Ladysmith, A Town of the PastWritten by Margot B
Ladysmith BC on Vancouver Island is only a 85 km (53 mi) drive north of Victoria BC on Hwy 1...a short trip filled with ocean and mountain views. Ladysmith BC is 26 km 16 (mi) south of Nanaimo BC. South of Nanaimo, closer to Ladysmith is Cassidy, home to Nanaimo Airport and Duke Point Ferry Terminal providing various easy access points to Ladysmith BC area.
Recreation includes water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, swimming, fishing, diving, boating, and water-skiing. The archipelago of islands around Ladysmith area makes it one of most popular paddle sport destinations in N. America. There are three marinas: two are public, and one is commercial. Attractions include Skateboard park, par 3 golf courses.
Transfer Beach Park is a popular spot for swimmers, picnics and large gatherings. Popular attractions are amphitheatre, logger sport facilities, horseshoe pitch, barbecue huts, kids playgrounds, sand volleyball and basketball courts, concession stand, and kayak rentals. It is a well-planned and attractive park with acres of grass and flowerbeds, surrounded by big trees.
Behind Ladysmith in hills is a 4-kilometer hike through a rainforest with bridges, wildlife and waterfalls. This area includes Stocking Lake, one of two main sources of Ladysmith's drinking water.
Ladysmith has focused its interest on attracting tourism by setting up world-renowned annual festivals and events. In spring there is a two-day festival which attracts hundreds of paddle sport enthusiasts for boating fun, food and music. On Canada Day there is cake, fun and music on Ladysmith's historic waterfront. On BC Day there is a daylong weekend parade, a soapbox derby, logger sports, games, rides, music, entertainment and fireworks.. Ladysmith Fall Fair in late August or September, showcases Ladysmith and area talents in horticulture, arts and crafts, home economics, beer and winemaking.
There are two main shopping areas: First Avenue in downtown area and modern Coronation Mall on Island Highway, with a wide variety of shops, services and eateries.
Ladysmith, with its downtown heritage buildings, was named one of ten prettiest towns in Canada by Harrowsmith Country Life magazine. Ladysmith has been given National Communities in Bloom Award with a 5-Bloom rating, with a special mention for Heritage Conservation.
Volcano Tours In Baņos EcuadorWritten by Steve Gilman
In June of 2004, my wife and I spent a week in Banos, Ecuador. Our clean hotel room, with cable TV, cost $6 per night. It was $12 normally, but we're good negotiators. We paid just $1 for lunch each day ($2.25 total for both, with tip), which was usually chicken, rice, beans, salad and juice. Sometimes we splurged and paid $1.50 at a nicer place.
Evenings we went to Santo Pecado ("saint/sinner") or one of other discos. Our favorite was Tuparina, perhaps due to huayusa, a drink made of a psychadelic plant collected by family of owner. Most days I played chess in open market in center of town, with Manolo or Rene, or other locals.
Getting Into Hot Water In Baņos
There are two hot spring facilities in Baņos, and two with cold water. These are some of best hot springs in Ecuador. One is at base of a waterfall that tumbles from mountain above. You can walk to it from anywhere in town, and it costs just a dollar, or a little more if you want to enjoy mineral-rich waters under stars each evening. A sign documents various minerals that are in water, and many come to alleviate their arthritis or other illnesses.
Volcano Tours In Baņos
Of dozens of volcanos in Ecuador, several are active. One of most active is Tungurahua, which overlooks Banos. To see it, you need to get out of town, because Baņos is set deep in surrounding lush, green mountains, which block view. The best way to get a good look is on a "volcano tour." There are a couple operations in Banos that take you on tours to see an eruption. Watch for one of "chivas" circling town and blasting loud music in evening. A chiva is an open-sided bus of sorts, with seating inside or on roof.