A Travellerspoint blog


Day 14 - From the Rainforest to the Desert

Catherine thought that, since Steve Nash went to Santa Clara University, that all SCU alumni should get free admission to his gyms, which seem to be very common and popular.

After checking out of our room, we went and saw the Catholic cathedral in Vancouver, Holy Rosary. It was shortly before a weekday mass, and people were praying the rosary. The church is beautiful. It looks a bit like the cathedral in Fresno, but seems to be mostly decorated in blue (perhaps in honor of the Virgin Mary).

Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge, which was built by the Guinness family to connect land they owned in West Vancouver to the main part of the city.

We then went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is an extremely popular attraction. Catherine wanted to use every photo opportunity there:
while Daniel showed a propensity towards small injuries.
(Just a small scratch, but getting the bandaid from the information desk required an interrogation about where and how the scratch occurred.

The actual suspension bridge is amazing. It is extremely rickety, and it is impossible to walk straight on it. However, it is very strong. At one point on the walk, there is a fallen tree that at one time fell on the bridge. The bridge was not even damaged by it.

Treetop Adventure and Cliff Walk, both amazing paths that give a unique perspective on the forest.

Lunch in Stanley Park, and our view of the bridge from the restaurant.

Maple-Walnut Ice cream in Stanley Park.

Getting gas in Canada for the first and last time on this trip. Gas is more expensive than in the US, and our tour guide in Stanley Park yesterday said he drives to Washington to buy gas.

The beautiful scenery on the drive between Vancouver and Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. It was all spectacularly beautiful.

A dome home near a campground in the Sunshine Valley.

Our hosts in Keremeos operate a frame shop. This is one thing they have framed. It is an unusual piece of Native art using moose hair as the medium.

Unfortunately, we arrived in Keremeos too late to get any food from a restaurant. The restaurant/ pub suggested by the hosts was closed, and the nearest town, Osoyoos, was a ways away. We went back to our room unsure about what to eat. However, we discovered that our hosts had put bread in our freezer, which allowed us to make sandwiches and have a pretty good dinner.

Tomorrow, we return to the United States, and stay in Spokane, WA.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:45 Archived in Canada Tagged bridges rainforest dinner injuries capilano keremeos Comments (1)

Day 13 - Hopping Around Vancouver

all seasons in one day 68 °F

Vancouver in the morning as seen from our windows.

We decided to take the "Hop On-Hop Off" bus. It was convenient because that way we wouldn't have to drive and park on our own.

Some sights from the bus. The coliseum-like building is the Vancouver Central Library.

We got off at Gastown, and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. This was not a "new thing" to try, but Daniel had eaten at Old Spaghetti Factory the last time he was in Vancouver, so it was tradition.

Some views around Gastown. Gastown is the older part of Vancouver, and has a lot of interesting shops and buildings.

The Olympic Torch from 2010.

More views from the bus.

Catherine loves all the hydrangeas in the area.

A hidden spot in the rainforest in Stanley Park. We saw someone disappear into the trees, and decided to see where they had gone. The rainforest is very impressive, especially the size of the trees (they're small compared to sequoias, but huge compared to everything else.

Around Stanley Park. We had a wonderful tour within the park, which was included with our pass for the Hop On-Hop Off.

Vancouver and the harbor from the park.

Totem poles in Stanley Park.

This statue is called "girl in wetsuit." At high tide, the water is up to her flipper.

Trying to take our own picture in the blinding sunlight.

Various buildings along the way. The office building is interesting because you can see each floor in detail.

Granville Island, and Granville Island Brewery, recommended to us by Michael was a nice afternoon stop.

At the brewery, we got some small samples and a cup of "hot nuts." They were hot as in warm, not as in spicy.

At home, Catherine always prefers that anyone cooking wear an apron. She has several aprons that she has picked out for herself. All of them are very feminine looking. This apron we got from the Granville Island Brewery is better. (Note the bottle opener and beer holder)

From Granville Island, we took an Aquabus back to our side of False Creek. It was a nice and convenient way to travel.

