Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beautiful day

Yes a beautiful day - the sun came out this morning and actually stayed. The other days it came out in the morning and the weather deteriorated all day until it was raining by late afternoon. Not today. Windy and cool but a glorious day for walking. I had breakfast at a restaurant called Mole. Wonderful - it was my treat to myself. I had cream cheese scrambled eggs with mushrooms and ham, rosemary potatoes and sourdough toast. And a very good cup of coffee. Excellent and it kept me going until mid afternoon. This morning after much deliberation I decided to do a 5 km walk in Esquilmault as I decided to do an ocean side walk in the afternoon. A small group of us, including a Briard puppy walked together and it was very enjoyable. The highlight was climbing a small hill (huffing and puffing all the way) for a great view. I had done part of the walk during the walking convention in 07 and we passed by a funky pirate house that I'd seen in 07. After the walk I took the bus downtown and looked in a few shops but resisted. Then I came across a demonstration parade at the Legislative Buildings - they were protesting everything - Free Tibet (very dear to my heart), legalize marijuana, Raging Grannies were there, environment stuff - everyone gets out there and does their thing - it was great. I even joined in the parade for about a block but figured I had better get back to the hotel and get ready for my next walk. Walked along the path by Dallas Road and it was wonderful and invigorating. The ocean was a sight to behold and there were people wind surfing and doing other crazy things in the air. Loads of doggies. I was in my element. I walked back to the hotel through Beacon Hill park again. How I love Victoria. This was really just a taste - someday I will be back and for much longer. Tonight was our banquet - it was a buffet held at the Strathcona hotel and was really tasty. I sat with some very interesting people and had an enjoyable time. It ended about 8:30 so walked back here. Lots of people out and about. I think I am taking back my weight in tea and coffee...ha ha. I bought more this afternoon at James Bay Confectionary as they roast their own beans. I love buying locally roasted coffee beans - can't even remember the last time I bought any locally. That is my souvenir - that and my photographs. My alarm will go off at 4:15 a.m. and I get picked up at 5 a.m. The hotel let me print my boardingh pass on their printer which was nice of them. I actually got myself window seats - hope my bladder behaves. I will have brunch in Calgary as I've got a three hour layover there. Six weeks from today I will be in Whistler, B.C. - woo hoo. Next is bed

Friday, April 15, 2011

Going to university

Well not really but did do a 5 km walk at the university of Victoria. I started off the day with eggs bennie here at the hotel - decided not to brave the Blue Fox as there are line ups and my feet were still sore. Then I took the bus to a recreation centre where the walk began. I didn't ring the bell soon enough so had to go into the university and back but that was okay. The walk started out on a cedar chip path which was lovely and then into a woodland trail. I really enjoyed this walk. Did walk around the university a bit but it was mainly on paths. Walked through a beautiful garden and then back to the rec centre. Back on the bus - do not mind taking the bus at all - in fact I prefer it as you get to see a lot more and see the locals. Yes it may not be pretty sometimes but that's life. I had lunch at Blue Fish, Red Fish ...or is it the other way around...anyway it is a shack by the water that serves wonderful food. I had a tuna tacone which is grilled albacore tuna with spicy mayo with sprouts in a tortilla then grilled. It was wonderful. I'd love to go back tomorrow and try something else for lunch but I am sure being a weekend the line up will be unreal. I am enjoying my food as you can tell...being here such a short time I want to make every meal special. I salivated at an Indian buffet but thought I can do that at home but I can't have fresh fish by the ocean. Then I headed over to the rec centre in Esquimault for the walking festival. I did a 5 km walk and it was lovely - along the waterfront for some of it. I walked with a couple of ladies from Surrey, B.C. and also a "co-director" Beverly and we compared notes on Nepal as she was there just before me. After the walk there was a social with snacks and a cash bar and I was able to meet a lady who had emailed me about my walks in the Yukon so that was fun. Beverly and David gave me a lift "home" and here I am. Hoping to crawl into the tub tonight. And ponder the big question - where should I have breakfast tomorrow?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My dog are barking

