Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 14 - Last official Day on the tour :(

What today is all about - Flowers, Rain and all things Pink... well in Eileen's world
Woke up yet again to rain! Surprise Surprise! I was running a little late because of the late night and my sudden desire to straighten my hair … what was I thinking!!! It was pouring!!!!  I missed the time for the bag pull but they ended up coming back from me… giggle…. 
Butchart Gardens Entry
We made the 40 minute trip to Butchart Gardens which was our main stop for the morning before boarding the ferry to head back to the mainland. 
Sunken Garden
So I am going to bore you with the history of the gardens because we got the run down so this is unofficially my journal I have to share all!!!  Haha
Sunken Garden
The gardens were originally started as quarry which mined limestone which is something the area is rich in. Mr Butchart moved his family there and then when the quarry was exhausted the Mrs Butchart decided to refurbish the gardens with top soil brought in from all over in horse and carts.
Ross Fountain at the top of the Sunken Gardens 
Slowly the garden took shape and eventually turned into the Sunken Garden which is the main attraction with the beautiful fall colours and various little ponds and then of course the beautiful fountain – the Ross Fountain. 

As the years progressed they added to the gardens with the Italian, Rose, Japanese, the Star Pond, Fireworks viewing area, and a few other smaller additions along the way. 
With over 1 million plantings it makes for a amazing viewing especially in Spring.  With 3 main fountains in the garden, from the Ross fountain at the sunken garden, to the Fireworks viewing fountain and then the most famous in the Sturgeon fountain.  Which has a boar in it!!!  Weird
So we got to wander in the rain for 2.5 hours and enjoy the beauty of the gardens.  With the Japanese gardens and sunken gardens my favourite and the little lookout at the end of the Japanese gardens were also my favourite. 
We wandered around the gift store for a while and found some really cute but expensive stuff but I did find a very cute gift for mum and the requisite postcards.  Also some Rogers chocolate…  dammm shame about that one!!!!  Haha but I did share with Tania to cheer her up.
We made our way to Sidney... This is definitely not the same as our Sydney it is just really a barge stop.  It was pouring with rain so I didn’t stay outside long.  Just took a couple of shots. 
Instead I sat inside and Tania used my puter for internet access – yep wifi on the barge you have to love that.  I did my survey – apparently I was brutal but I am big believer in being straight forward and offering a honest opinion to allow room for change. Especially feedback for Frank because it was his first tour with Cosmos and has definite room for improvement especially with optional tours and sick roomies.  Tania thought I was a bit harsh but I think I was straight forward. Although Salena got a glowing reference as well as the Columbia Icefields ice driver matt and dieter the tour guide of the mt edith cavell tour. 
I can only hope that people are that honest with me when I become a tour director.
We got back to Vancouver rather too quickly I felt and feeling like time is slipping away so fast.  I think it is was about 2pm and feeling like please stop the clock and stop it from slipping away.  
While we were waiting to depart Salena got up to say a few words and she was almost in tears and it reminds you why she was so fantastic.  It made me so sad to leave such a wonderful person behind. 
Robyn then got up to read a poem that she had done with Pete and Marilyn.  It was a lot of fun and reminded us why we had gotten on so well. I felt like one minute the tour was just starting and in a matter of a hour it would all be over and it coming to end too fast. I didn't like it at all...  I wanted to do it all again. The only thing i would probably change would be see more of Banff and try to get the group to do drinks a couple more times during the trip like we would later tonight because it was so much fun and great way to get to know every one. 
We arrived back at the hotel around 3.30pm and said goodbye to everyone also getting their emails so we can keep in touch.  Also found out which ones were on facebook who I hadn’t already added. We also organised dinner with the ones that weren’t doing the dinner cruise. Also this was the saddest moment of my trip is when i said goodbye to Salena and handed back her baby. I really can't thank her enough for what she did for me. It was above and beyond and i am forever in her debt for what she did. It also shows what kind of person she is that would do that sort of thing for a complete stranger. We both had a bit of a teary and I also gave her everything I had in my wallet as a bit extra gratuity because well she deserved it.  
