Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
We left the Sylvia Hotel after another nice breakfast in their restaurant, then met the cab to take us to the bus station. To get to Victoria from Vancouver, you have to take a Pacific Coach bus to the ferry, the bus drives on the ferry and you hang out for an hour, then you get back on the bus and drive for another hour until you get to the Victoria bus station. This in contrast to going to Victoria from Seattle, which involves a ferry from downtown that drops you in Victoria right next door to the hotel we were staying at. This part of the vacation was poor planning on my part—we should have flown into Seattle and done the Victoria leg first. Live and learn. We boarded the next bus no problem and enjoyed the drive to the ferry. The girls were surprised when we got off the bus, they thought we were on the ferry dock, not the ferry itself. The trip to Victoria was beautiful, and the BC Ferries are very nice (we had a pretty good lunch in their cafeteria). Once back on the bus, we enjoyed the trip through Victoria Island. I was a bit surprised how built up it all was, I thought it would be more rural. Once at the bus station we took another cab to the Inn at Laurel Point. It was really close and if we didn’t have the luggage we could have walked it but with those super heavy unmanageable bags… The hotel was fabulous, the room and bathroom were huge and the view of the water with the sea planes landing was perfect. We unpacked and then went to see Craigdarroch Castle (a “bonanza house” but I think we would call it a trophy house or maybe just plain mansion—the house you build when you strike it rich) because the next day was Canada Day and we weren’t sure what would be open. Charlotte seriously protested, the girl loves hotels and here we were in a really nice one and we weren’t staying! The castle was very nice, and the walk back into town was nice too. We had an early dinner at Bon Rogue so that we wouldn’t have to go back out, picked up a bottle of wine at a wine shop, and then returned to the hotel where the girls swam in the pool, and we all enjoyed a nice evening.
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Canada Day! We had a nice breakfast at the hotel-eggs Benedict again, these are very big in Canada apparently. Tourist stuff was open today, so we went first to the Bug Zoo and then to Miniature World, both of which the kids enjoyed immensely. After the two attractions, we went down into the waterfront where the celebrations were happening and the kids got their faces painted and got Maple Leaf hats. By now we were pretty hungry and the festival food did not look that appealing, so we started walking in search of a pizza restaurant. We weren’t having much luck, but finally stumbled on an Italian restaurant that served pizza, so we had a nice lunch there. Of course on our way back to the hotel we saw an actual pizza by the slice place. Figures. We rested up at the hotel and the kids swam in the pool, and then we went out into the madness to get some ice cream and soak up the holiday spirit. Every young person in Victoria had congregated in this one spot mid-block in front of the Empress Hotel, it was very difficult to walk through! We enjoyed the crowds and the music and then headed back to our hotel to watch the fireworks from the grass lawn. What excellent fireworks they were! So many one right after the other with no spacing or break. And then to bed.
Friday, July 2nd, 2010
Today we had to say goodbye to the excellent Inn at Laurel Point. Bummer we can’t always stay in places this nice. Took a cab back to the bus station where we did the reverse of Wednesday’s trip. This time on the way back to Vancouver from the ferry dock I saw my first bald eagle in the wild—sitting on a telephone pole. How inglorious. The bus driver (who hadn’t pointed him out) said he’s always there. Also during this trip Charlotte and I were seated in front of a very British lady who had to comment about everything. The tackiness of hanging flower baskets (although the ones in Victoria she guessed were okay). The classlessness of Americans, except the “upper class ones”. Etc. etc. Quite entertaining. Once back at the bus station we hired a cab to take us first to the Swan Laundry, and then to the hotel. I dropped off the laundry and kept my cool when they said it would be $100.00. Yikes! You’d think we could have just sacrificed some vacation time and gone to a coin-op, but there weren’t any near our hotel and when I conceived of this plan I was used to Mexico/Costa Rica prices for this service. Oh well. We then went to our hotel, the Blue Horizon, and then walkeddown to the Canada Place (where the cruise ships depart from), and admired the local architecture. We returned to the hotel, checked out what $100.00 worth of clean laundry looks like (pretty nice at least) and waited for Mark’s sister Dianne to arrive. Once she got there, we all went to dinner at Moxie’s, a chic restaurant where all the workers wore black. After dinner the kids and I went back to the hotel, Dianne and her husband Chris went to walk around the town, and Mark went out to dinner (again) with his parents when they arrived.