Victoria, BC

Trip Start Mar 26, 2006
Trip End Oct 20, 2006

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, July 31, 2006

We take the ferry from Port Angeles, Washington and rendezvous with my family in charming Victoria, BC. My parents decided to splurge on our first night, so we check into our swanky, luxurious digs at the Grand Pacific Hotel where our bayside rooms look onto the marina, the downtown skyline, and the famous Empress Hotel. We spend a few hours window shopping the boutique stores, enjoy a delicious Chinese lunch in Chinatown, and hang out on the steps watching the seaplanes land while a street musician serenades us on his guitar. The weather is so beautiful and the sky such a radiant blue that it's easy to forget that this place is often gray and soaked with rain, though Victoria is known for having the best weather in Canada, eh.

Overall, we're charmed by Victoria's lively downtown, active port, great selection of restaurants, colorful hanging flower baskets, scenic coastal drive, and beachside parks. For a small island city, there's a surprising amount of culture and energy here.

Our destination on the next morning is Butchart Gardens, where I'm instantly mesmerized by the 50+ acres of jaw-dropping displays of plants and flowers. The landscape in every direction is bursting with vibrant colors and covered with lavish textures. It's a photographer's dream come true, like stepping into a living Monet painting. I find myself drawn into every inch of detail, every shade of green, every perfectly arranged flower bed and plant combination. This is unreal, it's so beautiful. We slowly wander through an enormous rose garden with blossoms cascading across trellises overhead, delight at the gigantic bonsai trees and miniature temples mirrored in the reflection ponds of the Japanese garden, and marvel at the lush perfectly manicured flowers that cover what was once a barren, ugly carved out quarry. Butchart Gardens is a definite must see - double whatever amount of time you think you'll spend here and you'll still be in a rush to get through it all. I could have spent hours sitting and enjoying just one teeny spot of the endless acres of beauty.

Hope you have as much fun looking at the pictures as I had taking them!
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