Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Us - Part VII

Leaving the wedding, 7/7/07
Seven years and seven days ago, I married my best friend.

Every previous year for our anniversary, I've written my annual essay about love and marriage. This year, however, we mixed it up - Danny and I took a vacation.

It's been an eventful year, to say the least. And after that year, it became very clear that we needed a break. Danny was tired, and I'd reached a level of anxious twitchiness that wasn't doing anybody any good.

So we booked a B&B, made ferry reservations, and planned our vacation to Victoria, B.C. This was a big deal - we haven't taken a real vacation, one that lasted for longer than two days, with a location not chosen by work, for four years.

It was time.

We read and snoozed our way through the ferry ride...

View from the ferry

...before arriving at our bed & breakfast. Which was not ideal, to the point that we made reservations at the Marriott at 11pm that evening and checked out the next morning. Sometimes, you have to course correct. We did, and carried on.

Monday morning we drove west along the coast, stopping at French Beach to explore and walk near the water. We enjoyed the light breeze, calm waves, and shimmering pyrite in the sand. Danny particularly enjoyed the opportunity to climb rocks.

Danny atop rocks at French Beach

While we were out, the clouds parted and we had nothing but sunshine for the rest of the trip - both literally and figuratively. We even extended our trip by a day, giving us extra time to explore and relax.

My favorite meal and dessert (though enjoyed at two separate times) came from 10 Acre, which boasts fresh produce from its 10 acre farm. I had the tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and seasonal vegetables with roast chicken, which had the perfect ratio of veggies to chicken to pasta. And their loganberry pie still makes me happy, just thinking about it.

Loganberry Pie, with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

I need to figure out how to recreate the recipe! What was amazing was how contained the filling remained inside the lattice pastry. The square of chocolate was gilding the lily - I didn't eat it, didn't need it.

Craigdarroch Castle

We explored the Craigdarroch Castle, which we found fascinating not only for the woodwork and design, but because we discovered the architect, Warren Heywood Williams, was a Portland-based architect. When Danny looked him up later, we discovered that he also designed Villard and Deady Halls at the University of Oregon, as well as Portland's Calvary Presbyterian Church, known locally as "The Old Church."

We enjoyed the Parliament Building during the day as well as at night, in particular a secluded rose garden that few of the tourists seemed to find.

Parliament Building, from the west side

Miniature roses
Parliament Building at night

And we visited the Butchart Gardens twice. Fun fact: after you pay the large entrance fee the first time, you can return the first day for free, or the second day for, like, $3 per person. So the first day, we enjoyed afternoon tea and a bright daylight walk, then returned the following evening at twilight to enjoy the the softer light, followed by the evening lights.

Waiting for tea, Danny had fun with his phone.
All in all, it was a really lovely time to slow down, enjoy each other, and laugh together. It's been a busy year, and when the stress crowds in, laughter can be one of the first casualties. So slowing down and enjoying gelato in the gardens, the lights at night, or taking in the views from the top of the Craigdarroch - all much needed.

Waterlily at the Butchart Gardens

Rose archway at the Butchart Gardens

The cove at the Butchart Gardens

We had a lovely time, and I'm so glad we stayed the extra day. If that past seven years have been any indication, this next year will be eventful - we haven't managed a quiet year once. But I hope we'll laugh through it together. 

Yeah...I'll probably send this out with our Christmas cards.

Preferably, with cake.

Once more - for the parents.

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