Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation Day 1 . . . Washington to Victoria, B.C.

We flew Southwest Airlines from Boise to Seattle, Friday May 16th to start our little vacation on beautiful Vancouver Island. It was a quick one hour flight . . . just time enough for a quick beverage and peanuts.

This is the view of some of

Washington's snow covered mountains - -very rugged and beautiful.

We arrived in Seattle about 11 a.m., then took the shuttle to pick up our rental car - - a silver Dodge Charger. Let the fun begin!

After driving for about an hour, we stopped for lunch at Fat Smitty's. . . a quaint little cafe at Discovery Bay.

You can see by the expensive decor that Fat Smitty's is no ordinary burger joint. Everyone leaves money with their business card pinned all over the interior of the cafe. The walls, ceilings, doors, and door frames were all covered with these bills--a few larger bills but mostly dollar bills.

The burger was huge, so we split it along with an order of fries and a blackberry shake (made from berries growing out behind the cafe). It was so good. The owner--Fat Smitty--was in the back cooking our burgers. (He was a good sized guy, probably from eating a lot of his own cooking). You don't get this kind of atmosphere at McDonalds.

We arrived in Port Angeles, WA. about 5 p.m. to board the ferry. After we drove the car onto the ferry, we sat on an upper deck so we could enjoy the sunny afternoon as we made our 90 minute crossing to Victoria. We met a friendly couple who told us about some interesting places to visit on Vancouver Island.

This is the view as you arrive in Victoria. The hotel facing the harbor in the grand old Empress Hotel--a beautiful and elegant world famous hotel. It has quite a view!

This is the COHO Ferry. It makes several round trips from Port Angeles to Victoria every day. It carries over 100 cars, as well as semi-tractor trailers (there were 4 large trucks, 2 huge travel buses and a Ryder truck full of band instruments in our ferry). The travel buses were carrying high school kids from California who were going to march in the Canada Days Parade on Monday. Thirty-one marching bands from all over the U.S. were going to be in the parade- - -kind of a big deal for high school kids and their chaperons.

Every person drives their own car onto the ferry. By the time it's all loaded it's a pretty tight fit--just barely room enough to open your car door so you can get out and go up on deck. I still don't understand why all that weight floats. . .I'm just glad that it does!

It was about 6:45 p.m. by the time we got off the ferry and through customs. We had reservations Friday evening at the Albion House Bed and Breakfast. This B&B is located just a few blocks from the Inner Harbor. The Albion House was built in 1892 as a wedding gift to entice a son to return back to Victoria from London with his new bride. Quite a wedding present, I'd say!

The house is currently owned by two guys. Don, the decorator, gardener and chef-- and Fernando, the artist. They bought the home 4 years ago, restored it, decorated it, filled it with antiques and are now running a B&B. Pretty interesting guys - - very friendly and nice.
(and NOT flaming at all...editorial remarks by rtk)

Here's the room where we stayed. This king size bed came from Belgium- - it must weigh a ton. (An old bed but with a new mattress--so it was very comfortable). It's a really grand old room with a fireplace,11 foot ceilings, beautiful antique dressers, beautiful original hardwood floors and woodwork, and a "fainting" couch at the foot of the bed. The bathroom was very nice--updated with a jacuzzi tub and shower! I felt really pampered.

Randy is in the Parlor reading some travel brochures so we'll know what to see in Victoria. (All the pictures in this room and throughout the house were hung by a picture rail--a rail that ran around the room about a foot from the ceiling. This way the pictures were hung without making a hole in the walls.)

Victoria is such a beautiful city with grand old homes, many of which are now B&B's. Everywhere you look the yards and parks were full of beautiful springtime flowering shrubs and trees.

After we got settled into our room, we decided to go for walk. There are so many things to see. Horse drawn trolleys and carriages were everywhere giving tourists a slower view of the city. The horses have reflectors on their legs because these trolleys and carriages work into the evening hours- - -that way they'll be seen in the dark.

Within just a 10 minute walk from our B&B, we were in the Inner Harbor. It seems like there's always lots of activity in the harbor. This little tugboat taxi was taking visitors for rides around the harbor. . . across the harbor sea planes were flying in and out.

Sailboats, yachts and boats of all sizes are parked in the Inner Harbor. Several times a year when there's concerts or other festivities in the Inner Harbor, people sit in their boats to watch the event. On one wall in the Harbor there's a huge grass area that says "Welcome to Victoria" . . . and it's written with flowers. These Canadians really know how to grow things and make their cities beautiful!

Randy is standing in front of a totem pole with the Parliament Building in the background. Vancouver Island is home to many Indian nations - - - and many of the cities have Indian names.

It was so nice to sightsee and not feel rushed--to slow down and take time to enjoy things. "Enjoying the journey" is a good way to live.

Because breakfast was served at 9 a.m., we had plenty of time to get ready for the day. We even had time to go for a little walk to the Saturday farmers market just down the block to see what the locals were selling.

Don prepared a delicious breakfast for us in the dining room. We had fruit, warm cranberry bread, a cheese souffle, a large link sausage, orange juice and herbal tea. It was all served in a sunny dining room on pretty china. What a way to start the day. I could get used to a schedule like this real quick!

Now that we're well fed we are ready to start our adventures for the day. Saturday we plan to spend a majority of the day at Butchart Gardens. It's a beautiful morning. . . it should be a good day to see a garden paradise.

Staying in Bed and Breakfasts may cost a little more, but the experiences we've had sure has made it worth it. It's a great way to meet some very interesting people, have some delicious breakfasts, met people from all over the country, and stay in some very lovely old estates. It's been so fun - - I'd really recommend to anyone who'd like to have a great adventure!


Lani said...

You two are so cute. You have the best little trips together. Good for you! You put up with us crazy kids for so many years, so it's awesome that you two can go and see fun places together now.

TK said...

I love all the pictures...especially the one of that awesome hamburger!!!