Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Victoria, BC

With family living in Oregon, it's not too bad of a drive to go up to Victoria with them.

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a major tourism destination seeing more than 3.65 million visitors a year. It is close to the United States, about 62 miles from Seattle by airplane or ferry and 25 miles from Port Angeles, Washington by ferry.

The M.V. Coho provides a classic ship experience, linking Victoria, British Columbia and Port Angeles, Washington. Fares for the ferry can be found here:
http://cohoferry.com/main/index.php?Fares Reservations aren't necessary, but if it's a busy
summer weekend, you may not make the ferry you want without a reservation. We've been there twice and once had to wait about 4 hours for the next ferry. Not to worry, though, you can put your car in line and walk around the little town of Port Angeles. We ended up getting dinner at a little Indian restaurant the time we had to wait for the ferry. That trip we were also treated to a pretty spectacular sunset.

Watching the ferry arrive (the one we didn't get to take because we didn't have reservations).

This is another ferry as seen from our ferry looking back towards the awesome Olympic peninsula mountain range in Washington.

Here we are waiting to drive onto the ferry. It's done in an quick and orderly fashion.

Aboard the ferry you have to leave your car and head up to the passenger decks. It is an interesting 90 minute ride. If you're lucky (unlike us) you may even see pods of orcas. There is even a snack bar in the passenger deck below this one.

When I think of Victoria, I think of Butchart Gardens. It's one of the premier gardens that I've been too. It's somewhat expensive at about $25/person, but you are allowed to leave and come back later that night, or I think even the next day. It's not actually in Victoria, but a pleasant 30 minute or so ride from there.

Here is their famous Sunken Garden.

And one of the fountains.

There are even lots of interesting butterflies throughout the gardens.

I believe this is the groundkeepers building. Even it is picturesqe.

One of the many beautiful flower beds.

There's an extensive rose garden there, too. Here is one surrounding a courtyard.

Near the entrance buildings are the Italian gardens.

More of the many roses seen throughout the gardens.

At dusk, the gardens take on a new atmosphere with diffent colored lights.

Here are some of the Japanese gardens by colored lights.

Along the way to the Butchard Gardens is the Butterfly house. I enjoyed it, but I'm use to the hot humid weather of the midwest. My sister, from Oregon, sat in the air conditioned lobby area of the building and waited for me.

From inside the butterfly house.

Back in the city of Victoria, we took a double decker tour bus ride. It is a neat way to get an overview of the city. Here we were riding through China town.

Just another street scene from the bus.

On the outskirts of town is Craig Derrick Castle. Designated as one of Canada's National Historic Sites, this Victorian Castle is a legendary tourist attraction built by the wealthy Dunsmuir family.

Another side of the castle.

Inside the castle are period piece furnishings.
One of the rooms in the castle.

Another room.

The Fairmont Empress (most commonly known as The Empress) is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Located on Government Street facing the Inner Harbour, the Empress has become an iconic symbol for the city itself.
Inside the Empress are several public spaces. This is one of the lounges.

Here is were we had a great buffet lunch in the Empress.

This is where the Empress's English high tea is held.

Another view down Government street.

In the harbor is this undersea garden. Couldn't interest my sister into visiting it, but it looked interesting to me.

Here is the Information Center right on the harbor.

We even took an interesting ride along the coast just beyond the city limits. Typical northwest shoreline---coarse sand and lots of driftwood. We even saw a deer on our ride.

Here is the Parliament Building in Victoria. The do give free tours. We happened
to be there when they were getting ready to do the tour. I found it really interesting.

Another view of the Parliament building.

Back by our accommodations, we had a view of these house boats.

And here is where we stayed---the Worldmark in Victoria. Another great Worldmark resort!

A view inside our WM 2 bedroom condo.

Victoria is a beautiful "little" city with lots of charm.
HOpefully I'll get back there again someday.