The sunsets at Tofino were beautiful and I included some shots of those in this post. Sunrise was also pretty impressive. Winter means the sun is pretty far south so the position it comes up is not so far off that in which it sets. It does provide a very different light to things with some of the headlands that we could see from the hotel now having nice light on them. When you wake up to a view like this out of your hotel window, you know you are a lucky guy and are likely to have a good day!
On our trip to Tofino, we were on an older ferry from BC Ferries. The Queen of New Vancouver was our ride in both directions. I am not an expert on BC Ferries but this boat clearly looked a lot older than the majority of the fleet. That’s because she is. All of her sister ships have been scrapped but she was refitted around 2007 for another ten to fifteen years. (Wikipedia is my friend.). I guess that means her days are numbered. I am not sure whether she is used regularly but I did hear that another ship was in maintenance. Maybe that is why she was in use. Anyway, here is the old girl. We rode on one of the newer ships a while later and they are definitely better equipped for the passengers. Maybe she still has some time to go though.
Our visit to Butchart Gardens was focused on the lights but we got their before the sun went down and explored the Japanese garden. It was closed for the lights event so this was the only time to check it out. The gardens as a whole were quite quiet so it was peaceful wandering around the plants, across the bridges and around the water features.
There was a device for scaring wild boar. It was a water clock which would gradually fill with running water at which point it would overbalance, tip out the water and then fall back making a noise designed to startle any passing wild boar. I was particularly interested in some branches for one of the plants that were twisted into some bizarre patterns. I couldn’t make out whether this was natural or not but, if it is, I do wonder what the purpose would be.
While staying in Norfolk, we took a walk along the beach at Hunstanton. We parked up on the top of the cliffs and walked down the path to the beach. Once down there, we were able to see the cliff rocks and they were pretty interesting. The rocks had been laid down in strata are a gentle angle and looked really cool. I guess they were eroding since we came upon what looked like a recent rockfall. Of course, rocks do things in a lot slower time than us so it is entirely possible that these rocks had been lying there for ages but they did look pretty recent.
We went to a bunch of villages in East Anglia that were picturesque but one was almost too much to be real. I have been to Lavenham before – I went in the early 90s when visiting a friend who was living in the area at the time – but I have to admit I didn’t recall much about it and when we got there, I wondered how I could have forgotten. It seems that the entire village is made up of buildings that were constructed by a film set designer.
Half timbered building abound. They are all really old but well maintained. Multiple colors are used to decorate the walls which I assume are probably made of some vintage materials. Building construction in those days used to use a lot of straw mixed with “binding agents” of a less than delightful origin. You don’t know that once they are done and I assume any more modern repairs make use of more pleasant ingredients. The age of the buildings also shows in the way that there doesn’t appear to be a right angle in the place. Everything is at odd angles. It really is something special.
It is not hard to understand why tourists will visit the place. It is just what someone from overseas would imagine an English village to be. I certainly won’t so easily forget it this time. Not sure how I did before!
Early morning walks after a cold night mean frost everywhere. I guess I am accustomed to frost on hard surfaces but softer items, for some reason, didn’t seem like things that would have frost on them. Plants are not warm blooded so why wouldn’t the frost gather on the leaves too. This is probably obvious to everyone but me but I was quite taken with the frost crystals on the leaves.
Aside from the mere presence of frost, I was also impressed by the shapes that the frost crystals had developed in to. They were quite exaggerated and a decent size compared to the leaves themselves. Since it had been a cold and calm morning, getting shots of the leaves was easier than normal since usually the gentlest of breezes will cause motion in the leaves making a sharp shot hard to achieve. The stillness was my friend (and also made for a more comfortable walk since, without wind, the low air temperatures were not uncomfortable).
Suffolk is full of castles. A lot of groups fell out with each other and figured that castles were a necessary way to make sure you could take care of yourself. Framlingham is one of the more substantial ones that I have seen. There are multiple towers that surround the top of the hill with stout walls between them. It would be interesting to see what it looked like when the castle was the center of the community.
It dominates the surrounding area as you would expect of a castle. You can walk all along the top of the walls to complete a circle of the fortress and check out both the surrounding countryside and the large interior. I’m not a huge fan of heights so wandering around on the top of the walls is something I do with some trepidation. However, you go to these places to see everything so I’m not going to wimp out because of a little vertical drop!
The drive across Vancouver Island on our way back to the ferry was exceedingly pretty. The temperature in the passes was pretty low and what I imagine happens is that the mist freezes on to the trees. The result was these beautiful white trees looking like they had been created as some Christmas decoration. We were on a main road so no chance to stop and photograph them but, as we got down to Port Alberni, the mist was still around.
As we crossed the river, we got a view along the water between the trees with the mist hanging over the surface. It looked really beautiful. I stopped further along the road where I found a gap in the trees and could get down to the bank. Once out of the car, I figured that the cold temperatures could be handled for a short while and walked back to the bridge. We had a ferry to catch so I wasn’t going to spend too long exploring but this might prove to be a very photogenic place to explore if you had the time.
Walking along Long Beach in Tofino early in the morning, it was still pretty cold. The lack of wind meant it was perfectly comfortable in the sun but the air temps were low. The result was lots of frost on the tree stumps that were scattered along the beach. The texture of the cross section of the wood was already accentuated by weathering but the addition of the frost provided a bit more emphasis to the surface.
Three nights in Tofino meant three chances at sunset. Actually, it was more like two as we got there the first evening just a bit after sunset itself but the sky was still really lovely. The second night things were a bit more subdued as the sky was rather clear and there was little to reflect the last rays of the sun. The last night was far more impressive with some cloud on the horizon but obviously more in the atmosphere to glow. Here are a few shots of the sun dropping down and the lovely sky we had to enjoy as we relaxed by the beach.