We tried a little diner called Templeton for dinner, since it was fairly late. Catherine had a BLT and Daniel had a grilled cheese with vegetables. The really interesting thing was cardamom coffee cake. This was unique and delicious.

Vancouver at night.

Our building at the end of a busy day. Tomorrow we are heading to Keremeos, in the Okanagan Valley. Tomorrow night will be our last night in Canada. We have had a great time in Vancouver, and would love to go back soon.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:08 Archived in Canada Tagged bus bridge stanley_park hopping diner granville_island cardamom totem_pole apron aquabus Comments (1)

Day 12 - It Isn't Manageable

rain 60 °F

Started off the day with a Traditional Latin Mass in Victoria. It was very nice, and the church was simple but pretty.

After that we walked along the beach, at a spot suggested by our host. It was beautiful.

One of the many horse-drawn carriage tours in Victoria going by.

Eat More: an interesting toffee candy.

Some views from the ferry. There are a lot of bald eagles in the islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. At one point, we saw about ten of them flying around near one tree.

Our last ferry ride for this trip!

Driving in to Vancouver.

Our studio in Vancouver. It is yet another great place found through Airbnb.

View of the city from our room. This is our first real "city center" accommodation, as our other places have all been rural or suburban.

Nando's Chicken. Apparently this is a chain, but we don't have them in California so it is a "new thing" to try. It is a Portuguese-African restaurant. When we asked about the spicy rice to determine how spicy it is, the waitress said it is "not manageable." We managed just fine.

The mashed potatoes are very authentically Portuguese, exactly what you would get at a traditional Portuguese Thanksgiving dinner in Hollister.

The beautiful city of Vancouver at night. We walked around a bit after dinner, and it is very pleasant, though much more urban than Victoria was.

Note to Readers: with this entry, we are now caught up to the current day. Expect an entry about tomorrow tomorrow, and, assuming we have internet, we should be able to blog almost every night.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:00 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria traditional church urban city vancouver chicken studio african ferry latin management portuguese mass nando's Comments (1)

Day 11 - What is poutine???

semi-overcast 65 °F

The city of Victoria in late morning. It is beautiful and extremely well-organized. It feels like an old European city, but with American-style drivability and roads that are sized correctly for cars.

We went to lunch at Skinny Tato Polish Restaurant. We have challenged ourselves to try new things. The Polish woman who owns the restaurant gave us recommendations/ commands about what we should order. We just went along with the recommendations, and once we had ordered we were not sure what we would get. We got potato pancakes stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms, as well as cabbage rolls stuffed with bacon. These were all new combinations to is, but they were actually surprisingly delicious. It was a whole new set of flavor combinations: a bit like Chinese food, a bit like Italian food, but really just unlike anything else we had tried.


Butchart Gardens. The Butchart family owned a cement plant, and Jennie Butchart created the garden to beautify the area. The family still owns the estate, but it is open to visitors. It is extremely beautiful. It is almost difficult to comprehend how beautiful it is when you are there because of how many different plants you can see.

Te remarkable beauty of the place. It is wonderful to just walk around and see everything. Catherine feels like the yellow flower in the picture above looks like it is fake and made of wire.

Us in the gardens.

Daniel got a cherry amaretto gelato, and Catherine got one that was rose petal flavored. We ate them in the Italian Garden.

Viking exhibit at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Many of these artifacts are real and are on loan from museums in Sweden.

The name "Albers" written in runes.

A wire matrix suspending various bolts. It doesn't look like much, until you realize the bolts are real bolts from a Viking ship burial, suspended exactly where they would have been on the ship.

Natural History: a mammoth and a sea lion.

First Nations Exhibit: the highlight of this area is the complete house, formerly belonging to a native chief, which is fully presented in the museum.

Views of the Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings.

The Pennyfarthing Pub in the Oak Bay neighborhood for a late dinner.

An "Irish Flight" of beers: Harp, Smithwick's, Kilkenny, and of course, Guinness. Since Daniel's parents flew to Ireland the day before, we thought ordering an Irish Flight seemed appropriate.

