Shortly after exiting the Uber-ferry that runs between Vancouver Island and the Mainland (complete with buffet and lounge!), we decided to pull off the freeway and check out the quaint sounding town of Sydney. Of course, at 8:00 on a Tuesday night, there wasn’t much going on, but it seemed like it might be a nice place to wake up in the morning. Stocking up on groceries, wine, and some vague directions to where we might be able to park our home for the evening, we found a nice quiet parking lot across from the beach. You can’t get much more picturesque than that, even in the pitch black.
There were a couple of parked vans with curtains on the windows, so it seemed we had stumbled on a common spot for road trippers to park for the night. It helps to remember that this was February in coastal British Columbia, which escapes the extreme deep freeze of much of the country, but is still a far cry from balmy. Generally speaking, temperatures around 2 degrees Celsius (35 f) tend to make for less than ideal camping weather if you don’t have a heater.
Around 4 am, we were startled awake by the screaming roar of a full size jet airliner passing directly overhead. Jumping up to peer out the window, half expecting to see death bearing down on us, we groggily realized that we were parked about half a block from the Sydney international airport, directly below the runway approach. We were all shivering, whether from fear or the cold, it was hard to say. I swear, a couple of those jets almost hit us, but I lack any hard evidence to back me up. From then on, it became a matter of tossing and turning until dawn, when hopefully at least one coffee shop would be open.
As it turns out, Sydney is one of the most picturesque seaside towns I have been to. With a sort of Cape-Cod feel with a dash of Western Cool, it made us wonder what we had been doing living on the Sunshine Coast for all those years. We spent most of the day wandering around the downtown block and marveling at all of the bookstores and coffee shops (about 10 of each in a two block radius.) It struck me that they must do little other than drink coffee and read books, which both seem like admirable professions to me. I was starting to feel right at home.