After a night in Parksville, on the island, we took the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver.  I always love the ferry ride with its relaxing atmosphere and great views.  I read the end of my book and did a bit of shopping on the boat.  Leon had decided to show me Whistler as I’d never been there before.  I was told it was like Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, but it’s nothing like it except for the similar shops and European village feel.  The drive on the sea to sky highway is spectacular as we moved through Howe Sound where the water turns turquoise and the mountain peaks are high and snow covered.  It was hard to take a picture to capture the majesty of it all.  The drive from the ferry is about 2 hours.

We found a great campsite in Whistler, all new and shiny.  Our neighbours were mostly rental campers, many of them rented by Germans, no doubt.  I felt like a tourist again.  We took a drive to the store to buy dinner and then stopped for a beer at the bottom of one hill where the chairlifts are used to move dirt bikes up to the peaks while their owners ride on other chairs.  We were able to watch bikers descend the hills, making jumps and just having a great time.  Of course we saw a few injured people too.  It’s looks very challenging and wouldn’t be a sport I would take up, even if I am now an experienced dune rider.  Our waitress, by the way, was a lovely Australian girl who came for a few months and decided to stay for the summer.

We had our dinner back at the campsite, being careful not to leave any garbage out to prevent bears from being attracted.  They told us there were bears about and that even scented shampoo would attract them.  I was hoping we would see at least one bear but only from the safety of the inside of my vehicle.  Leon even tried driving up to where the Olympic events were held 2 yrs ago as he had read it was a good bear spotting area, but all we saw was plenty of bear scat, no bears.

Anyway, we did something more relaxing than looking for bears and went to the Scandinave Spa for a great massage and some hot and cold tubs.  Ahhhh!  That was terrific!!  It was a sunny warm day, sitting in a tub overlooking mountains and beautiful landscaping.  I wish I could make my own backyard look like that, I would never leave.  There was even a hammock haven where I promptly fell asleep while rocking myself under a tree.

Eventually, we returned to Vancouver, stopping to look at some of the spectacular mountains on the drive home and munching on a snack of peanuts in a shell.  Actually, we were trying to avoid the evening traffic in the city.  We arrived in White Rock to stay at Leon’s mom’s again for another 3 days of family and friend time.  One of the highlights was a day spent at Leon’s sister Hanne’s home (and Ted’s too), swimming in their wonderful salt water pool with Leon’s kids.  I brought all kinds of bbq food and was quite happy to cook in exchange for unlimited swimming time.  The weather was hot, the company was great and the food turned out pretty good too.  What a great day!!

Here is the recipe for my marinated tomatoes as requested:

Marinade: 2-3 tbsp of dijon mustard, a garlic clove crushed, a capfull of wine vinegar, 1-2 tsp of dried tarragon (or fresh), pepper and salt to taste.  Stir in up to 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (not peanut or olive oil) until it emulsifies.  Use a whisk if needed.  Pour over sliced tomatoes, add chopped green onions and leave at room temperature for an hour before dinner.  Enjoy!

in Hanne and Ted’s pool, loving it!
near Squamish, snow-capped mountains
This is the closest I have ever come to a bear in the wild, honest!
chateau fairmont whistler
view from chateau fairmont whistler
whistler area
campsite in Whistler
sea to sky highway
near howe sound