Vacation Memories

Tanya asked me if I had ever been to Victoria BC. I have a few times. The last time was 7 years ago.
I was living in Denver. Grandma had moved in with Mom. Mom, Grandma, my brother Paul and I all met in Seattle and drove up to Victoria.
I made several trips to the Pacific Northwest that fall and as I recall every flight had a problem. This time was a doozy. My cousin Linda was visiting me – she was at first staying for two days, but it ended up being two weeks. She needed some time to make some decisions about her life and I liked having her there, so it wasn’t a big deal. So we were running late to the airport only to get there to discover I had left my paper tickets in the living room. We zoomed home in record time – 20 minutes –  and zoomed back during a thunder storm that with lightening strikes so close my hair was standing up. I then had to fly standby with a connection in Salt Lake. I made it on my next flight, barely, the flight was packed.
We all met at Paul’s house in Magnolia. We took the ferry from Seattle across the Puget Sound (I can’t remember the town) and then drove to Port Angeles to catch the ferry to Victoria. The drive was along a two lane highway and we got behind this little old lady driving 15 mph below the speed limit. When we finally moved up the line to pass her we saw her – she was driving an early 70’s sedan and was looking out her front window through her steering wheel she was so little.
That delay made us miss the first ferry – so we drove around Port Angeles. Mom and Grandma had lived there during WWII – so we drove around and looked at the places they had lived and Mom told the story of the impromptu celebration in the town at the end of the war.
After the ferry ride we had to go through customs in Victoria. The line was long – there had just been an incident with some Chinese illegals disappearing into Canada. The volkswagen van in front of us was searched. Then the officials looked at us with my 89 year old grandma in our boring old camry and let us on through.
We stayed in a bed and breakfast. It was nice but not spectacular. We went out to dinner then walked around the waterfront. The boats were beautiful with the lights and such.
The next day we did the Butchart Gardens and Crystal Gardens. Butchart was even more beautiful than I remembered. Crystal Garden had a butterfly exhibit that was amazing. We also shopped at the cute shops in the downtown area. There was a shop that specialized in tartans. I had to buy the Ross tartan, even though we are not from Scotland. They were out of the Leslie tartan. Something to keep looking for.
The big department store was going out of business (I can’t remember the name.) I took advantage of the sales. One purchase was a black jacket – longer than a blazer but shorter than a duster. It is still one of my favorites. (As a note – I just tried it on while writing – It fits again HURRAH!)
Paul then catches a high speed boat back to Seattle (he has to get back to work.) He said it was a very rough trip with a lot of seasickness around him.
Grandma, Mom and I then drove up to Port Alberni where we stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast called "The Roses." The rooms were really nice and the hosts were charming. It was a stop I would really recommend.
We then caught a boat up to Bamfield. If I remember correctly, the only access to this town is over water. The main industry was tourism. There was also a marine biology station. We ate lunch, walked the little town and shopped. There were no cars, there were nice footpaths through the town. I remember one path had a sign that said "Penny Lane" and was paved in pennies.
We then took the boat back and drove to Nanaimo where we spent the night. Nanaimo is the orgins of the wonderful cookie Nanaimo Bars (num, num). We had dinner at a brewpub that night. The next day we took the ferry over to Vancouver then started driving back to Seattle.
We stopped at a little shop close to the border and bought mom a Tai Chi Man statue for her living room.
We then totalled all of our purchases and headed to customs. We were close to the tax free limit so we thought if we were really organized it would help. The customs guy asks us if any of us spent more than like 200 dollars – yes. We then get our total and pile of receipts. The customs guy looks at us again and says have a nice day.
That winter was my grandmother’s 90th birthday. For her birthday I gave her a scrapbook that included photos from this trip. She loved it!
Here is a recipe for Nanaimo Bars from the city of Nanaimo:
Nanaimo Bar Recipe
Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.
Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.
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2 Responses to Vacation Memories

  1. Cherissa says:

    These are some great new pictures you have up!! Carl is so adorable!!!
    I hope you are doing well!!
    Take care and have a BEAUTIFUL day!

  2. Tanya says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip up to BC – especially getting to enjoy it with your family!  Have a great night 🙂  ~Tanya

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