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.
We couldn’t stay for that, however, because we had reservations for tea at the Empress hotel.
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.

Also, this might have happened:
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.

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.
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.

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.