Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vacation Update, Final Report

OK, the two or three of you that actually read my blog are probably getting sick of hearing about my vacation...fortunately for you, this will be my last report on it (there was much rejoicing - yay...)...we took a couple of days while we were away to get away by ourselves to go up to Victoria, British Columbia (that's in Canada, they tell me)...we had to take a couple of ferries to get there, which was kind of cool, especially the first one because it was so darn foggy that it felt like a cool horror movie...I half expected something to jump out of the fog at us with a machete or something...when we finally got there, we were verbally assaulted by the customs agent at the dock...OK, that is probably an overstatement, but he was very good at his job - very intimidating...he started firing questions at me, and when he found out that we were driving a car that neither of us owned - it belonged to Amber - we thought he was going to stop us right then and there...he wanted to see a letter from Amber saying we could use her car, which we didn't have...he explained that, as far as he was concerned, the car could be stolen...but he ended up letting us go anyway, maybe because I told him I was a youth pastor (I knew that would come in handy someday)...Victoria is a very nice city...it felt more European than the US does (not that I've ever been to Europe) and had a diverse population, or at least a diverse cross-section of visitors...we saw a lot of Japanese tourists, heard countless varieties of accents, and saw many Mediterranean restaurants...we stayed at the English Inn and Resort, which we got a great deal on through Hotels.com...here you can see our room:


You have already read about our food excursions in Victoria...we didn't only eat while there - really!...we also did a couple of fun things:

Butchart Gardens
These gardens are one of the big things to do while in Victoria...what started as a quarry site, Jennie Butchart turned into a series of beautiful gardens, starting in the early 20th century...they are a national hitorical site now, and well-deserved...while not everything was in full-bloom, thanks to us visiting in the fall, it was still quite stunning...the highlight was turning a corner and seeing the sunken garden spread out below us...it was quite a site!...the Japanese garden was also very beautiful...I can't imagine the amount of work that goes into the upkeep of the gardens...I have a hard time just mowing my lawn!...


Craigdarroch Castle
This was the other big thing we did while in Victoria...it is a castle built in the late 1800s by a wealthy coal guy, Robert Dunsmuir...the central focus of the castle is the staircase, which rises 87 steps up through the center of the castle...when you walk in, they make you look up the center of the staircase (which, by the way, is much better than looking down - queasy!)...the self-guided tour takes you through the 20,000 square feet of space and allows you to see how the rooms were decorated back in the day...the thing that stood out to me was the crazy amount of wood that was used in everything...the tour guide told us that five freight cars full of wood were used to build the inside of the house...that's a lot of wood!...while Butchart Gardens were a 30-minute drive from downtown, you could walk to Craigdarroch Castle from the harbour...do it, if you go...

Empress Hotel
This is a shwanky hotel, right on the harbour...we would have stayed here, but I'm not Bill Gates...we were going to do high tea here, but we couldn't afford it, and I don't own the right clothes...but at least we walked through it, and looked down our nose at the rich people...this is a pic of the Empress from the ferry...

A couple other observations about Victoria:
  • There was lots of foot and bike and scooter traffic all the time, day and night...Marcy's comment was, "Does anyone work around here?"
  • The city mostly shuts down at around 6pm...there are many cool stores in the downtown area, but if you want to shop after dinner, good luck finding anything open...this was surprising for such a tourist town...
  • Smart cars...you thought the Mini Coopers were small...we saw many of these around town...they probably get great gas mileage, if they even use gas...wish I had one...when I wasn't using it, I could carry it around in my pocket...wonder if they'll be in the US soon...
That's enough of my vacation for you...thank you for putting up with the tedium...but if you ever head up to this area, you can thank me...

4 comments:

Emmerly said...

I enjoyed reading about your vacation, truly! I'm glad you two had fun .. you guys deserved it. Besides, you need to have all the fun get can before Baby Fitz comes along! So ya know, I'm actually updating my blog again. (emmerly.blogspot.com)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting travel blog. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Allister-who-has-first-dibs teehee said...

FITZFACE your amazing desriptions make me want to go to the northwest..

..and make me really hungry.

Thanks.

Lauren! said...

umm yeah just saying that i didnt really read about your vacation i read part of your blog and got bored but i looked the pics and they were really pretty and it looked as if you all had a good time so im glad(whats sad is i didnt realize you were gone that long) oops sorry im a horrible student especially when im there almost as much as you! have a good day, sorry i didnt realize you were gone so long, and im glad you had a good trip! --Lauren