Onto the Island!

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
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Trip End Jun 30, 2010


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, November 13, 2009



So after an hour or the bus and sky train we arrived at Tsawwassen Bay ferry terminal and boarded to make the trip over to Vancouver Island, we were met at Schwatz Bay by our host Rowena. This was to be our first couch surfing experience in a while, since Calgary in fact, and it was good to have that sense of nervous expectation again when meeting our host.

Rowena was so easy to talk to, she was fantastic in coming to meet us and putting us at ease immediately. It was early evening when we arrived, so we drove through downtown Victoria by night and got our first glimpse of the provincial capital of British Columbia. Rowena’s apartment was in a swish new eco-designed development just across the bridge from the centre of town, making it only a 10 minute walk to all the main sights & attractions. But for our first night we just settled in and got to know each other whilst sinking a few cold beers.

It does not take long to explore the whole of Victoria, so we paced ourselves and took our time to amble through the streets & shopping precincts. It soon became acutely aware to us that we really should have planned to stay an extra day on the Island, and hired a car so we could have experienced the full wonders that this location has on offer. But hey, we had what time we had and it was a great relaxing town to take our time with and chill out before we were to start our American adventure in a few days time.

Over the two days that we were in Victoria we found some good places to grab some food, and bars to drink in. We experienced a wonderful vegan buffet, where you pay by the weight of your plate, this was a real eye-opener into how good vegan food can actually be!! We also visited a Ye Olde English Fish & Chip Shop, this was hilarious as it really could have been found on the sea front of a struggling British seaside resort.

We spent all of our evenings in the company of Rowena, and on our final night in town she took us to what can only be described as a true Canadian drinking establishment. Big Bad Johns in the heart of downtown is a small basement bar that is the gathering point for a wide spectrum of colourful characters. The bar itself is like a living breathing history book of all the drunken souls that have ever passed through its doors. The unwritten rule of the bar is that everybody should leave something behind, this can be anything but it seems the most common request for the ladies is to leave their bras behind! Kristina left a passport photo of me and the mini Fresian flag that Piet had given us in Medicine Hat. She wedged these under the Perspex protective cover of the table we were sitting at whilst I was distracted at the bar, so my 21 year old face will be forever in place at Big Bad John’s, look out for me if your ever passing through! The other noticeable thing about this bar is the crunching sound as everyone moves about, this is caused by the peanut shells that are littered about the floor. The bar offers endless supplies of these nuts to each table, and it seems that the floor is only swept on a weekly basis!

We were thrilled when we took a stroll along the harbour side and came across a family of seals that were waiting patiently waiting at the foot of the sea food stall for any scraps that may fall their way. We were lucky that a mother and her small child came by and bought some fish heads to throw out for the seals, it was fun to watch them compete for these gross treats!

We left Victoria, saying farewell to Rowena, and headed for a hostel in Vancouver for two nights before we took the Greyhound to Seattle, where the US adventure would start in earnest.
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