Island style

Trip Start Jul 08, 2004
Trip End Aug 30, 2004

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, August 21, 2004

Well I've just returned to my base in good old North Vancouver after spending the week exploring what Vancouver Island had to offer.

I left North Van early last Sunday with my pack on my back and next to now agenda for the week. After two and a half hours and 5 buses I eventually reached the ferry to Victoria. The ferry ride itself was fantastic, it's about and hour and a half long and it winds it's way through the Gulf Islands, sometimes coming within 30m of the shoreline. I sat out on the deck and enjoyed the views, the sun and the salt air. I had already established by this stage that it is no fun traveling by yourself with a giant sized backpack. I tell you, negotiating the cafe on a rocking ship with a tray of food, a pack on your back and kids running around your feet it not easy. I think I've got a little bit more idea what traveling with kids must be like though.

When the ferry docked I once again climbed aboard another bus for the 45min journey into Victoria township. I must say that I was pretty stocked that the six hours of public transport I had caught that day had cost me a little over $15 dollars. You would be fair pushed to beat that anywhere.

I was a little nervous as all I had was a phone number to contact people I had never met, nor spoken to who were supposed to pick me up. As I quickly discovered there was no need for concern. Little more than 10mins after the phone call was made Kathryn, who is the the mother of a friend from home, arrived in her VW convertible to pick me up.

Over the next couple of days Kathryn her husband Grant and their dog Molly put me up, fed me and showed me some of the sites of Victoria. For which I am hugely grateful.

Victoria itself is a beautiful British city with a great deal of history and character. Over the next few days I had a great time exploring the Parliament Building, the Emprise Hotel, China Town, as well as many of the local shops and markets.

On Tuesday after walking the direct route into town which probably took about 40mins or so I thought it would be nice to walk home via the waterfront. I had no map and very little idea of where I was going at all. The only landmark I could recognize was the small beach close to Grant and Kathryn's house. I got a little disorientated along the way, but I just followed my nose and more by luck than good planning I actually managed to arrive at the beach that I had been looking for. It did take a couple of hours though and it was starting to get pretty close to dark by the end. I think I must have walked over 30k that day.

On Wed morning I went to check out the famed Ancient Egypt exhibition at the museum. Well it sure was popular, if the crowds were anything to go by. They actually gave you an allocated time slot on your ticket to view that part of the museum. I must say that I tried really hard to be interested and serious as I followed the sequence of artifacts from room to room, but to be completely honest I was pretty disappointed. Maybe it was just me, but there are only so many little statues in glass boxes that you can look at. I thought the rest of the museum was actually much better. As part of my ticket I also got to see a Imax film on whales which was playing in the same building. Like most Imax films, good theater, average flick.

Wed arvo I boarded another bus to head up the Island to the second largest city, Nanaimo. Along the way we managed to take almost every back road the driver could find, as well as stopping in a every little hick town along the way. At first I was relieved to finally arrived, that was of course until I discovered Nanaimo was actually a complete dump. The only place I can liken it to that most of you would understand would be Henderson. I managed to find next to no life there and even less to do. I managed to fill in most of yesterday by taking a walk down by the waterfront (which like the rest of the town, wasn't very nice) and doing a kayak marathon around a nearby Island. That was pretty fun, but kinda lonely at the same time.

Everyone has told me over the last couple of weeks that while I was on the Island that I should go and visit the small west coast town of Tofino and the nearby Long Beach. However, at no stage did anyone tell me that I should book accommodation a couple of weeks in advance. Needless to say my trip to Tofino, which is a good 3.5 hours drive away from Nanaimo didn't happen. I have no doubt that Tofino is a great place, but in all honesty I don't believe that it would be any better than the beaches we have at home.

Today I caught the first ferry out of Nanaimo (vowing never to return) bound for Vancouver to prepare for the next leg of my journey.

I'm going to hit the mountainbike trails over the weekend, before catching the train on Sunday bound for the Rockies.

Well there's only one week to go now.

I've enjoyed my stay so far, but I starting to look forward to returning home. There's just something about your own bed.

I know I've rambled for a bit now, but for those of you who know Bre, I had the opportunity to see the swinging deck chair she made while in high school. What can I say Bre.... Wow! This girl can really swing a hammer. I guess if the whole physio thing doesn't work out, you can always fall back on carpentry.

Catch ya all soon.

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