So...after our super late night and action packed day in Seattle, the early start for the ferry wasn't too welcome. However, once we boarded and were greeted with views like this we certainly perked up!
I would ride the ferry and back all day long just for the views alone! Apart from maybe not because it's sooo expensive (what isn't in Canada!)
Our return ferry to Vancouver Island cost around $200, the same ferry ride from England to France would cost about $60!
In every direction you looked there were tree covered islands or mountains!
When we arrived in Victoria, we drove up the coast for a few hours. We stopped at this viewpoint and I took this photo. If you click on it to enlarge it you can see the white puffy stuff in the middle of the photo isn't just clouds, it's actually a mountain! Vancouver Island is actually much larger than I originally thought, it would take about 7 hours to drive the full length of it.
We just drove the 2 hours to get to Nanaimo, although you have to drive slow on their roads and so it seemed much longer! Plus you constantly have to stop for traffic lights, on a 'highway', yeah it makes no sense to me either! but it was one of the most beautiful drives which I'll always be glad we did even if our final destination wasn't the most happening place ever!
We had lunch at Simon Holt. Mom only needed to see the menu for 1 minute before declaring it was clam chowder time...again!
Mara and I shared our mains, a honey lime and avocado salsa burger, and a curry pot pie with sweet potato fries! It was super tasty...we skipped dessert because we had bigger plans in store!
We finally made it to Nanaimo, after it felt like we'd been driving all day!
and headed to the museum where we sat on 'Nanaimo Bar' stools and read all about the history of the Nanaimo Bar!
Those of you who know me will not be surprised that we drove to this pretty boring town purely for the sweet goods on offer! If we'd have known it was so boring and uneventful we might have thought twice...but we still had fun!
So for those who don't know what the Nanaimo Bar is it's a layer of chocolate biscuit crumbs and coconut with custard on top, finished off with a thick layer of chocolate...and it's pretty delicious! The bar originated from a local housewife, Mabel Jenkins, who submitted her recipe to the W.I handbook. Soon, most people in the town and surrounding area were baking them up and then cafe's in Nanaimo started selling them. Eventually they started being sold on the ferry crossing and pretty soon their popularity spread across the whole province and the whole of Canada.
So I'd read that you can do a 'Nanaimo Bar Trail' where you go around the town of Nanaimo trying all the different variations on Nanaimo Bars and so this was our reason for being in Nanaimo!
We had to act like we were in the museum for other reasons, besides just reading about the Nanaimo Bar, so I took a few other token pictures! and we even had to take the 10 minute spiel from the old guy working in there which I was less than enthusiastic about!
We finished the museum trip with a quick game of schools, just to please Mrs Ide!
We headed to our first stop, Perkins, for a taste of the original Nanaimo Bar...
It was a good start to the tour...
We headed to the 'Old City Quarter' for our next stop...
Here you could try Nanaimo Bar ice cream...
but since we're all about the shakes, we decided to try it whipped up into a shake! It was super thick and delish...everything was going well!
We stopped in at another place to get the ice cream sandwich only to be told they only did it in summer! We weren't too impressed with that...
We posed in some giant colourful chairs...
and admired some of the Old City buildings.
We headed on to 'A Wee Cupcakery' excited to try their Nanaimo cupcake! Only to be told they'd sold out of it hours earlier! By this time we were feeling a bit full, and a bit discouraged by the number of places who didn't have items that were on the trail! so we called it a day and picked up a coconut and chocolate cupcake instead because it would have been rude not too - and I can never pass up anything involving coconut!
We enjoyed it down at the harbour, because aside from the sweet treats that was really all that Nanaimo had going on for it!
A few titanic poses later...
and a whole lot of cherry blossoms later we decided it was time to hit the road and head to more exciting places!
Just before we left, Mara and Mom seized the photo op on top of these cannons! In my opinion, our trip to Nanaimo was worth it just for this photo alone! It provided hours of entertainment, we couldn't stop laughing as we watched our little slideshow on the laptop that evening of all the photos of the day and this one popped up! You really have to click on it to see up close the face my mom is pulling, along with her pose...it's a classic!
As we headed back to Victoria, we couldn't resist detouring via the little town of Duncan...
because we had read on the ferry over that it was the 'Town of Totems'. It didn't disappoint!
There were totem poles on every corner!
and being the tourists that we are, we love a bit of totem action!
Up next, why we fell in love with Victoria!