but they are really happy..... What a fantastic day. I left here at 7 a.m. and went to the James Bay Tea house for breakfast. Due to eating late last night I wasn't too hungry so just had coffee and toasted crumpets. Then I tried to find the Harbour Towers hotel to start a walk but ended up by Dallas Road on the ocean so went for a walk. It was beautiful this morning - fairly clear and cold and it was magnificent scenery. The Cascades were peeking through the clouds. I had tears in my eyes as it was so gorgeous and I was so happy. My beautiful ocean. I really needed this break obviously as I have enjoyed every minute and it's nice to know that even with all my traveling I have not become jaded and a simple daffodil can make me smile. With some assistance I found my way to the hotel and began the 5 km walk which took me to Beacon Hill Park which I love. Lots of ducks, daffodils and other flowers - it was stunning. The sun soon disappeared and clouds rolled in but so far no rain....it was still cold but I was fine. I walked through the park and over to the ocean again for another look. Memories flooded back from my trip here in 1996 when I stayed at a B & B in the James Bay area and walked this area a lot. On the way back to the hotel I saw a London Drugs so popped in to get a memory card. I realize I forgot to bring a spare memory card - eek! I took almost 150 photos today alone and shot some video. I am just using my small Sony camera - decided to leave my Nikon SLR at home where it is probably sulking. Back to downtown where I stopped at Murchies and had a caramel tea latte and a ham and cheese croissant. Well I didn't give my brain a chance to say I'm full and back I was to ask for a cheese scone. Wolfed that down too. However I had been walking a couple of hours by then. (that's my excuse and I am sticking to it!) Anyway off I went to the YMCA on Broughton & Quadra and signed in for the 5 km. I was having a severe case of dropsy and could not get my head together to sign up and stamp my walk book i kept dropping things. An older gent was sitting beside me watching me. I decided to move where I had more room and what do you know there he is beside me again - he must have been curious as to what I was doing. Though hey maybe he likes ladies with big butts wearing yoga pants. Off I went and this walk took me to the Governer General's residence which was closed although the gardens were beautiful and would be breathtaking in the summer with rose gardens and all sorts of other flower beds. I don't know my flowers so can only say daffodils, some tulips and other pretty flowers I took photos of - no clue. Then on to Craigdarroch castle which I didn't go into - was too cheap to pay $13.75 for the entrance fee and wasn't in a "castle" mood esp. as it isn't a real castle. Those are in the UK and Europe! Back downtown... Saw a place called the Tibet Kitchen and happened to glance at the menu....MOMOS!!!!!!! I was so excited so had to go in and ordered a plate - these were deep fried instead of steamed but were soooo good. I also had a mango lassi....sigh....pure bliss. The young lady who waited on me (the owner's daughter) was really friendly and we had a good chat. She is in her early 20's and they moved from India when she was 18. She has absolutely no accent which was strange - she said when she gets angry it comes back! Anyway her grandparents left Tibet when China invaded (bastards!) as he was a teacher. They settled in Dajarling, India which is where she grew up. They were obviously well to do as she attended private school in Mumbai. She said I must go to Dajarling as it's very quiet and beautiful with mountains and is cool. She dreams of one day being able to take her children back to Tibet to show them their culture. Very interesting - that's what I love about solo travel - you tend to meet more people and hear more stories. Anyway I then started the shopping part of my day. Off to Murchies to buy my friend Dorothy the pound of tea she requested and got some for me too....I can't wait to try the Orange Spice Chai...I have become almost obsessed with buying different kinds of tea leaves but I do love it. I then headed to Mountain Equipment Co-op but sadly couldn't find anything that interested me - or should I say that came in my size. Sigh....maybe by Vancouver I will at least be able to try things on. Not if I continue eating like I did today though!!! Then on to New Balance where I did get excited as my walking shoes were on for 79.99 regular 139 - but sadly not in my size...sigh...I consoled myself with a new pair of moisture wicking socks. I stopped at another Tea place as the girl in the restaurant had told me they had the best Dajarling tea so got a small bag along with a bag of cherry tea....yep I am obsessed. Then back to the room to freshen up and change. I walked over to the fisherman's wharf and had a small order of fish and chips - the momos were an appetizer. Really they were! The fish and chips were delish and as I was eating who turns up but some walkers from Alberta I know so that was fun. By this time the rain had started and was really coming down but luckily stopped before I headed out. They sat with me until I had to leave to get to the IMAX. The IMAX film Born to be Wild was wonderful - about a woman in Kenya who fosters baby elephants whose mothers have been killed and then releases them in the wild about 7 years later - I sponsor a baby elephant there so it had special meaning to me. It also featured a woman in Borneo who does the same with orangatuns - their mothers are killed with the destruction of the rain forest for palm oil plantations. It was a wonderful film and I highly recommend it. Back here and if I could crawl into the tub for a nice hot soak I would but don't know if I'd get out again. My knees are not likin it! The housekeeper would come in and discover my pruned up body in the bathtub in the morning....not a pretty sight! So I will content myself with slathering my feet in the Body's shop's Pepperment foot lotion . (how's that for a plug?) Tomorrow I plan to go out to the university to do a walk after I hopefully try the Blue Fox for breakfast. It is supposed to be THE place to have breakfast here as in the best one in the city. It is a hole in the wall and people line up to get in so wish me luck! Walking festival starts tomorrow afternoon. Life is good!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weekend West Coaster

