After a couple nights in Vancouver, me and Ash crossed over to my new favourite place in British Columbia: Vancouver Island!
We took a bus, then a ferry, then another bus, and finally ended up in Victoria. We spent a night there at the fabulous Ocean Island Inn, which is going down as one of my favourite hostels ever. Every wall seemed to be painted a different, bright, fun colour. The staff were the nicest, most welcoming people, and the whole hostel had a fun vibe to it. Included in our accommodation was free breakfast, FREE DINNER, and a FREE alcoholic drink! What more could you ask for?
The next day we had brunch, then stopped at the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria for the afternoon.
Craigdarroch Castle isn’t actually a castle at all, it’s just a really big, fancy mansion. The residents of Victoria decided that it looked like a castle so they gave it that name. It was built for a coal baron between 1887-1890, but he ended up dying before the building was completed. His wife, their three daughters, and later several orphaned grandchildren ended up living in the house.
The daughters were all very social and frequently hosted parties. My favourite part of the house was the top floor, which was dedicated to entertaining.
The billiards room:
The dance hall on the top floor. How sweet would it be to have a dance hall in your own house??
The family sold the house in 1909, after which it became a military hospital, then later Victoria College, then a music school, and finally a museum.
Around suppertime, Tia picked us up from the castle and our road trip began!
We started by hitting the road to Parksville. It was dark by the time we got there, so we ended up car camping. We sat on the beach for a while at night, which was a very strange experience, because we could hear the ocean all around us but could only see darkness. The next morning, we got to wake up and see what it looked like in daylight. It turned out to be not the prettiest beach (lots of rocks, lots of washed-up kelp), so I did not take a photo.
We continued driving across the island, cutting straight through the middle. We stopped many times along the way.
First stop was at the Old Country Market in Coombs. A friend of Tia’s had recommended we stop and see the “goats on the roof” here.
There were, quite literally, goats on the roof.
The Old Country Market. The whole roof is grass, with little shelters, and a fence on one side to keep the goats from jumping off:
Apparently it started as a gimmick to advertise for the Coombs Rodeo in the 1970’s. The goats were a hit, so they kept them:
As we got closer to the ocean on the west side of the island, the forests got thicker. We stopped off at an old-growth forest known as Cathedral Grove, and I said hi to some 800-year-old Douglas firs. It was awesome.
Walking through the old growth forest:
Me and the oldest tree:
We kept driving until we hit the ocean, and the destination of our road trip: Tofino, which we’d heard nothing but good things about…