Victoria, assorted meals- activities to March 27

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Where I stayed
Jacqueline's Bed & Breakfast

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 22 - 27, 2006. Left for Victoria about 1 in the rain. Stopped off at the Malahat Mountain Inn for lunch - had a goat cheese quiche with spring salad over top and lovely dressing. Only fly in the ointment was a small child who was in the middle of the restaurant with her proud Mom teaching her to talk - loudly. Got down to Victoria about 4.

Internet hookup of choice is Serious Coffee, a BC franchise which started, I think, in Mill Bay just outside of Duncan. They are a very friendly group and welcome everyone from street folk, business folk, government workers and even lazy holiday-ers like me. No charge for Internet hookup and you can stay as long as you like for the price of a cup of coffee.

B & B I stayed at is Jacqueline's Bed & Breakfast on Old West Saanich Road in Saanichton - one of my favorite B & B spots. Jacqueline and Jan van der Eyden are wonderful hosts. Dutch born and raised with children all over the world, it seems. The B & B is in a secluded farming location on acreage. There are two units of twin beds with private entrance. The breakfasts are absolutely wonderful.

Dinner in one of my two favorite eating spots, the Blues Bayou Café (the other being the Seahorses Café). It is tucked away on the Bay in between (I think) the ferry site (Mill Bay -Brentwood Bay) and the marina. The walk from the parking area (at the marina) was a bit dark; however, I did bring my flashlight (clever traveler) and it was a pleasant wee trip. Although I was one of only two patrons, the place was bouncing with New Orleans zydico music and wild Mardi Gras type décor (pictures to follow). I love it. Had an artichoke and crème cheese hot pot type dip with corn chips for starters together with a seafood chowder worth every lovely lingering spoonful. The JBI (James Bay Inn) Ale was a tasty liquid accompaniment. It is the type of place I could have stayed for a long time just to relax into the atmosphere; however, the staff wanted to go home. As I fell asleep in my new accommodations, I was serenaded by frogs. Life in the country

As I walked over to breakfast, the two lovely English Springer Spaniels greeted me. Woooooff, friendly greetings. Warning mine hosts that I was coming. The meal was, as always, absolutely amazing. Coffee or tea, fresh fruit (frozen in offseason) including grapefruit, banana, strawberries, pineapple, homegrown blueberries and raspberries with freshly prepared apple or orange juice. Wait, that is just the first course. Farm fresh eggs done your way (they raise chickens) as well as a filling assortment of breads (Dutch breakfast biscuits, muffins or Cob bread are some of the ones I've had) PLUS thinly sliced rosemary ham and extremely tasty cheese. It is enough for both breakfast and lunch. While I was eating the birds were flying in for theirs on the feeding trays outside. I think there were chickadees (were they chestnut backed?), juncos, finches and even a pileated woodpecker dropped in. He is very illusive and I have not been able to photograph him yet.

They had a huge windstorm here a couple of weeks ago which took out a couple of their large maples and their neighbour's fence. Clearly you can see that the roots were completely gone and they were very lucky the trees fell where it did and not on the house or B & B accommodations. Also, the tall spar tree in the meadow (where the eagle sat last year) had to come down and Jan was still burning it.

I have decided that if I am going to make the most of my year off, I need to set at least 3 things to do each day so the time does not simply disappear. Among other things, during my days in Victoria I:
- Continued researching my various family tree lines with my cousin and her almost 90 year old mother who makes the most amazing and beautifully presented salad meals and fruit salads with French Vanilla yoghurt on it. I loved it from the first time I ever tasted it years ago - at her place.
- Spent a very day interesting at the Archives looking for family information and, with my cousin, found some very enticing information.
- Located a family stained glass window in the Anglican Cathedral and saw a new area at the East end of the building - The Chapel of the New Jerusalem and the seven angel windows are quite awe inspiring.
- Found my grandfather's grave at Ross Bay Cemetery,
- Met up and had a lovely tea at the James Bay Tea House with an old friend of my South African cousin who has been most kind to me.

The days were absolutely gorgeous with almost too blue sky, I wandered around the James Bay and Beach drive areas of the city. While I could have gone to some of the more touristy spots, I have already done those many times before. They would all have been beautiful, The Parliament Buildings, BC Museum, Empress Hotel, Point Ellis House, Abkahzi Gardens, drives around Beach Drive, the university, etc; however, I thought this time I would just wander where my whimsy took me. I had a lovely late lunch at the James Bay Inn. I did not feel like much; however, their seafood chowder and baguette absolutely fit the bill.

I continued my wander up the road and glories in the spring with every step. My wanderings brought me to lovely period houses, a large Sequoia tree outside the Cathedral and to the Emily Carr house. I'd looked for it many times before but never found it. And there is was, just along Government Street. It was a lovely late Victorian House. Heaven knows if it was yellow in those days; however, it is now. I believe that is the houses on which she based a lot of her children's stories (Klee Wyck, House of Small). The gates to the yellow house were open so I assumed the house was open as well so went in and wandered around the garden. No one was around but no one there to tell me to go away either so I went 'round reading the little memorial plaques about parts of her writings. Here was a rose, here a snake, etc. As I got 'round the back I could see that there was an entrance there but no one was there and the door was locked. Nonetheless, I continued 'round the back and ran into one of the cats who was distantly friendly. Then I carried on right round and out the gates again.

Doing research at the Archives is a rather tedious process and involves an amazing amount of administrative detail just to get in the door, not to mention the places one can and can't go to sit and "do" one's research. Parking is a hellish problem and the Archives staff seem not to know how to park cheaply and closer. It would have been helpful if they'd mentioned parking in Beacon Hill Park was free for 3 hours or that about an 8 minute walk one can park a whole day for about $2.50. Went for lunch at the Museum (a nice tomato and red pepper soup with a tuna sandwich and yoghurt). Back for a bit more research and at 4:30 the Archives closed. We carried on gathering and sharing information until about 6:30 then headed out. We will have to continue our searches another day.

On the Sunday I was up early for breakfast and headed off for church at St. Michael and All Angels, the lovely little church which has been going since 1883. Lovely clean lines in the church and messages in the stained glass windows not too soppy. Other than an overabundance of sin references and fervour, it had a very nice feeling to it. The minister's background was clearly English and he delivered his sermon with his eyes closed, quoted writers no one had heard about before or since and repeated for emphasis; however, I can not fault his content other than its emphasis on our general sinfulness. It occurred to me that this may have referred to divisions within the church currently, either at home and/or abroad.

Had a final dinner at the Brentwood Lodge and Spa again. Had a very enthusiastic waiter who recommended a local ale to go with my cheeseburger and Caesar salad and it was just right. Quite tasty.

Next day was my day to travel to Port Angeles. My South African cousin's friend came to see me off which was very, very sweet of her. I was quite touched. Of course, this is "what people did" in the olden times - all went off to see friends or relatives off on the ships; however, it is something we have obviously gotten away from in this age. Getting on the ferry was something of a "hurry up and wait" affair. One line of traffic then 15 minutes of trucks just about jack-knifing to get on board. Eventually we were on our way and I was starting the next leg of my journey.
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roffatsea on

Good eats
Glad to see how well things are going. The photos are a delight and make the words meaningful. (Nice shots of the moss, btw.)

Happy trails.

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