My mom’s bucket list trip this year was to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from June 12-18th. It was spectacular. I am going to tackle this post in chronological order…in 2 posts. It’s too long for 1. 🙂
Time to check in for our flight 24 hours before departure. We were flying Alaska Airlines operated by American. This sounds easy right? WRONG! I logged on to Alaska Airlines and they tell me to check-in with American. Okay. I log on to American and they say to check in with Alaska….uhhhh, now what? I decide to pick up the phone, after 4 calls and 5 people I find out that it is a glitch in American’s system and we will have to check-in person. Not fun at DFW airport. On the good side, we were arriving to the airport super early and we already had assigned seats, but it just made me tense.
4AM wake-up to head to the airport…ugh! (See previous post) We got all checked in with no trouble and manged to grab a seat free between us for extra space! We landed safely in Seattle and headed over to the smallest commercial plane ever. It had propellers! We did a few uncomfortable drops in the air due to air pockets, but I had enough Xanax in me to feel okay about it. The view out the plane was breath-taking (previous post).
We grabbed a $60 cab to our hotel (35 minutes) and arrived at about 2:30. Check in was not until 4PM and our room was not ready, so we headed over to talk to the concierge. He recommended Island Time Tours for a great Butchart Gardens tour and a Wine tour. We booked with Colleen, our guide and headed to the restaurant across the street (Steamship Grill) for a quick bite to eat and a glass of wine. The sun was warm, but the air was cool on the water. They had blankets at each chair to get cozy! At 4PM, we headed back and got a great surprise. The Grand Pacific could not find a room with 2 beds so they upgraded us to a 2 bedroom suite!!!!! We had the best view possible. Two balconies with windows that wrapped around the whole corner of the hotel. LUCKY!
We unpacked completely. I can’t live out of a suitcase. I want to feel at home. Then, that evening we took a stroll and used one of my Groupons the Argyles’ Attic and had a lovely dinner. We were back to the hotel relaxing in the hot tub by 8:30 (10:30 our time).
We started our day with breakfast at Belville’s next door to our hotel. They have Cheez Wiz at the table (like a jelly packet) Weird! It was our first day and we needed a tour, so we jumped on our hop-on bus (Groupon!) and started to get a lay of the land. We saw some beautiful sights and made plans for what we wanted to come back to.
One of the stops was for Craigdarroch Castle, so we hopped off there for a tour. The castle was amazing. Such a rich history. The woodwork and stained glass was pure art. I could live here!
We jumped back on our little bus and headed back to the city. They dropped us off right near Smith’s Pub, where I had a lunch Groupon. We ate a fine meal of burgers, fries and cider and then were off to the Robert Bateman Center to appreciate some art. It amazes me when someone can create a painting so life-like it looks like a photo. Across from the museum was the Victoria Parliament (Victoria is the capital of BC). The tour was free so we took advantage. What a magnificent building. The Architect who designed it also did the building the Bateman Center is in and the famous Empress Hotel. Listening to the issues of Canada makes me realize that politics are crazy everywhere.
That night we decided to head out to a very expensive seafood restaurant. I had a plate of King crab legs that gave me food poisoning 3 hours later. We watched a movie while I was doubled over. At least it only lasted a few hours and I was able to sleep.
Today was the day! Whale watching!!!!! I got a great Groupon deal for our tour and we had to meet at 9:30. We had a bland breakfast (tummy was a bit raw) and downed Meclazine for sea-sickness like they were tic-tacs. Both mom and I have big issues with motion. We met up with Five Star Whale Watching Tours and headed out for a 3 hour tour. Luckily we were not on Gilligan’s Island. The wind was crazy as we entered the Juan de Fuca Straight between Canada and the USA.
The light house was picture perfect. We saw seals, sea lions, a bald eagle, otters playing in the kelp and a few humpbacks swimming along. The views were unimaginable and if you ever get the chance, GO! It was amazing. Plus, neither one of us got sick!
We returned to a quick lunch and then headed to Miniature World. I know it sounds weird, and it was, but it was also amazing. Someone has a lot more patience than me. Look how tiny! That window below was the size of my thumb nail.
At this point it was 6PM. The wind, sun and ocean had drained us. We trudged back to the hotel feeling like we could barely stand, but we kept moving. We got in and ordered a pizza, opened a bottle of wine and started a movie.
I passed out at 7:15 and slept for 12 hours. We both woke up rested and ready to tackle another day!
To Be Continued…