In which we visit Vancouver, BC

Yep, Canada TWICE in one week! And we weren’t even smuggling anything (pinky promise and cross our hearts, hope not to die, dear US Border Patrol). Jeff’s friend Joe from Kindergarten and his lovely wife Jess were there for work and it would’ve been horrible to miss them but for a three hour drive North. I hadn’t seen them since our wedding and Jeff hasn’t seen them since their’s last July.

Joe escorting Jess down the aisle at our wedding; a prelude of what was to come for them.

Joe escorting Jess down the aisle at our wedding; a prelude of what was to come for them.

We started off by heading to Granville Island which is the Vancouver tourist trap disguised as a market equivalent of Pike Place Market here. There a a bunch of cute (read: expensive) shops and nice options for a quick bite to eat. The seagulls are vicious though and you’ll have to heed the signs to watch your plate or they’ll take off with your meal (or at least knock over your tea and tarter sauce, poor Jeff)!

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Can you believe these two have known each other for going on 23 years??

Can you believe these two have known each other for going on 23 years??

DSC_0431After dodging the seagulls and wandering around we decided to head into the city for drinks. Our entire purpose was to visit Jess and Joe and we knew we could always make the quick trip up I-5 anytime to see the city again later.

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Exploring Yaletown. Where they love to keep the dumpsters right outside the restaurants.

Drinks at Yaletown Brewing Company

Drinks at Yaletown Brewing Company

Way too soon it came to and end. It was so much fun seeing y’all! Come to Seattle to visit!

The next morning Jeff and I explored Stanley Park at the tip of the city’s peninsula. Maybe next time I can convince him to ride bikes around the 5 mile long path.

Stanley Park walkway

Stanley Park walkway and beach

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And then we headed home to round out my vacation. We were grateful that the border crossings didn’t take too long and even the I-5 bridge collapse in Mount Vernon didn’t delay us too long.

We have seen everything on that sign except the Golden Gate bridge.. so guess where our next big trip is going to land us??

We have seen everything on that sign except the Golden Gate bridge.. so guess where our next big trip is going to land us??

Also: This makes 100 posts! Whoo hoo!

In which we go to Canada

Flashback: Spring Break 2005, Sophomore year of college. Jeff and I had been dating just over a year and we and a couple of friends decided to drive to Canada. Why there? Well we were too poor to fly anywhere warm, we could try skiing and because the legal drinking age was 18. A few days before the trip everyone had dropped out except for Jeff and I, but we decided to go anyway. I should’ve known I was going to marry him then because how else do you drive 1024 miles in one week WITHOUT fancy GPS equipment or iPhones in a country where my middle school French was not helping us out that much?

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Roughly our route (and remember this is pre-GPS days. Durham -> Boston -> Quebec -> Montreal -> Durham. That last stretch we drove in one day.. something like 14 hours!

That trip was so much fun; I’m so glad we ended up still going. Sadly most of my pictures were destroyed or corrupted a long time ago, but here is some vintage Jeff and Elise:

Young us visiting the ice hotel in Quebec

Young us visiting the ice hotel in Quebec

Snowy streets of Quebec

Snowy streets of Quebec

Flash forward: So we find ourselves so close to the Canadian border once again – only three hours via I-5 to Vancouver, but just haven’t found the time to make it to our snowy (or on this side, temperate) northern neighbors.

After our hike out on the Dungeness Spit we drove on to Port Angeles to catch the ferry to Victoria, BC. The city lies at the end of the Vancouver Peninsula and is basically only accessible by plane or boat. This ferry was much larger and it took us over an hour to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, much longer than the 15-20 minute one across the Sound.

Tickets and the view from the ferry.

Tickets and the view from the ferry.

Us on a boat (sweaty from our hike)

Us on a boat (sweaty from our hike)
And look what our phone can do 8 years later – take pictures, edit them AND has the INTERNETS! All in our pockets. And all this on a 2+ year old phone.. Amazing.

Once we landed we checked into the Hotel Grand Pacific (thank you Hotwire and your awesome deals!) and hurried through a much needed shower before heading out to find some food. Victoria (and Seattle for that matter) is so far north that the sun is still pretty high even at 8:30pm, so it didn’t seem too late out until the lovely people at The Keg brought our our steaks – then we ate like the famished hikers we were!

The next day we explored around the Inner Harbour where we were staying – it’s kind of touristy, but fun to see all the cute little shops, boats, seaplanes coming in from Vancouver and Seattle and the lovely Fairmont Empress hotel and old British Columbia Parliament buildings.

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The Empress Hotel

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Boats in the Inner Harbour – early morning before the throngs of people started to come out.

After a quick breakfast we headed out to the Butchart Gardens. Victoria is where a lot of people in Canada go to retire due to the temperate weather (it’s basically their Florida), so they’re slightly obsessed with gardening. I was excited to see the Butchart Gardens because there was a picture of them on my grandparents’ wall for so many years when I was younger. They did a lot of traveling when my granddaddy retired and I loved flipping through their photo books, always wanting to see the places for myself. Jeff is humoring me and we’ve been checking off places that hung on the picture wall pretty diligently (the Badlands were our last ones).

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The exact picture my grandmother has!

The exact picture my grandmother has!

The whole place was pretty incredible – some of the best gardens we’ve ever seen. Neither of us has anything close to a green thumb, so I like to think we appreciate this amount of horticultural knowledge and expertise on a well respected level.

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Their Japanese garden section outdid Portland’s entire garden devoted to the theme.

DSC_0412All too soon we had to head back to the ferry because unlike when you cross into Canada and can just show up at the dock, the US customs agents need you to be back 1.5 hours before your crossing to ask you a bunch of questions.. and then make you wait for an hour and twenty minutes.

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We were once again blessed with clear skies and smooth waters.

Hello Olympic Mountains, peeking out from your ever present clouds.

Hello Olympic Mountains, peeking out from your ever present clouds.

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Bye, bye Victoria!

From Port Angeles we headed back to the Kingston-Edmonds ferry and then back down into Seattle. It was a quick, perfect trip!

A: Seattle; B: Dungeness Spit; C: Victoria and then back again.

A: Seattle; B: Dungeness Spit; C: Victoria and then back again.