Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Long Weekend on Vancouver Island

Be warned that this entry is more a journal entry for me that a write up for you.  If you dare tackle it, you will want not a cup of coffee but a thermos full of coffee.  If you want to read bits and pieces, I've made it easier by adding headings.

We spent a long weekend on Vancouver Island.  Perhaps I should say we spent bon weekend de quatre jours sur l'ile de vancouver.  Why would I attempt to say it in my poor  French when I know my bonne amie Madame Leah will be reading this?  It's because we had the pleasure of taking our French Rotary exchange student Liza on the trip.

Rather than go day-by-day, I plan to write a very long post under headings.  Hopefully you'll find the ones I start with the most interesting and then hardy ones among you will last until the end when they dwindle to topics such as dogs and foods.

I assure you that even though the Olympics in South Korea are on, the topics of dogs and food are totally unrelated.


The reason was to visit with favorite daughter Liz.  It was also an opportunity to show our Rotary exchange student another part of our beautiful country.

They are both eggs benny lovers.

In the following photo the Sidneysider in the middle is a stranger to us.  While she reads a paper version, Liz is on her Kobo and Liza is reading via her phone.
We were based in Chemainus where Liz is stage managing Once.  We saw Once twice and we recommend this production of it.  We've seen Once twice on Broadway and Bob & I both have it in our top five musicals.


We wanted to show Liza beautiful British Columbia and that wasn't difficult

...on the Hermit's Trail

... at Cathedral Grove

... from the Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay ferry
... in Sidney
... on the Kinsol Trestle 
... at Cowichan Bay

We also had to enjoy some man made treasures:  TOTEM POLES


We didn't want to show Liza rain and snow, but, alas ....

At least when we showed her rain, we also showed her rainbows.  The one day we had rain-rainbow-rain-rainbow-rain-rainbow all in less than an hour.
Saskatchewan could learn something from the Island's snow.  We've been having a winter drought and what little snow we've had has been grainy and almost moistureless.  The snow that fell on Vancouver Island was wet, wet, wet and so heavy that it knocked out power for five hours.

I was feeling mighty grateful for my Blundstones.
Everyone on the trip knew I could and would be a dictator when it came to finding sea glass.  Each was ordered to find one piece of unusual sea glass before they left me to explore other places in Sidney.
Don't feel sorry for them; it didn't take long.
We were particularly lucky to meet various people who exuded their passions.  One was Victor who operates the Westholme Tea Farm.  He is the only tea grower in Canada and we were lucky to chat with him for a second time.  His partner Margit creates incredible pottery which we can't afford, but which we can enjoy whilst sipping Victor's tea.

Here's part of the tea planting.

Liza left a message in  the guest book.
We also saw and heard passion when we visited Hearthstone Bakery in Nanaimo.  It's easy to see why the owner has won the "Best of" in Nanaimo and why she's been featured on The Baker Sisters.  We give high marks to the Nanaimo Bars there and Liza pronounced her baguette as the most similar to France's baguettes that she's tasted since she's been in Canada.
Liza tried other baguettes on the Island but they didn't compare.
The other passionate person we met, I hadn't really thought of that way as I think of that person simply as "my kid."  It was Liza who pointed out how passionate Liz is about her job.  She pointed out that Liz's enthusiasm and commitment to stage management show in all she does.  It even shows on her grumpy days when problems arise that need to be solved NOW.  Yup!  My kid chose the right profession even if it drives her to drink.

I hope it doesn't drive her to drink and I hope the liquor bottle on her work desk is a prop.

Friends of Liz's are in the business of making gin and vodka.  I believe Liz will have a carload of it when she returns to Saskatchewan as people have been placing orders.  She better be careful passing through Alberta as they might mistake it for BC wine and we know what Alberta thinks of that!

A certain son of mine (my favorite son) doubted I tried even a sip of the gin at the Duncan market.  Of course I did.  The thimbleful was tasty.

That's a good question and the answer is "people who travel but still find time to catch highlights such as Canada winning gold and France winning silver in the figure skating dance competition." Liza wished the results were reversed, but overall we were all celebrating.
Liz and I always find time for Scrabble.  At first we thought we would leave it at three games each so that we parted as friends.  Temptation was too great so we played a seventh game.  Things were looking good for me until, on a very closed board, she found an N where she could add her O,Y,X for 50 points.  She rejoiced.  I cried.  I sobbed so much that I forgot to take a photo of that board.
Liza and I are both dog lovers and since we both left dogs behind at home, we noticed the number of dogs around us.  Most were friendly as were their owners so we took the time to give the dogs some pats and scratches.

These next two caused me to buy a lint remover aka a dog hair remover.
We enjoyed good food.  Three of us (Liz, Liza and yours truly) enjoyed photographing it as much as we enjoyed eating it.  One other (Bob) was content to eat it.  As an aside, if you noticed a serious lack of Bob photos, it's because he gladly gave up his modeling job to Liza.

This photo is too cute not to include but it's actually of Liza at the Regina airport.  She is eating a less-than-authentic French pastry.
And now on to better British Columbia food including this at the Once buffet.  Thanks for treating, Elizabeth.

Nanaimo bars in Nanaimo.

A poor quality photo at the Crow and Gate.  
From Fish on Fifth in Sidney.
Liza has been on the prairies for months and she waited for BC to have her first taste of borscht.

Liza has been missing seafood while she has been on the prairies.  On the way home we realized that all her meals but one on the Island were seafood.  Mission accomplished.
We met my friend Glenda at Murchies in Victoria.  Glenda and I spent the whole afternoon sipping tea so we were glad that Liz took over the tour guide role or else Liza wouldn't have seen the harbor or Chinatown or anything.

Bob's little lemon macaron is to show scale.  The large one is for Liza.

Glenda makes her only appearance in the following photo. That's her spoon swooping in to taste Liz's treat.  Liz made the mistake of leaving her dainty unattended when she left the table and she came back to find three spoonfuls of it missing.  Glenda thought it was worthy of seconds.
All weekends come to an end even if they are four day weekends.  My parting words were "Bob, let's winter here next year."  Goodbye, British Columbia, until then.
We love using Nanaimo's airport rather than Victoria's.  Here is the lineup (!) we dealt with.
This gloomy view is from above Saskatchewan.  Boo to the cold temperatures.
Thanks to Bob, Liza, and Liz for making the weekend a fun time.