Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Ferry

Waiting For The Ferry To Arrive
There are a couple of ways to get from the airport to Vancouver Island. We chose the most frugal method which was to travel via bus from the airport to the Ferry and then take the Ferry over to the Island. The bus fare was $2.50 and the ferry was another $13.50. I don't recommend this if you have more than one easy to pull piece of luggage. You could also take a taxi from airport to Ferry or you could rent a car at the airport and drive ONTO the ferry and then drive OFF once you reach the Island. But these get progressively more expensive. Another option instead of the Ferry is to hop on a seaplane. YVR to Nanaimo tickets are $69. The seaplane would've been faster (20 min) and a lot of fun but the ferry was pretty cool. The Ferry ride is a 90 minute trip. There are many things to do onboard including eating at a Buffet or on board restaurant, a coffee shop, gift shop and plenty of time to catch up on your reading or walk around the deck for the view.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ladysmith, Chemainus and a Word About Food

Lunch today at The Royal Dar, an Indian Restaurant in Ladysmith. Remember, husband is a Vegetarian. "Vegetarian" means many things to many people. On one end of the spectrum are those who claim to be Vegetarian, but they eat chicken and fish. And then there are those on the other end who not only don't eat meat, they won't wear it either (shoes, belts, etc.) The DH doesn't eat meat (chicken, pork, beef, fish, etc.) and also won't eat jello, most cheese, milk, and usually eggs. Cheese is made with animal rennet...rennet is made with cow stomach enzymes... OK, enough said about that. So, Indian fare is good. They keep the meat stuff out of the veggie stuff. A cultural thing. So we had Paneer Palak, Vegetable Khardi and Garlic Naan. For less than $35. Go there. and you won't be sorry.

The next thing we did was to drive on to Chemainus to see the murals. This is a small town where they tell their history by painting it on their buildings. And they pull in a lot of tourists. This is FREE. Here's a sample of one of their murals.

The end of the day ended up being quite fitting. I came across the Utopia Bakery Cafe! I ended up buying a Tiramisu confection, a Chocolate Eclair and a Latte! Score!!! I spent $10 on this. Worth every penny.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tofino Via Ucluelet and Port Alberni

Today's adventure was a day trip to Tofino. There's one way to get there by car and that is to take Hwy 4 thru Port Albernini. It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Nanaimo. This was a day of FREE activities, aside from parking you might pay for. In the summer, you would swim, surf and hang out in town at Galleries and gift shops and hike on the many trails. In the winter, hard-core surfers are out but the rest us are bundled up. We stopped in Ucluelet, first and drove around till we saw a sign for Browns Beach. We got out and decided to go for a little hike. Beautiful views of the coast. Rocks and surf. But, we stumbled upon lot after lot after empty lot. All along the coast of this part of the Island, land was being developed to be sold and built upon.

On the way, in between Port Abierni and Ucluelet, there was snow. This was a beautiful thing, everything was dusted in white. On the way back however, it was a bit treacherous. The windshield wipers just stopped working. What a rental car. We did get a deal...I think. $220 for 5 days. A 1997 Ford Contour that we rented from a guy near the Ferry. trip, we rented from Avis in Panama and the guy combed the car for nicks and dents for 20 minutes. But this guy waved and said "Don't worry about it" and "I upgraded you to a better car." Good grief! What was the original? Did he know about the wipers? But, we saved $150 and the guy did pick us up at the ferry-no charge.The next morning, we took it to a place near our B&B where they fixed the problem.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Courtenay and Comox

Courtenay (hometown of Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City Fame) was recommended by the gal at the Visitor's Center. I was interested in the Christmas Craft Fair at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Looking for inexpensive but unique souvineers, I was not disappointed but tempted greatly by some of the most beautiful handmade paintings and crafts that were out of my price range. The gallery is next door with a $15 entrance fee. The downtown area will make you think you've traveled back in time when you walk the streets. There's much more going on as their website will tell you.

We then moved down the road to Comox. We lunched on picnic foods brought from our 'home' and found some great photo opportunities at the Marina. You can get some great buys on fresh fish here!
Lastly, we took a hike that led us down to a beach through a forest. There are hiking trails throughout BC. Many are free, some require a parking fee. They range from easy to difficult. This one was pretty easy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Around Nanaimo

Nanaimo. It's name comes from the Aboriginal people who first lived here. About 78,000 people live here. Not a large town but neat stuff: Spirit Square, the
Marina where the sailplanes land, the Nanaimo Bastion built by the Hudson Bay Company and many other hsitorical points of interest. There are several walking tours that can be found on the city's website. The walking tours are free. Admission to the Bastion is $1. When you walk along the Waterfront Promenade, there are shops to look in and restaurants. Or bring your own picnic lunch and stop in the coffee shop facing the Marina and order a Latte to go!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our B&B in Nanaimo!

Wow! Husband really scored with this one. $40 per night. We have the house to ourselves, minus 2 bedrooms. The Master is off limits and an extra room that contains the cat. We have the guest room, office, living room, dining area and kitchen, as well as a great balcony with a view and the backyard, if we wanted. Nice place. Just one drawback...grandma comes up from the basement to feed the cat twice a day. We never hear a cat, never see grandma with catfood going in and never see grandma with cat poo coming out. Hmmmmm...It's just a little weird. But look at that view...I can deal.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Arrival In Vancouver: First Night

Got in to YVC Christmas Night and we were picked up by the shuttle to the hotel. This was the Airport Inn Vancouver or Quality Inn Airport Hotel on Marine Drive. DO NOT EVER stay here. Nasty, Nasty, Nasty! Smelled like a dirty, smokey room. The toilet ran all night. And it was cold. It never warmed up. $70 for the night. Good grief. This was not a bargain. And we already paid for the last night in advance! The next morning, we took the bus to the Ferry.