Mum and Dad’s visit

We had such a great time when my parents were here May 19th – June 3rd. Our first trip was to Whistler, where Shelley threw a lovely Birthday party for me, Mum made pavlova, and we even found some passionfruit to go on top! The next day we went skiing up Blackcomb, and Mum came up and had to walk down the ski hill to the cafe. We had a burger and a beer at the top for my Birthday lunch, it was perfect!
Karen, Mark and Peter on top of 7th Heaven, Blackcomb, with Whistler bowls in the background.

During the week Mum and Dad went onto the red double decker bus around Vancouver, discovering all sorts of trivia, and Dad even managed an afternoon nap most days, he was pretty tired. Wednesday night we went out to a local seafood restaurant with two of my favourites from work – Chuck and Peter, and had to be kicked out at midnight as they were closing! Thursday night we met up with Donna and Yale, friends of my parents, at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (thanks to Dad with his Royal Sydney Yacht Club reciprocal membership), and it was a perfect night, gorgeous sunset over the harbour.

Mark, Carolyn (Mum) and Peter (Dad) at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

On Friday, May 25th, we left for the Okanagan Valley, 4 hours drive inland (East) of Vancouver. I had a training session at work in the morning, so the gang picked me up on the way through. It always surprises me how spread out Vancouver is, for a city the size of Brisbane, with 2 million people, it takes you over 100km to leave the suburban sprawl. We reached out destination in good time, the Hotel Eldorado in Kelowna, on the Okanagan Lake. Saturday was a gastronomic dream, first stop was an organic goats farm, where we sampled our way through various yoghurts and cheeses, then finished it with gelato, all from goats milk. Second stop was of course our fabulous Mission Hill Family Estate winery, where we had a welcome sign up at the gates, with the lovely Norma welcoming us!

We did receive the royal treatment, with a gorgeous lunch on the Terrace restaurant, then a Select Lot Collection tour, where we were lucky enough to taste some back vintages of the 1998 Reserve Chardonnay, and our flagship Bordeaux inspired red, Oculus.

Mark, Mum and Dad at the entrance to Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

We had a picnic on our deck that night for dinner, with wine, cheese and bread, what else could a girl want?

Sunday morning brunch at the hotel was something to behold. There was; Lobster legs, prawns, smoked salmon, lox, eggs bennies, bacon, sausages, hash browns, tomatoes, antipasto platters, salads, croissants, pancakes, crepes; not to mention the desert buffet as well!

We sauntered on down to the Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos, which is in the Sonora Desert, and right on the US Border. It’s about 5 degrees warmer there than in Kelowna, even though it’s only 2 hours drive away.

First Nations Desert Cultural Centre at Osoyoos – Nk’mip band

Mum and I on the ‘beach’ of Okanagan Lake at Penticton, the water was COLD!

The mango and lime margaritas sure tasted nice at the Mexican restaurant for dinner. On Monday we had a private tour of Mission Hill Family Estate winery with our Chief Wine Educator Ingo Grady. We went all through the winery, cellar, barrel rooms and private vault. Then it was time to return to the city, we drove down past Penticton, and took the scenic route home via spectacular mountain views.

The second week was full of fun activities with a trip to Calgary on Tuesday with work for Karen, and Mark, Mum and Dad went to Grouse Mtn for a day of adventure.

Cable car up Grouse Mtn

Bear at Grouse Mtn

Then we went out to dinner with our friends John and Joy’s brother Brett and lovely wife Janet at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. On Friday June 1st we took the ferry over to Vancouver Island, or ‘the island’ as it is locally known. The ferry ride was spectacular, and first stop was the beautiful Butchart Gardens. I have never seen flowers so large and vividly colourful, mum thought they were all on steroids!

Points for anyone who can name this flower?

3,300 lights on Parliament buildings at night in Victoria, BC’s capital

Homeward bound on the ferry, with even a few seal and killer whale sightings on the way home!

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