Victoria Day 4

Oct. 14, 2014  /  Day 4

We slept a bit later this morning, but still made it to the free breakfast. Once again I wore tights, my boots, a sweater and my coat and a scarf and gloves, WONDERFUL! I have so longed for cool weather. Terry was bundled up also. The breakfast was interesting, but fine. There was a small amount of fruit; cantaloupe and watermelon. Bread for toasting, white, wheat and raisin. There were some slices of lunch meat and cheese. And hard boiled eggs. The coffee tasted ok but was not hot enough.

After breakfast we went back to the room, there was a housekeeper nearby. I asked her to replace our shower curtain, it was missing a magnet and I had flooded the bathroom. A few minutes in the room and we set off on the days adventure.

Yesterday facing the harbor we went to the right, so this morning we turned left. We both carried umbrellas, but I am happy to say we did not use them at all.

This was a pretty spectacular walk. There was a narrow path with beautiful foliage on our left side and the harbor on the right side. We saw incredibly beautiful flowers, unusual trees and the ground was littered with bright red maple leaves.

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Our walk brought us to the Fisherman’s Wharf. All the shops were closed except the whale watching excursion. The people waiting to go on that trip were all garbed in big red jackets and black wind breaker pants. I was surprised and disappointed to see one man with an infant. It was cold, it was going to be wet, why would an infant need to go whale watching?

The best part of the wharf was the little village of homes. All these homes were houseboats. They were colorful and a wide variety of styles and sizes. Some were 2 stories and large, others were so tiny I am not sure the owners could stand up inside. There were about 24 of these homes. The only real drawback to living in one was that tourists could get very close, not much privacy.

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We also saw an area where a few little seals hung out, waiting for tourists to buy some fish to toss to them. They were wild seals, but certainly knew how to beg.

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We took a slight variation on the walk to our hotel back and found a mini rain garden. There were beautiful flowers in a wide variety of colors, a quaint bridge across an area that was shaped like a pond but was actually grasses. Apparently it had once all been an unattractive swampy muddy place and was changed into this rain garden. The info sign explained how to make your own mini rain garden, but obviously CA does not have a very necessary component. (rain)

We returned to the hotel briefly and then set off to walk through China Town. We kept our eyes peeled for the bicycle / kabuki guys but never saw them. I really wanted one to take us on a tour, I had done it years ago on my trip to Victoria with Mary Gil. When we got to China Town, it was pretty disappointing, without a tour guide to tell all the interesting history it was just a bunch of shabby looking little stores.

Terry was not thrilled with just walking along, tourist shops and boutiques all around. Funny how men don’t recognize earthly heaven. So, we decided to take a tour. A company called CVS does a 90 minute tour of the Victoria area and neighborhoods. It was $32 each and we highly recommend it! The tour was to begin at 1pm.

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We had time so we walked through the Empress Hotel, the tour bus stops in front of it. Sure it is pretty, but neither of us can see spending so much money for a bed.

photo 2 photo 3Dragon Trees –

natural shape

Our hotel has free breakfast, wireless, parking, bicycles, coffee and a mini kitchen in the room. Why pay more for fancy but less? We also popped into a 7/11 and bought some not too junky snacks. They had Dr. Pepper licorice, which Terry was interested in trying. We also got some pistachios, jerky, chips and a beef and cheese stick. Chips were Terry’s. We went back to wait for the bus and I chatted with the girl selling tickets. I asked her about the kabuki guys and just as she was giving me a number to call, one pulled up to visit her. I talked with him and got his card, if the weather stays rain free we will take a tour with him.

The bus arrived and we nabbed two front seats, the weather seemed too cold for the open air upper deck. Terry went up to check it out, while I guarded our seats and returned to tell me he was going to stay up, so I went with him. Again we had front seats which were right by a big wind shield and that helped a lot with the cold. I wrapped my scarf around my head and neck (yay Paris scarf lessons) and I was fine. It was cold, but so clean and refreshing. The driver was also the tour guide and he was very easy to hear. He told “punny” jokes and had lots of information. He pointed out every restaurant he liked, told about celebrities who had homes on or visited Victoria. We went through a very ritzy neighborhood, and apparently they call the road that separates their neighborhood from the others the “Tweed Wall”.

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It’s nice to know stuck up is not just an American trait. We saw some very beautiful cathedrals and several private schools. One area thinks of itself as still being part of Britain. Our guide said the residents speak with British accents, but I think he was kidding. He told us that when Canada decided to begin driving on the right side like the USA, this neighborhood refused. They had a gate and guard to remind people to drive on the left, but no reminder for when people left the area. After several head on collisions, the neighborhood gave in. He pointed out a mountain in the Olympia mountain range that is the snowiest mountain in the world. One year they had 95 feet of snow in ONE month and the next month an additional 105 inches. Brrrrrr. We really enjoyed this trip and found it to be the perfect way to get to know more of Victoria. When it ended we walked back to the hotel. I took a nap and Terry did computer stuff, including downloading pictures. I will put some up on Facebook later.

Last night we had looked up a lot of restaurants on Trip Advisor, to avoid a meal like the night before, and decided on one called Ithaca, a Greek restaurant. After resting we headed for this highly praised place. It was about 2 miles away, and walking in brisk, cold weather is a pleasure. We found it easily. We were given a nice table by the window and perused the menus. The prices were about $20-50 dollars and it all sounded yummy. I ordered the lamb chops (of course) and Terry had prawns. This food was almost too good to describe. The home made bread was thick and so tasty it would have been a crime to put butter on it. The avalemono soup was sweet and sour and better than any I have ever had. Terry ate every bit of his salad and had the last two spoonful’s of my soup, which he agreed was the best. Both our dinner plates had rice, veggies and red potato’s. The potato’s had a lemon flavor and were better than any red potato’s I have ever eaten. The veggies were so good I ate all of mine (to Terry disappointment). But oh, the lamb chops. I love lamb chops and find them to be great wherever I get them, but these, oh these were beyond compare. Five perfect little chops, cooked perfectly, seasoned perfectly. While we dined a young man asked how things were, he turned out to be Dmitri, the owner. He told us some of the family history of the restaurant and brought us a photo book he had made of his family. The dessert menu was tempting but we were both full, happily full. So, I say to you all, hop on a plane, boat or car and come here right away to eat at this restaurant. We rank it as the best food we have ever had!

IMG_1103My lambchop plate

IMG_1104 The photo album showed

 

a great love of Hockey

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We had a nice 2 mile walk back to the hotel, and our food had a chance to settle. We passes the Legislative Building, which was all lit up and was beautiful. We took some different streets and when we got to the harbor we walked on the lower walkway. There was a long wall and it had orange lines and numbers on it. A sign explained that the natives of Vancouver Island have traditionally used this area as a place to trade their goods. Today it is restricted to native artisans to sell items to the tourists. It has been empty each time we have gone by, probably because of the weather.

Soon we reached the hotel and went to the lobby so I could get a coffee. I sat on our balcony and sipped my coffee while Terry downloaded more pictures.

IMG_0806 Balcony viewIMG_0809

We have spent the remainder of the evening watching TV and of course journal writing. We both agree it was a very good day. (I need to come up with more descriptive words, I keep repeating myself!)

IMG_1075Our comfy room

 

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