Saturday, July 23, 2016

stunning gardens, high tea & scottish polar bears

so we left early in the morning and headed to the ferry line to Vancouver Island - we are taking the one that leaves from Tsawwassen BC and arrives in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  The trip was uneventful and it was nice to be on the water- you can see the weather was perfect.

when we got off the ferry we headed into - nearby Nanaimo to look for a lunch place- which we found in the highly recommended Gabriel's which was straight out of downtown sprout town... 100% organic sustainable slow food farm to table - the whole shebang! LOL and who knew they even had diet cola in 1891???? LOL - anyway we had a lunch that got mixed reviews- I liked my salmon sandwich but the quinoa and chickpea fritters were tasteless (duh!) and worse had the texture of cardboard - there's a reason people have not made "health food" the number one cuisine in the world... just sayin...

we drove north on Vancouver Island for several hours and then headed back south into Victoria where we had booked rooms for that night and the next one. We went out to dinner at a local Italian place called Il Coho which had passable food but was completely inappropriately cooled - seriously they didn't open any windows and there was one ceiling fan - and the day was over 90* F ..... they could have opened up windows in the high ceiling dining room to let some of the oven like air out but couldn't be bothered so I would say to anyone who asked- they can't be bothered to serve the customers in a comfortable temperature so don't you be bothered to be their customers.

the following morning we met for breakfast and headed out to the spectacular Butchart Gardens north of Victoria.  I know there a lot of photos (there could be double this number the place is so stunning) but I did cull them for posting LOL- trust me...

I love this WALL of Vegetation! grown around the archway trellis where I force TB to pose- when I see these green walls - which are not uncommon in the area - I always think about the guys who come in cherry pickers to trim them and keep them in "wall" shape!

after the gardens we head to the end of Canada's Trans Canada Highway to MILE ZERO where there is also a Terry Fox statue to commemorate the man who "ran across Canada" for a cure for cancer.

and here is Stewart! The Scottish polar bear who marked the entrance to our hotel in Victoria - all dressed up in his kilt and finery and wearing his moustache with the ends curled up --- I never knew they had polar bears in Scotland LOL

Late in the afternoon we had high tea at the Fairmont Empress-

they had a nearly overwhelming choice of teas but we did choose one each eventually LOL

I had #15 the Royal Empress Oolong and TB had #21 - the Tong Mu Phoenix Lapsang Souchong and we were each extremely pleased with our choices LOL

then plates of little food things LOL- scones and finger sandwiches and dessert things - all good - we ate every one of them!

later we took a drive through the environs of Victoria following the route of the HOHO bus but in our own car - many of the HOHO stops were at pickup locations of hotels so we decided we could skip those and do the tour of the neighborhoods on our own - which we did and more... the days were long on light and so we were out quite late.

When we got back to "Stewart's place" we had a drink on the patio just before the bar closed down and made plans for the morning before our ferry back to the US.

so one more post on Canada- our extremely leisurely paced trip for two folks recovering from major life moves in "downsizing" to lock and leave condo lifestyles..... the last one will have our very best meal so don't miss it- highly recommended and in the US of A!

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