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Hello from Victoria (2) – Exploring Victoria and Its Vicinity
Another perfect day yesterday greeted me with blue skies, perfect temperatures and no humidity. After a pretty hearty breakfast and some business issues, Claire and I set off by car to explore Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
We started by parking our car near “Mile Zero” right next to Beacon Hill Park. This sprawling city park is right next to the waterfront, and at its southern end you have a perfect view of the Juan de Fuca Sound to Washington State’s Olympic Mountain Range.
Beacon Hill Park has beautiful landscaping, hundreds of flower beds, a zoo of squawking peacocks, tranquil shade ponds housing various families of ducks, an assortment of totem poles, and a variety of shade trees, many of which I had never seen in Toronto. . The entire waterfront surrounding Beacon Hill Park reminded me so much of California, and seeing the odd palm tree reinforced that image. I had to remind myself that we were still in Canada.
Our next step was to explore the eastern waterfront along Beach Drive. We passed beautiful well-kept homes and various inlets and creeks, and about 3 km east of downtown we came to the Oak Bay area. When we saw the Tudor-style gables of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, we decided it warranted further exploration. We parked the car, walked through the lobby and out the back door to the most beautiful patios and backyard overlooking the ocean. Like many other places in Victoria, this hotel also has gorgeous landscaping and many colorful flower beds right next to the Pacific Ocean.
Moving on we checked out the Oak Bay Marina and then wandered over to the quaint Oak Bay shopping area, decked out in hanging flowerpots and with many outdoor patios. We knew exploring the Empress Hotel and the Provincial Parliament Buildings were on our menu, so we headed downtown along Yates Street. We turned right on the waterfront and ended up parking on Johnson Street to find a parking spot in this busy neighborhood, right in front of a retail store with a large mechanical doll dressed as an old lady in front of it with a big hat. . The doll was able to open and close its eyelids and move its head from side to side, to attract local tourists.
We filled the meter and made our way along the waterfront along Victoria’s serene Inner Harbor area. Past various buskers, mimes and outdoor performance artists we slowly made our way to the Empress Hotel, a grand chateau-style hotel dating back to 1908. Just to its southwest are the complex Parliament Buildings built between 1893 and 1898. The front lawn and flower beds, and introduced by a statue of Queen Victoria, provide an impressive visual delight.
After fortifying ourselves with tasty turkey sandwiches and delicious ice cream, we slowly walked past Empress on Government Street and checked out the various retail stores. The area is just buzzing and buzzing with people and we saw many street musicians and bands. Many retail shops are housed in historic buildings painted in bright colors. As our meter was about to expire we checked out the Market Square, an outdoor market area with lots of choice little shops.
Back in the car we crossed the bridge at the northern end of the Inner Harbor and explored the western side of the harbor, which has a beautiful boardwalk lined with high-end condominium buildings, most of them retirement homes, surrounded by beautiful landscaping and fragrant flowers. Bed seaplanes were landing and taking off and small local harbor ferry boats were plying the water.
After gazing at the Empress Hotel and the downtown area west of the harbor, we decided to explore a more basic area next door to Victoria: Esquimalt, home to a large naval base. Esquimalt is certainly not as scenic and dressed up as Victoria, but it still turns out to be a pretty neat place. We continued west on the suburban roads and enjoyed the beautiful nature on the shores of the Albert Head Lagoon. We drove in through the winding roads of a shady forest, parked our car and went to the beach, without hundreds of stranded logs, to a shady corner at the western end of the lake, where Claire and I had a lovely chat about life, human relationships, lifestyle changes and mindsets in the new China and so on. mysterious subject.
Around 5pm we decided to head further west to find another hidden lagoon called Witty’s Lagoon which is part of the regional park system. We found the entrance and parked our car as only a footpath takes you to the creek. Sheltered from the heat by a beautiful overhead forest canopy, we walked up a steep slope past the Sitting Lady waterfall. Along the way we saw hundreds of wild blackberry bushes that were just ripening and sampled some of nature’s bounty. After about 20 minutes of walking along the marshes on the left side, we finally arrived at a beach on the southern tip of Vancouver Island that offered a perfect view of the majestic Olympic Mountains.
18 minutes of climbing later and we were back in the car, ready to drive downtown where we were picking up Clare’s husband Hayson for dinner. The Empress Hotel was of course the perfect meeting place. We picked him up and headed back over the Inner Harbor Bridge to our dinner destination: the Spinnaker Brew Pub at the western end of Victoria’s Harbour. From the outdoor patio we had a beautiful view of Victoria Harbour, looking down on the condo buildings, ships and seaplanes that were still going back and forth. It was a little chilly outside at that time, but the restaurant provided us with blankets to ward off the evening chill.
After bracing myself after a long day of sightseeing, we returned home at 9pm and realizing that I was pretty much awake since 4am due to jetlag, I thanked my kind hosts for their hospitality and was on my way. bed
It’s barely 2:15, which means I have another 3.5 hours of sleep before I have to wake up, pack a bag, have some breakfast, and then leave Haishan to go to work at Victoria Bus Terminal. . From there I have to say goodbye to beautiful Victoria and head back to the mainland by ferry and bus to check out my next destination: Vancouver. I’m already excited…
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