Monday, May 31, 2010

"Victorian" Anniversary

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go out and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman
Gregg and I went to Victoria, B.C. over the weekend, to celebrate our anniversary. We used to go to B.C. every year, often to Victoria for one night and to Sooke Harbour House for another. For a variety of reasons, we have stopped going to Sooke, though I still love it with a great passion, and dream about returning. The owners expanded the inn, the prices have skyrocketed (in addition to the fact that the exchange rate is no longer favorable), and they have started to cut a corner here and there. It annoys Gregg, and that defeats the purpose of an anniversary get-away, so we focused on Victoria itself, this time.
We left on Friday morning and returned on Sunday evening. It was a heavenly little get-away, and I felt myself coming alive a bit more, being away from the computer and my responsibilities. I gained some hope for the next phase of my life. I enjoyed just BEing.

We left our car in Port Angeles, walked on the Coho ferry, and rode the hour and 45 minutes on some big swells. We went through customs in Canada, and then walked to our hotel. We walked everywhere we went - we love to walk together. 

We enjoyed fabulous meals and many miles of sightseeing; we took in the beautiful marine setting of the city, and simply relaxed.
We watched sailboats departing the inner harbor for the Swiftsure race on Saturday morning, while we ate breakfast. You can see what a busy harbor this is, with harbor ferries crossing, float planes taking off and landing, the whale-watching boats heading out, and the added excitement of the Swiftsure boats.
We walked along the shoreline to join the crowds of people (and dogs) at the start of the race.
Notice the yellow lupine growing wild along the cliff.
This seagull flew right in front of me as I was snapping the photo. Perfect!
It was very, very windy (and cold) - nearly 2/3 of the boats abandoned the race, and a couple of the vessels lost their masts, because of the force of the wind.
We walked through neighborhoods of lovely cottages with well-tended gardens, and stopped for a cup of coffee in a busy, local hangout in Cook Street Village.
We browsed through antique malls on Fort Street, and ate sushi in a lovely, quiet Japanese restaurant there.
We drank beer in the afternoons at an Irish pub that featured over 30 different kinds of beer, on tap. Oh, my goodness, that beautiful dark porter I drank had CHOCOLATE in it. It was delicious!
We enjoyed Northwest cuisine
and French cuisine, beginning our dinners at 8:00 p.m.
We walked everywhere - shopping, to and from restaurants, exploring neighborhoods.
Day time and evening walks were equally scenic.
The Empress Hotel and inner harbor are beautiful night and day.
The capitol buildings are lit up at night.

I got a new pair of cute walking shoes
and some wonderful books, on SALE,
at one of my favorite bookstores.
We had lunch and walked the docks at Fisherman's Wharf, a floating-house village.
The beauty and functionality of these small houses inspire us with their simplicity and creative use of space.

We saw tourists from many countries.

We enjoyed seeing the return of some of the Swiftsure boats, with their spinnakers up.
We met one of my favorite author-photographer couples, Maria Coffey and Dag Goering (authors of Visions of the Wild, Sailing Back in Time, A Cat in a Kayak, A Boat in our Baggage, Where the Mountain Casts its Shadow, Explorers of the Infinite, etc.). They have an adventure travel company, based in Victoria, and were hosting an open house on Sunday; we dropped in for a few minutes. I bought Maria's newest book, which she kindly inscribed for me. Here is a photo of Maria and me:
Gregg and I love to travel.
We enjoy each other's company, and we feel a lot of peace together.
This time away, alone together, gave me hope that I will find my place next fall, when David leaves home, and that we will discover new joys (and re-discover old ones) when our nest becomes "empty."


Elizabeth said...

This is a great travelogue -- the photos and notes are all interesting and I admit to feeling quite envious that you were able to take such a wonderful little trip together. Your writing about finding alone time to be good is hopeful to me -- marriage is so difficult sometimes that it's difficult to imagine anything different! Maybe one day, my own husband and I can have some of this peaceful travel time. In the meantime, I will have it vicariously through you!

And you look radiant in all the pictures --even your feet look happy!

karen gerstenberger said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. I pray that you and your husband will be able to carve out some moments of rest and refreshment together...even a day, or a part of a day, is precious.

