We are half way through our journey…be sure you read Part 1 here.
We were up and ready after a good nights sleep! It was time for the Butchart Garden tour. Everyone says you have to go…mom and I were like, really…flowers??? Snore! They were right!!! OMG…I have never in my life seen a place that was once an old rock quarry turned into something this beautiful. And this was just the beginning!
There are multiple gardens on 55 acres and they are all built on the remains of a limestone quarry by the wife of the owner starting over 100 years ago.
The flowers were beyond perfect and even the trashcans were beautiful!
Mom and I were sure a garden would be a waste of time for us, but Butchart Gardens proved us wrong. I could spend days there just reading a book. One of my favorite spots was a peek-a-boo hedge at the inlet that opened up to an amazing dock.
We had a bit of time left over after Butchart and Roger, our guide swung us by his favorite spot in Victoria, The Government house. It also had amazing gardens and views.
The flowers were gorgeous here as well!
Once we returned to Victoria Harbour, we headed out on a tour of the Gourge. It was fascinating listening to the history and we got to ride on the cutest boat around. We also got to see the famous blue bridge. It is the last of it’s kind and they are tearing it down this year.
We wound up our day eating at the Docks, at a lovely harbor view table and went to bed smiling. People here are so nice!
We hit the Grand Pacific breakfast buffet since we knew lunch was going to be light on our wine tour. While there we asked our waitress what the deal was with all the high tea in the area. She said it is tradition to have high tea, but it has gotten out of hand. The Empress Hotel is the #1 place to go. For $91 per person you get tea, scones, cucumber sandwiches and little cakes. We decided that was a tradition we could skip. I don’t even really like tea! We spent a the little time we before our tour had watching the ferry from Seattle unload and load. It was amazing to watch all those 18-wheelers come off a boat! We also got to see the blue bridge go up! It doesn’t happen often.
We spent the next 6 hours with Colleen of Island Time tours. She took us up into the Cowichan Valley for a wine and vinegar tasting tour. We traveled through the rain forest and came out into a beautiful country side full of grapes and family farms.
Our lunch stop was at Hilary’s Cheese Shop in Cowichan Bay. The food was good and the view was so quaint!
After 4 stops and about 20 wine tastings we were feeling pretty good. We were still standing…barely!
Arriving back in Victoria around 5, we decided to go to the local Casino. Do not do this. It was boring and it looks just like every other small casino. We got back to the hotel around 8 PM, jumped into bed with a movie, local cheese and breads and opened a newly purchased bottle of wine. Good night!
I was awoken this fine morning by a sharp tapping. I arose to find a seagull sitting on my window sill tapping on the glass. I think he wanted some of the cheese and bread from the night before. I woke up mom and we prepped to watch the First Nations authentic canoes paddle into the harbor. It was the BC Aboriginal Cultural Festival kickoff at the BC Museum.
We get to the museum right as they opened and were first in line to beat all the little kids! Our first stop was the baby mammoth Lyuba. She has led to amazing discoveries for scientists and seeing her in the flesh was amazing. We went through the First Nations language center and the Becoming BC history display. It was enlightening.
After the museum, we were ready for lunch. Everyone said we had to go to Red Fish, Blue Fish. Even the locals go there. I am glad we weren’t too hungry, since I spent 1.2 hours standing in line at a fish shack. It was worth it. I took this picture of mom as she appreciated the view and held a table for us.
I really wanted to see Fisherman’s wharf, so we jumped into the cutest taxi ever and headed that way.
Fisherman’s wharf was worth the trip. We saw harbor seals close up and walked the docks of floating houses.
At the hotel we packed and then headed out to a walking ghost tour of the city! The city was beautiful at night and the light rain lent an eerie feeling to the ghost stories and tiny Fan Tan Alley.
After the tour, we slowly meandered back to the hotel knowing our trip was coming to an end soon.
Last day…We had a bit of time before we needed to check out, so we decided to make the most of it. We toured the local James Bay community market and walked around the back of Parliament. That building is beautiful from all sides.
We swung around to the side of the Empress and saw part of the Crystal Palace garden.
Finally we stopped at the 115 year old heritage Redwood that was planted in front of Parliament. The root structure is amazing and I now want to visit a redwood forest.
It was time to catch our cab back to the airport. The trip back was difficult due to a lot of TSA security lines and a delayed flight, but we made it home in one piece.
Victoria, British Columbia is a place I would love to see again. A week is honestly not enough time. See you next time Canada!