Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Victoria British Columbia

We slept so well, don’t think either of us moved. We slept fine on the train but it was so quiet here and so much space!

Breakfast was in the lobby of the hotel where they had a small but adequate buffet. Other option was to go across to the Gatsby Mansion or a neighborhood cafe.  We may try one of those options tomorrow. The view out the window was pleasant.  There are flowers planted and blooming everywhere!
Walking to the BC Museum we passed by the BC Legislature Building.  Beautiful building and grounds. Tours were available but we passed that for right now but had a nice discussion with an young lady in 18th century dress.  The legislature is in session through the end of May and will then be out of session during the summer.
View of Gatsby Manor

British Columbia Legislature
There is a special exhibit on the Vikings from Sweden at the museum as well as a new IMAX film on the Vikings.  We  toured around the special exhibit as well  as 2 of their 3 large exhibits.  Very nice museum on the level of the Smithsonian.  The Viking exhibit was very interesting as we had never seen anything like it.  Their craftsman ship in silver and other mediums was excellent. Anyone from any walk of life could be a “viking”  (warrior or explorer) for a period of their life.  So you could be a farmer or trader or whatever for most of your life and occasionally go on a “viking” for 2 months – 6 months or any length of time.
Also of interest was the craftsman ship of the early inhabitants of  British Columbia.  Sounds like their history was much like that of the Indians in US. The British did not treat these tribes any better than we did in the US or maybe worse.  One group only got what they considered a fair agreement with the government in the 1990’s. The art and particularly the Totem poles were magnificent.

Viking Jewelry
Viking Silver

Lower part of a totem that was door to home

It is supposed to rain tomorrow so we will go back to the museum for visiting the gift shop, and see the Viking IMAX. 

We walked along the waterfront enjoying the sunshine and scenery.  We were looking for Red Fish, Blue Fish where we planned to eat Fish and Chips for lunch.  Located in a shipping container on the waterfront they are supposed to have some of the best fish in Vancouver.

Ben in line at Red Fish Blue Fish

Fish and Chips
Dining Room along wharf

We found it and enjoyed some excellent Fish and Chips.  You did indeed order at one end of the container – pick up your order at the other end and eat along the side of the wharf.  We ate beside a family from  Highpoint NC.  The visitors to this area seem to come from all over the globe.  On the other side of us were 3 ladies from Australia.

Panorama at Waterfront

After our lunch we strolled back towards our hotel. We stopped at the Empress Hotel to walk through the public areas – we noted the Tea Room, the Bengal Lounge, and several very interesting shops. You could easily spend $1,000 in very short order!  We also enjoyed walking around in the gardens. The rhodendron, azaleas, and roses are beautiful.

Garden at Empress Hotel

Beautiful !!
 We have discovered our stamina is not quite what it was 10 years ago so do not think we will try touring the gardens in the up island part of Victoria. Island  Just not enough time or energy to do it justice!
About 2 PM we chose to make the short walk back to the hotel and rest for a couple hours.

Water Taxi Victoria Harbor

About 5 PM we walked back down to the waterfront and  took one of the water taxies to China Town.  These little boats carry 1-10 people to variety of locations around the harbor. Quick little 10 minute ride with some narration about what we were seeing.  They left us with instructions to call when we were ready to return.

Walking around China Town was a bit underwhelming. It was interesting but most of the shops closed at 5 PM and it was a much smaller area than we had thought originally. Reading in Trip Advisor I was not expecting too much but it was still fun.  We chose to eat dinner at Don Mee which was one of the oldest and had good ratings. Dinner for 2 was good – some things excellent and some OK.  We had beef lettuce wraps, won-ton soup, 4 main dishes – crispy beef, lemon chicken, shrimp and veggies in bean sauce, and a chow mein dish.  The Beef Lettuce Wraps, Chow Mein and Lemon Chicken were excellent among the best we have had.  Ben found a beer he had tasted on the train – and says it is his new favorite.  We have found prices expensive here – maybe it is the city, the country, or just us used to East TN!  Examples – this dinner which might have been $25 - $30 at home was $45 here. 

Most of Dinner for Two
Earlier today a Pepsi from a vending machine was $2.25.  We are interested in seeing how the prices change when we reenter the US tomorrow. 

We walked back down to the taxi stop, called and within 10 minutes the taxi arrived.  Interesting driver.  He asked where we were from and when we said TN – he said did we know about Sam McGee ? We knew the poem written by Robert Service about Tennessean who died in the Yukon. He was amazed – said he had asked  many others and no one had known – we are just so well traveled and read!
Back at the hotel we watched a little TV, finished the blog, and read a bit.    

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