Thursday, July 21, 2016

Victoria, Vancouver Island

Arriving by ferry from Anacortes to Vancouver Island, we had a smooth but lengthy 3 hour trip. The Washington Ferry System delivered us to Sidney, British Columbia and from there we drove on to visit the Butchart Gardens.  Once we were finished at the gardens, we drove northward to the city of Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia.

We checked into our hotel, located in the downtown middle harbor district.  We enjoyed strolling the various city blocks looking at shoppes, galleries and restaurant pubs.  We also found the city to be busy, hustling with folks going here and there.  We saw all kinds of people from families and tourists like ourselves to business men and women.
There were also plenty of "characters" playing musical instruments for what ever cash donations they might receive.

Chinatown was a couple of blocks from our hotel as well.  We just had to stroll down the sidewalk and see the unusual wares for sale.

Walking from block to block, amazed at all of the cultural sites, we soon found ourselves at the lower harbor section.  The Centennial Square Area is where the Provincial Legislature, the Empress Hotel and the CoHo Loading Bay for the cruise ships are all located.  It was fascinating to watch the busy harbor, eyeing all the yacht traffic and watching the sea planes land.

We saw lots of excellent public art but as evening was falling, the sunlight was fading.  I found it a challenge to take photos with just my cell phone so I gave up and just enjoyed the stroll soaking up all of the unusual visual sights!

The Fairmont Empress Hotel, built around 1908 is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria.  We didn't take time to go inside, we were just so tired at this point..maybe next time. From the outside, the hotel's architecture and elegant appearance reminded me of the Biltmore Estate, which was built around 1889-1895.

View of the Provincial Legislature Building.  We were too tired to walk over there too.

We've walked about 8 blocks by now and it's time to head back to our hotel for some rest.  The city of Victoria has so much diversity with so many different types of experiences to explore.  There's Fisherman's Wharf, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle and several interesting historic villages within the city limits. We definitely want to come back and spend more time here exploring all the museums, galleries, cafes and city parks.

We're up bright and early the next morning to explore Vancouver Island before we have to be back at Sidney to board the ferry.  We take the southwestern drive (Hwy 14) through the village of Sooke to French Beach Provincial Park.  Walking down the paved path to the beach is exciting, we can hear the waves crashing into the shore and we smell the salt air. 

It's stunning!  The rocky shore, lined with lots of drift wood..and "drift trees" is a wonderful sight to see. It's an unspoiled beach with just a few visitors this day.  It's still a little foggy on the horizon so the Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan De Fuca are obscured a bit

  1. Time flies while we're having fun and before we know it, it's time to drive northward back to Sidney.  We don't want to miss our ferry and we just plan to eat a late lunch there.  After a meal of delicious Greek food, we enjoyed walking the Sidney waterfront, admiring their public art.  Gotta love those pirates!

Our ferry ride returning us back to Anacotes is uneventful, we pass through US Customs and arrive back to our motorhome ready to relax. 

Our brief trip to Vancouver Island goes by way too quickly.  No doubt, it's on our list of places to revisit because we left way to many shoppes, galleries, pubs, museums and beautiful unspoiled beaches yet explored.

More Later

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