This past week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with their children, were in BC for a visit. I am not normally a Royal fan but since there were in town I figured I would get in on the action. They were sailing past our house, and it didn’t take much effort to walk to the end of the block. My seven-year-old son wanted to see what a Duke and Duchess looked like so he joined me. While we were waiting for their tall ship to appear he played at the beach.
We are so fortunate to live surrounded by so much natural beauty. Thetis Lake is one such place just outside of Victoria. We made it to Thetis twice this summer, once for a hike and the second time for a paddle. The trails around upper and lower lakes are classified as moderate, and I was so proud of our youngest hiker who walked the entire trail without complaint.
Last week, I was writing about being a tourist in my home town, so it’s only fitting that today I write about exploring Victoria. My first trip to the Butchart Gardens was a magical memorable day. My boyfriend had just moved to Victoria, BC and I visiting from Toronto. We were young, childless and carefree. We woke up on a Saturday morning and he told me that he had to run out for a bit. When he returned, without any words he tied a string to my finger. Just a plain beige string, nothing fancy. He held the other end in his hand. I looked at him with a puzzled expression not understanding what was about to happen. Next I felt a ring on my finger. My ring finger. Still no words from him. He never officially asked but that was the moment that we got engaged.
As a mom, I find myself spending my time doing things that I have no interest in. I don’t mean cooking dinner (which coincidentally I have no interest in) because that is a necessity, I mean things like spending a Sunday afternoon at the Northwest Deuce Days car show. Before kids I would never have dreamed of spending a hot sunny afternoon with thousands of car enthusiasts. But post kids I did, and will probably do it again.
Recently I attended Dîner en Blanc in Victoria BC. I didn’t know what Dîner en Blanc was until a friend was looking for a date for the event. I will go on the assumption that many of you don’t know what it is either. Dîner en Blanc is a chic picnic in a public space where all of the attendees wear white. Thousands of people with tables, chairs and white picnic baskets converge on a secret location to wine, dine and dance. The concept began almost 30 years ago in Paris and it has now expanded to five continents so there maybe an event close to you.
Did you go out this year to watch Canada Day, or Independence Day fireworks? What city were you in? I am not sure but I don’t think that I have ever been to the Canada Day fireworks in Victoria, my excuse is young children. Almost the entire time we have lived in Victoria we either had a newborn or a toddler to take care of, and nightfall was way past their bedtime. Never mind the noise which is frightening to me as an adult. This year with a seven and not quite four-year-old we were able to enjoy the fireworks together as a family. Continue reading
Welcome to Beau Vallon, Mahe, Seychelles
We got off the plane at 6:45am after 33 or so hours of travel and an eleven hour time change to winter at the equator. Hot sticky warm weather. After 2 days of travel I was missing fresh air, between planes and airports we had not been outside for days.
After a nervous 30 minutes or so waiting for the luggage to arrive we headed to the car rental to pick up the skinniest SUV I have ever seen a Daihatsu Terios. In the Seychelles they drive on the left side of the road, which would be a challenge without the sleep deprivation we just endured. So off we go with a map without street names, but Anthony from Hertz assured us if we just turn left at the lights (the only set on the island) we would be fine. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or the lack of signage but we struggled to find the hotel. Normally I am a great co-pilot but that is because I depend on both maps and streets to be named and marked, this wasn’t the case in the Seychelles. All I can say is the ride to the hotel was scary. The roads are narrow, winding, hilly, lacking sidewalks, curbs and there were people everywhere. Bus stops were in the middle of the road, and cars parked where ever. The roads just drop off down a cliff, or into a deep gutter at the edge of the lane. There were dogs, and even people sleeping on the side of the road. It is interesting though to get immersed in the driving culture of another country, there were people in the back of trucks, moms with babes in arms in the front seat, and children piled into the backseat all major no no’s in Canada, but the norm there.
Coral Strand Hotel
So when we finally found the Coral Strand Hotel after stopping for directions more than once, I was relieved. I was even happier when they had a room ready for us at 8:30am when check in was stated as 2:00pm. What I wasn’t prepared for was the pool being closed and the hotel being under construction. When we got the room we overlooked the parking lot, and mountains, not the worst view but not the best either. We then headed for our third breakfast in a row. We had breakfast as the meal on the last 2 flights we took so why not go for a trifecta. Breakfast was great but the view was better.
After a nap we headed to the pool at The Savoy and it was 100 times better than what would have been the pool at our hotel, SCORE.
We learned something very quickly about the cost of living on the island, food is expensive. We live on an island in Canada and food is typically more expensive here than the rest of the country but food in the Seychelles is more expensive than anywhere I have ever been. Dinner was typically costing $90.00 Canadian for two entrées and two drinks, no appies, no desert, no coffee. But the quality of food was excellent in every place we ate and you could just tell that the cooks had pride in what they prepared.
Most days were not complete without a walk on the beach. This was the beach at Beau Vallon the area that we were staying in.
No vacation is complete without a trip to the spa, and I must say that I was spoiled rotten at the Spa at the Savoy. The resort had only been opened for a couple of months and were running some great discounts at the spa. I have the most amazing treatments with Zuluai (the therapist). I have had spa visits all over the globe but the massage I had at the Savoy spa was the best of my life, it was worth the 19 hours of flying. Accidentally I got locked in the spa with another guest who happened to be staying at the Coral Strand, we trash talked the Coral Strand for a little bit while we waited for someone with a key to let us out. We learned that we both had husbands working on the island, so we became fast friends and hung out by the pool a couple of days. Thanks Des for keeping me company.
So after the first night at the Coral Stand a couple moved into the adjoining room next door. I could hear the people in the adjoining room breathing, no jokes. We could also see the lights in their room on all sides of the door and the crack in the door itself. The people in the other room were incredibly respectful, because obviously they could hear us too, BUT I still didn’t want to hear them. So after a couple of nights of sleeping with ear plugs we moved over to the Savoy. The Coral Strand and the Savoy are owned by the same person so it wasn’t very difficult. The Savoy was heaven. At only 2 months old everything was new and pristine, and quiet, so very very quiet.
Who doesn’t want to go to the Doctor while in a strange country? It seems that seeing a medical professional was in the cards for me while in the Seychelles. After a bit of a discussion with the front desk about my possible options I decided to walk over to the pharmacy to try to get another round of antibiotics. Amazingly enough I walked in with my the antibiotic prescription I just finished which didn’t work, and walked out minutes later with a new one. Now for the doctors out there, please don’t freak out. After 5 days of antibiotics I still had all the symptoms of the initial infection and I used the same judgement that led me to the Doctor in Canada. I know that antibiotics are highly over used, but there was no part of me that was going to suffer through a bladder infection on a 33 hour return trip. The first world dweller in me Googled the name of the antibiotic they gave me before I took them just in case.
Here was the best part of the trip. My husband was working almost the entire trip but he did manage to take a day off and play tourist with me. I will post about our tour around the island soon. Below is a little taste of what is to come.
It would be lovely to be able to make things all day but unfortunately I can’t afford to which is why I have a job. A great job, but one that is not in the same city as I live in, or that I can drive to because I live on an island and my office is on the main land. So I fly to work, sounds glamorous but believe me in the middle of winter crammed in a tiny plane with a dozen other people and the pilot says tighten your seat belts you know it’s not going to be a fun ride. Yes pilot as in one person flying the plane and tighten not fasten your seatbelts, neither of those were typos. Of course on other days the scenery and ride are amazing, especially when I get to ride in the co-pilot seat. These are the pictures that I have chosen to share. Believe me you don’t want to see the ones in the middle of winter.