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August 8th 2015
Published: August 9th 2015
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My, my. How the time flies when you are not at work. We left home 8 days ago and it has gone in the blink of an eye already. Well we had a fabulous day for Butchart Gardens and I must say they were magnificent. So many different and equally impressive areas to walk through. There were HEAPS of people there because it is still school holidays in the States and Canada. Kids don't go back until after the first weekend in September. After a rest from all the walking we ventured into Victoria Harbour and wandered the marina area. It was all very clean and tidy. Beautiful flower baskets hanging from the lamp posts and balconies made it so pretty. We went to Miniature World inside the Empress Hotel (very grand!) and had a late dinner at the Days Inn which overlooks the water. Apart from having a love affair with his cameras , in general, Noel has a peculiar fondness for videoing seaplanes taking off and landing. After I don't know how many minutes of footage that he has managed to record, he STILL gets annoyed if he misses capturing one that is moving!!!

Wednesday we woke to
Sunken Garden at ButchartSunken Garden at ButchartSunken Garden at Butchart

Used to be a quarry.
a cool, cloudy day so did some driving around Victoria and up to Beacon Hill lookout and park. Then after lunch we went to Craigdarroch Castle to see how the rich and famous used to live. It is now a museum that the Society is gradually restoring to it's original splendor.

The next morning we checked out of the Red Lion Inn and Suites and drove up to the ferry via Sidney. Another quaint, sweet, pretty town (but I noticed they can't spell!!!) where we had morning tea at the marina. As luck would have it we had booked ahead and were one of the first cars onto the ferry. We met a very nice man who decided he was lonely and would entertain us for the 1 and a half hour trip back to the mainland. He pointed out an eagle in a far away treetop that we would never have noticed. Showed us seals around a navigation pole that we thought were just waves from the current and even one that was too slow getting out of the way of the ship! I didn't realise seals could show a surprised expression. I hope he didn't get squished by the propellers.

How good was this then? Drove to airport to return car. Car checked and on our way in 1 minute. Walk to train station in airport. Buy tickets. Train waiting for us to board. Get on. Doors close and away we go. 25 mins later we are dropped at Yaletown station. Walk outside and bus comes 3 mins later and 4 mins after that we are dropped off AT THE DOOR of our Vancouver apartment!! Couldn't have planned it better if I had tried! So by this time we are hungry and walk down to the waterfront (100 metres) and stop for lunch while watching all the boat traffic and fitness freaks go by. I swear everyone living in Vancouver either has a bike, roller blades or jogging gear. Next was a walk along the seawall and we end up at English Bay. Guess what? HAPPY HOUR at the Cactus Club Cafe! $4 drinks. You beauty. And because we didn't need to eat we jumped the queue that was waiting and sat at the bar. Thank you Marion for telling me about the peach Bellini slushy drink. YUM YUM. It was a big day.

Yesterday was glorious weather. Bought a hop on hop off bus ticket and toured the whole city. It is a beautiful city but I'm glad we were there on a sunny day. Rains here over 160 days per year. Walked for ages through Stanley Park and got lots of good photos. Took the tiny ferry across False Creek to wander around Granville Island which was a dump many years ago and has now been turned into a huge marketplace with trendy shops in abundance. Went to a local tapas place for dinner and noticed the lady next to us was on her own. We struck up a conversation with her and found out that she was the owner. We chatted for quite a long time. I thought "oh this is good she might give us a discount or a free drink or something". NOPE. Nil, nothing, nada. She EVEN shook our hands!!!!! Oh well. Just as well the food was good. Oh and the mojitos were great too. Sunset walk along the beach (everyone go aaawwww).

So after bragging about the weather the last few days we woke to a cool and overcast day. Not a great day. It took Noel 15 mins to walk to the Avis outlet and he then waited 40 mins to get served, and the attendant even told him it WASN'T a busy day for them. Huh????? The drizzle hung around all day and spoiled our spectacular Sea to Sky Highway drive (only because the views would have been sooo much better in sunlight). Being the cheap person that I am, I didn't want to pay $35 to park the rental overnight at The Delta Whistler Suites (by the way, very, very nice if anyone is coming to Whistler) so I decided that we should return the car to the Cascade (Avis) across the street. Did you hear that? ACROSS THE STREET. But NO! There are zero petrol stations at Whistler. So we had to drive back to Creekside which is about 8-10 mins away. Find the petrol station and then get back to Whistler. Hey Avis, thanks for the heads up about where to get petrol for our trip...NOT. Yet again there was a problem at the Avis counter and it took over 20 mins for someone to come out, walk around the car for 6 seconds, turn the car on to check it was full and then finally take the payment so we could get out of there. By this time we are super late to get to the mountain for our spectacular sunset, mountaintop BBQ and Peak to Peak experience. Took wrong turns to get to the gondola, which takes half an hour to get to the top (2181 metres!!!!). The last return Peak to Peak gondola ride (paid for months ago with BBQ ticket) left Whistler at 5pm and we got there just before 5.10. So spewing. The weather was crap up there and the view would have been so much nicer with sunshine on it, like in the pictures, but the meal was great. Noel worked out it was cheaper to buy himself a jug, YES A JUG, of beer instead of individual glasses so guess who's been asleep and snoring their head off for the last hour while I have been doing this blog and talking on Facebook??????? We were meant to go ziplining down a mountain and ATV-ing tomorrow but I'm not keen on doing that, if it is still wet and miserable, so I'm going to go to bed now and see what it's like in the morning. If the weather isn't great we'll go window shopping because everything is $$$$$ here and swim in the heated pool/sit in the spa and more eating.

By the way you'll all be pleased to know that our boys have not yet trashed the house, they are doing their chores, even Andrew is actually vacuuming (which his brothers can NOT believe) and they are all contacting their proud mum and dad regularly via Viber and Facebook.

Love and hugs to everyone. Your friend. Margaret. x

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