Christmas Stay-cation: Hipsters sign

Christmas Stay-Cation

Is it too late to talk about “What I did on my Christmas Vacation”? If so, just pretend I didn’t get the memo 🙂

We took vacation between Christmas and New Year’s, and had one of Jonty’s brothers come to visit. The week went by far too quickly (as it usually does), and the weather ended up being quite good for all but one day (where it rained non-stop, and we deemed it a good day to see a movie).

As always, we ate good food, drank good beer and wine, and tried to work off as many of the calories as possible by walking / climbing / sightseeing!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sea-to-Sky Highway drive, BC

We drove up to Squamish to hike up around Murrin Park. It was the first time we have been up there since Jonty’s knee bailed on him (BTW – how quickly has 4 months gone by!?)

We were a bit unprepared for the amount of snow! I guess the large amount of precipitation the day before helped…

FYI: It’s still waaaay easier to walk up and down a snow-covered mountain, than it is to do so with a broken knee-cap and torn patellar tendon!

The views from the top of Murrin, looking down Howe Sound are just as beautiful in the winter!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Murrin Park in the snow, Squamish BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Murrin Park in the snow, Squamish BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Murrin Park in the snow, Squamish BC

… Now make sure your glove is covering one-half of every picture… 🙂

… And no drive into an empty parking lot full of snow would be complete without two brothers egging each other on to do donuts in the Subaru.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Murrin Park in the snow, Squamish BC

As for the food…

There was Beef Wellington and honey-roasted veggies and Yorkshire Puddings (no Christmas dinner with two lads from Yorkshire would be complete without them, and for the family members, Tom won the Yorkshires Bake-Off for the second time in a row, by what Jonty says is a much smaller margin this time)…

… lots of cheese (this one baked was fantastic!) and sausage…

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vacherin Mont D'or cheese and crackers

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vacherin Mont D'or cheese and crackers

… and homemade crackers (recipe coming!) and roasted beet dip…

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vacherin Mont D'or cheese and crackers

… and there was a meal out at L’Abattoir. It was fantastic, and highly recommend a visit!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | L'Abattoir, Vancouver BC

… with lots of lights….

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Science World at night, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | BC Place at night, Vancouver BC

We capped off our Christmas Stay-cation with a visit to Earnest Ice Cream. Double-scoop waffle-cones, all around, please!

All in all, it was a relaxing week off 🙂 We hope yours was, too!

Vancouver Island Getaway: Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen

Island Hopping – Part 3

We took a few days off last month and headed over to Vancouver Island for a mini-holiday to celebrate our wedding anniversary. You can read about our previous stops in Part 1 and Part 2!

We continued our drive through the Cowichan Valley en route to Victoria. In all the years I have been going over to the Island for work, I have never driven that stretch of the highway before. The constant drizzle didn’t help the views, but under better conditions, I think it would have been a pretty drive.

We had no concrete plans for when we arrived in Victoria, only that we knew we would have a few hours to kill before checking into our hotel. The first order of business? Consult Google for the “Best Donuts Near Me” and find out that the top two contenders are Yonni’s Doughnuts and Empire Donuts. Yonni’s was the closest, so Yonni’s it was – and with a good Americano, it hit the spot 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island Getaway, Yonni's Doughnuts, Victoria BC

With the weather improving and Jonty able to walk a bit further, we decided to take a little tour around the Legislative Building, as it was pretty close to where we were staying, and just a stone’s throw from the donut shop!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, BC Legislative Building, Victoria BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, BC Legislative Building, Victoria BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, BC Legislative Building, Victoria BC

There were tours running every 30 minutes, with the next one started in 5 – perfect timing! I didn’t see any signs disallowing photographs to be taken, and nobody stopped me after I snapped the first one, so I just continued 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, BC Legislative Building, Victoria BC

I think this was my fourth legislative building that I’ve toured over the years, and while they all have similar qualities, they are all quite unique in their own way. Jonty and I were the ring-leaders for question-posing, and I think our tour guide was appreciative of that – I expect it can be fairly monotonous, giving the same tour, if nobody asks questions.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, BC Legislative Building, Victoria BC

We checked into the Marriott Victoria and were surprised to find we had been upgraded to a penthouse suite for our anniversary, overlooking the harbour! It was a great room, with a beautiful view, and made a wonderful surprise!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island Getaway, Downtown Harbour, Victoria BC

After we settled into the hotel room and checked out the complimentary concierge lounge (ooh, swanky!), we mapped out a few of the local craft breweries in our vicinity that wouldn’t require a tonne of walking for Jonty on his crutches. We stopped in at the Hoyne Brewing and Driftwood Brewing Companies before quickly realizing that Victoria doesn’t really have the same zoning regulations as Vancouver, so many of their really small craft breweries don’t have “tasting rooms”, where you can sit down and enjoy their beer. Instead, we sampled a few tasters at each place, bought a few bottles to take home with us, and got a few recommendations of other places to try.

We stopped in at Moon Under Water for a flight (they were having an event, so we couldn’t stay very long) and Swan’s Brewpub for a meal (it was okay, but perhaps a bit too commercial for what we were looking for), and finally onto The Churchill, which was exactly the type of place we were looking for!! With a cozy atmosphere, a long pub bar, and a bartender with the right amount of crack-a-joke-then-leave-you-alone vibe, it was perfect.

