Having enjoyed the stunning scenery of the Rockies and following the recommendation of ‘Scottie’ (the Scot we met in the B&B at Valemont who’s name we can’t remember….) we headed for the town of Nelson. Luckily we found an exceptionally cheap AirBnB and were hosted by the delightful Cheryl.
On our way down we crossed a river by the free ferry, that was a surprise in every sense, and wended our way down the Kokanee Rockies. A fabulously hippy ‘wimin’ roadside diner ‘Mama Sita’s’ gave us a sense of the more alternative folk who had staked a claim to this out of the way part of Canada. After 3 hours of driving we came to Cheryl’s lovely home on Stanley Road in Downtown Nelson. A red haired funky granny, whose son gave up teaching to farm cannabis for the legal purposes of medicinal pain relief…! She gave up her entire home to party the weekend away and we settled in J
Nelson was the best of all Canada world’s; on a beautiful lake, surrounded by vertigos mountains clad in trees, with a thriving alternative community – co-op housing, community veg gardens, local co-op radio etc.…. – and great food and entertainment. Our first evening stroll took us to the edge of the lake and we found a man doing his yoga chanting to the hills and the water. We then stumbled across a DVD store which had just been taken over by the most charming young man who had decided it was his mission to screen and rent the best movie ever. Apparently business was thriving despite Amazon Prime and Netflix! We decided this was the best town we had visited so far & we were a stone’s throw from moving here (we do this a lot!!).
Early Saturday morning and I found the Kootenay Co-op store and Bakery. Fabulous fresh food, staffed by funky energetic youngsters. I got the sense that sexual orientation was pretty fluid round here. After homemade pancakes (I’ve mastered the N American pancakes that rise using baking powder – yay!!) we arrived at the local farmers’ market in the Japanese garden. If you’re a hippy this is hippy heaven and you need to come here. Home dried rolled fruit, fresh bread, a Jamaican shouting “cous cous” every 2 mins to get you to come to his cous cous stand, massage, a folk band, wild flower stand, women doing the hula hoop (just for fun), I could go on and on…. Finally, actually first, we came across the most delightful table with a woman sat behind an ancient typewriter who was a poet. You could type your own poem or you could pay her to type a poem for you. Being a supporter of the arts & the independent artist, I wanted a poem. Behind me Dean shuddered as I commissioned my own work of art without asking the price in advance (dear reader, in my naivety I thought that this being hippy heaven it would be ‘pay what you think its worth’). Fred gave our commissioned poet his topic “Travelling round the world” and we left her to compose whilst we explored. 10 minutes later we got back to the poet who read us her labours. It was beautiful and within seconds I was shedding tears – there must be some medication that can cure me of this over emotional response to any artistic endeavour by other…. Anyway see video below of the poet reading this to us.
I’m not sure if there is a DSM II classification for what Dean has but it needs inventing. 24 hours after arriving in Nelson and being smitten, he was experiencing an allergic reaction to ‘hippy heaven’. Having contemplated going to the Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre on Sunday morning for a 3-hour meditation, I became acutely aware that he was on the verge of punching the next person that asked him if he needed his Chakra’s sorting (I may be slightly exaggerating for the purposes of injecting some humour – but not much….!)
A lovely antidote was leaving Nelson to experience the Ainsworth Hot Springs an hour away. Taking a winding road, stopping for fabulous coffee and milkshake in Balfour, we arrived at the most magnificent natural hot springs. Sulphur coated caves with Iron rich waters, 45°C in heat, with an ice cold plunge pool got our pulses racing. Fortunately, there was also a pool, heated by the hot springs water, which was a more bearable 35°C that we could lounge in, or by.
Our final day in Nelson saw us chilling out in the morning, changing our bookings for various cars and accommodation – we decided to can Vancouver and Vancouver Island as too expensive & everyone said that if we’d seen what we had of Canada so far we wouldn’t get anything extra from it – before we headed out in the afternoon to the beach on the river. Another lovely chilled time. Great play area for Fred, who made more new friends, and shady tables for Dean to catch up on his blogging. The dingy we had bought in Wasaga Beach had a good outing in the chilly waters, Fred and I mastering the one paddle canoeing, and a refreshing dip got our circulation going. Dean got a free pass and wondered off for coffee downtown. You’ll have to read his blog to get the detail but coffee turned into new friends, a Sunday League baseball game, and beer….!
Nelson, Stanley Street, and Cheryl will have a special place in our trip. It was magical and I may just retire there…... (but only if Dean has his Chakra’s sorted first!).
Click on link below to view more photos from Nelson trip
For me this trip is all about having a great adventure with my family. Its taken years for us to finally stop talking about it and do it - simply because it both excites and frightens the life out me! So I'm stepping out of corporate life, where I singularly failed to achieve a work/life balance....to experience different cultures and spend time with those I love xx