Oh Canada!

31 Jul

Today was the day for us to head to the great frontier of Canada!  We got up a little earlier than usual, had a bowl of oatmeal and coffee at the bistro downstairs in our hotel and arranged for a cab to pick us up at 7:00 am for the ride to Pier 66, where we  boarded the Victoria Clipper.  The Clipper is a high speed catamaran.

I was surprised to learn that they considered high speed to be 35 mph (or 30 knots.)  The trip out to Victoria took 2 hours and 45 minutes.  (Glad we chose the high speed version!)  It was very overcast and a little misty once we got out onto the water, more typical of what I imagined the weather out here would resemble.  While we were in Seattle,it didn’t rain on us at all the whole time we were there.

We were within site of shoreline at all times through the duration of the trip.  The ride was fairly smooth and neither one of us had any problem at all with sea-sickness.  The little girl that sat behind us was not so lucky however…let’s just say I thought her parents should have run her to the bathroom at the first hint something was amiss, but no, they didn’t!

As we approached Victoria, the clouds began to clear and the sun came out.  It was cooler in Victoria than it had been in Seattle this week.  It was around 60 degrees when we arrived, but there was a swift cool breeze off of the water that made the temperatures feel cooler than they were.

We made it through customs with no problem, the customs officer asked us the usual questions and one question I thought was somewhat odd.  She wanted to know if either one of us was carrying any pepper spray or mace.  (Do we look like we carry pepper spray and mace?)  We both chuckled and said no, and she released us to go on our way.

Victoria is a beautiful town.  We were anxious to see some of the area, but walked to the hotel first to check our bags since the room wasn’t ready yet.  The first thing we did, was to walk down to the waterfront to find a waterside “shed” called Red Fish, Blue Fish.  (I can’t really use the word restaurant to describe it, maybe food stand would be more appropriate)  Someone had told Jimmy about this place and he was anxious to try their halibut.  It’s a little dockside shack on a pier, but we knew we’d found it when we saw the line of people waiting to order.

The line we had to wait in to place or order

It’s all outside seating (and it was cold and windy).  The dock had a long wooden counter with stools overlooking the water and then there were other short stools for sitting.  Everyone just bellied up to the bar with their food, sitting beside complete strangers.  It was a neat experience and we are always anxious to try the places that locals frequent.  You can usually find some really good food that way.  This place was no exception, no wonder people willingly waited in that line!

We stood in the ordering line for about 45 minutes, then had another short wait to get our food.  Jimmy ordered the fish and chips (halibut) and I ordered a bay scallop fish taco (no fish, just scallops, slaw, a sweet onion relish and I don’t know what else)  It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.  I would seriously stand in that line again for another.  I just ordered one, but I was soon wishing I’d ordered two!

While we were standing in line to order, the hotel called and said our room was ready, so after we ate, we headed back over there to get settled into our room.  We were delighted to find we had a great inner harbor view from our room!

We went back out again, and stopped at the little information center to pick up maps of the area, and some other information. We then walked the waterfront trail over to Fisherman’s Wharf where there’s a small community (33) of floating homes.  They are so unique and adorable.  They are not houseboats (the difference being that houseboats have motors and these do not)  These are homes that are moored to the dock with ropes.  People live on them and they float on the water.  Notice the cute little water taxi in the photo below.  There is a taxi stand right on the dock, and you can catch the water taxi (called H2O taxi to many little stops along the waterfront)

An adorable little floating home. It looked like a little dollhouse.

Taking pictures of floating homes!

Once we finished our walk, we headed back to the center of town and did a quick tour of the Parliament buildings.  They were very interesting and we were able to see many old photos of royalty when they visited those same buildings.  They are still used when Parliament is in session in Victoria.

The main entrance to the Empress Hotel. I have to find out more about these very unusual trees in the front. .

Inner Harbor

We saw sea planes land and take off every few minutes as we walked along the waterfront today. It’s a common way to travel here!

We ate dinner at a place right across the street from our hotel.  We were really hungry by this time and were delighted to find that the food was delicious.  Jimmy ordered fish of some type and a lobster tail, I ordered lobster ravioli with scallops.  We both splurged on dessert.  He got a caramel almond bread pudding and I tried the ganache crepe which was filled with triple chocolate ice cream.  I really hope we can get in some walking miles tomorrow!

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2 Responses to “Oh Canada!”

  1. Jim Grayson July 31, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Hi, Deb. I pray you and Jimmy have a wonderful time. Your photography is beautiful and the FOOD is killer. The the big chunk of fish, with chips and cole slaw messed with me bad. I LOVE fish. The desserts look over the top, too. I’d have to walk miles and miles, if I could. Now, I do well to get from one room to the other. My hope is in God…
    Take care of yourselves. Thanks for sharing with us. If I don’t write, it doesn’t mean I’m not reading and keeping up with you guys. You all have my heart.
    Love to you,
    Jim

  2. Sarah July 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Can you get me one of those “Mind the Gap” door mats for my apartment???

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