Or by another title we have given it, “Richard and Debbie’s Great Adventure”. Yes, as I am sure you have figured out by now, today’s blog entry (as well as the next few) are not about cycling. What?? A cycling blog talking about something other than cycling, that shouldn’t be…it’s….wrong.
Anyway back to the purpose of this post, our “Great Adventure”. Not only is this week a great adventure for us, being our 35th and getting to this point in time a ‘great adventure’ as well, it is also our first vacation away from home in quite a few years. Preparing for this trip the past week has allowed me some time to reflect on just what a wonderful adventure it has been for the two of us with highs and lows but far more highs than lows. Sickness and health, richness and poorness, love and sorrow, laughter and tears. In other words many of those things you say in your wedding vows which only really sink in when you experience life together in this great adventure called marriage. I wouldn’t trade a single minute of it for anything. It has been quite a story, but that is not what this entry is about, it is about our trip to Saltspring and Victoria for our 35th Anniversary.
So here we are today and have embarked on a mini “Great Adventure” and as I write this we are sitting in our room at the amazing Hastings House Country House Hotel. We left home a bit early on Saturday as Debbie was a bit ‘ansty’ to be on our way. Since we had plenty of time we decided to stop at our favourite Starbucks at 200th St and 86th for a coffee to start the day. The power went off as we were waiting for our drinks so the trip started a bit ominously. We soon discovered that the power outage was a little more widespread than the local Starbucks. Our attempts to leave Langley were thwarted by a traffic jam on 200th Street due to traffic lights not working. I turned off 200th and took an alternate route and we were on our way.
It was a beautiful day and we arrived at the ferry terminal in plenty of time allowing us to relax and enjoy the ocean breeze while sitting at a picnic table next to the car. The ferry ride on the Queen of Nanaimo allowed us more time to relax as we ate our lunch and then ventured out onto the deck to admire the views and let someone else do the “driving”.
Not having been to Saltspring Island before, this was a new adventure for us. We weren’t disappointed because from the moment we drove off the ferry and into Ganges we fell in love with the place.
We drove into Ganges to have a look around the village before checking into our hotel since check-in time wasn’t until 3 and we had arrived in Ganges just before 2 PM. It turns out that there is a weekly Saturday Market Place in the village every Saturday between April and October so we decided to take in the local color and characters. We ended up meeting some of the most friendly and fascinating people we have ever met, as welll as a few ‘characters’, of which there are more than a few. But the atmosphere, the tranquility and the easy going manner of the people here was enviable and a very welcome change from the stress and much more hurried lifestyle even in Langley. Each person here I am sure had there own story have what brought them to Saltspring Island and what keeps them here. To find out more I purchased a book written by local writer Roger Brunt titled The Salt Spring Chronicles that tells the stories of several of the local residents and how they came to be residents of this beautiful place.
Upon checking into our room at Hastings House we were taken on a short tour of the place and given a short history by very friendly and attentive staff. This place has greatly exceeded our expectations with beautiful scenery, lovely english style gardens and with a beautiful view of Ganges Harbour. It very much is a park like setting and we have been treated like royalty. If you are looking for excitement and bustling activity, then this isn’t the place for you. It is instead the picture of peace and tranquility and has an amazing atmosphere and leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of harmony and peace. We can’t wait to explore the immediate surroundings and gardens. It is a very historic place where they also grow some of the herbs, vegetables and even lamb for their highly rated restuarant which we will get to experience on Sunday for our anniversary dinner. In the meantime, we were able to enjoy an afternoon tea served from a beautifully restored former living room adjacent to the dining room. We took our iced tea and snacks out to the patio to relax and take in the surroundings. After tea we wandered to the grounds and sat in a couple of the Adirondack chairs situated around an open green space overlooking the harbour. After a long day, we retired to our room and sat up for a while quietly reading and reviewing the day. Life is good.
We can’t wait until day 2.