Victoria – How you can sun yourself on two beaches, walk through the rainforest, and swim in the ocean, all in one day.

Today I went to the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, walked along part of the Juan de Fuca trail to Mystic Beach, and then back through the subtropical rainforest, to go down another trail to China Beach. All in all, a fun filled action packed day. Yesterday was quite a full day as well. Saturday morning we went on a scenic walk through Beacon Hill park, catching a Jazzfest performance, and continuing on towards Ogden Point, then walking over to Fishermans Wharf. Fishermans Wharf is of course famous for Fish & Chips, and most people lined up and ordered the 15 dollar basket from Barb’s Fish and Chip stand. I, of course, did not participate in the fish and chips. I looked around for a bit to see if there was anything for me to eat, and conveniently I did find a place with vegan hotdogs, Grilligans: “Where Bouy meets Grill” (how cute is that?). I also watched in prairie girl amazement as a seaplane was taking off (and began conspiring to find a reason to fly in one in the near future). Saturday evening I went to the Butchart Gardens to see their weekly Saturday night fireworks display. I really enjoyed wandering through the various gardens, especially the Rose Garden. It has dozens of different varieties and colours of roses, it is worth seeing. One thing that really impressed me about it is the work of Jenny Butchart in the reclaimation of an old quary. She turned it into…

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Victoria – Willow’s Beach and other things

Yesterday we went to Willows Beach as a group. And I loved it. It was around 6pm, and still sunny, but not too hot. However, the water was COLD. I saw a few people jumping in, full body, and I though I could feel my own muscles cramping up in empathy. It was a perfect evening to lay around on the beach and read or nap. One thing that I love about the University of Victoria is their vegan food options, and the staff’s willingness to ask what is in things for me. I’m the annoying girl, “is there butter in this?” “what is this?” “is there dairy?” I believe they have also upped their vegan options for my visit, which goes to show, it pays to ask in advance. I was worried once I learned I’d be eating in residence, because a limited menu for someone else, becomes an exercise in creative meal planning for me. Am I getting enough protein, vitamins, fat from the food I’m eating? Stuff I need to consider. So I emailed Food Services, and someone replied with let us know when you’ll be here and we’ll make sure you are taken care of. They normally have a vegan & vegetarian residence dining hall on campus. How amazing is that? The other day I ate a flakey pastry vegan sausage roll type thing from the salad bar. And they always have soy milk availible in the mornings for my ceral. And they’ve started making vegetable…

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Victoria – Cafe Bliss and Green Cuisine 7/5/09

I am finally at the UVic residence, relaxing after a long bus ride to campus from downtown Victoria. The rooms are big in my opinion, though they are lacking a sink. (at least in the Shirley Baker residence) I unpacked and wandered around for a bit, enjoying the surroundings and the coupious amounts of bunnies everywhere. They are all (mostly) feral, but I have to resist the urge to pet them. They are terribly cute. I went to Cafe Bliss (556 Pandora Ave, Victoria BC) recently and was not disappointed. It is right next to Mo:Le, another restaraunt I want to check out for breakfast one day, they have a Tofu scramble on the menu, but Mo:Le is not entirely vegetarian. Back to Cafe Bliss… my favourite item was the raw vegan keylime pie. Can I say wow? The texture of the crust was absolutely perfect, I believe it was a combination of almonds and figpaste, but honestly I inhaled that pie a bit to quickly to fully appreciate each ingredient. Oops. The tartness of the limes was balanced well with the sweetness of the agave which seemed like their sweetener of choice, however they do use honey in some of their foods. I also tried some warm “hot” mint chocolate, and it was nice but I’m not really into the flavour of raw cocoa or maybe the mint was just too strong. But it was still chocolatey and delicious. While wandering around Market Square I stumbled upon Green Cuisine…

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First day in Victoria – Turtle Hostel 7/4/09

I arrived in Victoria this afternoon, and it has already been great. I’m staying at Turtle Hostel at the moment, soon to be moving on to the UVic residence tomorrow. I spent the day just relaxing a bit, wandering around the east side of Victoria, and I already stumbled upon a few great vegan options. One that I’m really looking forward to trying is Pizza Pi, it’s right on Douglas Street, which on first glance appears to be saturated with little shops and restaraunts. Pizza Pi is focused on local, organic and environmentally friendly production. They have vegan cheese, and gluten free pizza crusts if need be. I’m waiting for a friend to come to town, or maybe when I’m feeling particularly hungry to order a pizza, because their smallest size consists of a 10 inch wide, 6 slice pizza. I also stopped by a Market and found it was well stocked with organic produce, normal people food, and vegan muffins. I picked up some lemon cranberry muffins, and as I hoped, they were delicious. Tomorrow will be an action packed day, I hope I can catch a few of the things that are going on.

