Where have I been…a Vancouver Island pictorial

It has been 8 months (seriously, 8 months, what the hell have I been doing with my life) since I have written a post.  Let me blame it on Candy Crush.  Do you have any idea how difficult level 64 is!

Or I could blame it on my work or some new direction my life has been taking but truthfully my procrastination really has no excuse other than laziness (and candy crush, that one really does count).  So tonight- I get back on track.  On with the blog!

and we’re off…

In August we took one week vacation to Vancouver Island. We flew direct from Edmonton to Victoria and rented a car at the airport so that we could easily tour the island.  We stayed in Victoria for two nights at the very lovely Huntingdon Hotel and Suites on the Harbour which had an awesome location right in the heart of all the action.  Considering Victoria is a major retirement hub for Canada’s seniors, action might not be the word I’m looking for but Victoria definitely won me over with it’s captivating ocean views and relaxing pubs.  From Victoria we headed up the coast stopping along the way in Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach.  After spending a night there we headed across the island to Ucluelet.  We headed back to Duncan and made our way via ferry to Salt Spring Island (not seen on the map) for two nights before ferrying over to Sidney for one last night before flying home.

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The Huntingdon Hotel and Suites on the Harbour was walking distance to The Empress Hotel, the Victoria Clipper Ferry, Fisherman’s Wharf Park and the British Columbia Parliament building.  I was sad to see the Wax Museum was closed down, however.

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We couldn’t resist taking a tour on the Victoria Hippo bus. These buses are specially designed amphibious vehicles that work as both bus and boat. As a bus we were toured around Victoria’s city attractions and parks for ~45 min before a very wet splash into the Pacific Ocean for a further 45 min tour along the coastline. Our guide was informative, of course, and her bubbly enthusiasm made me want two of whatever she’d had before embarking on the tour. There were three buses that have these amphibious capabilities and ours was named Henrietta. The other two were called Happy and Harry. There were people from the States, England, Australia, Belgium and Denmark on our bus. It was a great way to get an overview of everything downtown Victoria had to offer.

Some of Victoria’s local sights:

SAM_7866The Empress hotel is famous for its Afternoon Tea.

Float planes are an essential mode of transport between mainland Vancouver and Vancouver Island and the tinier Gulf Islands.Float planes are an essential mode of transport between the mainland and islands.

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Dining options were many and we checked out a few pubs along the way.  There was a great selection of micro-brewed beers, ciders and local wines to try.

SAM_7601SAM_7844Fisherman’s Wharf was a must see for its colourful houseboats and famous fish and chips.

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SAM_7719It was a 30 min walk to the wharf from our hotel so we grabbed one of these water taxis for the ride home.

SAM_7850SAM_7717As cute as these houseboats were, I just would not be able to downsize to that extreme nor would I want tourists gawking in my windows.

SAM_7721Whale watching was readily available.

The British Columbia Parliament Building with its oxidized copper dome.

SAM_7629The secret to living a longer more loving life has been revealed!

SAM_7668SAM_7663SAM_7672SAM_7628SAM_7618SAM_7645SAM_7638SAM_7631We enjoyed our short visit to Victoria and would definitely love to return for an extended stay next time.

Next we were on our way to Qualicum Beach.

IMG_1810This family run hotel was comfortable and offered great views of the ocean tide coming in.

SAM_7878This was the view from our room, a very decent pub/restaurant was just across the road.

SAM_7879The tide is out.

IMG_1809And on its way in.

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IMG_1831Ucluelet is on the rugged, windy, beautiful and wild western coast of the island. It faces the Pacific Ocean.

It had several hiking trails and secluded little beaches waiting to be discovered but one must take care to not get caught out after dark or in the fog.

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SAM_7919The Salt Spring Inn, located in the charming village of Ganges, on Salt Spring Island was not only comfortable but boasted a fabulous restaurant.

IMG_1904The view from our room was of the Ganges harbour.

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These painted pianos were set on various street corners inviting many renditions of chopsticks.  Although not everyone is a Liberace, Salt Spring Island does have its share of famous inhabitants, as well as, a plethora of artists, musicians and winemakers.

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The final stretch, on the ferry to Sidney where we would spend our last night before flying home.  We had an amazing time on Salt Spring Island and I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again.  I just fell in love with its charm.

SAM_7950 SAM_7959 IMG_2042 IMG_2043 SAM_7969 IMG_2014 IMG_2011 IMG_2031 SAM_7966 SAM_7967 SAM_7977 SAM_7988 SAM_7979What on earth are these creatures?

And the fellas below appear to be waiting for some fool to take a dive.

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So that concludes my pictorial summary of our Vancouver Island vacation.  I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as we enjoyed the journey.  If and when I ever retire I would definitely think seriously about joining the rest of Canada’s seniors on one of these islands.  I might even take up lawn bowling.