Two adventuresome friends excited to explore the world together—clearly celebrating one year of an amazing friendship couldn’t be done with just a trip to a coffee shop or an evening spent at a restaurant.
Adventure was calling.
And when Adventure calls—I always pick up with a smile on my face. Getting to spend three whole days together with Alex exploring was enough to make me happy. But, going to Vancouver Island–where we’d wanted to go all year–was like next-level happiness.
Vancouver Island makes for a great getaway, because it’s close enough to Vancouver and Seattle to not be a total hassle to get to, but it’s far enough away to feel like you’re getting away from everyday life for a bit. Sure, one could fly to Victoria (the capital city of the province of British Columbia and the largest city on Vancouver Island), but where’s the fun in that? For Alex and I, the transportation journey is all part of the adventure.
A ride on a ferry across to the Swartz Bay terminal near Victoria was just the beginning. Or maybe the middle. The adventure really began when I picked Alex up in Surrey (from North Vancouver), leaving at 4:30 in the morning to catch the earliest ferry to the island. It was on that drive that I got to test out the playlist I made for our trip. Every road trip needs a good soundtrack. That’s a given.
I’m happy to report that the sound system in the sweet ride we got to borrow for our getaway—a Ford Edge Sport—is top-notch. There were so many options, like satellite radio, bluetooth sync with my phone, CD player, and probably a few other options, too. Alex enjoyed checking them out while I drove us to the ferry terminal. No feature, for sound or otherwise, went un-tested with this guy!
Victoria city day
Many of the features of Vancouver Island we most wanted to check out during our trip were in Victoria, so we stayed there for two nights. Our full day in Victoria started with a trip to the Royal BC Museum and the IMAX, because learning and visiting cultural institutions are among our most favourite things to do.
Then, we remembered another of our favourite things to do is be outside—so we checked out the architecture of the Parliament building both during the day, then later in the evening. Here’s a picture of what it (and Inner Harbour) look like at night:
There are many more vegetarian restaurants in Victoria than there were a few years ago, when I was last there, so it was exciting to check them out for lunch and dinner. We also enjoyed being surrounded by so many people in the evening in downtown Victoria. Many stores stayed open late, especially the touristy ones selling souvenirs and chocolate, so it was fun to wander around a bit and enjoy the buzz around the Inner Harbour while listening to live music.
Victoria excursion day
Also known as the day we drove around a lot. One of the things that I was excited about with this getaway trip was having full control over our itinerary. Alex was cool with this since we like doing almost all of the same things. One of the places I most wanted to visit was Hatley Castle. Also know as Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, from the X-Men movies.
Both the grounds (including lovely gardens) and the interior of the castle can be toured, either with a tour guide or as part of a self-guided tour.
As exciting as it is to be on an adventure and to get away from home for a few days, it’s important to savour the moments. We spotted this stretch of water at Royal Roads University (where Hatley Castle is located) and decided to relax for a while to take in our surroundings:
Adventure only waited a little while, though, before it whispered in our ears to go off exploring a bit more.
A year ago, when Alex and I first met, one of the first things I told him about was my quest to visit every Canadian National Historic Site and National Park (managed by Parks Canada). We’d visited all three that are located near Vancouver together and just had to visit two of the National Historic Sites on Vancouver Island while we were there.
Our last day on Vancouver Island was spent visiting harbour seals at Fisherman’s Wharf and stopping by a few places outside of Victoria near the ferry terminal. One of the highlights for me was picking up food at a local market to take to a park and have a picnic lunch. Our lunch included celebratory chocolate flavoured coconut milk ice cream. Yum! It was great to be able to relax outside and talk about all the great adventures we had both on this trip and throughout our year together.
Even as we headed back to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, knowing our adventure would soon be over, we didn’t let the last moments slip away without partaking in one of our mutual favourite activities: reading. Sitting in the roomy back seats of the Ford Edge Sport, with the sun roof open and cool breeze coming through, while reading the new books we’d picked up from (Victoria institution) Monro’s Books was a pretty perfect way to end our Vancouver Island getaway.