Long time no blog! We have broken our “post at least once a week” rule several times now, but this time it got a little out of hand. So to all of you who have been sitting patiently in front of your screen waiting for another Tuttly post (crickets…..), we are deeply sorry.
A major highlight of the past couple of weeks has been our mini vacation to Victoria. We needed desperately to get off Hornby because cabin fever was moving in hard. Don’t get me wrong, Hornby is a lovely place to live, but the pace of life slows down so dramatically during the off-season that we began to crave a little urbanity. This past Tuesday we packed our bags and set off for a 6-day change of scenery.
Technically this was my second visit to Victoria, although I was too young to remember my first trip, so let’s just say I was looking at the city with fresh eyes. What a gorgeous place. We used Airbnb for the first time to book our accommodations, and I’m happy to say it went off without a hitch! I think there is always some trepidation in the back of one’s head when they are about to stay in a stranger’s house, but everything worked out really well. Our hosts were clean and kind, plus it cost less than hostelling, which is where we normally stay. Our hosts also allowed us to use their kitchen, so we saved a few bucks by having breakfast and coffee at the house before heading out for the day. Major thriftiness points were earned on this trip!
Going to the Butchart Gardens has been on my to-do list for a lonnngggg time. My mom and late grandmother hold a special place in their hearts for this place, so as a matter of tradition and because I am a total plant nerd, we went. Our first impression? These guys have their sh*t together. And this was before we even got to into the gardens. Even the sides of the road leading into the parking lot were perfectly manicured, the place was incredibly well staffed, and all the people working there were movie-star good looking. What’s up with that? I have only one criticism: it would have been nice to see some edible plants incorporated within the gardens, which could then perhaps be used in the restaurant and cafe on the premises. But that is just one organic grower’s opinion!

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Anyway, the place was basically one giant gardening phenomenon. One area that totally blew us away was called “The Sunken Garden“. It was the most beautifully designed garden grown inside the pit of an old limestone quarry. I practically shed a tear when we rounded a corner and were able to look down into this marvellous creation (beautiful things have been bringing me to tears lately, weird, I know). I will spare you the Butchart Gardens play-by-play, and instead entertain you with pictures from the journey.

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Over the next couple of days we indulged in shameless urbanite activities such as going to the movie theater (we saw “The Martian”, a.k.a. “The Matt Damon Show”, and it was pretty good), checking out neat little shops and restaurants, meeting up with a couple friends for drinks, and of course, making the pilgrimage to MEC. We also hit a few of the classic Victoria landmarks like the BC legislature (regal, especially at night with all the lights), the Empress Hotel (which was undergoing renovations and had all the vines on the outside removed, outrage!), Fan Tan Alley (said to be the Canada’s narrowest street), and Fisherman’s Wharf (float home community). Since we were eating like total slobs we tried to get a bit of physical activity in by walking along the harbour, Dallas Road (where you can see across the water to the US, and the “Mile 0” marker of the Trans Canada Highway), and the Ogden Point Breakwater. You’ve outdone yourself, Victoria.

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Of course all it took was some rush hour traffic and paid parking to drive us out of the city again. We spent our last day driving north along the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Since we didn’t have 3 days to tackle the entire 47km trail, we took an hour-long shortcut to Mystic Beach. There’s a sweet suspension bridge on the walk in, and once we got to the beach there was a waterfall and rope swing that sends you over the ocean. Such a cool place. If you are ever in the neighbourhood we highly recommend a visit here, just make sure you call us first so we can come with you!

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The roots along the trail were gnarly. They reminded us of Angkor Wat.

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On the way back to Hornby we overnighted in Courtenay and spent the evening at a Young Agrarians mixer. What is Young Agrarians? Well, Young Agrarians is a network for new and young ecological and organic farmers in BC and throughout Canada. It formed in 2012 and has since organized over 110 events with over 5500 participants. Aaron and I have been following the Young Agrarian network for about a year and a half, and finally got to attend an event this past weekend. It was a great opportunity to meet like minded young people like ourselves, and to help us realize that we are not alone in this crazy path we have set forth on. It was also a great opportunity to eat enormous amounts of pie, since the event was a potluck and the theme was “pie”.
Today we did our monthly Costco stock-up, then made our way back to home, just in time to vote from the Hornby polling station tomorrow. Get off y’er butts and vote!