Day 3 – Butchart Gardens, The Ledge, Fiamo
Coffee to go at Murchies, then we walked downtown to catch our city bus to Butchart Gardens. We thought the bus left near the Legislature building, but it turns out we needed to move to the block behind the Empress Hotel so we hustled and made it to the stop (we didn’t need to hustle but who knew if the BC buses are on time or will wait for their stop?)
|The Italian Garden|
|Russ rubbing the lucky boar's snout|
Butchart is just getting a couple of tour buses arriving so it’s not too crowded, but they’re all following the same map, so…we decided to go ‘backwards’ to the sunken garden exhibits instead of winding our way down as everyone else is going. Beautiful flowers and plants and fountains and trees everywhere. Not too hot, not chilly but nice weather for a stroll. After the sunken gardens, we go through the rose gardens. So many beautiful roses (and a LOT of people). On our way to the Japanese gardens, we talk to an older couple taking photos. I ask if I can take a photo of them together and she says they’re out of film – I’m wondering if they were shooting video instead because of that. I offer to take one of them on my phone and email it to them. They were touched and I took a couple and then sent them out during our evening in the hotel.
Japanese gardens were lovely, filled with ponds and benches and running water and stepping stones. After the Japanese gardens it’s through the Italian garden and we’re done. About an hour-and-a-half to tour it all, plus a bit of time in the gift shop and then we wait for our bus back to the city. The bus ride back is much shorter as it’s an express line which drops us off to the side of the Legislature building.
|Legislature Building "The Ledge"|
The bus driver says the Legislature building is affectionately called “The Ledge” so we use that and feel quite un-touristy for a few minutes. We’re early for the next tour, so we get our tickets and roam around the grounds outside for a bit. They offer free tours on the hour every day so we’re able to catch the 2:40 tour. In addition to the guided tour, they have actors portraying historical characters of the time. They’re in costume and speak in British accents and stay in character throughout the tour.
After our tour of “The Ledge” we decide to walk a bit around the harbor and check into procedure for leaving in the morning. I booked a reservation for the M.V. Coho through the Blackball Ferry line which will take us from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, WA on Monday morning. Of course, there’s a Starbucks on the way, so we ‘refuel’ a bit. We walk along the harbor and see some Sunday street vendors including Native American artists, some street performers and oddly enough, a guy with his male bearded dragon.
We walked up to Fiamo and were seated for dinner. They’re barely open so we have a pretty good selection of seats. Alissa talks to us some more and the wait staff is again, awesome. Food is delicious and perfect for the evening.
Tired, so we walk to the hotel and relax for our last night.
Day 4 – Victoria, B.C. to Redmond
Showered, packed, checked-out by 8. We stop by Murchies for espressos and pastries. Served on a silver tray! We drive to the Coho terminal and arrive about 8:45. They check our passports (no detaining this time!), give us our tickets and we wait for the 10:30 sailing. A few last photos of the harbor and Victoria, then it’s time to board.
We drive off at Port Angeles and have to go through customs again. Drive to Kingston, then ferry to Edmonds and then home. It seemed to take FOREVER to get back to Redmond and we’re only a bit late picking up Blake from football camp.
Home and Mustang is beside himself to see us back! Now it’s unpacking, laundry, and back to the regular life.