Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A new year, a new blog

I started writing this blog... because all the cool kids were doing it! Little did I know how much I would enjoy sharing my crafts, our cats and our travels. I've also loved meeting new friends and sharing our joy of crafting. However, this past year was not a shining moment in my creative output. Well, sometimes change is what I need to get a little more inspiration. So I'm moving blogs! Hopefully, all of my four remaining readers (all family members, of course! Hi Mama!) will join me over at...

Upcoming entries will include:

My Christmas present! (it's a brand new craft for me!)
Sweater(s)! (I've finished one fairly recently)
Cats! (because Unki demands it!)

Here's hoping that you and your families will have a wonderful 2009. See you at the new blog!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 7 - Victoria - Fish and chips... finally!

One of the places I wanted to see while in Victoria was Butchart Gardens. I was worried that with us going so late in the fall was the flowers would be sad. :(

We got there early enough so there were barely any other people. Rob loved the old style maps.

I shouldn't have been worried - from our first view of the sunken gardens, we were amazed by the color and variety of all the plants.

The bush behind me looked like a alien being to me.

The fall colors were definitely in full force!

Beautiful view across the pond.

There were some fountains that we called, "Bellagio - Canada"!

Love the red color.

Although the roses weren't in bloom, the chrysanthemums were out in full force. They were amazing!

They had a Japanese garden too, which wasn't as authentic as the Nitobe Gardens, but, again, the colors were just beautiful.

After the gardens, we went in search of a fish and chip place recommended to us by Huay, but it was closed! Blast! So we went into town, found my museum...

(I think the sign is really pointing to the Maritime museum!)

saw Chinatown...

... and ended up back at Red Fish Blue Fish, where we had the yummiest halibut and chowder. If you're ever in Victoria, please eat here! It's yummy!

Our final visit of the day was to Government house, which has a nice hike through an oak forest and various vistas of the city.

There were little terraced gardens to enjoy the plants and view.

Relaxing is nice!

We also enjoyed seeing all of the ducks in the ponds - we love duck butt!

This wasn't our last day on the trip, we had one more day but it was a total travel day from Victoria back to Seattle. Nothing notable happened except...

...we flew the plane home! No, the nice pilot let us sit up front during a layover.

All in all, a wonderful trip, with great food and great nature. Definitely a fantastic destination without leaving our time zone!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 6 - Tofino to Victoria - From nature to man-made wonders

This was a big travel day for us - a 5 hour drive from Tofino to Victoria. We stopped at the other side of Cathedral Grove

Look at the big tree!

I love this photo - doesn't the forest look primeval? (I said that word probably 30 times on this trip!)

A teeny tiny mushroom.

We got to Victoria in under 5 hours, and we walked immediately to the middle of town. Here's the famous Empress Hotel.

While we were in Vancouver, a fellow B&B guest recommended a fish and chips place called "Red Fish Blue Fish". It's a converted shipping container on the harbor.

We decided to get sandwiches, as we were supposed to go to a local fish joint recommended by our friend Huay the next day. It was fun to watch the whale watching boats while we were waiting for our food.

Side note - did you know that in Canada, Canada Dry is the "champagne of ginger ales"?

The sandwiches were so tasty, I got oysters and Rob got scallops. One of the condiments was a deep fried pickle chip, which tasted way better than it sounds.

Afterward, we went to the Royal BC museum, which was one of the best museums I've ever been to. Great exhibits about the history of British Columbia, including the First Nations cultures - these tomtem poles were very impressive.

They also had crazy recreations of different time periods in British Columbia. Rob says they are "full-size occupiable dioramas". Here we are next to the HMS Discovery (in my Klaralund!)

After checking in our B&B, we headed back into town for a movie. It was fun to watch a movie with the locals.

Our favorite highlight? Our lunch (it always comes back to food!)

Day 7 - our final full day of vacation...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 5 - Tofino - Hiking and recharging

We were worried about the weather on Day 5, because rain was in the forecast. But we awoke to no rain that morning! Here's the view from the windows of our room.

The B&B owner told us that there are usually bears back here, but we didn't see any during our stay.

I am so excited to eat breakfast in my pajamas!

We went back to Chesterman Beach, where we got drenched the night before. It was so incredibly beautiful!

A sand dollar with some "fuzz" still left on it.

The sun peeking through the clouds.

The beach is very long, and there were only about 10 other people enjoying the morning.

We walked out to an island that's only accessible during low tide.

A lone paddle surfer.

After our walk on the beach, we went and hiked in the Pacific Rim National Park. There are a bunch of easy hikes that each had their own personalities. During the summer, the crowds are enormous, but we pretty much had each hike to ourselves.

This hike was through a lovely forest that ended going down lots of stairs next to a waterfall to a beach.

One of my favorite hikes was through this bog - it reminded me of the scene in Lord of the Rings in the Dead Marshes, but happily there were no dead bodies! The walkway is just sitting on top of the moss, so it was nice and springy.

Even slugs are beautiful in Tofino!

We took some more hikes to several beaches, each with its own personality. This was the first time I understood the appeal of beachcombing, because each beach had so much beach "debris" to look at!

Rob thought this would be a good before/after shot of some driftwood.

So happy that my ears are protected by my Chevron Scarf.

The last hikes we did were through some rainforests, which had walkways that took you through the canopies of of the trees. None of the photos did justice to the incredible landscape and scale of the trees.

This bridge is made from a fallen log.

Rob can barely fit under this tree!

The entire day was just what I had hoped for - great but easy hiking, beautiful scenery and a chance to be with nature. It was definitely worth the trip just to make it here!