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Published: September 25th 2016
Since leaving my cruise ship, I have been on a whirlwind sightseeing tour of this small corner of British Columbia. I joined a wonderful travel network for women before leaving home and it is thanks to my three fabulous hosts whom I met through this network, that I have been not only able to afford to travel to, and stay in this corner of the world, but come to know it very thoroughly. My three hosts have been amazingly generous with their time, resources and hospitality. I have been met at ships, ferries and buses, provided with accommodation and meals and taken on personalized tours by knowledgeable local hosts.
Vancouver is a big city ... well, let's qualify that ... as you all know I am a small town girl, so all metropolitan spaces seem HUGE to me ... and grossly overpopulated. But its true. Vancouver is a big city, a beautiful, very tree filled city which hugs the shore around some amazing waterways. I was shown highlights of the city scape such as Stanley Park and Lynne Park where there are not one, but two suspension bridges. And then taken out of town up the Trans Canada Highway 1
to Squamish which is approximately half way to the very famous Whistler. At Squamish we rode the Sea to Sky gondola up one enormous mountain (the ride in the gondola took 12 minutes). Amazing vistas were all around from the top. And then we dipped into the forest for a walk among huge cedar pine trees, on soft spongy needle covered ground to a lake right at the top of this huge mountain. Lunch followed before we returned to sea level and then made our way back into Vancouver.
My first ride on a BC Ferry took me from West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay no less) across to Langdale where I was met by my next host who lives in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast. This is a narrow coastal strip that sits snugly up against tall mountains on the mainland coast of the Canadian Inside Passage. Clearly visible across the water to the west lies the magical Vancouver Island ... well when I say clearly, it was clearly visible when not cloaked in heavy cloud. Magnificent views delighted me from the bedroom and living room of my sunshine coast accommodation, but these were not sufficient for my wonderful host
who had lined up a plethora of activities for my visit. Including, a visit to the Gibson Sea Rescue Base to meet two of their volunteers, see their brand new rescue boat and spend a wonderful hour or so exchanging notes about marine rescue operations and comparisons.
At one point I mentioned to my host that I was really was keen to lay eyes on a Bald Eagle having been told that they are bountiful and numerous here. Well, try as she might, and despite driving the length and breadth of the sunshine coast unfortunately no eagles came to view. But the scenery and trees and coast line was magical. I just love the way the mountains meet the sea in this part of the world; they just rise straight up to meet the sky, and are covered with trees right to the water's edge. The Sunshine Coast is a popular holiday destination for Vancouver dwellers, and it is delightful how their homes are hidden away among these amazing trees. And while I did not spot an eagle, I did spot a black bear crossing the road and managed to get a couple of shots through the windscreen of
Back onto the BC Ferry three days later, I made my way across to Vancouver Island and into Victoria. The Ferry is amazing ... food service from a fully equipped cafeteria on board means passengers can spend their time in transit eating meals. And the ferry is equipped with power outlets for charging one's devices and free wifi for continuing to conduct one's communications while on the water. I loved the BC Ferry.
The day of travel from Sechelt to Victoria was long. I set out on the 9.10am bus from Sechelt, and did not get to my new host's home until about 7.30pm. But it was an easy day of travel ... no stress, and very scenic.
Victoria is a very British city. In fact as I edit and upload this blog, I am watching on TV the welcome to an official visit from William and Kate and their children which is taking place just a few blocks down the road. And people. One of the biggest cruise ships afloat is docked here today and it disgorged over 3,000 people into the city today. My photos will show how it was. Shoulder to shoulder
with jostling camera carrying tourists. But still I have had a great day. Yesterday my wonderful host took me not to the Butchart Gardens which are AMAZING, but then on to the Horticultural Gardens. When they finally closed on us at 5pm, we then went on this amazing tour of the city past every landmark of interest, along the shore line where we stopped for dinner, and back into Victoria itself which was by then starting to show night lights. Today I spent about 5 hours exploring the city myself and later touring round more landmark places such as Government House and Craigdarrah Castle.
I am thoroughly worn out now from sight seeing. But it has been absolutely amazing to see so much in such a very short space of time. My heartfelt thanks go to the wonderful women who have proudly shown me their cities and so generously shared their homes. And to the network that introduced us and brought new friends into my life.
As you would expect of me, I have taken hundreds of photos. Those that appear in the blog are just a very quick selected few to give you a taste of what I
have been experiencing. There are many more to come. I have been so busy meeting people, sightseeing and now that I am reunited with my family, doing some important catching up on that front. Tomorrow we set off for Seattle and the USA. So until next time .....
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