Vancouver Island: The Quiet Before the Storm

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Hiking in the rain

Another year was about to start, and this time we didn’t have plans to travel too far. We are excited about this upcoming year since in less than two months we are expecting a new addition to our little family. At the same time we are aware that life is going to change and quiet times may be a bit more difficult to have, at least for awhile. Our good friends from Vancouver Island, Jan and Warrick, were away for the holidays and generously offered us the use of their house. It was perfect, since they live in a rural area, by the river and it’s always quiet there.

We caught the ferry on New Year’s Eve and were surprised by how empty the ferry was. The night before we had friends over for pizza and we had a lot of left over dough, so Gili made us a “monster”. It was pizza dough rolled up, filled with cheese, tomato sauce and olives, and grew in the oven to a humongous size. We ate it on the ferry and during the next few days on Vancouver Island.

The "monster"

The “monster”

When we arrived to the house we were surprised to see that everything was white outside, it snowed a little bit and the snow stayed frozen on the ground. It was also very cold, even the cat’s water froze outside. Gili immediately lit the fire, but it was only on the next day that we discovered how to make the rest of the house warm. So we had a very cozy New Year’s eve and greeted the new year by the fireplace.

Cold...

Cold…

January 1st was a beautiful sunny crisp day. We drove to the nearby town of Lake Cowichan and walked by the lake and had a nice picnic (yes, we ate the “monster”). We saw two bald eagles on that day, just hanging out on the branches of the naked trees.

Very ambitiously I decided that we’d do a 1,000 piece puzzle during our four day stay. During the next few days we worked to complete the puzzle, but in the end managed to complete only 2/3 of it – but at least it was the interesting part of the puzzle. What was nice about doing the puzzle was that is was so unimportant, but for that time we only concentrated on it. It was a bit like meditating and letting our minds forget about everything else.

About 2/3 of the puzzle complete

About 2/3 of the puzzle complete

We also spent some time getting to know the little town of Duncan a bit better. We were actually pleasantly surprised by how nice it was. After our previous trip to the interior, Duncan seemed lively, walkable and with a few nice restaurants and even an old cinema. We ended up seeing the re-make of ‘Annie’, with the rest of the kids. It was actually kind of cute… We also visited a very old Duncan institution which is Joe’s Tire Hospital, since we discovered our car had a flat tire. It was nice to see that some small businesses still manage despite the huge box stores all around.

The area where Jan and Warrick live is full of nature, dense forest and a raging river. We did a few nice walks in the forest, but the weather changed and for the next few days it was very rainy, but it just added to the atmosphere since everything was very misty and the forest seemed like it was taken from a fairy tale.

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Beautiful ice crystals

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Ice sheets imprinted with the shapes of leaves

Shadow the cat, never too far from the fireplace

Shadow the cat, never too far from the fireplace

The storm hit on Sunday, but in that area what it meant was just more rain. We didn’t give up and still went on a short walk in the forest, so a nice meal with French onion soup at a restaurant in Duncan was very much appreciated. We also decided to stay an extra night on the Island and not attempt to return to Vancouver on the night of the storm, and with all the crowds after the long holiday weekend. I was still thinking that we’d manage to complete the puzzle, but the sky and the greenery parts were too boring and complicated, so we left it at that. We also spent each evening watching a different movie taking advantage of the big screen TV which made it almost like a movie theater.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

One of the highlights of our stay was connecting with Shadow, Jan & Warrick’s orange cat. We were shocked by how much of his time this cat spent by the fireplace… At some point we were worried he was going to turn into toast but he didn’t seem too worried.

On Monday it was time to catch the ferry back and return to reality. Those quiet first days of the year were very much appreciated and gave us energy for the exciting adventure awaiting us!

Posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Random Thoughts, Vancouver Island | 4 Comments