Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Victoria, BC “Lick and a Promise” Tour

We didn't put much planning into our short trip to Victoria, British Columbia, but it worked out great.
A ferry takes people, dogs, bikes, cars, RVs, semi trucks and who knows what else across 26 miles of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles,WA, to Victoria and back.  We caught the 8:15 a.m. ferry on a clear, beautiful day.  We stood at the front of the ferry -- not quite in the Kate Winslet Titanic position -- watching nearby container ships and fishing boats. There was a little bit of excitement on our part when we overheard a guide pointing out "a bunch of human skulls" on a spit of land, only to realize later that he was a birder pointing out “Heerman's gulls.”

The ferry ride was 90 minutes. While on the ferry we purchased tickets for the “Hop-on Hop off" tour, another 90-minute trip -- this time narrated on a double decker bus -- that takes you around the city.  After the bus tour we had time to get lunch and walk around on our own before we took a return ferry at 3 p.m.  

Victoria is pretty, charming, bustling, and I’ve never seen so many flowers and well manicured private lawns and public spaces.  And no, we didn’t get to Butchart Gardens, one of the most famous gardens in the world. Our 15-year-old dog, Cooper, is content to sleep the day away, but we can’t leave him alone any longer than the 10 hours we were gone. Next time we need to camp in Canada.
View of Port Angeles, WA as we leave the city via the ferry.  Looks like a UFO is approaching on the top left, but I think that's glass glare.
Our ferry boat, the MV Coho, leaving Victoria for a return trip to Port Angeles.  The  341-foot-long ship was built in 1959 and was in great shape.  We later read that the so called "Millennium Bomber," who planned an explosion at LAX on New Years' Eve 1999, took this ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles.  He was arrested by border authorities in Port Angeles.
Our Hop-On Hop Off tour bus in Victoria, BC, with out tour guide John to the far left.  John is from London; he drives a tour bus there six months a year and then drives the bus in Victoria.  he took us to 14 stops, including the Empress Hotel, Chinatown, two harbors and a lot of streets where the tree branches missed our heads and my right shoulder by inches (we were on the top on the bus.)
The flower-covered Swan's Hotel in downtown Victoria.
Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia; above is BC's parliament building near the inner harbor.  The building was completed in 1897, the the year of Queen Victorias' Diamond Jubilee.  Our tour guide said Victoria is the capitol of BC instead of the much larger Vancouver (about 350,000 people in metro Victoria compared with 2.4 million in metro Vancouver) simply because Victoria was settled first.
A Disney cruise ship, left, and a Carnival Miracle ship, were docked not far from where our ferry docked.
Tour guide John told us there are over 1,000 hanging baskets in downtown Victoria.
More baskets.
Victoria was full of tourists.  As you got away from the harbor, which is to the immediate right of this photo, it was bustling with tourists and locals.  Busy city.
We saw people taking tours via about all transportation types imaginable (horses, bikes, boats, seaplanes, you name it) including the above amphibious bus.

No comments:

Post a Comment