Thursday, August 30, 2012

Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC

What a beautiful ride from Seattle to Vancouver Island, BC!  We finally left Seattle last Tuesday around 10:00am, and arrived in Vancouver Island by 6:00pm.  It was again a perfect day with a nice temperature and even though was cloudy, it did not rain. We traveled I-5 North which takes you through the countryside with winding roads, lakes, mountains and farmland, just beautiful!

At the customs border, we encountered some delay due to the amount of vehicles entering Canada.  This gave us the chance to see the beautiful Peace Arch Park right at the entrance (managed by British Columbia and Washington State), and The Peace Arch which was built by an American builder in 1920 to commemorate peace between USA and Canada.  The arch stands on international land, one pedestal on each country.  Checking in at the border point was quick and easy, and we didn't have to get off the bike for anything, just keep on going.

The next stop was in Tsawwassen to get the ferry that would take us to Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island.  The voyage between points is about one and a half hours.  As a plus, we had the opportunity to watch Orcas right beside our ferry!  The Captain made a call to ask the passengers to come outside and watch the beautiful whales (that was a saving of $75.00 p/p or more!).  So, on our first day in BC we watched whales, had a good time in the ferry, had a delicious dinner at a Sushi Rest., strolled around downtown, and went through Chinatown.  WOW!  

Motorcycles are the first ones to be aboard, nice!
Whale Watching Tours

See the Orca coming out!

Getting ready for take off

We decided to stay four days in Victoria, the "City of Gardens", this way we will have time to visit the places we had in mind.  This is the second time we visit Vancouver Island, we just love this place! 

We visited Sydney, another beautiful town just 15 minutes from Victoria.

Matt: Where?  Don Quijote: Right there!!!

The City of Victoria has the most spectacular Inner Harbour in Canada.  With its unique gift & specialty shops, fine art, beautiful sights, tours, restaurants, and popular attractions, it is the right place to start our Canadian vacation.  You will see lots of street entertainers, and artists and crafters working and selling their goods.  We had the privilege of meeting two beautiful ladies, First Nation People, Jewel & Rosie.  They were making and selling their beautiful jewelry and having fun while chatting with customers from all over the world.  Walking around the harbour is an experience in itself.  We also went to see few fine artists working and exhibiting at the local hotels.  Here we met Joane Moran, a local painter, who was working on a beautiful floral oil painting and graciously suggested us a couple of places to visit.  Thanks to her we enjoyed visiting the towns of Port Alberni, and Tofino (more about this later).

We visited the Royal BC Museum where we enjoyed the current Dinosaurs exhibition, and the celebration of the 60th Queen Diamond Jubilee.  This is one of the most excellent museums we have visited.  It showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia.  Later that night we returned to watch the IMAX movie of Dinosaurs (Matt couldn't get enough of these magnificent animals!).  So, make sure you include this stop on your next visit to BC.

At the end of these four days we had visited various attractions including, Craigdarroch Castle - built between 1887-1890 with over 20,000 square feet of interior space- who's owner, Robert Dunsmuir was the richest and most important person in Western Canada at the time; Hatley Castle - finished around 1908, was the home of James Dunsmuir (son of Robert Dunsmuir), an extraordinary beautiful 40 rooms replica of a 15th century Edwardian castle with gorgeous gardens, multiple rooms and each one made with different kind of wood, adding particular appearance and "perfume" to the place;  Emily Carr House - the family house of the world known Artist, Emily Carr - now a museum; The Empress Hotel - beautiful, sumptuous, and expensive but worth of strolling around;  Chinatown - the oldest Chinatown in BC; and to the beach!  Of course, we also got to have lunch and dinner at some of the really nice restaurants in town.

Craigdarroch Castle


    Beautiful stainglass through the castle

Drawing Room

View from one of the towers
Hatley Castle

View from window

Royal Roads University


                                                                          Carrillon, The Singin Tower

 Queen Victoria

 The Parlament Building

Emily Carr's House

On our walking around the harbour, we had fun meeting people and their dogs...


There is something about man and motorcycles... if they like it, they love it!  After lunch at one of the harbour's seafood restaurants, we met few Police Officers who were showing off their new Victory bikes.  Next thing I know, Matt is being encouraged by the 1st Sergeant to try the bike. And without second thoughts... there he goes!  He ended up seating and "feeling" the bike from the Victoria Police!  Of course, the Officer didn't stopped there and insisted on me getting on the bike too!  Oh my goodness!  That was scaryyyy!!!  That motorcycle is enormous and heavy.  He hold it until I got on it and later, after few pictures, I didn't know how to get off of it!  lol It was so fun.  They spent some time talking about their experiences, training, etc., etc., etc. 

Oh well, let the boys enjoy their toys! lol

After a long day of fun and adventure, we decided it was time to take a romantic walk at the beach...

Next time...  Tofino, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, and Vancouver. J

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