Andrew was 3 months old when we booked this trip. I am still not sure what possessed us to go on a domestic vacation like this, but it still stands out to be one of our favorites! Westjet Vacations had a terrific deal on airfare and hotel, so we jumped at the chance to spend 5 days in Victoria. We were pretty smart too, we upgraded the room to a signature suite at the Fairmont Empress. What we didn’t know was that it was pretty much the best room with the most amazing view. More on that in a bit.
The flight was uneventful and an hour and 10 minutes later we were on the tarmac , about 25 minutes North of Victoria proper. It rained on us a bit when we were walking from the plane to the terminal, however once we got our luggage and were ready to leave it stopped raining, how nice.
We took a cab into downtown. I had been to Victoria back in 1993, but that was the last time, and Traci had never been there. We enjoyed the lushness of the big trees and green lawns. Even though its October, there are plenty of flowers in full bloom. We got to the hotel. The word ‘wow’ doesn’t even start to describe this place at first blush.
Like seriously? maybe in Europe, but here? yup. yay for us. We hadn’t seen our room yet, but we didn’t have huge expectations as we have stayed in ‘bargain suites’ before and have been less than thrilled. Not this time tho. We were THRILLED! What a room, what a view! 9th floor, up in the far left turret of the castle. how freaking amazing for us!
We didn’t have any agenda. We sat in the room for the first afternoon, just watching the comings and goings of the harbour. The seaplanes, the ships, the small craft, the kayakers, everything about it was just memorizing. The room had 3 opening windows that looked over the harbour, and they had a 2’ windowsills that were meant for sitting propped up with pillows just watching the world go by. We were hungry and it just so happened that we like this: Yum…
We took a stroll out onto the wharf and then ate a nice big smoky. It was really tasty. Not sure it’s a Victoria ‘Must see or do’ but the hotdog stand was just what the doctor ordered at this time. Andrew was pretty pooped out, so we didn't stay up too late. I think we ordered in a pizza for a late supper and then called it a day. but not before I took my all time favourite photograph. This photo is untouched as it was taken that night.
For the next couple days we explored the harbour and all things related to downtown Victoria. It was a really special time for us, as it was the first time we just relaxed since way before Andrew was born.
The Harbour stroll is incredible. I can’t say enough about how beautiful this place is in the fall.
Speaking of Fisherman's Wharf, the following photos show a different way to live and work. Floating! Its like a boyhood dream, either living here or in a tree, I never could decide what would be cooler. Remember in Sleepless in Seattle, didn't you just wish you lived in Tom Hanks’ Characters’ house. See in the background? That is one of the passenger ferries that travel from Victoria to Seattle.
Here are few more of my favourite things during this trip.
This is the M.V. Coho, that sails twice daily from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington. Rick the Non-geek geek took this trip recently on his annual trip down to Palm Desert, you can read back in his blog and learn more about this ship and the journey.
We rented a car for a couple days to see some more of this beautiful island city and we ended up all over the place. Including at a little wonderful out of the way cafe called ‘The White Heather Tea Room’ for high tea! If you have never had high tea at a place like this, DO IT! The food, the tea, the service, the desserts…wow! Also, The Empress high tea at our hotel costs $80.00 per person, where this place was $26.00 per person and was MORE than worth it.
Our journeys carried us to some other incredible vistas in Victoria.
We wrapped up our sightseeing on the last day by visiting beautiful Buchart gardens. This garden was a quarry about a hundred years ago and the Buchart Family turned it into a private garden that is one of the most visited sites in all of BC today.
It was pretty sad to leave. we drove to the airport on the last day to get our ride back to reality in Calgary. We were early and had some time to wait in the new terminal wing at the airport. I was shooting pictures while Traci and Andrew relaxed and was able to get this amazing photo.
The Terminal in Victoria, while small, is quite comfortable and well appointed. AND as an added bonus, there were some cool military manoeuvres being performed just outside! It was an amazing trip and we will be back. Funny thing was, it started to rain again as we boarded the plane, having not rained a drop while we were here!