Another sunny day with a chilly breeze. Perfect for walking around. Caught the bus and got to the appointed meeting place to wait for Ange, Murchies Tea and Coffee on Government Street. Again I was surprised that the downtown was not that busy, with either cars or people. Apparently though, this is mainly a tourist area, not a business area, and in November, tourist season is over. There are distinct advantages to traveling off season! Spied from the bus: sign at a garden center "Better Gnomes and Gardens". Victoria is a city of gardens and gardeners. Also a city where a lot of people retire from other places in Canada. This is evidenced by quite a few medical supply shops, one of which I saw had rows of walkers, electric rod on scooter-chairs including a Cadillac version all encased in clear plastic. Rows of them out front like a car dealership!
I arrived at the tea shop in Murchies and had only just got sat down with a frothy chai tea in a cup the size of a soup bowl when Ange arrived. Big hugs! We settled in with our treats and got acquainted and almost immediately agreed the other was just as nice as we hoped/expected. This was the first time we'd met face to face, both being Corrie fans but having "met" each other online via Live Journal where we both have "blogs". We had a browse round Murchies’ Merchandise, all the varieties of tea and all of it very expensive. Next!
We browsed our way up and down several blocks of Government Street, taking photos in and of shops and merchandise that took our fancy. We spent money in a good few of them too including the lovely Munro’s Bookstore which is right next door to Murchies in what used to be a bank, the drool-inducing Rogers’ Chocolates, Native art at Hill’s Native Art, truly a feast for the eyes and a feast for the body and soul at LUSH where you can get all hand made and all natural body and bath items. LUSH wouldn’t allow photos taken inside the store but I took one surreptitiously at an angle and Ange took some from outside the store.
Onward and upward. A walk through Bastion Square to find a suitable pub or restaurant for a late lunch brought us to D’arcy’s on the waterfront corner of the square. We had a leisurely meal and a great chat.
The only problem with leisurely lunches is that the time passes too quickly. It was three o’clock when we left and Ange had to be back at the ferry by 4 so we decided not to go too much farther afield. We walked down to the waterfront to get better photos and hurried over to Thunderbird Park for a look at the totem poles. Alas time to part ways.
I walked back and had a look in some of the tourist souvenir stores behind the conference center and the Empress Hotel. I did manage to find a place that sold stamps for a couple of postcards I had and when I got back to the tourist information center, expecting to wait awhile, there was my uncle waiting for me. Excellent.
Back home I had only a very light supper of pasta. Not even enough room to finish the salad. Hung out with Steven and the kids for a bit and got some laundry done. Lunch get together tomorrow for the local Coronation Street mates , more commonly termed a Ping, at Spinnakers and then up to Parksville with Karen and Betty.
Yet another gorgeous day. It turned out that the whole week was really nice, nearly unheard of for November anywhere in Canada! We left a little early as I had to pick up a couple of birthday cards, one for Karen and one for Sue in Florida. That one I got everyone at lunch to sign.
We got to Spinnaker’s which is on the waterfront around behind the Condo section on the Esquimalt side of the harbour on Catherine Street. It’s a brewpub and a B&B with fantastic views over the harbour. I highly recommend this place!!! A few people were there already and the rest not far behind. These are all online friends, though a couple i'd met before. Some I had been chatting to online for years but due to the distance, this was the first time "face to face". Once hugs and introductions and photos were taken, we settled in for some excellent food, drinks and conversation. We had a table overlooking the water with good views across to the city. Goodbyes and more hugs after lunch and Betty, Karen and I hit the road to come "up island" to Parksville where Karen lives with her husband Don and son Jack. The drive is about 2 and a half hours thought steep cliffs lined with tall, tall trees and coastal views where the setting sun lit up across to the mountains over on the mainland to the east past Salt Spring and Gabriola islands.
And what was the first thing I saw upon entering Parksville? "Bluenose Motor Company" ! A little piece of Nova Scotia? (Nova Scotians have a nickname, a Bluenoser named after the sailing schooner, found on the Canadian 10 cent coin. Parksville looks like a nice town, with parks and beaches and is quite popular with tourists who rent cottages and holiday homes here. We had a lovely evening having a natter, with glasses of wine and beer or cups of tea. Tomorrow we’re driving up to Campbell River to visit another online friend, Alison, who’s cooking up a salmon for lunch that her husband caught this summer!!