On August 29, Cary and I started out for Vancouver, British Columbia, a beautiful, bustling city in Western Canada surrounded by sea and mountains. The purpose was to pick up Martha, who was returning by seaplane from the well-known retreat center, Hollyhock, on Cortes Island, where she had been teaching a week-long workshop called “Free Your Movement.” She will teach the same workshop in Mexico in Jan. 2024.

Getting to Vancouver is a picturesque three-hour drive from Seattle and, fortunately for us, we had a quick stop at the border to check passports. We made our way through a city that was both elegant and unusual, modern and old world, with skyscrapers, boulevards, parks, and quaint buildings with artistic facades tucked among the modern clusters. Our destination was the Sylvia Hotel, an iconic old structure nestled on the coast and draped in a cloak of Virginia Creeper, looking out on a glorious beach on the dramatic inlet, English Bay, whose curve reached to faraway islands in the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).

An assortment of ships resided at a distance, making an artistic backdrop for the setting sun. How lucky we were! Rain had been predicted, but stayed away for two days, until we had gone. Before bedtime we walked on the beach, enjoying utter peace and tranquility.

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel restaurant, looking out on the bay, the morning was spent exploring the beach and luxuriating in the wild birds and the driftwood relics left at high tide.


Close to the hotel, and down the beach in Morton Park was a fascinating group of sculptures called A-maze-ing Laughter…bronze figures sculpted in 2009 by Yue Minjun. They depict the sculptor in various poses of boundless laughter. What a great way to start the day! You mustn’t miss it when you come to Vancouver.

By 2 PM we were at the seaplane landing area, watching like hawks for Martha’s plane. Perfect landing, right on time. Out came five happy passengers, four of whom were Martha’s students at the Hollyhock retreat.

After a glorious reunion, we headed back. Just after we crossed the border into Washington, we stopped at Que Onda, a Mexican restaurant in Blaine.

We had no idea how good it was and were told that the owners started out as a food truck, which, because of the excellence of the food, has now turned into a gustatory gem.

As we were leaving, who appeared but Jim and Sarah Mullally, our friend, Mully’s, brother and his wife, who live in the area. What a fun meeting!

It was still light as we wound our way through Deception Pass and across the spectacular bridge, following the winding road leading us back to Langley. The trip was a short, but delightful change of pace!