Monday, September 16, 2013

Victoria, B.C.

Per tradition around here, clicking on the pictures does make them bigger.  It's a proven, scientific fact.  Another fact is what I type in and amongst the pictures may, or may not, have anything to do with the pictures.  Fair warning and everything.

This past Saturday I got my carcass out of bed early to drive to Port Angeles, WA.  There I parked my vehicle, yanked out my Surly Big Dummy, and loaded myself and the bike on the ferry bound for Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

I was on the first ferry of the day, the 8:15 AM departure.  Travel time was approximately 90 minutes.  As soon as I was off the ferry and through customs, I was pedaling about 8 blocks to The Peddler bike tours.  I was going on the assumption taking a guided tour, by bike, would be a great way to learn and see the city.  I was not disappointed.

There were four in our group.  There was Tour Guide Rod, Ken, Sara (Ken and Sara are from Portland, OR), and me.  It was the perfect sized group. Rod Thee Tour Guide had extensive knowledge of the city.  Though we started ten minutes late for a three hour bike tour, the tour itself only took four hours total.

No one in our group complained.  We saw many cool buildings, learned of the history of the town, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island.  A quick word about Victoria traffic - there's a lot of it.  You would sort of expect that since it is quite a tourist destination.  However, I can't think of any other place I've been that had such courteous drivers both to bikes and pedestrian.  Victoria is a VERY bike friendly city.

From downtown we cut through Chinatown.  There are many Chinese descendants from the nineteenth century living in Victoria now.  Then we headed over to the Fernwood neighbourhood.  There were farmer's markets.  There was a lady teaching a neighbourhood yoga class in her garage (big rug on the floor).  At the triple A baseball stadium, they were setting up for day two of Rifflandia.

We made a stop at Craigdarroch Castle.  Now a museum, it was once a private residence.

A bagpiper was bagpiping out front.

Stopping by Beacon Hill Park we stopped to watch a bit of an international cricket match.  Crazy game.  Fun to watch, but, not as fun as rugby.

We arrived back at the start of the tour.  I found an ATM, gathered some Canadian cabbage, tipped Rod Thee Tour Guide well and went off in search of food.  I was going to miss the 3:00 PM return ferry but that was fine.  The last of the day was to be at 7:30 PM.  That give me time to walk around a bike around more.

Though I didn't that many pictures of it, Victoria has a funky downtown with cool stores.  Cigars, Tarot cards, crystals, plus the usual stuff.

As I made my way around, I found a street art / chalk competition.  There were many artists and some very cool drawings on a blocked off street.

I found some life-sized critters here

and there.

Near Parliament, there were several totem poles.

The dude who laid out Hyde Park and Central Park also did Beacon Hill Park.  His signature was a stone arch bridge.

Since I missed the 3:00 PM ferry, I not only had extra time, but the hungries.  I remember Rod Thee Tour Guide pointing out "the best fish and chips" in Victoria.  I did not sample fish and chips from every place in Victoria, but, I did go to the one he recommended.  For those not in the know, chips in about every country except the U.S. are what Americans call "french fries."  In Canada you can get them with Poutine.  I did.  It was delicious.  Fish, chips, and Poutine - I was full.

With a full tummy and plenty of time to spare, I slowly made my way back to the ferry terminal.  I'd had a full day and had seen tons.  I have never had a bad time when visiting Canada.  This was no exception.  I'll be going back.

All of the pictures I took on Saturday are HERE.  I might make a return trip toward the end of October.  Looking ahead, that's about the soonest I can go.  It's looking like I'm getting booked up again.

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