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genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Our Canadian Adventure - The Blog (page 2)

Vancouver (part 2)

The Market and culture (24th June)

Monday started off rather strangely watching Rafa Nadal losing in the first round of Wimbledon, which was unexpected to say the least. Strange to think that we would have been on number 1 court watching if we hadn't been in Canada. Sarah took our tickets, so hope she had a good day. 

The rain was pouring down, so we decided that it would have to be an 'inside day'.  Linda took us to Granville Island Market, which is an indoor market with quality produce.  We were especially impressed with the fish display and craft stalls.  We will need to return here as there is a lot to see.

We then moved to The Museum of Anthropology which is an amazing place.  We hear about the Aborigines of Australia, but what we had failed to be aware of was the native Indian culture of British Columbia.  The newly called 'First Nation' people were thrown out of their homes and off their land by successive governments.  These native Indians have a culture going back thousands of years.  Their totem poles tell their stories and different tribes each have an individual way in which to carve their history into the cedar trees in order to pass it down to the next generation.  Their story needs to be told to our school children as otherwise they will grow up thinking life outside Britain began at the time of the Gold Rush !

We were excited to spot our first sighting of real wildlife when we saw a racoon outside the Museum in the undergrowth.  He seemed quite comfortable knowing we were watching.  Got a few good shots and will post one of him and other highlights of our day once I can get the technology.

Looking forward to our trip off piste tomorrow to Vancouver Island.

Victoria on Vancouver Island (25th June)

Flying is not something which has ever worried me.  I take it for granted that these huge beasts will take off and fly me to my destination, usually hundreds or thousands of miles away.  There was however an element of walking into the unknown when we boarded the single engine De Havilland sea plane along with about 16 fellow passengers to take a short hop to Vancouver Island, which is just off the coast.  Sitting in row 2 (there were only 5 !) with the cockpit visible and the pilot a few feet away was not something either of us had experienced.  The pilot looked pretty confident that everything would be ok and he plugged in his Satnav before taking off along the water for our 35 minute flight.

The trip was fantastic and we are so pleased we did it.  The views were spectacular as we flew a few hundred feet up under the clouds, watching the numerous islands and house spotting. Only once did the plane drop suddenly, leaving our stomachs on the ceiling, but even that was soon forgotten as the island came into view and we went down the coast to the harbour landing site.

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We were met by our hosts, friends of Linda's, Janice and Gordon, who took us to the tourist information building to furnish us with maps and ideas of things we could do and good coffee shops and restaurants to visit.  They pointed us in the right direction, and off we went !

Victoria is a beautiful city.  It is the capital of British Columbia, even though most Brits, including us, probably think Vancouver is. Our initial destination was the building which houses their Legislature; a large, dominating building on the harbour front.  Luckily for us, Queen Victoria was on the steps providing her people with information about her life and the history of the city named after her.  She had a very English accent ...... most of the time !

We next went to a new art gallery which has just opened.  Art is not something I normally 'do' but Sue wanted to visit a display by wildlife artist, Robert Bateman.  I'm glad she did as his paintings were extraordinarily life like - especially loved his wall sized painting of a wild elephant which seemed alive.  There were some very modern techniques used in the displays including a swipe screen where you could chose which of his paintings to display on a larger screen on the wall. Also, some of the bird paintings had sensors which you could trigger in order to bring up their birdsong ...... although you heard the birdsong closest to you, everyone else's birds were audible in the background.  Boys toys !  

After lunch we went to the British Columbia Museum and walked around a display explaining the expedition by Scott to Antarctica and the South Pole.  Very interesting but, again, could have spent all day going round the exhibits.

Met up again with Linda and our hosts before being taken for a lovely meal at The Marina Restaurant.  We all had fresh 'catch of the day'.

More on Vancouver Island (26th June)

After a good sleep we awake to the smell of Gordon's cooked breakfast which includes spiced turkey sausages.  It is so peaceful here and quite a distinctly slower pace than on the mainland.

After consuming our first meal of the day, we drive north, stopping to take in the stunning views along the way.  Zanatta Winery is our first destination and we enjoy a quiet lunch outside on the veranda in the sunshine ..... well, I say "sunshine", but there was actually a shower as well !  Had hoped to attend their wine tasting but wanted to get to the Raptor Centre for their display, so missed the tasting ...... we have tested, tasted and consumed many different bottles of vino since we arrived, so a comparatively sober lunch was actually quite welcome.

The raptor is what we would call a bird of prey and the Centre was just outside the town of Duncan.  They had a varied selection of birds, all born in captivity or taken from zoo's around the world.   As the rain was picking up (again), they only had four of their birds doing the display as, apparently, like humans, they don't all perform so well in the rain - a bald headed eagle, a great horned owl, a bird nobody can remember and a peregrine falcon.

Linda then drove us to the BC Ferry terminal for my greatest test.  As most of you will know, boats are not on my 'to do' list and I have never, to my knowledge, not felt nauseus or worse on water !  We had expected to miss the six o'clock departure (as it was after six) but the huge vessel was still there, and we sped down to the gaping mouth of the ship, which signaled the entrance to the car deck.  I had no time to change my mind about the whole thing, when the cargo door slammed shut behind us and, by the time we had walked up a couple of decks from the car deck, we were on the move.  Sea sickness pills poised, I waited for the onset of nausea.  I must have been exceedingly stoic, as my constitution cooperated and I decided that I might even be able to walk vertically on the deck .... yes, outside ..... for a few photos to support my tales of bravery which would obviously follow.

The scenery was totally different from the aerial view seen the day before.  Difficult to put in words but hopefully the photo's will do a better job than I ever could.  Before you knew it, an hour and a half later, we were driving on to terra ferma.

Sue's first post ! (27th June)

We are having a great time here. Everything people said about Canada is proving to be true. It has far more of an 'english' feel to it than the USA which always feels slightly alien to me. Linda has done heaps of research and has picked out the 'must see' places brilliantly, though I think we may not cover everything - great excuse to come back! Our trip to Vancouver Island was lovely. Linda's friends, Janice and Gordon, were so hospitable and their house is lovely. The trip over by float plan wasn't exactly on my list of things to do as I'm no fan of flying and very nervous of little planes. It turned out to be a great experience - bit disconcerting to find we could actually watch the pilot flying the plane but it soon became clear he knew what he was doing!!! The views of the Islands were beautiful and before we knew it we were landing on the water!

The return trip was Simon's challenge as he usually avoids boats with the exception of canal boats. He got quieter and quieter the nearer we got to the port...luckily we just drove straight on to the next boat so he didn't have to sit for an hour thinking about it! We sat him down while Linda and I went exploring. I went back once we had left the harbour and coaxed him out onto the deck. Within a short while he was taking photos and I suspect secretly rather enjoying the beautiful scenery! He was very brave! We were lucky that it was a calm, sunny evening and didn't really feel much different to being on a canal boat.
 
Having a bit of a rest today though I'm going 'girls shopping' with Linda later while Simon watches the tennis!


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