Monday, April 6, 2015


Vancouver Island that is!

We've had enough of the tropics for a long time yet.

It's spring here for us and for the Wood Clan that means returning home to Canada from our winter travels, and Cassia and I traveling to Vancouver Island to visit with my mom - Cas's Oma - and my sister and her husband. 

It's an annual event. Since Cassia was one years old,  we have visited twice a year - in the last few years it has gone done to just the spring, as the fall trips haven't worked out. Hopefully now that we are at Fintry we can go back to twice a year. 

It's not far but driving is a hassle with the metropolis of Vancouver and the ferry to take on. Flying is preferred but much more money. Thankfully my mom was able to find a flight deal way back in January for us. 

A couple of weeks ago we were ready to go - Derek drove us to the Kelowna airport just over one hour away. 

The Wood Clan doesn't separate very often.

Waiting to get on our little Westjet plane in the rain. Once we arrived on the Island we took the bus to Victoria. Maneuvering Cassia and I with our two suitcases meant that I didn't have much time to take photos.

My mom, Cassia's Oma - was thrilled to see us as you can imagine. It's been a year since our last visit. Here we are returning from visiting her friend. Cassia has been riding on my mom's walker for years.

Spring always comes early to the Island!

Tuesday morning we spent a couple of hours downtown Victoria - we can walk there from my mom's place. Here we are in Chinatown. 

I have taken and shown many pictures of Victoria over the years during our annual visits - here are two past posts if you want a better look of this beautiful city.

Beautiful with all of the magnolias in bloom!

A new concept here that I would have liked to have checked out but didn't have time - the Victoria Public Market in the old Hudson Bay Company building. 

You just never know what you'll see on a street. Now sitting here I was wondering what this was about and found the info here.

We got back just in time to be picked up by my brother in law, David.

Who brought the three of us up the Island to here - Affinity Guesthouse and Nature Sanctuary!

WoW! This was to be our accommodation for the next three days. Luxe or what!

This is the Guesthouse that can be rented in addition to another residence in the Carriage House. Among other events this property is a popular wedding venue.

My sister - Diana - and David are fortunate to call this property of 28 acres on the Cowichan River Estuary - home. This is their cozy cottage set amongst a barn, greenhouse and planting beds. 

They live on site and are responsible for the the gardens. 
They grow and sell sustainably healthy food through Fresh Start Edibles
And if that didn't keep them busy enough they own and operate  Warm Land Irrigation.

Upon arrival the five of us took a walk around the property. Since Diana and David just moved here in January this is the first time my mom, Cassia and I have been here.

Cassia picking the edible flowers. 

Running along the dyke.

Cas was thrilled to see a tricycle that she could use during our visit.

Camellia blooms.

The totem that stands beside the Guesthouse.

On Wednesday, Diana, Cassia and I did a bit of a tour. Derek and I used to live in this area and had some favourite places such as the Old Farm Market and shown here - Cowichan Bay.

I was amazed to see that the Mud Room still exists. Too bad it wasn't open - we have some of the pottery made by the original owner.

Back at the property - Diana and Cas enjoying a ride together. 

Thursday was baking day. My sister found a Dutch recipe that my mom made when we were kids - Limburgse Vlaai. We talked about how it was a great day when we came home from school with the smell of Vla in the air.

Just before baking.

They came out perfect - just as we remembered.

In a fancy house with so many pillows - Cassia enjoyed making a fort on the sofas.

We also picked kale on Thursday for a local grocery store - the Community Farm Store.

Cassia was a quick learner with the scissors. Good news! She'll be able to practice some more in our garden this summer.


After a fun three days living the high life in a fancy house and being totally spoiled by my sister and David we returned to Victoria Friday morning.

On our last day - Saturday - my mom treated Cassia and I to lunch at the Dutch Bakery and Diner in downtown Victoria. I sure enjoyed my croquete lunch.

Of course we didn't leave without a selection of pastries!

Sadly, a week flies by and Sunday morning Cassia and I were on our way back home.

We were on the bus by 8:00 am - the reason for Cassia's less than enthusiastic expression. We still had a long day ahead of us. 

Now, here, at the end of the post I have a story for you.

As Cassia and I entered the gate at the airport to wait for our plane, we went up to the front seats since it had the most openings. After a while the Westjet representative came right to us to confirm we were on the flight. Strange I thought but it's early and my first coffee was just finished.... She said that she would signal for me when to come up. A few minutes later she called us up - she checked our tickets and ID and then had us wait again while she checked that they were ready for us. 

