Ben and Suze's Excellent Adventure

Day 3 - We woke to a very strong smell of Ethiopian food. We didn’t bring any leftover food home… so I’m mystified.

After showers, we planned a trip to the beach on Notre Dame island. On the way we saw the bio-dome then the Formula 1 race track, so we skipped the free beach bus to walk the circuit. Susannah lost patience after about 500 metres but, despite the intense heat, we duly completed the 4.5k while quietly absorbing the exciting roadway. Even though we made one wrong turn, I think that Susannah really enjoyed it. A real highlight.

The beach was awesome although the lake was freezing. 

That evening we met up with a friend from Ottawa and had dinner in the old town.

Ben

Day 2 - Bixi bikes!

Cycled down into town and through the other side to Atwater Marche to pick up picnic supplies. Then up into Mount Royal Park and lunch in the sun beside Beaver Lake. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the park including a panoramic view of the city (very similar to Parc Guell in Barcelona which has done nothing to quell my confusion!)

Dinner this evening was a highlight of the trip and marked the end to a quest of many years. You see long a go when I spent some time in Barcelona, I ate in an Ethiopian restaurant. The experience was nothing short of phenomenal and I have tried desperately to replicate it in the many other cities I have visited - alas to no avail! Until tonight, when Ben and I hit the Ethopian jackpot at Le Nil Bleu. No knives or forks just rip a piece of the pancake-like bread and dive in to the assortment of meats, sauces and vegetables. Finger lickin’ good.

Susannah 

Montreal Day 1.

Met up with our Lake Louise friend Jules and his buddy Guillaume for a stroll around the city’s old town and port. It felt good to be back exploring - even if Barbara is no longer with us.

The city to me feels a lot like Barcelona - to the point where I keep wanting to say “Si” and “Gracias” and keep thinking of the time difference. Will focus extra hard tomorrow.

Susannah 

So, whilst my uncle and I headed to Ottawa to see the family, Ben had the delightful task of driving over 700km to Lake Louise (via Revelstoke) to re-home Barbara. It was devastating unpacking all our belongs from her furry belly; she had become a reliable companion to us both.

There were many friendly faces there to greet him and our last bottle of rum was polished off in celebration.

Thank you Lake Louise and all our forever friends xxx

Hi All,
Just wanted to let you know that unfortunately we will not be heading to the west coast of the USA as planned. My beloved grandfather passed away on May 14th so we have returned to Ottawa for the funeral etc. At the moment we plan on staying here until the end of July. We will try and make time for a few trips, hopefully to Montreal and maybe Quebec City. We will continue to post as we go. 
Susannah

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know that unfortunately we will not be heading to the west coast of the USA as planned. My beloved grandfather passed away on May 14th so we have returned to Ottawa for the funeral etc. At the moment we plan on staying here until the end of July. We will try and make time for a few trips, hopefully to Montreal and maybe Quebec City. We will continue to post as we go. 

Susannah

So after saying “ciao bella” to Victoria we drove west to Sooke for a day’s hike up through the potholes. Susannah made the 300ft decent without ropes or carabiners, despite the (implied) government warnings and (possible) recent injuries of several experienced climbers.

On the way home we tuned in the radio and put our feet up. Kicking ass kicks ass.

Back down to glorious Victoria and a wander around downtown. The following day entailed a trip to the misty morning Marina, a babe on a boat and a greedy seal!

(Barbara overjoyed at being recognised by Shannon’s postwoman who remembered her from Banff ten years ago!)

Susannah

After a night on Denman we caught a second ferry over to Hornby Island. Hornby is a bit more popular and it dines out on its artistic community. As usual, when we turned up everything was still closed for the season but we were lucky to have the place to ourselves. We found a micro gin distillery. They don’t advertise but a friendly guy told us to follow pictures of a frog and we easily got there.

Hornby also has a Free Shop where we dropped some of the van’s clutter and replaced it with more free clutter. They live by the words ‘recycling makes me Hornby’.

As always, we found a few beaches and continued Susannah’s bakery tour of Canada by picking up more cinnamon buns.

I loved Denman more than anywhere else in Canada, possibly the world so we went back there for another night. I’m not sure why we’re not still there now.

Ben

We’d heard a lot about Denman and Hornby Island which are both just off the east coast of Vancouver Island. A ten minute ferry from Buckley Bay got us to Denman first which was like stepping back in time. Dirt roads, colourful farmhouses and a small general store where the locals hang out. We were hooked from the start.

We had read about a small island off Denman that you could walk to when the tide was out and camp for free. Tempted, we decided to check it out. Starting on the coast we walked north to the point where there was a clear sandy path to the island (complete with deer tracks). On our way we had heard the barks of seals which seemed to be coming from the rocks ahead. 3km later and we’d made it although there was a not a seal in sight! We never quite figured out where the noises were coming from which was quite maddening!

The island was rugged with long grass, a sandy beach with shells and driftwood scattered about. We decided it wasn’t the best camping spot as there was little shelter plus we had no tide charts with us so we headed back spotting a bald eagle and a hawk on the way.

After a short drive, we found a small campground on the east coast of the island right on the beach. Running low on supplies, we headed back into town for supper and found the super friendly Earth Club Factory Bistro where we devoured vegetable torte and thai chicken soup whilst listening to the latest Green Party candidate’s manifesto.

Susannah 

From west to back east via Sprout Lake and Cathedral Grove.

The giant sea plane in the picture is used to sweep up water and then spray it on forest fires. What a helpful plane!