This is an updated version of a post I wrote two years ago. Most of my recommendations are the same, but the info is current!
It’s been raining on and off here in Victoria, which means… hygge time! Being warm and cozy INDOORS! But sometimes, I want to have an answer other than “Netflix” when someone asks me about my weekend. Plus, after 3 years on the Wet Coast, I’ve learned that you pretty much have to suck it up, put on some rain boots, and find things to do until at least December when it’s more acceptable to to start hibernating.
It’s actually a great time of year to explore: the big crowds of tourists are gone (if you’re a tourist, still come visit though!), there’s still lots of sun and blue skies between the showers, and there are so many amazing things to do in and around the city! Here are some ideas:
1. Check out the Salmon Run at Goldstream Provincial Park:
Last weekend, we hiked a very small part of the Sunshine Coast Trail, a 180 km hut-to-hut trail north of Vancouver. Because we only had one vehicle to work with, and the price of getting a shuttle to pick us up along the trail was fairly steep, we opted to do a loop this time around. Plus, we really wanted to include Tin Hat Mountain in our trek, which is easily accessed via a 2 day loop from Lewis Lake.
Here’s a rundown of our 2 days on the trail, broken down into sections, including stops in Powell River. Let me know if you have any questions or, if you’ve done the hike, suggestions for next time!
Victoria to Powell River:
The ferry runs 4 times daily from Comox (Vancouver Island) to Powell River (Sunshine Coast), and takes about 1.5 hours. You can also drive the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver, which includes 2 ferries.
Powell River was a cute little town! We had some time to kill once we arrived, so we headed straight to Townsite Brewing; they had great beer, arcade games, and they’re the sponsor of Tin Hat Mountain hut! We had dinner at Costa del Sol, which had so-so food and service, but a fabulous atmosphere and ocean views from the cozy patio.
Aaah Cuba. Where we rode horses through the Viñales valley, open-air salsa danced in Trinidad, played in the waves on the Havana Malecón… oh and where we went to dinner basically in the buff on the romantic island of Cayo Levisa!?!
How did we manage that? Long story short, it had a little to do with some uninvited roomies in Viñales (bedbugs, baby), and a lot to do with a tropical storm that set in RIGHT after we’d stripped down to wash all of our clothes and get rid of the icky buggy feeling. But you can read the long story long, because Kyla and I joined forces for the first time to write allll about it in a guest post for comedy writer Jenna Wimshurst: Nearly Naked on Cayo Levisa.
This is Part 2 of my post about our Oregon road trip; in Part 1 you can find some suggestions for what to do, eat, and drink on a weekend in Portland! (You can also find out how much I freak out about driving… #roadtrippp.)
Day 4: Wine and Dunes: Portland to Florence
By now you probably know that Portland is cool, but byeeee Portland! Today’s the day you get to drive out to the coast with the wind in your h—ohh but actually you have loads of time, may as well make a couple of stops along the way!
Eugene’s right on the route from Portland to Florence, so it’s a great spot for lunch. We needed a cheap food day after PDX, so we opted for scrumptious food truck tacos, but there are loads of options, and even a Voodoo Doughnuts if you were too stuffed to try it in Portland.
Ok now it’s time to drive off to the coas—oooh hang on though, there’s a WINERY route basically ON THE WAY?! Durrrr you are going there! There are lots of wineries to choose from near the Territorial Highway, just off the route between Eugene and Florence. We visited Sweet Cheeks Winery and Sarver Winery to share a tasting at each (had to be responsible, we were driving). Both offered great wines and stunning views of the rolling vineyards.
On Monday, the city of Victoria raised 5 flags in anticipation of Pride (including the transgender, two-spirit, genderqueer, and non-binary flags, alongside rainbow). With just a few days left until Victoria’s 2018 Pride Week kick-off, there’s a LOT to look forward to in the next couple of weeks! Here are some events to consider!
1. Drag Ball (July 1st)
The annual Canada Day kick-off to Pride Week and can’t-miss event: Kings vs Queens in a softball game where, in the wise words of WLIIA, “the rules are made up and the points don’t matter!” An awesome day to get dressed up in rainbow and day drink… or join in the game! More info about Drag Ball.
Or: The Story of How I Overcame My Anxiety/Mild Phobia of Highway Driving with DIY Exposure Therapy (i.e. just driving, no escape) by Splitting an 11 Day Road Trip with My Ever-Patient Girlfriend! JK, I’ll save that riveting story for another time! But suffice it to say, when we planned this trip, I wasn’t ONLY thinking about all the food we were going to eat in Portland and the dramatic coastal landscapes we were going to see, I was also thinking about passing trucks at high speeds on the I-5 while remembering to focus on the MILES, not kilometres, on my speedometer, and lots of other things to do with driving. Obviously, I didn’t die, and I didn’t FEEL like I was going to die for at least MOST of the trip. Plus, it was so nice to have the flexibility to choose where we wanted to go and how long we wanted to stop. In conclusion: successful DIY project, and also: successful road trip.
K so back to Oregon: Here’s a guide to an excellent (IMHO perfect) Oregon road trip, based on a compressed version of our trip (we started in Vancouver*, spent an extra night in Portland, and had to stay the night in Port Angeles on the way home to catch the ferry to Victoria). Next up is the coast!
Jenna Wimshurst is a comedy and travel writer who also happens to be a lesbian. Humorous travel writing and being a lesbian happen to be two of my favourite things, so when she wanted to write a guest post for my blog, I was ecstatic! She even spells ‘travelling’
the right way the same way we do in Canada! Clearly, Jenna is fabulous. Once you’ve enjoyed her insightful and hilarious essay about what it’s like to travel as a lesbian couple, head over to her blog to read more things that will have you guffawing in seconds!
The Trouble with Travelling as a Lesbian Couple
The couple in room 12 are lesbians
In April 2016, the UK Foreign Office updated its travel advice warning gay and transgender travellers visiting the American states of North Carolina and Mississippi to be careful. It really got me thinking that a) America can be a dangerous place for LGBTQ community, and b) thank God there’s a government body here to tell me to tone down my gayness when on my holibobs otherwise I would’ve been throwing my lesbian self about all over the joint.
Other lesbians and gays will be familiar with those nervous few moments you get when you first approach the hotel reception with your partner and check into your double room that only has one bed.
A few things go through my mind when I first give my booking details to the receptionist:
– Are they going to say anything about us being massive lesbians?
– Will they say that we can’t stay at their hotel because of our sexuality?
– Will they press the homosexual button where rainbow flags drop down, Wham bursts out of the radio and suddenly two sparkling pink cocktails appear in our hands. Sounds fabulous.
But even if they don’t say anything, I know that they’re going to be telling their colleagues that there’s two lesbians staying in room 12 straight after they’ve served us. Ok, I don’t KNOW this, but I HIGHLY suspect it.
There’s lots to see and do just outside of Trinidad, a colourful, cobblestoned, colonial, UNESCO World Heritage town in Cuba’s Santi Spíritus Province. El Nicho and Caburní waterfalls are close by in Parque Natural Topes de Collantes; you can take a slow, steam train ride into the Valle de los Ingenios and look out over the former sugar production centre from Iznaga Tower; you can even visit an island full of iguanas for the day! All of those things were on our radar for our visit to Trinidad (ok, only *I* was into having iguanas swarm me), but we didn’t do any of them! Instead, we opted to spend our time wandering around town and visiting a nearby beach.
If you’re looking for a relaxing few days in a beautiful town, here are a few ideas! (Sidebar, I’ve noticed a theme in a lot of my posts: “this is how to relax in ___”. I really like downtime!)