I got on the phone and rang around for the camera to see who had the body available also if they had them in stock and pricing.  I took off on the bus to broadway again but just the opposite direction to MEC.  Almost tempted to go back especially for more wool socks which have been a god send.  Went to Broadway camera after a stop at London drugs and determined what price they would do so I had some bargaining room. 
Japanese Gardens
She had the camera and reassured me that I can send it back to them or alternatively they contact Nikon Australia if they can to speed along the delivery if anything goes wrong. Also she was willing to negotiate again the HST bit me. 
Japanese Gardens
While I was there paying for it I got a phone call from my wonderful Canadian that would break my heart.  But because I was still being served I said I would call him back.  So rang him back when I got through with my new purchase.  Headed back to the bus and he told me that he has lost his passport so won’t be able to make it to NYC.  I was devastated and there wasn’t enough time to get another one.  So sad…  He was going to come to Vancouver but then realised that we wouldn’t have enough time.  It was worth a shot but I have a feeling if I ever want to meet him I will be coming back to Canada because Australia “is not exciting enough”.  Damm shame about that… haha
Japanese Gardens - the bamboo fountain thingy wade such a cool noise
Finally got back to the hotel but running a bit late for dinner because of the Friday afternoon Vancouver traffic.  So dashed upstairs but Tania had piked because she was too worn out which was understandable given what she had been through.  But Tracey and Carolyn was going.  Although Pete was being a big piker bum and going off to have dinner with other friends… how rude. Mind she was being a grumpy bum (she was allowed since it was our last night together) making sure I had everything for bed set up so I didn’t wake her when I came back up which of course ran me late for meeting everyone downstairs when I was already running late from buying the camera. 
As you leave the gardens - this was so cute 
So it was Brian and 9 girls…  haha and we headed down to Yale town… which it took a while to convince them because they wanted to go to Gastown but most of us had already done it.  We all headed off to Yale town the problem now was getting everyone to decide on what to eat and with Brain being a meat and 3 veg eater.  Pretty much the first stop was acceptable but only Brian was really enthused while the rest of us wanted to keep going. 
Bay of Islands 
So the next stop which was a BBQ place had a spruiker outside and told us about the $2 martinis and Tracey and I looked at each other and went I am in!!!  also the fact they would do separate bills and most places have done that so that makes dining with a large group easy.  We all got seated and at once the table noise just got louder and louder.  Also Pete kept on texting me about a gold penis in boytown…  haha
Bay of Islands 
We all reminisced about how the trip had gone also how well we all had gotten on. It was then I shared my little physic vision. She had predicted that the rockies tour there would be a really good comrade in the group and we would all get on really well and it would be the icing on the cake for the trip. Sure enough I had felt that and I had actually forgotten about that prediction until I had read a couple of notes I had written in my travel journal.  Also the fact that I would feel so at home over there along with finally feel better and more like myself. 
2 Cosmos = :) 
So I had my first Cosmopolitans that night which were ok …  bit too sweet for me but overall not bad.  So all in all a good night with $2 martinis and I somehow had ended up with 2 and no one else wanted it so poor me had to drink it. So I was pretty happy while feeling sad that this was our last moments together.
The girls with Brian hiding behind me 
We walked back to the hotel with Brian and surrounded by his harem… although I did the fire hydrant outside a fire station which I thought was so funny. Not a great photo… hard to take night time iphone photos and when you are laughing too much. 
and again ... hehe 
Finally made it back to the hotel and ran into Pete and a couple of people who hadn’t gone on the cruise but didn’t join us for dinner.  So we waited in the lobby for the cruisers to come back.  We headed up to Moxies and I think it took me an hour to get out of there. I just wish we had done a drinks night earlier it would have been great getting to know everyone but felt like it was very last minute.  I want more time!!!!
the last one for the western Canadian shores 
Finally made it out of there around 10.30-11pm I was so tired and my throat was getting really really scratchy which is not good!!!  Even the photo that Pete took of us … I look stuffed.
Me in Butchart ..  my skin looks so good haha 
When I got back to the room Tania was sound asleep so got changed quickly and headed off to sleep…  last morning together ..well some of us... sigh…  

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