Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Memory Coast - To Victoria...and beyond?

Photos: 1) View from the ferry through the Gulf Islands. Sunny! but windy and cold on deck. 2) Early signs of spring in Sidney by the Sea. 3) Karen and I can't get over the size of this boot! Too bad the shop only had one. 4) Holy crap! This breakfast cereal is reputed to be amazing. I don't know this from personal experience.

Whew! An early morning today. I forgot to bring an alarm clock because I thought there was one here, but I'm using my watch and cell phone alarms as my alternatives. Handy for me, my mom's three timezones ahead right now and I've enlisted her to call me to make sure I'm up in time to catch my cab to the bus station downtown. It's a long way to the ferry in Tsawassen from West Van, but it'll be worth it to see my friend Karen again.

Karen and I shared an office at the hospital in London (ON) where we worked. She moved to Victoria about 3 years ago, but it's been close to 2 years since I visited her last. We've both been facing different challenges recently so it will be good to reconnect.

The ferry ride over is about 1.5 hours and passed uneventfully. Filled with restless energy again, I wandered around the various decks, braving the freezing winds to take some photos of the scenery. I've never ridden the ferry in winter before, but after living in Calgary for a while now, I'm prepared with mittens, scarf and hat along with my wool sweater and wool socks. Bring it, ocean crossing!

Oh look, it's Karen! There's my cute, petite friend waiting for me in Swartz Bay, just as I remember her. We start chatting immediately and exchange big hugs. A moment of hilarity when we can't find the car, then we're off down the highway to Sidney by the Sea.

This is a cute little town if you ever find yourself nearby. It's very close to the airport and ferry for Victoria, and the main street has quite the collection of great little shops to explore. We amble along slowly, trading stories and memories. I help her find some new kitchen knives and she treats me to a yummy smoothie. I find a gigantic Emu boot and she shows me a lavender store filled with products from a local farm. Lavender reminds me of my Nana (my Dad's mum) which makes me happy. We both have success in a great shoe store and I meet Brutus the Magnificent, an Italian Mastiff with a fancy pedigree. His name is actually in Italian, but my Italian skills are not up to par so I wrote the English translation. He is a big, big dog but very well behaved. I learn from his owner that he loves shopping and has his own Facebook page.

A delicious lunch in a great little cafe, some more shopping success and we are on our way back to Victoria, tired but happy. We stop to pick up a few treats for the evening at a local organic store, make a few comments about the bit of snow falling, then it's movie time! We opt for some humour in "The Gods Must Be Crazy 2" after discovering we both love the original. My caramel chocolates from Rogers' Chocolates are delicious! You need to try some too. Our sun-dried tomato and cheese popcorn is quite tasty, and our fruity spritzers hit the spot. Some more chatting and reminiscing, then it's time for bed. Another day of fun awaits us tomorrow.


Mum said...

"Another fun day awaits.."-that was before the snowfall horror show, I take it.Nice crocus shot and the Gulf Islands. I like the way they're close on that run.

Mum said...

Oh, and that cereal is so you.