Deep blue water, forest green cedar trees and undulating mountains on the Coastal Range of the mainland and the various islands along the way made for a spectacular journey. On the lookout for orcas but none to be seen on this clear day.
Well aware how lucky I am to be with a friendly companion, we drove to the city of Victoria, the seat of the provincial government and a decidedly British town yet with a northwest feel - totems abound, and woodcarvers sold their wares on the waterfront. A delightful way to spend an afternoon and a very romantic setting.
The Empress Hotel http://www.fairmont.com/empress/ dominates the marina and is marvelous to explore. Timbered ceilings in the entry, library, and restaurant were enchanting and begged us to linger. We drove north to Nanaimo and visited more friends who lived minutes from the beach. We ate yet another delectable meal - a hybrid clam chowder, Caesar salad and spanikopita. I slept in a guest house of my own, with stone floors, a fridge and my own bathroom. These lovely Canadians are spoiling me!!
After I made my way on public transit to Kitsilano, a district of Vancouver - the city bus is only $2.25 vs a taxi of $30, I'm already being frugal. Welcomed by a friend I met in the Bahamas was a wonderful way to begin this trip. We went to dinner at another friend's home and had a delicious meal of corn on the cob, roast potatoes and grilled chicken, with homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. What a fantastic entree to my travels. The next morning we caught the ferry to Vancouver Island, across the Georgia Strait under bright skies.