Monday, January 13, 2014

Island Girl's A1 Tour

Christmas holidays were a wonderful whirlwind filled with family, food, friends and fun so I'm starting the year feeling particularly blessed.

We got a chance to play tour guides for our friends escaping the sub zero temperatures and snow of Montreal. They wanted to chill…they came to the right place. Most evenings were spent vegging in front of the TV after a day exploring downtown Victoria and surrounding areas. The weather was with us so we got a chance to show them Victoria at its winter best; moderately damp, filled with vibrant hues of greens and lush landscapes. A day of rain in the middle of their visit allowed us all to kick back at home, a welcome break in an otherwise packed schedule.

We wanted to give our guests a sampling of the best this area has to offer; an overview of life on the island. The last day of 2013 we motored up to Jordan River, with a stop at French Beach where we witnessed these California Seals playing in the ocean. This was such a gift bearing future memories for all of us.

We planned to eat at the restaurant across the road from the beach at Jordan River which would afford an unobstructed view, only to find the restaurant closed for the season. So we back tracked to Point No Point which was open for business and offered warming soups on the menu. Our taste buds were delighted and stomachs soothed as we gazed out upon the stormy sea far below. Kathy was so taken by this place that she claimed it as her own with plans to stay there on their next visit.

The view from our table at Point No Point Resort's dining room
Point No Point delighted her almost as much as the houseboat community down by the Wharf in Victoria. "People REALLY live here?" she kept asking. It was something out of a children's book she said, amazed that people could really live this kind of life.

The house boat community, scene from earlier visit as I didn't have my camera with me  this time
A perfect sun-filled day allowed us to show them the view from the Malahat on our way to Cowichan Bay and one of my favourite bakeries, True Grain Bread, where we snacked on pastries of our choice and a hot, aromatic coffee. Cowichan Bay is bigger than it looks. It's worth peeking into nooks and crannies and following the signs that point down to the water's edge. Below the street level shops there exists an active artisan community comprised of studios and shops. Kathy and I enjoyed talking with the owner/artist/painting teacher of Tangerine Dream Gallery and Studio and learning about the artists behind the works displayed within.

A typical, lightly drizzly day, though colder than usual didn't deter us from showing them the Kinsol Trestle. The hike was longer than I remembered from my first visit. As I approached the trestle I realize that we'd come at it from the other end before and that the trail extends 4 km in one direction, 15 in the other (Note to self: perfect for biking on milder days) and is part of an extensive trail system.

The tour was complete when this most spectacular sunset graced us as we drove along Dallas Road after viewing the city, the island, the strait, islands and mountains beyond from a perch on Mt Douglas. The perfect end to a perfect day…

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