Monday, May 26, 2014

The Canadian to Victoria British Columbia

It was hard to believe today was our last day on the Canadian - after more than 3 days it seems like home! A small home but we had everything we needed and with the addition of the Panorama Car so close to us it was even better the last half of the trip. The breakfast was good as usual. Today we opted for what they call the Transcontinental - eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast.  We ate with different people each meal - today it was a couple that live on Victoria Island.  They took the Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto - stayed a few days and are on their return leg.  Last evening we we are with a couple from outside Toronto that were on their 6th trip on the Canadian.  They go once a year and have been in nearly every month from February through October. We have had fun and enjoyed the trip but it would seem to me if you love train travel there would be lots of different trips! But then that is me.
Logs on the Fraser River
The first scenes out the window this morning were of a huge river rushing past - overnight two additional rivers joined the one I spoke about yesterday - it looked as wide as the Mississippi at Memphis. Floating on the river were lots of logs tied together into floating rafts.  We were ahead of schedule and were expecting to reach Vancouver about 1 hour early -8:45 instead of 9:45. Packing when you travel light took only a few minutes and we were saying goodbye to Carla and headed into the terminal.

WIFI was still not so good but Jane was able to get the blog posted without many photos.  Will just have to post them later.  Caught up on email and got our boarding passes for the next leg of our journey.  We were taking the Costal Pacific Bus to Victoria which included a ferry ride.  It worked perfectly.

Outside Central Station in Vancouver

Jane waiting in tine for bus to ferry

Bus drove us an hour to the terminal outside Vancouver.. Lots of traffic and construction in Vancouver. Ben was very glad he did not have to drive!  When we arrived at the terminal the bus drove right down into the lower level and along with many other large vehicles. Tractor Trailer Rigs, large trucks, buses and campers. 4 rows deep and 10 or so per row. It was a huge ferry.  We took an elevator upstairs to level 5 for a huge cafeteria - there were 3 restaurants, 2 gift shops, restrooms, and a business center. We sat in a very large area with probably 200 chairs.  There was another viewing level above us. Below us were 2 levels for autos.
The crossing through the channel islands took about 90 minutes.  Then we got back on the bus and were driven about 45 minutes to the southern end of Victoria Island - right to the center of Victoria. This is a wonderful set up for those who do not want to rent a vehicle.

Ferry makes way through the channel islands

From the Victoria Bus Station we were 1 block from the Empress Hotel, 2 blocks from the Royal BC Museum, 3 blocks from the Ferry Terminal we will use to depart on Wednesday - and 4 blocks from our hotel.  We are one block from the Waterfront and are able to walk easily.  We headed straight to our hotel which we had selected primarily due to its' location.  It turned out to be very nice with a balcony that overlooks the waterfront, a kitchen which we do not need, a couch and great bed.  After living in an area less the size of just the bed for 4 days - it seems like a palace!

Ben near the waterfront  on our walk to hotel

View from our hotel terrace

Resting a bit we read about the sights and began to plan our time here.  We will leave on the COHO Black Ball Ferry for Port Angeles Washington on Wednesday at 3 PM

We ate dinner at a highly rated nearby restaurant - Harbor House.  Ben had Oysters Rockefeller and Jane had a Haddock Filet with a shrimp and lemon sauce.  Both were very good and we had only walked 1 block!. Afer dinner we walked along the waterfront stopping in the Ferry Terminal to confirm we did not need a reservation to walk-on the ferry on Wednesday. 

Back at the hotel we planned to relax with books, trying to post the blog, and a relaxing bath and shower. There was a shower on the train but it left much to be desired. It was the only part of the train travel that was not A#1 - it was passable and they made it as good as it could be with their resources.

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