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Bungee Jumping – Mission Accomplished!

So. Mission accomplished. On January 4th 2009, I did finally go bungee jumping, so I can cross that one off my 101in1001 list. In April I’ll be taking a retraining course for skydiving, and ideally do my jump then. Bungee jumping is really an amazing experience, it was truly liberating. I woke up that morning, and decided to walk over to West Edmonton Mall, home of the worlds largest indoor bungee jumping platform. Went directly to the Center of Gravity kiosk and paid the fee and waited. At three o’clock I went up. One other person was jumping that hour. We put on our harnesses (I opted for a headfirst jump, because that made the most sense) and walked up a couple flights of stairs and a ramp. I decided to go first, they turned on some punkrawk (I requested industrial, but they didn’t have any) And then it was time to jump. The horn went off, letting everyone down in the wave pool know that someone was bungee jumping. The crowd started screaming and cheering and I was ready to go. After free falling for a while, I was pulled back by the chord and went up and down for a minute or two. It reminded me of jumping of the high diving board and then some. Very exciting, and I’m glad I did it!

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Vegan Polish Xmas 2008

It has certainly been a while. I’m currently in Edmonton celebrating christmas with my family. Celebrating christmas in my family is more of a Polish tradition then necessarily anything to do with religion, but then again, Poland is generally quite Catholic. My family is primarily interested in spending quality time together and EATING!!! So, what does a vegan Polish Christmas Eve dinner at my house look like? There are only three people in my immediate family, so you might notice the extra empty place setting. That’s traditional in many families, and is for an unexpected guest, or a drifter, or anyone that might drop by in need of food. We started with a freshly made beet soup (Barscz), consisting of shredded beet root, sliced celery, leeks, green onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and hazelnut oil. In the center of each plate is a brown sugar baked yam. After that we have homemade perogies. On Monday my mother and I made approximately 250 of them, and froze most of them. They have a slightly sour and salty cabbage and mushroom filling, the dough is absolutely simple: flour, water, and just a touch of salt. The most difficult part of making them is kneading the dough, which is both really physical, and really important to get the right consistency. Then we have a selection of salads. This year we had potato salad, a slightly sweet cabbage salad, and a vegetable salad. The vegetable salad (sałatka jarzynowa) is rather traditional Polish fare,…

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…then She took a wrong turn at the cemetery and it all went uphill from there.

I think it is wonderful to be in a city that never seems to sleep. Because apparently, neither do I. Ha Ha. At first i thought the time zone change might be the problem… but the 2 hour difference between time zones is kind of minor really, I think it might be the 48 hour bus ride that has destroyed whatever sleep schedule I had developed for myself. Yesterday I went exploring within a 10km radius of the University Du Montreal, I decided to follow the large green dome I see outside my window every morning and go see what it was. It turned out to be L’Oratoire Saint-Joesph du Mont-Royal, an amazing church building atop of a hill. The distance from here to there was misleading, which I have to attribute to it’s absolutely massive size, I thought it would be much closer but it ended up being about 2km away (which, yes is rather close anyway.) It is 124m tall (408 feet) I spent about an hour there, wandering inside and outside of the church, and the surrounding parks. Really quite a beautiful place. There were so many people there, though I guess that is to be expected considering it was a beautiful day, and also a Sunday. As I was walking back to the residence, I saw a familiar sign, and I have to say I got excited to see it. Well it was not really familiar but I knew what it was, Pharmaprix (aka Shoppers Drug Mart).…

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Planning a trip to Montreal

I’m a big fan of planning, planning and more planning, when I go anywhere. So since I’m off to Montreal in La Belle Provence for a month or so, that’s what I have been doing. Luckily there are an amazing amount of resources available to me, thank you internet! Once upon a time when I planned a trip to Vancouver, I used something as archaic as a… BOOK. But this time is no different; I still bought my trusty guidebook, complete with fold out map. Chances are, I will never take this map out in public, but I will likely put it on my wall and track where I’ve been and where I am going. I’ve been feeling stifled by the prairies lately, which frankly is not a feeling I admit to lightly. It is almost as if my romance with simplicity and quiet living has passed. But maybe it’s just my standard fickle fare. Who knows what two months will bring? One thing I know is that it brings music to my ears I haven’t heard live. I am going to go to the Osheaga Music Festival in August, primarily to see Cat Power (my favourite musician) but I’m sure there are others that will be good as well. There is a costume party at the end of July that I can’t wait to attend. The countless art galleries, museums, and historical sites are exactly what I feel I’ve been missing. The city itself is filled with a history…

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