Taking tea in Victoria (warning:contains snobbery)
Trip Start Apr 23, 2014
17Trip End Aug 21, 2014
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
To be honest, I wasn't wild about Victoria. It actually outdid Winnipeg when it came to weird homeless people (yes I know it's a social problem and I feel bad but if you're going to give me sarcastic and unnecessary comments when I'm walking down the street then I'm not going to like you), and once you move away from a certain area it's fairly rough. Basically, the harbour and two or three streets immediately off it were the only bits of Victoria I liked
I took a tour. That's the reason I know so much about it. Sadly we couldn't see a room, but we saw plenty of the public spaces including the upstairs dining room, the new entrance (for the hotel, not the riffraff motel one), the ballroom and the Bengal Lounge restaurant and bar. We also got to sit out on the veranda for a bit as we learned how Victoria pretty much bribed Canadian Pacific Rail to build one of their fancy hotels there in an effort to improve the city's image and boost its popularity. Canadian Pacific actually bought the Fairmont name some years ago and most of the old railway hotels are now Fairmonts
There were two things I wanted to do while I was in Victoria: visit the Butchart Gardens and take tea in the Fairmont Empress hotel. I did both. The Butchart Gardens were smaller than I expected but just as spectacular as the photos (Google them; they really look like that). The Fairmont Empress Afternoon Tea was actually larger than I expected and, apart from a slightly rocky start involving a ham sandwich and its presence on my tea tier, it was utterly delicious. Plus the tea (I had the Empress blend) was good, and there was lots of it. Following on from that, and to celebrate completing my Canadian journey/mourn my time in Canada being over, I booked a table for dinner in the Bengal Lounge which serves really nice cocktails and a three course Indian buffet.
Other things I did in Victoria included visiting Craigdarroch Castle (not a castle, just a posh house), taking a tour on a hippo bus/boat thing, taking tea in Murchie's Tea House, and visiting Munro Books which it turns out was started by Alice Munro and her husband. The hippo people told us (thankfully after we had completed the water portion of the tour) that the vehicle we were travelling in was an ex school bus with floatation devices added. It sounded very much like something built by Clarkson, Hammond and May but it thankfully did not sink and I'm still here to blog, behind as I am.