Victoria – British Columbia

It was our last day in Canada, so how could we not visit British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria? Of course that means taking the ferry from Vancouver and a bus ride downtown. The cost of a walk-on ferry ride is $16.50 (Canadian) each way, and an all day bus pass is $5.00 (Canadian), so the trip wasn’t expensive. Riding the bus, however, doesn’t allow you time to dawdle and take pictures, and when I have to take public transit, Weird Al Yankovic’s, Another One Rides the Bus constantly runs through my brain.

Since we had limited time to spend in Victoria, I asked her majesty what she most wanted to do. Unequivocally, she answered that she’d like to have lunch at the Empress Hotel. “That’s where the Queen stays when she visits, and so I should appear there too.” She offered to buy, so why not.

Queen Anne and Empress Hotel
Anne’s overwhelming desire, was to have lunch at the Empress Hotel. Since it’s where royalty stays, she felt obligated to follow tradition.

When the bus dumped us off at the inner harbor, I thought to myself, “Wow! This is the closest I’m going to get to Monaco.”  Like the famous principality, the inner harbor is rectangular, with the Legislature building on the left flank, some other grand buildings on the right flank, and the Empress Hotel commanding the center two blocks.

The harbor is full of yachts of all sizes, and is very busy with water taxis, float planes, and the Ferries from Washington. Adding to the festival are street artists performing for coins in a hat. There was even a man crocheting a scarf with a hat out for donations. That was a new one for me.

Anne Picks Out Our New Fishing Dingy
After her delusions on the hotel veranda, we went boat shopping, and Anne picked out this one.

If there isn’t enough activity there to keep your attention, fisherman’s wharf is a few blocks in one direction, while Chinatown a few in the other. Food? It seemed that every other store front was a restaurant. I did a search on and in Victoria, there are over eight hundred restaurants to choose from.

As for lunch, we had an excellent experience on the Empress’s front veranda. I am so going to steal that recipe for a simple grilled chicken sandwich, with a side of dill seasoned French fries. The down side was that I had to keep dragging Anne back to our table, because she kept trying to wave to the passing crowd from the head of the stairs. If you want to eat at the Empress, let me warn you, the bill comes in a white envelope. Class, real class.

Harbor Seals at Fisherman's Wharf
One of the entertaining things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf is to watch people feed cut up mackerel to the harbor seals.

After our two-hour lunch, we walked around the harbor and strolled down to fisherman’s wharf before calling it a day and catching the bus back to Swartz Bay (and another gets on . . . ) to catch a ferry back to Vancouver. To top off an already great day, there wasn’t any traffic on the drive back to the RV Park . . . perfect.

Ferry and Mt. Rainier
There are lots of ferries to see when crossing to the BC islands. This happened to be going by Mt. Rainier as we cleared a small island.