We stayed on Vancouver Island for 13 days. 5 of these day we were in Nanaimo which is like the gateway to the Island. To get there, one has to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo which takes about 1 3/4 hours. The sky was clear, the sea mostly quiet and therefore the whole ride was quite uneventful. There isn't much one can do on the ferry (esp. when it's too cold to sit outside) but fortunately I brought some yarn and my crochet hook.
We stayed in a lovely hostel called the Painted Turtle. It was most certainly the nicest hostel we stayed in during our holidays. I forgot to take pictures of the hostel, but I urge you to check out their homepage. They have a cozy living room / kitchen where people would meet in the evenings. The atmosphere was usually very familiar and homey. The rooms aren't large (we stayed in the private room) but big enough. Oh and the bed was a pure pleasure. For sure the best bed I ever had in a hostel (and I stayed in a few). The staff was so friendly and you could feel that the hostel was well loved and cared for. The only not so nice thing about the hostel is the pub underneath it. It was pretty loud down there some nights but nothing earplugs couldn't fix.
There isn't much to do in Nanaimo. Sometimes we were a tad bit bored but it was a good way to slow down and get into real holiday mood.
Only 10 minutes away by ferry there is Newcastle Island. We spent some hours over there. Due to our lack of fitness we didn't walk the whole island (as some people did) but we saw our fair share. On the island is a camping ground which looks rather nice - I reckon if I had kids, I would stay there for the holidays. Lots of beaches and forest to explore!
The hostel was close to the harbour and it was a real pleasure to just sit there and watch the sailing boats during twilight time. I might have mentioned that the boyfriend really (!) likes sailing boats, so it was a good past time. There are two restaurants right next to the boats at the pier. I recommend Troller's Fish and Chips (the Mexican Place wasn't as nice)! Very yummy fish indeed! I think I mentioned my love for salmon once or twice, didn't I?
One day we had our wander around Lagoon Park. It was low tide and we followed the sign "Beach Access". The result? We walked over the area were there is usually water and got stuck in the mud... Yuck! Fortunatly there was a public water tap to wash the shoes and our feet!
Altogether it was great to stay in Nanaimo though I am not sure I would stay quite that long again...
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