Karen said...

What a wonderful anniversary. Thanks for letting us go along with you. I've always wanted to go to Victoria, but now that I've moved from the Pacific to the Atlantic, I'm doubting that it will ever happen. I, like you, prefer my getaways on foot. I could walk and sightsee forever, and enjoyed seeing your places and favorite spots. I very much liked hearing of the renewal of hope for you. The empty nest is an anxious phase for a mom, and it's nice to capture a positive vision for your future. The empty nest is happier when it fills up again with hope and possibilities!
Congratulations on your rich and wonderful marriage. You two are very blessed.

deb said...

Congratulations again,
and so so glad you were able to have a getaway, and that it was as romantic and peaceful as you make it sound. I know that it is essential to our marriage. My husband travels a lot , and with all the kids schedules and this and that , well the only way we can truly be a couple, be friends, be in each other's moments, is to carve out time as you say.
I've never been to Victoria, although I am anxious to get to Vancouver soon. It's been almost a year since I've seen my brother, his wife , and my nephew. I'm missing them terribly.

Your shoes are awesome!
And your next trip together will be to where your son is attending school, to explore the area and stuff right?

Robin said...

Oh, you make me want to hop on a plane immediately! Which do I like better -- the yellow lupine, the new shoes, the floating restaurant?

I also envy you this time and relationship together. The last 21 months have been hard on us. Last year we could not even bear to acknowledge our 35th.

Daisy said...

Looks like you guys had a really good time! Haven't been to Victoria in a few years, but I remember enjoying walking around there.


ChiTown Girl said...

What a wonderful anniversary weekend!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Reading this just made my heart so full today.
Your weekend away looks so wonderful....I am a bit envious.
It is so nice that you both enjoy each others shows on the smiles in all your photos. You both look so great, happy and relaxed.
I am glad you had others take your pictures, I rarely think of this.
The area you visited looks both quaint and inviting.
Beer and chocolate together? Sounds perfect.
Thanks for sharing Karen.
hugs to you!!!

Truth Ferret said...

Absolutely beautiful photos and words. You both look so relaxed and happy, basking in each other's company.

My husband and I enjoy getting away together and leaving our everyday lives behind. A renewal of relationship's energy is the best gift we bring home.

Thank you for sharing such a personal journey with us.

LeighSW said...

Looks like a great trip! That seagull picture is amazing!

Karla said...

It sounds like you had a WONDEFUL experience! Happe Anniversary!

Allegra Smith said...

My dear Karen, I am so happy for you. I do love Victoria, I used to go there and to Port Angeles when I was an editor, fairly often. Some times I took the train to Vancouver and then the ferry to Victoria, or took the ferry from Seattle. I remember the first time they made reservations for me at The Laurel Inn, right on the channel. Little anyone knew that the seaplanes would be taken off day and night and I got practically no sleep at all. The High Tea at The Empress, tourist trap and all, made up for it the following day. A visit to Murchie's for some tea to bring home was also great.

You two look so happy and relaxed! Yes, when David goes to his own four year adventure you and Greg will rediscover what fun it is to be just the two of you. Romancing the marriage is what I call it. You two are good at it! Love from here and many happy returns of the day.

karen gerstenberger said...

Robin & Karen, I think the two of you should consider making a trip out here together...what do you say?
Allegra, you and Elizabeth should do the same. Elizabeth, would you please stop by on your way north, and pick up Allegra? Gosh, this makes me miss Renee...
Allegra, we stayed right by the Laurel Point Inn. That park is lovely. Will you write about your editorship? I didn't know.

Deb, Mich and Truth Ferret: you are right: those times as a couple, enjoying one another's company, help us through the tough times.
Deb, I hope you have a great trip to Vancouver. That's a fabulous city, with a very different vibe from Victoria's, but still wonderful.

Suz, the porter would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it, like a root beer float, but I didn't suggest it. Thought about it, but didn't say anything. Maybe next time! said...

What fun; a GREAT place to celebrate an enduring marriage (we LOVE Victoria). So glad you had a good time...

Robin said...


AnnDeO said...

Like living in a postcard! Congratulations on your anniversary.