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Vacation 1998

Our vacation this year was to Washington state, USA and British Columbia, Canada. We flew into the Vancouver International Airport. This was convenient for Margreta's parents, who live just an hour's drive away in Lynden, Washington. After a quick visit with her parents and her aunt Greet (on vacation from the Netherlands) and a day in Seattle visiting other friends, we headed up to Vancouver for a few days.


In Vancouver, we used the Vancouver Folk Music Festival as our backdrop or contingency plan for seeing Vancouver. In the end we enjoyed the city and found ourselves torn trying to see what we wanted to see and catch enough of the festival.

Picture of Jeffrey in the garden

Jeffrey in the garden

Picture of Margreta through the Moon Gate at the garden

Margreta through the Moon Gate

We visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The garden is a serene place. The pond had turtles and carp and waterlilies. The rocks have been imported from China and have unusual holes through them made by running water. Some of the rocks appear to be animals or famous figures.

Picture of Jeffrey at the Gastown steam clock

Jeffrey figuring out how the clock works.

We wandered around Gastown and saw the steam clock. The clocks chimes on the quarter of the hour and then only does one long blow on the hour. The Gastown area is like Georgetown in Washington, D.C. with lots of shops and restaurants.

Picture of wedding couple at Jericho Beach

Wedding couple having their photo taken at Jericho Beach

We couldn't have asked for better weather for our visit, sunny and in the 80's. The Folk Music Festival was at Jericho Beach which gave us great views of the city and the mountains. We saw a bride and groom who agreed with our assessment of the beauty of the park. They were having their wedding photo taken there. While there was lots of music, a couple of venue's that we enjoyed most included a Polish group called "The Bumpers" (you can get to a music clip of theirs from the Unofficial Vancouver Folk Festival website). If you can imagine a rock infusion to traditional Polish music, in the same way as Fairport Convention has done with British folk music or the Kips Bay Ceili Band has with Irish music, then you have a sense of this group's appeal. A singer-songwriter who we liked, from the Vancouver, BC area, is Susan Crowe.

We also went to the Museum of Anthropology and explored the First Nations' artwork and materials. The museum has managed to store a significant portion of their collection in cases that anyone can look at rather than hiding away their materials. It would have been easy to spend more time in this museum.

Vancouver Island

We went back to Lynden and joined up with Margreta's parents and her aunt Greet for a trip to Vancouver Island. We traveled by BC Ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (we later came back via Nanaimo to Tsawwassen).

Picture of lifeboats on the ferry

Since we recently saw Titanic, we wanted to make sure there were lifeboats.

Picture of bagpiper in Victoria

He played our song! Mairi's Wedding

We did a very quick tour through Victoria, seeing the parliament building, the outside of the Royal British Columbia Museum, and the Empress Hotel. In Victoria, we saw the continued blending of cultures with British gardens and flower baskets, totem poles and a bagpiper. Picture of mom, greet and dad in Victoria

Mom, Greet, and Dad near the Empress Hotel

From there we headed up to Nanaimo, the drive takes you along a number of vistas of the inner straits. We stopped briefly in Duncan (to feed Margreta's and Ada's quilting passion) and in Chemainus to see their murals.

When we arrived in Nanaimo, one of the items we wanted to find was the "Nanaimo Bar". Margreta had told Jeffrey all about this delicacy and so he was looking forward to sampling the good in its home territory. Our hotel's restaurant didn't offer the delicacy, so Margreta, Jeffrey and Greet went for a walk in the evening. Greet may have been only interested in walking along the waterfront (the Harbourside walk), but Jeffrey was on a search and turned up lucky. We sampled the bar at a coffee shop called Javawocky (yes, deliberately a play on the Jabberwocky poem in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass). We also had the bar in Port Alberni, but the Javawocky's version was our favorite. Picture of us having coffee in Port Alberni

Sampling Port Alberni's Nanaimo Bar

The next day we headed across the island from Nanaimo to Tofino, a small coastal town on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island. The drive took us through Port Alberni and the Cathedral Grove (an old growth forest area near the highway). Tofino is primarily a tourist town, with a number of fishing charters and whale watching charters. When we arrived, we discovered that lodging wasn't easy to locate; through the kindness of a community member, we were directed to accommodations at Lone Cone Guest Suites. John and Shirley directed us to the many sandy public beaches nearby which we explored and enjoyed. We sunbathed, looked for starfish, and got our feet wet in the Pacific Ocean (the water was a little too cold to get more than our feet wet). We didn't have enough time to visit the Pacific National Park Reserve with more coastline shores and islands.


Picture of Greet on Frank's Island

Greet on Frank's Island. We could walk to the island at low tide from Chesterman Beach

Picture of Margreta and sunset

Sunset over the Pacific (Margreta in silhouette)


We went back to the mainland to let Greet spend some time shopping and then take her to the airport a few days before our departure. With the time remaining, we relaxed in Lynden and did a few day trips. We went on a day trip to Deception Pass, stopping on the way in Mount Vernon. Margreta did a little quilt and clothing shopping in Mount Vernon and then she spent some time scrambling around on the rocks at Rosario Beach near Deception Pass. Jeffrey stayed a very safe distance away from the water's edge. Margreta's dad napped and mom read.

Photo of Margreta at Deception Pass, Washington

Margreta at Deception Pass

Upon flying home from Vancouver, we were surprised by the airport improvement fee in place at the Vancouver International Airport. We didn't anticipate the extra time needed to get through the various checkpoints before boarding. In most cases, flights to the US close initial boarding a half hour before departure. We think that BC warrants more time than what we could give it and plan on seeing more in the future.

Photo of Margreta and Jeffrey at Tofino, BC

Jeffrey and Margreta at Tofino

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