We had great fun last week on our little excursion with our friends, Dave & Janet. We boarded the ferry as foot passengers with bicycles (charge $2.50 per bike…no vehicle charge!). The only hitch was that when we arrived in Swartz Bay, we had to pedal our bikes to Victoria. There is a lovely trail running parallel to the highway which was constructed on an old rail bed, for the most part. It is 35 kms in length and classified as easy. It sounded easier than it was, but I’d do it again anytime. I’d recommend actually cycling a little in preparation though…it would probably be easier on the butt. We traveled light (our possessions in a back pack)…the weather was perfect (cloudy & cool)…but we still got rather warm, so I wouldn’t want to try this in the heat of the summer.
We had lots of interesting stops along the trail. We stopped to watch some pigs wallowing in the mud beside the road…
…and to take in the great ocean views……and to pick blackberries
…& of course, we stopped for lunch at a delightful cafe at Maddick’s Farm.
How's that for a gourmet sandwich ? We shared, of course
We stopped on a trestle bridge to watch the moose across the pond. I never knew they had moose on Vancouver Island...but here's a picture to prove it! We also took an unplanned detour when we missed the trailhead at an intersection and cycled uphill in the wrong direction for awhile. It took us a leisurely four hours to reach Victoria, so we’re not thinking of going in any races any time soon.
We checked into our condo, tried out the hot tub and walked around the inner harbour before having dinner at a great little place called Pagliacci's. It is a favorite of locals…they never advertise & are always full. We were a little put off by the long line-up on the sidewalk when we arrived, but decided it must be worth the wait! Everything is made on site…it’s a real character place with live entertainment. I wish I’d known they were most famous for their cheesecakes; I would have saved room.
The next morning, it was off to see the Titanic exhibition. It was a great presentation! As we ‘came on board’ we were each given a boarding pass of one of the original passengers. (I was Mlle. Henrietta Yrois, a 24 year old Parisian model travelling second class.) We then walked through rooms which were replicas of those on the ship…and saw lots of artifacts which have been recovered from the wreck of the ‘unsinkable’ ship 4 kms below the surface of the ocean. We heard the remarkable stories of some of the survivors and (as we exited) we discovered whether we were on the list of those who survived or met their fate. I never made it! It made the whole story of the Titanic so much more real.
Now it was time for our trip back to the ferry terminal; we were ready for some more punishment.
Why is it that the return trip seems to go by so much faster? We made a few stops at viewpoints that we had missed the previous day, and were back in time for the 5 o’clock ferry. That’s the other positive thing about going by bike…you get on the next ferry (no waiting in line-ups with the car). We had supper at the White Spot Restaurant while crossing the Georgia Straight (I’d say it was a great move to have the B.C. Ferries contract out their food services to White Spot!)...the sun came out just for us, and we had a table with a view! How much better can it get?
We almost made it without a hitch! As we got off the ferry in Tswassen, Janet had a flat tire on her bike. She had to push her bike the last quarter mile to the parking lot.
So that was our Titanic adventure of 2007. It was so fun!