Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Victoria Christmas Holiday, Part 2

To continue with our third day in Victoria...

...A short rest was in order before we drove to the ferry terminal to wait for Dave and Charleen (Anne's sister) to arrive. Anne stayed in the warm car while I braved the cold to visit with a local husky owner—after 12 years of racing a Siberian Husky sled dog team, it’s hard to resist a visit with a husky and owner. She (the owner) gave me some good advice on eateries and she (the dog) gave me some good licks. Our guests arrived and we got them settled in at our WM apartment.

For dinner we took the advice I had gotten while waiting for the ferry and walked back to Belleville’s Watering Hole (pub) 
Dinner at the Watering Hole

across from the ferry terminal. Loud and crowded, still very good for food and drinks. We then walked to the government buildings down the street to see them in their Christmas finery. 

An historic Manor House, now a hotel and restaurant.

The regional legislative building.

Then back to the room.
Wednesday, December 21 was the first day of winter, and the best weather of the trip. Breakfast was the first one I didn’t cook—Charleen and Anne fixed bacon, eggs, and Tolovana muffins. Delicious.
Today was the big touring day—especially for Dave and Charleen. We started out going around the south end of the city with stops at the breakwater, Chinese cemetery, and Glover Park. 

Then we headed north to the Town of Sidney where we had a serious coffee stop—seriously, 

that’s the name of the coffee chain, Serious Coffee—and introduced Dave and Charleen to Roger’s Chocolates [This is becoming a habit.]. We also stopped at a travel shop in Sidney. There Dave, Charleen, and I all became proud owner of new Tilley hats 
Dave and Charleen making their big purchases.

(made in Canada)—Anne already had a new hat from Ireland.
It took some backtracking but we finally found the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. It was to be one of the highlights of the whole trip. The butterfly enclosure was steamy hot, but once I got my cameras acclimated I had fun photographing several species of butterflies 

(the ones that would stay still long enough), some poison frogs, an iguana, and several birds. The exhibit is well set up and we spent about an hour inside.
The next several hours we spent at Victoria’s most touted (and rightly so) attraction, The Butchart Gardens.  Consisting of several garden areas (sunken garden, Japanese garden, Italian garden, Mediterranean garden, among others), three restaurants, a large gift shop, 

and in the winter displays of millions upon millions of lights, the Butchart Gardens is a prime tourist destination. 

We got there in the early afternoon and wandered first in the Japanese Garden (it’s not lighted for Christmas), then went into the Italian garden, and finally hiked the sunken garden—all the while looking for displays of the Twelve Days of Christmas; we found all but the twelve drummers drumming. After a first walk about in the afternoon light, we had a tasty dinner in the Blue Poppy Cafe (more interesting for us because we see Himalayan Blue Poppies most often in Scotland. 
The Sunken Garden

After dinner we took the walking tour again to see all the gardens glowingly presented in their Christmas sparkle. 
Eight Maids a Milking

As we drove out of the gardens at about 8:00PM under a tunnel of twelve lighted drummers drumming, we noticed the three km line of cars stopped and waiting to get into the gardens. Since the gardens closes at 10:00PM we figured many people did not make it in.
Back at WM we still had energy left for a couple of games of Bananagrams before we crashed.
We planned Thursday around Dave and Charleen’s ferry back to the mainland at 3:30. Once the Hoilands were all packed we first walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf to view the floating village, 
Floating Homes at Fisherman's Wharf

This harbour seal (I think) floated just below the surface next to the wharf waiting for someone to offer food.

and then walked to the edge of downtown. Anne and Charleen went to the Empress Hotel to see the Christmas tree display and the shops while Dave and I visited the Royal BC Museum. 

The main nature exhibit was everything you wanted to know about wooly mammoths, including viewing the most completely preserved mammoth, Lyuba a one month old mammoth over 40,000 years old. 
One of the totems in the museum.

The second area of the museum is dedicated to First Nation peoples (natives). Both exhibits are interesting and very detailed.
For lunch we drove to the Cook Street Village where we ate in a fine neighborhood pub, The Beagle Pub. 

Anne and brother-in-law Dave in The Beagle Pub.

I can report that the Oyster Po Boy was delicious. We then dropped the Hoilands off at the ferry terminal for them to catch the 4:00 ferry back to Port Angeles where their car was parked.

In the evening Anne and I packed, ate deep fried salmon from Finest at Sea food cart, worked on photos, and relaxed to get ready for the long drive home Friday, Anne’s Birthday present—a day in the car driving through the rain and snow. 
This plane followed the ferry out of the harbor.

Our Worldmark timeshare from the ferry leaving Victoria.

The end of the trip was not really indicative of the great Christmas Holiday we spent in Victoria, BC. 

NOTE: Someone asked what camera equipment I used. On this trip I used a Nikon D7200 w/18-300mm lens for most of the landscape/seascape and butterfly photos; a Lumix GX100 w/16-60mm lens for city scenes and in the gardens; and a Lumix SZ100 w/25-250mm lens for grab shots. 

NEXT: Notes from a week's trip to Las Vegas.