This weekend our party of three packed ourselves into the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder for a weekend trip to the island. I am typically apprehensive about driving larger vehicles, having only owned smaller sedans, so when the opportunity came to try my hand at the largest SUV I have ever laid eyes on, I thought it would be worth practicing. After all if I nailed this one, all others will be easy. And to my delight it was an easy drive.

And with plenty of trunk space we had no difficulty cramming in three nights and four days worth of clothing and toiletries for three people. Three full luggage and bags with their contents spread out and all over the eight passenger seats. In fact during the 1.5 hour ferry ride to and from I found myself comfortably taking a nap across the back seat. And even more comfortably napping after I dropped the very back seat down and spanned myself across all that trunk space.

We drove in and lived in our spacious van, which we fondly named “The Hulk”, given his size and dark green hue. The Nissan Pathfinder drove surprisingly well given this size and girth. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep it in the lines, but I did just fine. And the brakes were so touch sensitive that they reacted to any small motion. Great for busy streets with plenty of stop and go’s I just wished that the wheel gave me a little more resistance, some stiffness to give me the feeling that I was truly steering.

The drive was easy going, along all the smooth roads we travelled. There was just more strain each time I had to stop and start it or we took a turn quick. The weight of SUV and my passengers meant I had to put the pedal to the metal and push down hard. Thankfully it was more highway driving, which also helped to reduce are gas cost. Because at $100 a fill up, and when gas in Vancouver can get up to 152.9, fuel conservation is an important factor.

After we got off of the ferry, our first stop was Parksville for lunch. A quick Google search lead us to the cafe “Bread & Honey” for some soup and sandwiches. For the full review, click the link.

Bread & Honey Food Company, Parksville BC

 

Then it was time to check in to our accommodations of the night. Accommodations like no other at “Free Spirit Spheres”. A unique outdoor hotel that is featured in many international travel guides, located here in our own BC backyard. You eat and sleep in a handmade pod suspended in the air, and there you live out your childhood, tree house, slumber party fantasies.

For the full review in video check out my latest travel vlog on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

Free Spirit Spheres

And for the detail blog recap click the link.

For dinner we ventured to Coombs, home of the famous “Old Country Market”, where goats live on the roof. We visited too late in the day to shop or dine within, but came at the right time to interact and take photos of the goats. There were no customers and/or crowds and the 3 live in goats were resting. One was especially friendly, approaching us in hope of food.

We also got an opportunity to explore the “Coombs Emporium”, a garden of stone statues and and antiques. Curious without context, but it made for a great photo opportunity. A farm of stone animals including lions, fish, and giraffes; oh my.

Dinner was at “Cuckoo”, a popular restaurant amongst locals serving Italian cuisine and pizza. The food was pretty standard, but the setting is the reason you would visit anyways. For the full story on “Cuckoo” click the link.

Cuckoo Trattoria & Pizzeria, Coombs BC

 

There isn’t much to do in the area, so we headed back to our sphere for the night. There, we enjoyed the space with the board games made available, while sipping wine from glasses they had in the cupboards.

The next day we made our way to Victoria, with some pit stops along the way, pausing at points of interest. Like “Ladysmith”, Canada’s “greatest street” with historic buildings and artifacts, and the placards to explain the significance of each. Ore hand carts and rainbow crosswalks and benches.

While there we stopped by an old town bakery for one of their many varieties of cinnamon buns. This is the berry and ginger.

Next we stopped at “Damali” farm and winery to check out their lavender fields. Sadly, it was not as expected. Not enough purple in the fields, and the labyrinth maze turned out to be only small ridges raised from the ground. The gazebo was not well kept, and the remainder of the crops have yet to really bloom. So this ended up being a quick visit. A few photos and a bottle of their lavender flavoured wine to go.

 

From there we continued our adventure in to Victoria for a two day and one night stay. For the continuation of this trip, click part two!