Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vancouver Island

So it's been awhile. :)

I came home. I worked, Spyros arrived in Canada. We traveled up through most of BC & Alberta as we were visiting my family. Definitely different countryside than Spyros was used to!

Finally we took a trip though. We went to Vancouver Island a couple of weeks ago. We spent a week- we took the ferry over, I knit, I was working on my first pair of socks. We arrived on the Island in Nanaimo. We went to the Visitor Centre & got a couple of maps. We headed for Parksville. We thought the camping would be better there. The plan for this trip was a camping trip. We brought a tent & sleeping bags. Of course we had no plans - just winging it!!

Found a place called Rathtrevor Beach campground. It's very close to Tigh-Na-Mara...the 1 mile beach when the tide goes out. Unfortunately we were out seeing sights each day and were never around during low tide. The campground was nice. We stayed in a group site, 5 spots shared one fire pit. But as I mentioned, we were so busy seeing the island we didn't spend much time at the site. We went that evening into Parksville to find dinner. Dinner was OK, super cute place, mediocre food.

The next couple days we were up early with the sun & the children running about!Our plan was to go out the Cathedral Grove and check out all the old growth red cedars in the area It's a beautiful place, definitely some huge trees!!! The path didn't take us as long as we had thought because there was a big part of it closed. Nonetheless we still were able to see the largest tree in the forest. We checked out Qualicum Falls, there is always time for waterfalls! That turned into a longer walk than expected. The weather was fabulous, it was a long succession of intense falls, but short ones where a lot of water was being forced through rather than a single really high one. We went to Coombs and wandered through the shops. We grabbed some lunch at the market and some fudge at the fudge shop. We found that the distances and the wanderings were much shorter than we had planned for. Into Qualicum we ventured, to see the sights and to check out a yarn shop I had seen along the way. It was nice, the lady working in it was nice. I found a yarn I needed to complete a project for a friend, and some very cool Icelandic wool (I have a small obsession with getting over to Iceland for the spas and knitting right now!). We went into Nanaimo for dinner & shopping. The old quarter was super adorable. The buildings cute and the paint colours and varieties on them were just beautiful. Found another local yarn shop (LYS) and it was very awesome. I bought buttons here. I needed a couple to finish out a cowl. It was a cute area, and my favourite part of Nanaimo.

We were trying to figure out a plan, Crystal was planning to meet us in Tofino, a send off before Spyros & I moved away from the lower mainland. We went about it in a most strange way, but it ended up alright! We went back down to Victoria there was no camping, we decided to splurge and spend a couple of nights in a hotel. We wandered around the city for food, and for sights & shopping. Again, an old quarter/China Town that had fabulous buildings. We found Fan Tan Alley which was incredible, and another similar little alley that had government  offices in it. I love that kind of thing a person can find in older cities. Also, a VERY fabulous LYS that I wanted to move in to! There were a lot of dirty areas and run down areas and people there as well. Over in the quay, where the parliament buildings were it was quite posh! We went to the Butterfly World and saw butterflies in all stages of their lives. It was pretty amazing. Also to Butchart Gardens, which was overpriced. They had beautiful flowers -- but I have seen other beautiful gardens that were cheaper or free! So I was a bit disappointed in that. A short journey into Sidney to see it, it took no time at all as it is quite tiny. I found it very cute that there was a little amphitheatre (where a wedding was being held) that was shaped similarly to the Sydney Oprah House in Australia. A bit of a longer journey took us to Sooke. We went up to the Sooke Potholes and wished we had come a little earlier in the day. It would have been a lovely hike, very glad we saw it though!

The finale of the trip was Tofino. The most expensive area of the island (though we did find most of the island quite expensive), we met up with Crystal the night before and camped in another place in Parksville - after that we went to Tofino, drove the windy treacherous road and found a place to camp. We wandered through town, many interesting shops, Crystal booked her surf lessons, we found some food and headed back to the campground for a BBQ & some time on the beach. It was nice for Spyros to see some sand that was more like home, but the temperatures sure weren't! Sunset was gorgeous though. It was a bit cooler in Tofino. The rest of the trip was quite warm (we drove too much to enjoy it though), and in Tofino we wanted to hang out on the beach all day and it was foggy & overcast and cool. So I took photos of Crystal surfing. We went shopping. We ordered a pizza, and watched another sunset. On our way out of town we stopped at the Tofino Chocolate shop- it did not disappoint. Neither did the LYS! Found some yarn there too. The week went too quickly.

It was a good trip. We saw much, and spent much. Next time I would like to see the smaller islands, Gabriola, Pender, Hornby, etc. I would like to have the time to spend at least 3 days at each place, to just enjoy the camping, the nature and the mellow time. Not be rush rush rush everywhere. We did not feel rested at the end of the trip, and we were surprised at how much money our camping trip cost us. We did enjoy most of our interactions with islanders...though I found in Tofino people were pretty rude (except the yarn shop & quilt shop - YAY crafters!). Glad we got to see a bit more of Canada, as our planned trip to Montreal had to be cancelled. 

I endeavor to post more often. About life, about travel (even small road trips) and about knitting, as I am really trying to do more of that to as I love it!

Knitting updates: aside from the smaller projects I have been working on and accomplishing SOCKS I was afraid of. I have now completed my first sock, it has some issues, I followed a pattern and ignored my gut. Silly! But I am keeping it as it is #1 -- #2 to come soon. The other new & exciting thing, I took a course with my sis to learn to spin. It was using a drop spindle and kinda more art yarn, but oh-so-fun! I think my scrapbooking days are over, as I love fibre and the many many things I can do with it :)