See - told you I'd be back soon - ish!
We are excited to show our very fun trip over to Vancouver Island just over a week ago now.
There is a bit of a story to our adventure. Originally Cassia and I were headed to the lower mainland and Vancouver Island back in mid October, a few days after we finished work. Sadly, that wasn't to be and it also wasn't to be at the end of October when we rescheduled. Unfortunately, we had a ton of trouble with that little car you may remember that we bought at the end of September. Turns out it had some issues - thankfully it turned out to be more time consuming then costly. By the time that was done we decided it was too late for Cas and I to be driving the mountain roads.
Once we made a plan to fly to the Island instead, we took pity on Derek and decided to take him along. Although Cas and I fly or drive out to see my family every spring and fall, Derek had yet to come along in the last six years. He's always left behind to look after Rufus. But this year we befriended a lady in our neighbourhood who was nice enough to pet sit for us!
So - here are the pics. Wayyyyy to many for one post but I'm going to go for it anyway.....
Pretty amazing that we could see the Fintry Delta from the plane - on Derek's side - so thanks to him for taking this and the other plane pictures. It's the piece of land on the left side of the lake. This was at around 2:50 pm - you can see that only the tip of the park is in the sun. Our house, at the base of the hill, is in the shade most of the day at this time of year!
Between us and the Island is mainly mountains. Not much snow ..... yet.....
A good shot of Vancouver!
Since my mom was only expecting Cassia and I, she received a HUGE surprise with Derek there. Especially since she hasn't seen him in person since 2010!
For the next 7 days we walked around Victoria until we just couldn't anymore. We visited the downtown pretty much everyday finding something different to do each day.
We LOVE Victoria as far as a pedestrian city........
Surprisingly in all the years, Cas and I have never strolled around the Empress Hotel. Derek took us on the tour throughout the hotel ending at the Conference Center. Here's our little lady posing by the fountain. No picture of the Empress from the front this year as they are doing construction. I've taken pictures of it in the past however - here it is from our Spring 2012 visit.
You've really got a love a Canadian city that still has flowers at the end of November!
After all the walking around we needed lunch. There are a lot of restaurants in Victoria and I bet most of them are pretty good - but we've been pining for years to return to our favourite - Ferris's Grill & Garden Patio. It is not to be missed when in Victoria - trust us! Great food, service and atmosphere.
Derek comes here specifically for the Chicken Penne soup with Rice dumplings.
Cassia really did well - she was given this moving - singing - Rudolph from the fellow behind the bar. As we were leaving and saying thank you - he wondered how thankful we'd really be - thankfully Cas also got tired of listening to it!
We couldn't believe our timing! We arrived on Thursday and Saturday night was the first day of the Ferris Wheel, the light up in the park and the Christmas Parade!
It was a bit of a wait but finally Cas and Derek were on - me? I chickened out!
While waiting for the light up we bumped into Mr. and Mrs. Christmas.
And this guy!
Finally the tree!
And all the other trees - very nice - they were all like this but different colours!
Then on to the parade.
Cas meeting the Grinch!
And finally Santa (with some guy in a white hoodie???!!!). Boy were all us parents happy to see this float! The weather was clear but cold so after two hours we were done - even Cas asked to go home!
The next day we headed down closer to the harbour - we were headed to Ogden Point.
It was a bit of a trip so we briefly contemplated taking a ride - of course until we found out it would cost $100! So - we just said hi to the horse.
We made it to the ocean eventually.
Yup - that's our kid!
You can walk out to the lighthouse up above on the walkway or down below. We liked below - especially since it was out of the wind.
While at the lighthouse at the end we found a family to talk with .......
while Cassia and their daughter were fast friends.
By the time we made it to the Beacon Drive-In - many kilometers and hours later we were due for lunch! Cas and I have been here pretty much every time we have come to the Island and Derek has been coming here since he was Cas's age.
On Monday we visited the Royal BC Museum and Imax - we saw the Galapagos - as planned.
A school field trip for Cassia!
We all enjoyed the natural and Native American exhibits the best.
The Parliament Building beside the Museum. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia.
We had learned about Fisherman's Wharf at the Museum. Having never been there we decided to head there next. Again - a bit of a hike.
Sadly it is all closed up for the season - it looks like fun though!
Just as we were about to leave, we heard people talking and decided to check it out!
Seals! A group of ladies had some fish and were feeding two seals.
How generous they were to offer us some fish so Cassia and Derek could each take a turn.
With grandma to babysit, Derek and I headed out to check Victoria's craft brewery scene one night. We've been to so many of them in the States it was nice to finally visit some of our own craft breweries. Getting close to the 12 of the Bend Ale Trail, Victoria boasts 9 breweries in or close to the downtown core.
On foot we managed to visit 7 of them - in one night! A few we just stopped for a taste while others we sat and enjoyed a flight. I've listed them all under our Craft Brew Hunter page - which has now brought out total of craft breweries visited up to 68. We figure we can get to 70 when we return to the Island and visit those other two.
Another day, another trip to downtown. I took a picture of Cas on this Chinatown dragon on at least three separate occasions - here's one showing her fancy new coat/vest and shoes.
Window shopping at Rogers Chocolates.
Beacon Hill Park - another favourite destination when on the Island. In the spring we visit the petting zoo - like during our spring 2014 visit.
Obviously the ducks are well fed and thought that we had their next meal. We don't feed the ducks anymore - ever since we saw a sign a few years ago somewhere asking no to. There is a sign at Beacon Hill too but not sure it's followed.
And that was that.....
In addition to our trips around the downtown we also spent time with my mom, sister and brother in law - after all that was the real point of our visit. We also managed a breakfast visit with Derek's friend Glen whom he hadn't seen in about 10 years.
But as with most trips it wasn't long until we were on our way home......
It was a fun time for the Wood Clan!
We've already planned our return visit for next March. Hopefully we will be able to drive and see a little more of the Island. Derek and I used to live in Cowichan Station just south of Duncan. We are looking forward to taking Cassia to see some of our favourite places when we lived there.
I've taken many many pictures of our visits to the Island over the years......
Next up - all of the Wood Clan goings on for Christmas. Our tree is up - the house is decorated and Christmas cookies are being made!
And by the way - we'll be looking for Volunteer Park Hosts here at Fintry for the 2016 camping season. The term runs from April 1 to mid October. The hosts need their own RV but are provided with full hook ups. If you are interested or know someone shoot us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org! More info is at Kaloya.