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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 48.4219, -123.368
Our first round of Whistler fun has come to an end and now we have left our Friendly Guides to do our own thing on Vancouver Island at Victoria.
We started the morning with packing and headed down The Aspens hill one last time for a quick breakfast snack at Portobello. We were only gone for 45 minutes and by the time we returned Mindy and Ian had transformed their apartment to its former glory....all the furniture had been returned to its apartment-for-two configuration, linen was stripped, washing was on and there was even a chocolate slice cooking in the oven! Can't thank them enough for making us so welcome over the last two weeks. We have had a ball!
Whistler is beautiful. It is a constant round of adventure and people are so friendly and helpful. Mind you, the long weekend has been an eye opener. This usually idyllic community has been invaded by gangs of youth from the city and there have been two stabbings in the Village this weekend - one fatal. The locals (read Mindy and Ian here), just stay home for the weekend to avoid any craziness and then reclaim their mountain when the silly season
The transport arrangements for the day were both impressive and daunting:
1. Shuttle pick up from The Aspens to The Fairmont at noon
2. Coach from Whistler to Vancouver airport
3. Shuttle from airport to BC Ferries
4. Ferry from Tsawwassen on Mainalnd to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island
5. Coach from Swartz to Victoria
6. Manual bag drag from bus terminal to The Empress at 7.30 pm
We were on the shuttle bus at noon and were transported 3 minutes to the Fairmont for the "big bus" to Vancouver. Saying goodbye to Mindy and Ian was a little harder than I thought - did shed a few tears but was comforted by the thought that we will be back in the first week of June.
The trek to Vancouver was interrupted by the long weekend traffic and we had lots of slow stretches where traffic was bumper to bumper. We had secured the front seat so we had the perfect view as we descended from Sky to Sea on Highway 99. We hugged the edge of the cliff and could see the railway line snaking even closer to the shoreline below and were a little excited to think that we would be enjoying that close up
view as part of the Rocky Mountaineer in just a couple of weeks.
Our driver was determined to get to the airport on time so whenever the traffic eased he put his foot on the accelerator and ignored speed limits ...... It was a roller coaster ride with swerves and turns and stops and starts and about an hour into the trip we were both sick.
A quick dash through the airport and we were onto the next shuttle which delivered us on time to the BC Ferries terminal. The 90 minute ferry trip across the harbour was great. We spent the time outdoors trying to reclaim our stomach and convincing ourselves we were getting our sea legs. The number of people and vehicles moved every 20 minutes on this service is an eye opener. Pedestrians, bikes, cars, trucks and buses just flooded onto the ferry. The ferry had seven decks which featured shops, dining halls and buffets, video gaming rooms, Internet cafes, outside decks, inside seating in all sorts of configurations and business lounges.
The last bus leg took another hour and finally we were at the bus terminal in Victoria and just had to drag our luggage 400 metres to
the front door of The Empress.
I had been reading TripAdvisor reviews of this heritage listed hotel that ranged from mouse-ridden and run-down to glowing so it was with some trepidation that we opened the door of our suite. First impressions? We got the five star review room. It was stately and beautiful. And no sign of the ivy or the climbing mouse. Phew.
And so, with the sun just setting at 8.50 pm we were on our first walk of Victoria to find dinner and suss out the possibilities for the morrow. Mac had the map so we were set and as well as sorting dinner somehow stumbled into a 7eleven and got some basics for our fridge.
Home and settled at 10 pm.......still a little motion sick with the distinct feeling that the earth was moving. Is it too early to worry about the cruise?
PS got a message from the Whistler crew that they went for their first downhill run! Glad we missed it 😉
Pedometer: 9 325
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