So after we disembarked from the ship, which was a relatively seamless operation [didn’t even have to show our passports!], we headed for the train station to start our journey to Victoria – I am just going to bullet point the steps (and we have to do the return journey on the way back, with a couple more stops!):
- Walk to train station from cruise terminal – .5km
- Catch train for about 20 mins to Bridgeport transit centre
- Wait 45 mins for the bus (no shops here!)
- Catch the bus to the ferry – a 45 minute ride
- Catch the ferry to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island – a 1hr 45 min trip which was lovely
- Catch the bus to Victoria – 1 hr 20 minute ride
- Catch the bus to Fairfield – 10 minute ride
- Walk .5km to accommodation.
(All this with our luggage and now getting grumpy, as the connections were all tight, it had started raining and there was no time for a leisurely lunch!)
Five hours later we arrived at our accommodation and I am in heaven. Not only is it gorgeous, the owner Janice is lovely and was so welcoming. There was a welcome platter in the fridge, with a ‘mini’ bottle of Sparkling Cherry Honey Wine … we devoured it all like a couple of locusts!
We booked this through Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) which is apparently better than AirBnB – as this is our first time, can’t make a definitive comment on this! But I can say it has been fabulous here 💖
After catching up on all the washing, we headed to the supermarket, via a walk along the waterfront in the rain [it is a bit unfortunate, but we have had a lot of rain since we arrived], picked up a few supplies for breakfast and a couple of dinners and headed home for some sleep … I mean we had to get up at 6.30am this morning!! We haven’t done that for … I don’t know how long!!
There is an incredible amount of driftwood along all the beaches [which are pebble beaches]. It must be a nightmare for all the ‘traffic’ out on the water, but fabulous for all the artists in town.
So on Saturday morning we headed along the waterfront towards town (opposite to our first walk). We walked past ‘Mile O’ which is the start of the West-East Trans-Canadian highway (8,000kms). There were bus loads of Asian tourists and wondered what was going on. A lovely local told us the significance, and also the people who are represented by Memorial. Terry Fox (who lost his right leg to cancer) decided to run the entire length to raise money for cancer [it was called a marathon of hope] – unfortunately he got sick half-way, and a second round of cancer claimed his life.
A second amputee runner (Steve Fonyo), completed the run and raised $14million dollars and received the Order of Merit. From there he had a very checkered life, was stripped of his Order of Merit, is now semi-homeless with a string of convictions feeding a drug habit. Just WOW, how life can change!! Anyways, it was lovely just chatting to a local and getting the inside information. We had a quick photo op in between the bus loads of everyone else!
We carried on around the coast towards Fisherman’s Wharf, had a look at the floating houses and then walked to the local market for lunch, before finding the harbour taxis to do a tour.
The water taxis are these cute looking little boats, called pickles. We actually ended up on a slightly bigger boat for our gorge tour (the little green one).
It was just over an hour and up the inner harbour, the Captain sharing the history. Really lovely and always good to get the local information.
This bridge is somewhat famous because it took so long to build and it went seriously over budget – it was cool to see it working though!
There are a lot of lovely houses – Vancouver Island has a lot of retirees here as the temperature is not so cold, it is flat and is generally a safe place. We have seen a handful of homeless begging and apparently there is a tent city here, but we haven’t seen it (yet!).
Don’t you love these toparies!
The hanging baskets are just beautiful and are all around town. The buildings are all lovely as well.
Although it was raining, we spent an afternoon at Craigdarroch Castle. It is being lovingly restored and is just beautiful.
We have visited the Butchard Gardens which are so, so beautiful – I left a note in the visitor’s book “inspiring … my husband is going to be busy when we get home”. 😜
We spent hours here and I just wanted to take picture around every corner! Of every flower bed …. everything was just perfect!
It was actually raining in this photo!
We also visited the Parliament Buildings (when you search the opening times … one should be careful that you are in Victoria, BC NOT Victoria, Australia 🤪) which are very beautiful, and had another walk around town since it was such a beautiful afternoon 🌞
Tomorrow we are heading to Vancouver for our next ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ assignment.
See you in Vancouver x
Ps: couldn’t help myself 😇