Hey all, sorry I didn’t get around to doing a video blog last night as it was Halloween over here in North America, so naturally I was on a ghost tour of the Pike Place Markets. I’ll put up a blog and review about that later on during my trip but for today its all about Canada; my home away from home (well kinda). Hope you enjoy this trip update and Video Blog.
This morning was one hell of an early wake up call for holidays with my alarm screaming at me at 5:50 saying, get to the ferry Carlous. After checking out, I had to quickly print off my ticket for the clipper and about 5 minutes and$9 later I was in a taxi and headed for the pier 69 Terminal for the Clipper Ferry. I was a bit annoyed that I followed the rules and printed my ticket when it wasn’t ever used at check in, oh well – on holidays!
The ferry ride also deserves its own review, so I’ll add that to the list of things to write for later, but basically it was a pretty good way to get from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria. The ride was remarkably smooth and I regretted taking a motion sickness relief tablet before departure as the water was as smooth as a mirror and the ride just as smooth.
Arriving into Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada I picked up my checked bag and was cleared by a friendly and chatty Customs officer -great first impression and welcome to this magnificent country. My hotel was only a few blocks walk away so I quickly checked in (nice and early) and dropped off my gear before spending the day exploring this new part of Canada.
If you haven’t already worked it out, I’ve got a bit of a connection with this country. I’m not a spiritual or religious person (despite years of attending the catholic education system) but there is something about Canada that ever since my first visit a few years ago, I just connect with and feel remarkably at home and at peace here. It was this connection (and the amazing scenery) which drew Cam and I back last year to get married in Banff – so it’s pretty safe to say I love this County – sometimes more than my own depending on the politics of the day.
Victoria is a little different to other parts of Canada I’ve visited before. Although its a small city of only about 80,000 it is the Capital of British Columbia and reminders of the history of the colony and the province are littered around every street corner. The old buildings are spectacular and I must admit I was slightly emotional for no apparent reason taking in all the buildings and reading about the history of this city (perhaps motion sickness, jet lag, champagne breakfast and waking up pre dawn all came together). The fall leaves in their various shades of red, brown, yellow and orange act like strokes of paint on a canvas of historical buildings. For a small city, it packs in some breathtaking views. Insert macho man talk here.
Even though it is off peak tourist season, as its November here and the top temperate is a foggy 12, there are plenty of tourist operators selling tours of all kinds, walking, jet boat, lunch cruises, sea plane flights (although fogged in today) whale watching, garden tours and more. Today I did none of them. I spent the day just walking around the city and immersing myself in the history, stopping to read plaques and take in the picture perfect buildings and amazing parks hiding in the foggy day. It was a great day of exploring and checking out the city, and as it was low season there were very few people around to get in my way - expect they always seem to appear when you line up a nice photo.
Sometimes not doing anything in particular for a day is just what you need to do when you are on holidays and today was one of those days. I just started walking along Government St and then just kept turning each time something interesting caught my eye. I ate lunch out of the back of a giant can, and spent about an hour walking around the 73hectare Becon Hill Park. The sun came out for the first time on my trip so far and although at the end of the day my legs were sore, I had seen alot of the city and spent next to nothing.
I had to take a photo of a local primary school that was positioned on the southern end of Beacon Hill Park. That description is important to remember when you read the name of the school “South Park School” – South Park – LOL. Ok so I found it hilarious.
I also stumbled across this neat little community garden that encouraged locals to have their own space to grow fresh organic produce. I shack looked like something out of lord of the rings but the garden was cute and I think these sort of things give people pride in their neighborhood and help bring a sense of community back to the city centres.
After my emotional feelings in the morning I decided I should man up at night so went to a sports grill for dinner. A beer, water in a wine glass and blackened chicken did the trick as I tried to understand all the sport going on around me on the big screens. It took a while to realise that the two monitors i thought had the same game from different angles were actually different sports, but still, I was manning it up (before heading home to write a travel blog).
I’m hoping the fog lifts tomorrow so my sea plane flight can depart as all fights today were cancelled. I’ve got a back up plan for tomorrow in case it doesn’t lift but either way I’m likely to be off air for the next few days as tomorrow night I board the “Canadian” train route across the rockies to Edmonton. Until then, stay safe, keep planning your next holiday and I’ll be back with new posts from Alberta.