Summer is coming to an end. There's a few leaves on the road, the days start and end at reasonable times, and the start of school is just around the corner. Which is to say that it was rather late to plan and take a full fledged summer vacation. A long weekend across the water and over the border was in order.
We had plans earlier this summer to visit Victoria which fell apart due to life events. That part was unfortunate, but it made planning this trip trivial. Just rebook what we had booked before! On the first day of the trip we took the Victoria Clipper that goes from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria, BC. Victoria is the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia and is full of flowers and a mix of Canadian and old world British charm.
The ferry ride was pleasant, ocean style rolling waves are uncommon in the Sound and the Strait Juan de Fuca. Ironically for escaping work, we were sitting next to a couple where the husband was a former Amazonian during some of the worst work-life balance times. As we got closer to Victoria, the heavy fog started to roll in (pictured) and we even saw some Orca whales (not pictured, too busy looking).
Heavy fog as we came into Victoria harbor.
From the ferry we took a bus to the Buchard Gardens. The gardens were first created over 100 years ago, first as an attempt to cover the for the poor aesthetics of an open limestone mine then as an attraction in their own right.
A little preview of the carousel.
The sunken gardens are in the place of the original limestone mine.
Mira and I enjoyed all the little bridges and elevated walkways throughout the gardens.
The original fog had cleared by the time we reached the gardens and we could not have asked for better weather and we were able to take our time in the tour. All the roses were smelled and Mira got a kick seeing some of the plants she's helped plant in another garden. Though now we need to put in a stream and a bridge.
Beyond the plants there are extensive waterworks throughout the site.
This little guy gave Sonali a massive scare. All the lizards were having a good time in the sun.
One of the newer attractions in the park is the Children's Pavilion featuring a carousel with hand carved animals.
The girls took a spin on the carousel.
We finished our tour with some ice cream (they even had a vegan option!) and got on the bus to the hotel. It was an early start and it ended up being an early night.
The next day was dedicated to viewing the city proper. Victoria takes its Garden City moniker seriously the area around the government buildings could pass as a park in its own right.
The British Columbia government house.
There are little orca statues scattered throughout downtown.
We had initially set out that morning to get breakfast but the place we had selected had a parody-esq line out the door. So instead of hipster we went traditional with an English style high tea at the Pendray Hotel, complete with the towers of sandwiches and pastries.
English High Tea.
Tea is a considerable meal. The nearby Beacon Hill park was an interesting place to burn off some of the excess. Parts of the part were the exposed rocky plain that is common on the islands up here, while the rest had been transformed into gardens including a few playgrounds. Awaiting at the end of the park is a complete view of the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula.
Mira finally worked up the courage to climb up this playground rock fixture.
Unexpectedly there were some peacocks roaming the park.
Sonali came to Victoria for the English charm of high tea. I wanted the Canadian experience of poutine. Fries, cheese curds, and bacon washed down with a beer; the perfect chaser for a day of walking.
Poutine at a waterfront restaurant.
Refueled, we walked along the harbor to another restaurant for an equally healthy main course. With the sun out, the weather was nice enough to sit outside in the garden setting.
The model at work after dinner. The nachos were okay, but the environment was great.
We had to take this picture of tulips and the canoe.
Our final morning was more eating, this time breakfast at the Empress Hotel, then one last look at the harbor.
The harbor was full of boats that made the journey from the Seattle area.
In case anyone forgot we crossed a boarder.
In front of the historic Empress Hotel. Their waffles were excellent.