Catherine was intrigued by the menu item called "poutine." Neither of us had tried it, but Daniel had already heard of it an had a vague notion as to what it was. Catherine read the description, then asked the waitress what it was. The waitress was friendly, but reacted somewhat the way an American waitress would if you asked her to explain what this "hamburger" thing was all about. Catherine ordered a half order, and it was in fact pretty good.

Overall, the day went wonderfully. Victoria is an incredibly enjoyable city, and both of us have talked about returning to spend more time here.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:11 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria flower native flight museum mammoth irish vikings sealion poutine pennyfarthing butchart_gardens Comments (1)

Day 10 - Friday the Thirteenth: Our Lucky Day for Ferries

Featuring a stop at Lake Erie Grocery Store in Anacortes

rain 55 °F

We woke up to steady rain and cooler temperatures. It seemed like perfect weather, and made the island look all the more beautiful in the mist. We were headed back to Anacortes, and had to cross the island to the ferry terminal fairly early in the morning. Despite leaving a bit late, we easily made it onto the ferry.

Views from the ferry as we travelled between islands, stopping at Shaw Island and Lopez Island before getting back to Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island.

A mysterious cat puzzle on the ferry. No one seemed to be working on it or even anywhere near it. A similar puzzle was on the ferry we took to Orcas, even though it wasn't the same ferry.

Mt. Erie in Anacortes. Lake Erie and Mt. Erie have an unusual name: Mt. Erie was named after the Battle of Lake Erie, which occurred in 1813 on the "other" Lake Erie. In the battle, the Americans defeated the British near Ohio. Later, as highly patriotic names were chosen for places in the northwestern corner of Washington, this mountain was named after that battle. The lake that is next to the mountain was called "Lake Erie" after the mountain.

The Lake Erie Grocery Store next to Lake Erie. This store belongs to Daniel's great aunt Gerry and great uncle Don (Don is Daniel's grandpa's brother.) Daniel had not met them before, but we had arranged to see them while we were in the area. Unfortunately, the original plan (to visit on Wednesday) had not worked out. However, the rescheduling for Friday allowed more people to be there. We met Don and Gerry's son Joe, and their granddaughters Te'onna, Marissa, and Charli.

From left: Te'onna, Charli, Joe, Don, Daniel, Catherine, Marissa.

The store itself was very impressive and interesting. Though it is small, it seems to have a huge selection. Also, customers come in regularly (though It was apparently a pretty slow day, actually.) The store is connected to the house, so we just sat and visited and when the buzzer would go off that a customer had come in, either Don or Gerry would get up and help the customer, then come back.

From left: Gerry, Don, Daniel, Catherine.
We had a great visit: Daniel learned a lot of interesting family stories and some geneological information, and we got to meet several relatives we didn't know before. We spent several hours there, then headed to the border to go to Victoria.

Speaking of Victoria, a picture of the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria hanging above the counter at the store. This is apparently the ship that Daniel's great grandmother took when she immigrated to the United States.

Crossing the border into Canada. The border guards are very inquisitive about why you are there and what you are doing. If we hadn't taken the crossing into another country seriously at first, we certainly would now.

We made it on the earliest possible ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. The BC ferries are incredibly larger and more polished than the Washington ferries, though the Washington ferries were nice in their own way (smaller and more down-to-earth seeming).

Washington and BC ferries compared.

Some views of various islands from the ferry.

The BC ferries are very confortable and well-appointed. More than anything, they feel like airports.

Canada and the United States are similar in many ways. However, Canada has some odd chip flavors.

After the rugged accommodations on Orcas Island, this room in an apartment in a subdivided mansion in Victoria seemed like the ultimate in sumptuous luxury.

Our host recommended Zambri's Italian restaurant. It was delicious. We got the Italian Sausage pizza and the local turnips. Very had never tried turnips before, but they were good.

Victoria is a beautiful city. It looks and feels clean, safe, and pleasant. There is a lot to do, and we are glad that we booked two nights here!

Posted by danielcatherine 02:43 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria ship border ferry pizza store luck cousins tiramisu groceries relatives anacortes lake_erie zambri's turnips Comments (2)

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