On Vancouver Island

Trip Start May 31, 2009
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, June 19, 2009

Yesterday we left Vancouver from Horseshoe Bay and took the ferry to Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. It was a breezy trip - the only rocking and rolling coming from the engines. It was one of the largest double ended ferries in the world that took us across there, and we were amazed at the turn around time in docking, unloading and loading up again - 15 mins to unload and 15 mins to get hundreds of cars trucks and buses on board.

Nanaimo wasn't a lot to look at - a larger version of Picton really. The trip down was interesting, and very easy driving (as it tends to be over here). We were quickly in Victoria, and found some accommodation at "Huntingdon Manor". Sounds posh, but relatively cheap for the rooms (they just charge for everyone else that is added on, like parking, internet, etc, etc).

We spent the rest of the day (basically the whole afternoon) at the Royal British Columbia Museum. It has the "Treasures" exhibition from the British Museum currently. It basically covered "Signs of Life" and treasures since man has been on this earth - focusing a lot on Egyptology, as well as some Greek and Roman stuff which Emma would have found particularly interesting.

There were also excellent exhibitions on the development of British Columbia (white and first nations perspectives) and a natural history gallery (which Malc really enjoyed). We pretty much walked our legs off doing that, so went back for a snooze, and then out on the town for tea (at Earl's - for the first time).

Victoria is an interesting city. Doesn't give the feel of much size at all. All the tourists are encouraged to be in and around the port area, where all the beautiful buildings are, and the attachment to England is obvious. It is about the only place in Canada that we have seen so far that shows this connection. Apart from the fact it is the capital of Vancouver, you would wonder why it exists. A bit like Wellington in some ways.

Today we found our way to the Butchart Gardens, and spent the morning ambling around them. They really are stunning, and once again, was thoroughly enjoyable. Not much more I can say - our pics tell much more.

We then wound our way to Sidney (and that is not a spelling mistake Keith!), before coming back to Victoria for lunch about 2.00 pm. Not much to say about Sidney - a quiet seaside town not spoiled yet by tourists, although a lot of them do stay there apparently. We spent the afternoon finding our way around the Victoria's suburban malls, where the "ordinary" people spend their money. Whilst at one of these, I managed to win a "valued for $80" necklace, at no cost to me!!! Amazing. Nearly bailed a couple of times, coz you had to listen to a real spiel. I did give up and go away for a while, but came back in time to put my ticket in the pot, only to have it drawn out. Quite funny really. If it is of any value at all, it has an ameythst in it, but that may be stretching things.

We have come back to the hotel for a brief break, before finding our way to China Town tonight. We are out of here very early tomorrow (Saturday), in time for a 6.10 am sailing to Port Angeles, Washington, so have to be there by 5.00 am (bloody hell!!!!).

Not sure where we will be tomorrow - possibly Portland - we will just see how things go, and update you then.
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