On our British Columbia trip we enjoyed a short jaunt over to Victoria. Luke and I both loved it, and wished we had been there for two nights instead of just one. Unfortunately every guide book and website I looked at said that one night was more than enough time to experience Victoria. We really wished we hadn’t listened.
As I detailed in the British Columbia post, we took the ferry over to Victoria, which took 4 hours when all was said and done. Between the bus ride from Vancouver to the ferry port, the ferry ride and then the bus ride from the Vancouver Island ferry port to downtown Vancouver, it is quite a time consuming trip. However, it was neat to be out of the city centers and see how people really live and what the residential communities are like.
I was surprised by how big Victoria is. The tourist maps you get only show the area of the inner harbour, which is where Parliament and the Empress are located, but Victoria is actually much bigger. After checking in to our hotel on Friday, we got ready for dinner and walked around. We finally found a pub, and enjoyed a great meal there. Afterward we walked around the inner harbour, took pictures of Parliament and the Empress lit up at night and then got a drink at the hotel bar in the Empress. It had an African safari theme, and the drinks were delicious. When I’m on vacation I always try to drink the local drinks. At the pub I had a local beer and at the Empress bar I had spiked local apple cider.
The next morning we got up and went for a walk and to get breakfast. While at breakfast we decided to take a seaplane back to Vancouver. We knew the price would be much steeper, but it would give us more time in Victoria and more time in Vancouver when we got back. We also decided to look at it as an activity, in addition to a mode of transportation, since neither of us had been on one. We stopped by the seaplane terminal and made our reservation and got the rate, nearly $170 per person for a 35 minute ride. Yikes!
Back at the hotel we packed up our bags, left them with the porter and embarked on a 25 minute walk to Craigderroach Castle. This also gave us an opportunity to see much of the city, this time by foot. We passed antique stores, a bakery, boutiques and many other shops. The castle was neat, but it was more of a big house than an actual castle. We were still glad we made the trek up there and saw it, though.
On the way back from the castle we grabbed a delicious lunch at a chain restaurant, the Cactus Club Cafe, grabbed our bags from the Empress and went to the seaplane terminal.
Though I was a bit scared at takeoff, the seaplane ended up being each of our favorite things of the entire trip. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and takeoff and landing were very cool experiences. I hope to be able to take another seaplane sometime soon.
Here are some pics from our time in Victoria: