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June-July 2019

Warning: naked butts ahead.

It was the best summer of my life. Well one of the best. I can’t say I remember exactly, having lived through 69 summers now, but this one really felt like for sure it was one of the best. Definitely one of the best in recent memory.

It started with a trip south to gather with friends for our five-day annual Long Dance in late June; always a rich, nourishing, and joyous time. Early July we visited a friend on Vancouver Island for several days exploring and hanging out in the Cowichan Valley, and then visited friends who live on nearby Saturna Island. Long walks in nature, beautiful scenery, wildlife, open spaces both inner and outer, great meals and good company. And it was not long after that trip that that two of my three sisters arrived to visit for a couple of weeks.

Photo by Don Read


Don and I live in a small one bedroom apartment, so we turned the kitchen/living/dining room into a dorm, somehow managing to find space on the floor for a couple of mattresses, and space in the cupboards for my sisters’ things. It felt like we were kids again back when the whole family would bundle off somewhere for holidays at the beach and all us kids would be crowded together in one room to sleep, and spend all day playing on the beach. In those days parents could safely leave their kids to run wild. They were nearby but it was not considered dangerous for us to hang out on the beach without supervision. We could all swim, and we could all be trusted. What freedom it was. Some of that feeling of the togetherness of childhood holidays returned. It was so much fun!

Don and I went out more often in the summer of 2019 with my sisters than we have for years. Vancouver comes alive in the summer and we were alive with it.

Just listen to this: In two weeks we went to the Vancouver Folk Festival,







two plays at Bard on the Beach (All’s Well That Ends Well, and Shakespeare in Love), a couple of movies, VanDusen Garden, Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Columbia Street Festival. There were numerous outings just for coffee and a treat, and numerous picnic dinners at Jericho Beach.













We explored several of Vancouver’s more interesting neighbourhoods, and went to Kits Beach where it seemed the whole city had come out to play.















On Granville Island we watched squealing kids play in the water park,





and Julie and I took the ferry across False Creek to the Aquatic Centre then climbed all the way up the hill to Robson Street. I can’t remember why. On the way we met this lovely man, a foretaste of the Pride Parade to be held the following weekend.



From Robson we headed back down to Sunset Beach





for the Naked Bike Ride. Who doesn’t want to see the Naked Bike Ride?! There was a band and everything. Yes really. Everything.





It was a warm-weather joyous time. Julie left at the end of July and Suzanne a couple of weeks later. In August we went to a Japanese festival and the Pride Parade, and more outings with friends. Then it all came to a very quiet and peaceful end when Don and I went on a silent ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat at the end of the month. Ommmmm





Next post: I’ll post more about Vancouver’s special places and festivals, and summer with my sisters, and our trip to Saturna Island, but next I’m going to swing over to Japan for a little exploring around Kyoto. But maybe before that a post about life during lockdown.





All words and images by Alison Louise Armstrong unless otherwise noted
© Alison Louise Armstrong and Adventures in Wonderland – a pilgrimage of the heart, 2010-2020.