fresh ocean air.
we spent 10 days in august visiting family and friends on the inimitable west coast of canada. there was a trip to tofino & uclulet to attend our sweet friends' wedding, a hike through a rainforest, a birthday party for our 3-year-old nephew (as well as one for my grandfather and one for paul's mum), a (beautiful as ever) ferry ride to vancouver for the night, visits with two new babies, and so many hugs from aunts, uncles, parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and best friends. it was a crazy busy 10 days, and a reminder to cherish every small moment i get to spend with the far away people that i love so dearly.
i feel that i got my fair share of fresh ocean air - we noticed it as soon as we stepped off our plane in victoria - but it definitely wasn't enough. how i crave that ocean air... spending early mornings chatting with my mom while walking by the salty gorge waterway, hiking through the tall trees of the many forests and parks, and strolling along the boardwalks that border victoria & vancouver's harbours. there's really nothing like it out here.
we spent one of our first victoria mornings at a new cafe/bakery in the quickly harbourfront part of victoria west, sipping hot coffees and overlooking the foggy harbour. it was such a fresh, wet victoria morning that it made my heart ache to be home again permanently. fol epi, the bakery, was sweet and inviting, with a cafe in the front and the bakery in behind. the drinks were fantastic, but the bakery is the true star, featuring gorgeous pastries and naturally leavened breads made with rye or red fife flours that are milled on site. our good friend who works there explained their process and showed us their grain silos and wood oven, which heats to over 700 degrees and then gradually cools throughout the day, so different items are baked at different times of day depending on the temperature of the oven.
the air definitely felt the freshest once we arrived in tofino, bc, where we got to stay for four days and attend a beautiful intimate wedding ceremony at a gorgeous oceanfront resort. it was the most relaxing part of our trip - hikes through the forest, dinner at a popular local spot featuring seasonal ingredients, meanders on the beach, the best burritos i've ever tasted, and so much relaxation in our very own little cabin.
we returned to victoria for a short time before traveling by ferry to vancouver for 24 hours to visit my brother & sister-in-law, as well as her family (including their sweet new nephew). i got to see another babe as well, while visiting a blog friend and her husband in their modern olympic village apartment. it was so fun to hear about how these babies have changed the lives of their parents, and their different approaches to parenting.
on our last morning in victoria, i arranged a brunch at nourish restaurant, in the heart of the horticulture centre of the pacific and their beautiful gardens. the menu was incredibly vegan and gluten-free friendly, the staff were so lovely, and the vast outdoor patio overlooking the gardens was enchanting. i enjoyed the vegan benny with sauteed chickpeas instead of eggs. the hollandaise (the best, although perhaps only, vegan version i've ever tasted) was made from cashew cream, and it was served gluten-free on a bed of roasted sweet potato and sauteed kale instead of the usual english muffin. everyone raved about the chipotle chicken sausage, and most people shared my enthusiasm for the benny. i could absolutely imagine having a private party there in the future.
everywhere we visited, i found myself saying "we need to live here." and i know one day we'll return to the west coast and to the pacific ocean, to collect the pieces of my heart that i've left there and to settle down permanently. it's just a matter now of deciding where on the coast we'll call home :)