent distance in Ontario. It was different on the Victoria route, however, for there were stoplights every few miles, or so it seemed. We’d get up to highway speeds and then be forced to stop — time and time again.

As a result, we were somewhat travel-weary by the time we hit Victoria, but we found a generic motel easily enough where we also begged for directions to a decent restaurant. As it turns out, we were directed to Irish Times Pub in downtown Victoria. As this poor picture shows, it was a pretty impressive establishment.

Day 16

And Praise Be! for we did have a very decent meal, not the best ever, but it didn’t have to be after the previous night (see below). It was quite good, however, and the atmosphere was great. AC and Cuppa even sampled four Irish beers. Not to fret about us becoming alcoholics though, for as the photo shows, the portions were small which is just as well as neither of us are exactly world class beer drinkers. What led to the sampler was the fact that I had never tried that world famous Guiness, not in my whole life, and my life is moving apace thank you very much, so it seemed to be high time.

Day 16

As it turned out, both of us ranked Guiness as our least favourite, with the much lighter Harp coming out on top. After dinner we toured downtown Victoria. From the outside, we saw the famous Empress Hotel and the Legislature and many other tourists and many touristy shops. It seems that tour ships frequently pull into Victoria, and the stores reflected that as did various conveyances such as the caleche below.

Day 16

All of that being said, however, I have left you hanging just a bit — something about bad food on the previous night in Tofino. Was it ever bad! Judging by the next photo, I must have had a premonition because Cuppa took it even before the food came. We had fancied and ordered fish and chips. I ate two bites (can’t think of why I took the second) and gave up in a state of nauseated disgust. I don’t leave my food very often, particularly at restaurant prices, but this stuff was truly awful. It wasn’t halibut, wasn’t haddock, and wasn’t even cod, but it sure was fishy. Ugh!

Day 15

My goodness! We’re almost done with the trip. In a later post I will share some photos of the famous Butchart Gardens and our return ferry crossing, but that should be close to the end of Rambling and Roving for now.

What with a lack of internet access and a lot of moving about, we’re a little behind our posting times lately, so this post takes us back to Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, we couldn’t quite make up our minds about what to do: stay in Tofino or drive, eventually to Victoria. Once we got up and moving, we opted to drive because once again the weather wasn’t favourable. Am I sounding just a bit like a broken record? In fact, as we began our drive it was pouring, which caused us to exercise caution on a road that was extremely winding and constantly changing its elevation. But, with low clouds drifting along the mountain sides, it was very beautiful in its own way, which the next photo may partially capture.

Day 16

After perhaps almost two hours we began to drive through Cathedral Grove, just west of Port Alberni. There, the trees have been living for three hundred years or even longer.

Day 16

We stopped and took a short walk (in the rain) through the grove, and I posed with this tree, the largest in the area. They know that it’s at least three hundred years old, but it could be even older. In other words, it was here before Captain Cook chanced by and about a hundred years before Simon Fraser crossed over from the east.

Day 16

And I do like the look of these trees and the mood they create.

Day 16

After about six and a half hours of driving, we eventually made it to Victoria, but we’ll leave that for another post.

I posted about yesterday morning already but not about the afternoon, so here we go — the condensed version, I hope … and you hope too, no doubt.

Tofino is on the northern edge of the Pacific Rim National Park which is part of the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound World Heritage site. Phew! I hope I got all that more or less right. So, we headed back into the park this afternoon. I say back because we did have to drive through it to get to Tofino yesterday.

What we saw was the Pacific Ocean. I mean the beginning of the whole big thing. We’ve been seeing bays and inlets and such ever since we got to the west coast, but not until today were we able to look out and see all of the way across to Japan (ha ha).

The day was cloudy at best and rainy at worst, but I Photoshopped the first photo and brightened it up a bit. It’s part of Long Beach (yes, I know there’s another more famous one about a thousand miles to the south), which is quite long indeed. In fact, all of the photos (except the flower one) are of one part of this Long Beach or another.

Day 15

The next two photos are a little truer to what it actually looked like to us. I didn’t mind the cloudiness too much. It does have a certain atmosphere, and it is pretty darn typical. Guess who that solitary figure is in the second picture.

Day 15

Day 15

We kept driving to the village at the southern end of the park — Ucluelet (as in You-Clue-Let). It’s much the same size as Tofino but less touristy, which is not to say that it isn’t at all touristy. We walked around a bit, and for the umpteenth time in BC I saw splendid Foxgloves, so I took this picture with them in the foreground and the ocean in the background.

Day 15

Finally, on the drive back to Tofino, we made one more stop at Long Beach and took this photo from a lookout point. It was completely overcast and also raining by this time.

Day 15

We enjoyed the day and are now uncertain what to do tomorrow: stay here or head to Victoria and meet up with the A-Team there.

Tofino Morning

As promised there was cloud and rain this morning, but not too much rain (a little drizzle) although the ground was certainly wet when we woke up. The Schooner Restaurant provided us with a great breakfast — very tasty hash browns and French toast (made from sourdough bread). The inside actually featured the hull of a ship — real or fake, I don’t know.

Day 15

Day  15

Then it was time to browse and shop. Across the street from the restaurant lay an art gallery, and we found the most amazing art inside —paintings by a native artist, Roy Henry Vickers, much of which seemed to be backlit but wasn’t. So …. I finally fell off my wallet and bought some art cards and a small print. I played with the notion of purchasing the original of the print, but at $12 000, it was a little rich even for my well-heeled, blue blood (ha ha — pure irony there, folks).

Day 15

A native store, The House of Himwitsa, was our next destination, and AC fell even further from grace with the purchase of a T-shirt and native CD featuring flute music etc from Monument Valley, AZ. I know that it sounds strange to purchase an Arizona souvenir way up here, but we actually experienced a most haunting and evocative playing-of -the-flute by a Navajo guide deep in the valley last year, so I’m looking forward to perhaps rekindling that memory just a bit more. Here’s a snap of some of my souvenirs. Cuppa didn’t purchase any today, but she has done quite well for herself on this trip, I assure you. No, don’t feel sorry for Cuppa.

Day 15