Arrived here in Victoria in one piece - the flights were good. Up and down we went - Edmonton, Kelowna and finally Victoria. I decided to check my bag and glad I did - it was waiting for me no probs. Got the shuttle to the hotel and enjoyed the view along the way - this city is so beautiful. My room is cute and it's very clean. Had a light supper in the hotel restaurant - a cup of seafood chowder and a wonderful green salad with honey poppyseed dressing. Delish! Then I walked over to the Legislative Building as I am just four blocks away and took photos of the lights on the building. Back here to watch Criminal Minds and scare myself half to death! Think I am going to the James Bay Tea room for brekky. Then off to walk my socks off and enjoy fish and chips for supper - hopefully. Hopefully a tea stop at Murchies. Night Night!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Off to Spring

Things are starting to warm up but March/April is an ugly time here. Ice, mud, melting snow, snow....to cheer myself up I have booked to go to Victoria next weekend. Air miles to the rescue! I am just going for four nights due to work commitments and unfortunately I have to fly back at 7 a.m. on Sunday. Ugh! But I looked at another weekend and there were no flights even available on the Sunday. I will be attending part of a walking festival which will be fun but hope I don't embarrass myself. Oh well why not... I seem to be good at that. I will be huffing and puffing along behind all the fit island walkers who can walk all winter long without worrying about breaking bones on the ice.

I am quite excited. And on a roll. The weekend after (Easter) I am off on the hound to visit my family in Lethbridge - that will be fun. Then if I hang in there another four and a half weeks I will be off to Whistler/Vancouver for about ten days for our annual walking conference. (still working on details) Life is getting back to normal. It was a VERY long three months - I fly off on Wednesday and it will be three months to the day that I arrived back home from Nepal/London. THREE VERY LONG HORRIBLE MONTHS THAT I NEVER WANT TO REPEAT AS LONG AS I LIVE. But on the bright side I made lots of money. :)

What a horrid winter...somehow I have to budget to allow for two winter breaks next year.

Anyway I will be staying at the James Bay Inn in Victoria. http://www.jamesbayinn.com/ I had booked the hostel for twenty dollars a night cheaper than thought what the heck I need a treat. If you can call $59 a night a treat...it was a special deal on the Internet and hey I've got my own bathroom and for me that's exciting. No staggering out of the room and down the hall in the middle of the night in my jammies and hoping I don't see anyone. Back in 1996 I stayed at a wonderful B & B in the James Bay area and it is the standard I put all other B & B's against. Can't remember the name of it now sad to say but it has closed and even if it was open I probably wouldn't be able to afford it anymore. But I loved that area so decided to stay there again. I will be close to Beacon Hill park and more importantly close to the ocean.

I will go from work to the airport - how dedicated is that. I plan to do carry on on the way there but all bets are off on the way back esp. as I will be visiting Murchies Tea and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC - my mecca!) Whoo hoo - can't wait. Stay tuned!!!

Goodbye melting snow, goodbye dirty puddles, goodbye sneaky ice that would love to feel my ass first thing in the morning...hello daffodils, hello ocean, hello green grass and probably hello rain but what the hell...I'M OUTTA HERE!!!!