I am really getting into the swing of this now! Where was this motivation when I meant to share it all previously?! The past few days I've found myself doing all of my jobs between knocking up a post or two with ease. I've even had time to pack a hospital bag in between and do lots of random procrastinating too. There might have even been a nap or two snuck in there. I am more tired than I've been, but I'm guessing this spurt of productivity is the nesting phase and preparation mindset in full force. I knew if I didn't get on it now, I'd never get to it once baby arrives. And with that, I bring you the next canadian flavoured installment. 

Arriving on the Island

Following that insane ferry journey over to Vancouver Island, we departed Swartz Bay terminal and cruised into the unknown. Heading for the Victoria area for the first few days of our stay, I had very little expectation of what would greet us.

We opted to start in Victoria and then progress onto the more natural and deserted areas of the island. We did this for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted to go whale watching from Victoria, a well known Orca spotting area, and if the trip was unsuccessful or cancelled as they can often be it gave us the rest of the island to repeat the attempt. Also, moving on from high rise Vancouver, Victoria felt the next step in natural progression towards the more off-grid experience that followed.

As we headed through spacious, bunting lined streets, I think it was then I finally felt like we were properly road-tripping. Vancouver was amazing but it is afterall, another city. This had a bit more character, personality, charm.

Our first stop, Sea Glass Beach in Sidney. You mighta known I'd need to go here just from its name. It's a tiny little bay in a beautiful little town. It is what it says on the tin. The beach is strewn with sea glass. More than I've seen in one place. You'd never know it if you looked at it from the pier or walkway!

Inappropriately dressed for the glorious sunshine, we took a stroll along the beach and pier, taking in the coastal views as we went. A piece of my heart will always belong to the water and it felt great to be by it again, even if a little sweaty! Funny, if you'd asked me 10 years ago, I would have said I'd do anything to be in the city. London, London, London! Whilst this still holds a significant part of my heart and always will, it has slowly evolved over the years -  I am definitely a mermaid reincarnate. Maybe it's a sign of getting older, a slower pace... haha who knows?! I also think the accessibility for me as an adult has allowed me to develop such a draw, as a child I rarely got to go to a beach!

Happy in my favourite surroundings, when you dress yourself from a car, I warn you the outfits get interesting. They will only get worse over the course of the trip.

The view from the pier was so tranquil. Imagining what it's like to live here and take in this beautiful blue expanse everyday. Although, I'd imagine it's bloody cold in the winter!

Peeling myself away from the deep blue, we headed into some gift shops and of course a local grocery store for lunch. I get so excited in supermarkets abroad. America and Canada are the best. The giant aisles and mist filled fresh produce sections make me want to buy everything. They do grocery stores so well.

Fuelled on more deli meat and baguette than one human ever needs, we headed onto Butchart Gardens. A well known and highly recommended attraction, one not to miss if you're headed this way in the world at any point. I'm still not certain how to pronounce it but being mature adults, we call it 'butt-chart' :)

The colours and flowers were mesmerising. The gardens were fairly busy but nowhere near as busy as I had anticipated. Especially on a hot afternoon. 

Every plant is groomed to perfection and each flower bed almost tweezed into place.

There was something a little like home about these gardens, but in the sunshine with the surrounding trees, it offered just a little touch more.

Grateful for a little shade, we'd at least managed to switch into some shorts in the carpark!

We got our first view of the famous totem as we went.

Butchart Gardens do water features well. The atmosphere at each one so serene, I could have curled up on a bench and stayed a while.

Caught in the act, I'd spotted a sneaky vista to the great blue. I'm telling you, drawn like a magnet.

Hiding through the trees was the most picturesque dock of dreams.

Back up in the gardens, the colours only got more vivid.

It was just glorious.

Stopping for a much needed icecream and to take in the view, we opted for an Earl Grey infused creation, a little hint of home.

Having had our fill of flowers and frankly, too much sun... we continued on our journey into Victoria, to our delightful airbnb. I am still so excited about this quirky little loft. Another love of ours is anything industrial. We live in a converted copper mill and that warehouse vibe just sings out to us. This choice was a no brainer for us. Just look at these corridors.

Victoria itself has a very industrial vibe about it. All of the restaurants and shops are old warehouses and the decor and style everywhere is perfection, if that's your cup of tea.

Exposed brick and a ladder to bed, I was like a child squealing as I played.

The apartment has a lovely bay window and makes the most of its space, just the perfect size for two. We were only here for a few nights but I could have easily stayed a week, even if I didn't go outside!

Our little romantic hideaway - it was so cosy to sleep in and never a problem getting up or down the ladder, even in the night. As well as full kitchen, they also have a roof terrace with BBQ for you to use, if home cooking is what you're after. Being on the move, we wanted to maximize our time and experience so didn't eat-in on this stay.

As difficult as it was to pull ourselves away from our little nest, we wanted to make the most of our time in Victoria and so went in search of what the island had to offer. You'll have to forgive me for limited pictures, I'm really not sure what happened in Victoria. Over the 2 days we spent here, I have very little to show for Victoria itself!

Victoria is full of great restaurants and shops - we even managed to pick up the cutest little romper for our future child (we have this thing for collecting a baby item from where we visit since our honeymoon) - and now she's finally on the way to wear them <3

There is a lovely park on the outskirts of town called Beacon hill park. Absolutely worth the walk and the surrounding neighbourhoods are great. The houses are huge and everywhere just has so much space. And if the great outdoors isn't enough to persuade you, it's also home to the world's tallest totem pole. How terribly Canadian can you get?

You can get the cutest water taxis in Victoria harbour, these travel to and from Fisherman's Wharf in James Bay, a cute little harbour full of colourful house boats and cafes. Worth a visit! If you walk one of the journeys, you can also pass the Great Gatsby Mansion  - a little entertaining feature.

Victoria harbour itself is magnificent. The Empress hotel certainly makes an impression. Apparently afternoon tea here is lovely, we gave this a miss as it would have involved outfit changes for 'suitability' and frankly, we couldn't be bothered. We just wanted to be outdoors! If you do go, let me know how it was!

The Parliament Building is spectacular and at night it is lit up in the twinkliest of lights. 

As well as the occasional homeless person (nowhere near the extent of Vancouver and certainly nothing on San Francisco!), there is also an amazing amount of wildlife to spot here. I got my first experience of a real life hummingbird! They are amazing to watch. The speed at which their little wings move is unbelievable.

It just wasn't something I expected to see in such a built up place. These can be spotted around the Beacon Hill park neighbourhood too. Keep your eyes peeled. We spotted quite a few.

There are plenty of places to find a cocktail in Victoria and we rounded off each night getting happily merry. I also used it as an opportunity to eat ribs... boy did I eat a lot of ribs in Canada!

What more do you need?

Condensing Victoria into this one post was tough but with purpose, saving the best for last! Up next is a post from Victoria that you shouldn't miss - it deserves it's very own space. Join me after the weekend as I experience the ultimate bucket list adventure and fulfill one of my lifelong dreams.

Stay tuned & happy weekend!


- MTWP xxx

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