Thursday, May 09, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia, Part One

It's been two weeks since my vacation to Vancouver Island. When I returned to Minneapolis, there was still ice on the all the lakes, snow on the ground and hardly a bud to be seen. All that has finally changed. In fact, it's supposed to be 90 degrees next week (just for one day, thanks!). But it was a welcome sight when I landed at the Victoria airport and saw green everywhere. My cousin Tom met me and we took a scenic drive back to his house, stopping at a small park along the way. There were a lot of small flowers covering the ground.   

And Garry oak 

The next morning, we walked down to the beach a couple blocks from their house to walk the dog. It was an overcast day, but comfortably warm.

On a clear day there would be a view of Washington State across the water.

Poor little dead dolphin, but lucky seagull.

Later on that morning, Tom drove me downtown and showed me a few points of interest to get me oriented. Then I spent the day on my own walking tour.  After the Travel Infocentre, my first stop was The Bay Centre, a shopping mall. It was too early for lunch, but I was a bit hungry, so I had a small salad in the food court.

Then on to Munro's Books with its attractive wall hangings that mimic the shape of the windows.

The building below is the Irish Times Pub.

And the Maritime Museum. I decided see it another day, and never did, so I will add it to a list of things to do on a future visit.

Bastian Square with the kayak sculpture.

Wharf Street (above), trompe l'oeil windows (below).

Inner Harbour scenes with float planes and ferries to Washington State.

And below this distinctive red building is the Red Fish Blue Fish diner in a shipping container - below (click on photo for larger view). I had a "cod dog" for lunch - hot dog bun with batter-fried fish: yummy.

The next group of photos is of Chinatown, dating back to 1858, the oldest Chinatown in Canada.

With the cherry blossoms in bloom, it was an especially lovely scene.

Plaque dedicated to a prominent Chinese-Canadian.

The old Chinese School

The Gates of Harmonious Interest, looking toward Fan Tan Alley

I bought some soaps in one of these shops.

Around the corner and starting back toward the Inner Harbour, Swan's Boutique Art Hotel

Below - the outside of Market Square

And the inside courtyard

Across the street, some colorful buildings

With interesting back passageways

Sidewalk art

Plaques marking historic sites

Inner Harbour looking toward Parliament Buildings

The Empress Hotel

James Cook statue across from the Empress, along the harbor wall.

Click to enlarge the photo below - "Welcome To Victoria" spelled out in flowers.

Totem across the street from the Parliament Buildings, with flowers.

Parliament Buildings. In another post, I will have a photo of these buildings lit up at night: quite striking.

Looking back toward downtown Victoria with The Empress on the right, harbor on the left.

Double-decker bus next to Parliament Buildings. My last photo of the day before I had to call my cousin to pick me up. My feet had had enough! In later days, I learned the route back to their house and walked it several times. It was probably no more than three miles, or my usual around-the-lake walk at home, except that walk doesn't usually follow 5 hours on my feet! :)

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