After a fabulous time in Seattle, we were excited to head off to Victoria the next day. It takes many hours to get there from Tracy's house, so it's not really a day trip. We, therefore, made plans to stay the night. My brother-in-law had to work, so Mark was Tracy's traveling companion. It started with the drive to Canada. That was fairly uneventful. Apparently, the Canadians also feel that crossing the border is fairly uneventful, as they welcomed us with this nondescript sign:
Our only problem in crossing the border was when Tracy responded to the border agent's question about guns in the car with "I don't think there are any." He then proceeded to ask several detailed questions regarding my brother-in-law's line of work and what type of guns he has. He informed us that we really should be more certain when crossing the border because if we were pulled over as foreigners and guns were found in the car, "that could mean jail time up here." We appreciated his information and his Canadian accent. After crossing the border, we headed to the ferry which was about half an hour away. We drove onto the ferry and enjoyed a one hour and forty minute ferry ride to Vancouver island, complete with a presentation by a coastal naturalist. We were hoping to see Orcas. We didn't. But we did see a couple of Bald Eagles and lots of sailboats as we cruised through the Southern Gulf Islands of BC.
After getting off the ferry, we drove another half hour down to Victoria. We checked into our hotel and then decided to explore the city and get some dinner. Our first stop was Chinatown. Victoria's Chinatown is about a block long. It didn't take long to explore. But we did enjoy Fan Tan Alley, a tiny alley right off the street with a few shops and an awesome modified Julio Iglesias record.
After Chinatown, it was on to the waterfront where we appropriately ran into a flock of Canadian Geese. Mr. Frisby and I were excited about all things Canada, so the geese were a welcome sight. I also really wanted to see a Mountie, but it didn't happen. I had to settle for buying a Mountie Christmas ornament.
On the way to get dinner, we decided to stop at Rogers' Chocolate Shop. Here we are making a beeline for the currency exchange next door so we could make some purchases:
After dinner, we returned to Rogers' for some ice cream and a beautiful view of the city.
So went our first day in Canada. The next day included a little more exploring and the lovely Butchart Gardens. And still no Mountie. We checked out the Legislative Building and The Empress Hotel. Of course, Mark kept us entertained throughout.
Next we went to Butchart Gardens. It truly is beautiful. I think my favorite was the Sunken Garden (see picture with me in it). Gardens aren't really Mark's thing, but he fortunately he had his Nintendo DS, so he kept himself occupied while we checked everything out. He made sure we knew he didn't like being there, though, so when we crossed the little rock bridge in the Japanese Garden, we were surprised to hear him exclaim that that bridge made the whole trip worth it.
After we finished at Butchart Gardens, we began the trek home. We got back on the ferry, hoping to see Orcas. We didn't. But we did see this cool seaplane:
Then it was back to the border. Tracy wanted to buy a magnet from Canada, but hadn't found one that she liked in Victoria. So, we planned to stop at the small gift shop at the border. The gift shop is on the opposite side of the highway, however, so we had to park at the Duty Free shop and run across the highway. And, the gift shop was smaller than we remembered, so there were no suitable magnets there. Only Olympics magnets (since the winter olympics are in Vancouver next year) that cost a fortune. So, Tracy found a pin at the duty free shop which she decided she would convert to a magnet when we got back. After the quick shopping stop, we headed across the border. The USA has a much more exciting welcome sign than Canada. This made us feel appropriately proud of our citizenship.
And that was our trip to Canada. In spite of seeing no Mountie and no Orcas, we had a fabulous time.
Up next: More good times in Seattle