Friday, September 14, 2012

Vancouver Island and Victoria, B.C.

After three days in Vancouver we took the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, north of the city, to Departure Bay, south of Nanaimo on the island. As ferry crossings go (I am now an expert—I have four ferry crossings under my belt in the last couple of weeks!) it was deluxe. Free wifi, a cafeteria and a coffee shop that served Starbucks, and both inside and outside seating. I must say the Canadians are very generous with their wifi, which is more than I can say for Montana. 
We had lovely warm weather throughout our entire stay in British Columbia, but it was particularly fine in Victoria. One of the highlights of the trip was Butchart Gardens, which were spectacular.  I took a liking to their dahlia garden, but they have a really fragrant rose garden, and even a carousel.  You can have lunch or afternoon tea there, and you can also go in the evening, when they apparently have parts of the gardens illuminated.
20120906_110106_310HS_IMG_0402
20120906_112605_7D_IMG_11320
20120906_113304_7D_IMG_11328
20120906_120038_7D_IMG_1135120120906_113629_310HS_IMG_041420120906_120856_7D_IMG_11356
20120906_114136_7D_IMG_11340
20120906_115021_7D_IMG_1134620120906_115954_310HS_IMG_0427
We couldn’t stay for that, however, because we had reservations for tea at the Empress hotel.
20120906_133151_310HS_IMG_0434
20120906_133533_310HS_IMG_0438
20120906_143947_G12_IMG_1754
20120906_134225_G12_IMG_1742
20120906_142222_310HS_IMG_0452
We’ve had tea all over, and it was among the best. They give you a box of their special blend of tea to take with you, which is a nice touch.
The Empress hotel also has a Miniature Museum which we decided to check out—it was impressive. Check out the video of the last and largest exhibit, about the Barnum and Bailey circus.  The museum has a collection of 80 miniature exhibits, from dollhouses to WWII tableaus, to the granddaddy of them all—The Circus Comes to Town.

Looks who's playing on the big screen!


We also wandered around the harbor area in Vancouver, and checked out the parliament buildings, the harbor, and Chinatown.

20120905_182544_G12_IMG_173520120905_193825_G12_IMG_1739
20120906_181512_G12_IMG_1789
Also, this might have happened:
20120905_194258_310HS_IMG_0391
I’m sure it looks kind of creepy from where you’re sitting (the pig looks kinda weird to me now too, I can’t remember what flavor that was), but I’d never seen gelato sculpture before. We got gelato here a couple of times. The hedgehog (with blueberry eyes and a cherry nose) was nutella. I tried their peanut butter chocolate, too. David got pumpkin and butter pecan, I think. The second time we split a Belgian chocolate and coconut. We’re economizing.
20120905_194251_310HS_IMG_0390

We had intended to leave on the noon ferry back to Washington the next day, but since it was all booked up we reserved a spot on the 6pm ferry, went for a run in the morning, and then a drive to Sooke after that for a little stone skipping, jellyfish poking, dog watching, and lunch.  Sooke was a very pretty, sleepy little town on the western side of the island. Next time, we’d like to spend a little more time exploring that side of the island.
20120907_115431_G12_IMG_1809
20120907_114400_310HS_IMG_0492
20120907_114756_310HS_IMG_0496
20120907_114458_G12_IMG_1804
20120907_115213_G12_IMG_1806
20120907_112112_G12_IMG_1795
On the way back to Washington (no wifi this time, so we were forced to stare out the window at the San Juan Islands as we passed), David managed to catch the best of the sunset from the ferry.
20120907_193825_7D_IMG_11375
20120907_194138_7D_IMG_11392
20120907_194556_7D_IMG_11401

One final note: you might have noticed some pictures of our traveling companion, Mr. Bee.  He is an ambassador of sorts, a version of Flat Stanley (if you know who that is) for our dear friend A, who is six. His school mascot is a bee, and so we are bringing Mr. Bee with us. Once Mr. Bee has seen the world, A should have one heck of a show and tell.