The following day we caught the ferry back to Vancouver and, again, we were treated to beautiful blue skies and gorgeous views.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, ferry ride, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, ferry ride, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, ferry ride, Vancouver BC

Since we made it back to Vancouver in good time and we weren’t ready to finish our anniversary getaway just yet, we finished up our vacation by going to Postmark. They were just changing over from their brunch menu to their dinner tapas menu, so we enjoyed the ambiance and setting sun over a drink or two. We love the ambiance of this place – it’s an old warehouse building with very high ceilings, reclaimed wooden beams, and a great place to people-watch while eating really good food.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, Vancouver BC

It was so nice to get out-of-town and explore our province, without a plan or agenda. We were reminded of our three-month road trip and how much we loved that experience. Hopefully 2016 will bring more of the same!

Island Hopping – Part 2

We took a little vacation over to Vancouver Island a few weeks ago. You can read about Stop #1 here.

Stop #2:

We had to stop for the best buns on the Island! If you’re ever near Ladysmith, make sure to stop in at the Old Town Bakery. You will most likely have to queue, as I have done. Every. Single. Time. 🙂 But it is always worth the wait; bread, buns, cookies, bars, scones, you name it, they bake it. However, we didn’t go for any of those, delicious as they are, we went for the cinnamon buns!!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Old Town Bakery, Ladysmith BC

There were no fewer than 8 different kinds of cinnamon buns to choose from. After MUCH deliberation, the Pearson’s settled on the Lemon Poppyseed and the Peanut Butter buns. Both were more than worth the wait!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Old Town Bakery, Ladysmith BC

To walk off the buns, we meandered around the downtown (which took about 30 seconds – Ladysmith is not that big…). There are great-looking buildings, though; sometimes I wonder if people choose to paint buildings a bright colour to bring some cheer on the gray winter days. It certainly helps lighten the mood!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Old Town Bakery, Ladysmith BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Old Town Bakery, Ladysmith BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Old Town Bakery, Ladysmith BC

Stop #3:

Continuing down the highway on our way to Victoria, we made another stop at Duncan. One of my mammo sites is located in their hospital, so we took a little detour so I could show Jonty where my annual travel takes me. Did you know that Duncan is known as the City of Totems? You can find them throughout the city!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan BC

Our final stop in the Cowichan Valley was for a mid-day sipping session at Duncan’s local craft brewery – Red Arrow Brewing Company.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan BC

Actually, the main reason we wanted to stop there is because we’re currently loving this show (and he’s the Green Arrow, so we thought it was fitting to have a brew at the Red Arrow!)

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan BC

Next stop? Down to Victoria! Stay tuned 🙂

Island Hopping – Part 1

Way back in November we took a little 3-day vacation over to Vancouver Island to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. We took the ferry over to Nanaimo, meandered through the Cowichan Valley, down to Victoria then returned to Vancouver from there. I think we hit most weather patterns throughout our trip – blue sky, grey sky, a bit of rain, a lot of rain, a bit of fog and some gusty winds. All in all, though, it was a great, much-needed, getaway!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver BC

We had glorious weather heading over to Nanaimo. Although the winter sun was shining low in the sky, the wind was brisk and we managed about 30 minutes outside before feeling a bit windswept and headed back indoors.

Day 1: Nanaimo

We decided our anniversary vacation was going to be a food-and-craft-beer tour so once we landed in Nanaimo, we meandered down to Wolf Brewing to try their brews. The have been brewing their craft beer for quite a few years now, but have only recently opened up a tasting room (their Scotch Ale and Porter were fantastic!). We sat at the bar and chatted with one of the head brewers (a fellow UK lad), getting recommendations on where to go in the evening. The Wolf tasting room is slightly off the beaten track, but that didn’t seem to stop the steady flow of people coming in for growler fills. Business looked good for a Monday afternoon!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Wolf Brewing, Nanaimo BC

The following day was forecast to be cloudy and foggy, with rain starting mid-morning – so our plan was to head down to the harbour at first light in an attempt to catch the sunrise and, if the weather thwarted our plans, then we would enjoy a cup of coffee while people-watching, instead. The alarm went off just before sunrise and we grabbed the camera and headed down to the waterfront. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I’m a sucker for sunrises!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Vancouver Island getaway, Nanaimo waterfront, Nanaimo BC

Nanaimo early morning was just what we were wanting, I think we saw the best part of the day! We had a few moments of blinding sun while we enjoyed our coffee, and then the clouds rolled in to stay for the day.

The Next stop? Down through the Cowichan Valley to snack and sip. Stay tuned!

5.14

We’re celebrating our wedding anniversary this week! We’ve been married for 5 years, and together for 14 – ah, how quickly the time goes by!

This is the only year in the history of our relationship where this number will mean something to a rock climber (it’s the grade point we hope to climb at some point!) If you’re not a rock climber, this number just means we’ve been together for a bit of time 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Ferry ride, Nanaimo BC

To celebrate, we’re taking a few days off for a bit of Island life. We’re also celebrating Jonty’s road to recovery after fracturing his left kneecap and partially tearing his patellar tendon!

After 7 1/2 weeks post-accident, Jonty was finally able to move his leg, narrowly avoiding surgery in a you-just-gotta-make-it-work do-or-die moment.

After 8 weeks, he took his first tentative step without his knee brace.

After 9 weeks, he’s now able to walk (in short bursts) without his crutches!

This is very exciting progress after more than 2 months of being immobile!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Jonty walking without crutches

Happy Anniversary to my best friend and most favourite person! Love you to the moon and back 🙂