Thursday, July 19, 2012

TPThursday: Go North “Young” Woman

We’d decided to do something different for my birthday: stay home.

And we stuck to that plan until 1 p.m. when we did something so spontaneous that we both were still shaking our heads as we stepped ashore in Victoria, British Columbia a few hours later.

Victoria2012 017
We often describe our travels as going ‘where the winds blow us’ but this one struck with gale force. I’d been working on a blog post and mentioned Victoria . . . an hour later we were packed and in line on the Seattle waterfront ready to board the day's last sailing of the Victoria Clipper, a high speed catamaran that would whisk us off to what has been a three night stay in the “City of Gardens.”

Victoria2012 004

Victoria, B.C. is at the southern tip of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Cradled between Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it is 71 miles from Seattle, just under three hours away on The Clipper (which blasts along at 30 knots, or 35 miles an hour).

Victoria2012 011

Incorporated in 1862 and also celebrating a birthday – its 150th – this year, the city is decked out in its usual summer finery. . .including its trademark hanging baskets. The flower baskets have been a tradition since 1937. There are 1,500 baskets adorning the old-fashioned light posts. (And if you want to replicate those baskets at home, the city’s web site, www.victoria.ca offers a brochure with instructions.)

Victoria2012 012

Every street corner is decked out with a garden. This Orca whale topiary sits across the street from the visitor’s center at the Inner Harbor.
Victoria2012 009

While its Butchart Gardens is the most famous of its gardens there are so many parks (78 in Greater Victoria) that we usually don’t have time to visit Butchart, as was the case again this trip. Our first day was spent strolling through Victoria’s many gardens and parks that are within an easy walk of the Inner Harbor where we were staying.
.
One such place is  the beautiful lawn of  the iconic  Empress Hotel, pictured above.  We  had a special treat: watching a bride and groom starting a new life together at the lawn’s rose trellis.

Victoria2012 003

Only a couple blocks from the Inner Harbor, we strolled through the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy National Historic Site (835 Humboldt St., www.stannsacademy.com ). Just beyond it is the 25 hectare, or 62-acre Beacon Hill Park which led us to the seafront promenade that stretches for miles along Dallas Road

Victoria2012 006


Victoria2012 005

We walked nine miles as we explored but a corner of this magnificent city of some 80,000 people but in full disclosure, our long walk was in part to ease the guilt of  the amount of food we had consumed the night before at our favorite restaurant, The Tapa Bar, (620 Trounce Alley, 250-383-0013, www.tapabar.ca)  and although we turned down the offer for dessert, the waitress decided my big day shouldn’t go past without. . . .

Victoria2012 002

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday, so head over to Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos.  I’ll tell you more about the gem of a place - often overlooked by travelers - that we stayed at here in my next post.

For more information on Victoria, B.C.: www.tourismvictoria.ca or the city’s blog  www.goinglocal.tourismvictoria.ca  For information on the Victoria Clipper, www.clippervacations.com .

25 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Young Woman! What a great way to spend your special day. I love spontaneous trips and Victoria looks like it was a good choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victoria is simply a beautiful city and we seem to forget that between visits. Must get back there again. Thanks for the B-day wishes.

      Delete
  2. We LOVE Victoria. I took the family up around Christmas to see the lights at Butchart. I'm actually trying to plan a trip back. The Clipper is definitely a great way to get there as well. We missed St. Anne's when we were there last, so I am adding it to my list.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the B-day wishes. If you do get to St. Anne's make sure you go inside the buildings and look at the displays as well.

      Delete
  3. What a FUN spontaneous trip to take!! I went on a 6th grade school trip there and have the BEST memories - can't wait to go back! I remember visiting Anne Hathaway's Cottage -is that still there?

    Thank you for linking up with us today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The closest we got this trip to literary places was Emily Carr's house - she was a beloved artist and author who spend most of her life in Victoria. I'll have to seek out Anne Hathaway's on a future trip.

      Delete
  4. I love spontaneity - and what a marvelous trip to take at the last minute. A belated happy birthday to you too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one was so spontaneous that I was lucky I hadn't quite unpacked the suitcases from the previous trip. Thanks for the B-day wishes.

      Delete
  5. Happy Birthday! I've been to the Island, but never to Victoria. It is still on my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We keep saying we need to explore the island as we get to Victoria and no further than Sooke in one direction and Sidney the other. Next time. Thanks for the birth-day wishes.

      Delete
  6. Spontaneous trips are the best. Vitoria looks like a lovely place to spend a birthday. Happy Birthday, Jackie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great way to spend the b-day! Thanks for the birthday wishes.

      Delete
  7. It looked like a great way to celebrate a birthday. Belated Happy Birthday, Jackie! Love Victoria especially during the summer with all the flowers in bloom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We may have to make drop-it-and-go a more regular part of our travel 'plans'. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Delete
  8. What amazing gardens! Thanks for sharing your great photos. And happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy birthday, Jackie! It is way too weird that we both posted about spontaneous trips to Victoria this week!!! Although I have to say that your trip was MUCH more spontaneous than mine :-) Beautiful photos, and sounds like you had a lovely time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I adore spontaneous trips like that! Also, Victoria looks very pretty and interesting. And just a boat trip from Seattle? Another good reason to visit Seattle. It's on my list for 2013. And now, Victoria is, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sophie, do let me know if your plans to come to Seattle work out. I'd love to meet up with you while you are here. And yes, it is easy to take the Clipper to Victoria from the Seattle waterfront. You might consider though taking Amtrak (downtown Seattle) to Vancouver, B.C. and then a B.C. ferry to Victoria and the Clipper back to Seattle which would show you the best of the best around here.

      Delete
  11. Happy birthday! And what a great setting to celebrate in. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes. It was a beautiful place in which to check off another year.

      Delete
  12. It looks as though Victoria is the place to go! How fabulous being able to decide on the spur of the moment to go there. I'm wondering how long the boat trip takes. Hope you had a lovely birthday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Clipper takes just about two hours and 45 minutes on a clear day. A couple years ago when we took it, there was sea fog and that slowed us a bit. 35 miles an hour doesn't sound fast, but in a boat it feels like jet propulsion.

      Delete
  13. I am a Victorian Girl from Van. Island and I found your post through the info about the Union club (which I never even considered a hotel entity so thanks for letting me know about that). It is part of old-Victoria that dresscodes are still around, I remember my Grandmother complaining about seeing tourists being allowed into the Empress in shorts while we were forced to wear gloves and hats lol for tea there lol.

    ReplyDelete

So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...