Yes, I know - this was weird - right! I mean there were many many other people waiting to get on the plane. But no - I still didn't think about it much. 

After she checked to see that we could go - off we went - yup - just the two of us. We get to the end of the interior walkway and are stopped again by another Westject Rep. She also confirms that we are on the flight. Then she signals for us to walk to the base of the stairs.

Ok - so I haven't really been to bright up to this point - but when the pilot meets you at the base of the stairs - there is SOMETHING going on. 

And then it dawned on me! My mom mentioned to my sister and I that when she booked our flights she asked for a window seat and if her granddaughter could see the cockpit. We had laughed at my mom saying that 'they don't do that anymore Mom'! My sister, back in the 70's or 80's, had been offered the opportunity - and you know mom's - they remember this kind of stuff.

Anyway, so here is the pilot who is going to take us to the cockpit! 

And just like that there was Cassia ready to get her first lesson!

Pilot #2 doing his preflight check.

The picture he took of Cassia beside him.

I had to laugh though. The chance of a life time and Cassia - yes, our Cassia - was speechless! She was so nervous with the pilots looking at her that she just stared at me. So - after a few minutes we went to our seats. A neat experience. I think I got more out of it then her!

Good bye Vancouver Island - - Mom, Diana and David - it was fun! Here are the smaller islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland.

The mainland - most likely south of the city of Vancouver.

Now over the coastal mountain range.

The town of Princeton where Derek and I used to live.

More logging than I realized between Princeton and the Okanagan.

By the time we were close to landing I had to sit in my seat so no pictures of the Kelowna area.

Before long we were walking to meet Derek at the arrivals. Cassia was more than excited as everyone watched her running and screaming to her dad.

After stopping for groceries in Vernon we headed back home. Although we'd only lived there for two weeks by then, Cassia and I sure missed Fintry.



  1. Now that was a wonderful family visit, and like you said chance of a lifetime for Cassia.
    If our plans come together we hope to do a cross Canada trip this fall to Vancouver Island

    1. Well we certainly hope that will mean a stop in to see us George!

  2. I had the same opportunity as Cassia when I was a young pup. I later followed my dream and became a private pilot and who knows perhaps Cassia will too!

  3. Every kid's dream. What a lucky girl. Looks like it was a good week with family. All the flowers in bloom, good weather, good food. The pies look fantastic. Get ready. Summer is coming.

    1. You said it Chris! Thank GOODNESS summer is coming - we've had enough already with the cooler temps! Bring on the heat (again)!

  4. Great post about a very special visit. So loved all the flower shots, I can't wait to get back to BC and spring. Sadly there are no magnolias in Kelowna that I know about

    1. The Island is a good place to be this time of year because of all the flowers! I love them too! We aren't familiar enough with Kelowna to know either but Derek looked it up and they can grow there.....too bad the city doesn't put some in in the parks.

  5. Lucky girl! This used to be a regular thing, even when the plane was in the air. Unfortunately things have changed,

    1. Very lucky! That will all come clear to her one day! True - it was a regular thing... I was shocked that they did it actually. Yaaa Westjet.

  6. It occurs to me that Cassia has become a surrogate "grand daughter" to many of your blog readers! Happy to see you enjoying a visit with family. Our oldest daughter and grand children live in Pittsburgh and the visits are few and far between. Family is precious.

    1. You are so right Kathy! I have lost count of how many 'grandparents' Cassia has met over the years. It all started her first winter down at 18 months! They've all been great but Croft and Norma are two of her favourites. On facebook this weekend I showed our friends Randy and Shirley who were camping here this weekend. After our Easter Hunt for Cassia they had their own. She spent lots of time hiking with them etc. I feel for you that one of your daughters and grandkids are so far away!

  7. Yep! Cass is a surrogate grandie for sure - so heartwarming to see carefree exploring, enjoying nature instead of eyes glued to electronic diddle daddles. Your trip down memory lane was enjoyable & the pies Oh! Wow! - How inspiring and yummy. .....

    1. Grandie - a new word for us. I appreciate you Leslie for commenting with Australian words. Same with diddle daddles! Too funny! They were delish! I'll have to make them here some time. If you are ever in the neighbourhood! Ha! Ever thought of traveling to Canada?

  8. Happy, fun times visiting family - what a nice vaca - enjoyed all the photos!
    Connie in PA

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  13. I couldn't agree more about the price of flying. We are actually going to fly on our next vacation and it will be the first time my kids will be in the air since we always take road trips. As a family of five, flying is usually way too expensive but we've been saving up for this trip and we're all pretty excited.

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