Victoria, British Columbia Part II: Victoria and the Inner Harbor
In our last post, we told you about our visit to Butchart Gardens, but we didn't tell you about the ferry to and from Victoria or about the city of Victoria. We'll do that in this post.
There are two types of ferries from Port Angeles to Victoria. You can take your car, or even your RV, over on a large ferry; or you can take the smaller, faster, passenger ferry. We decided on the passenger ferry.
Once in Victoria, there are a variety of things you can do. If you're going to Butchart Gardens like we did, you can take a public bus, a
taxi, or a tour bus for the 14-mile trip from the ferry to the gardens. We opted to take the tour bus because it provided narration
about some of the sights on the way to the gardens, and it also meant
there was no chance we would get lost on the way back to the dock and miss the last
ferry over to the United States. :-)
There are a couple of companies operating ferries out of Port Angeles. We took the Victoria Express. To make things easy, you can book packages directly through them that include the ferry, transportation to the gardens (or other city tour if you prefer not to go to the gardens), admission to the gardens, and even the afternoon tea.
We showed up bright and early for the 8:10 AM ferry departure. Parking in downtown Port Angeles was reasonably priced from $11 a day at the garage directly across the street from the dock to $6 for a lot about a few blocks down the street. We parked in the lot down the street and had a walk of less than 5 minutes to the boarding point.
We had a fairly smooth crossing that took about an hour. Over in Canada, it took only a few minutes to clear customs, then we were on the tour bus and on our way to Butchart Gardens that we told you about in our last post. In this post, we'll tell you a little more about some of the things we saw in Victoria.
As the bus pulled out of the parking lot, one of the first things we saw was the turn-of-the-century
Empress Hotel. The hotel was renovated in 1966 at a cost of $4 million
and again in 1989 at a cost or $45 million. The Empress has all the
things guests expect to find in a 5-star resort - an 18-hole golf
course, a spa, fine restaurants, and even afternoon tea in the finest
English tradition. The photo below shows the Empress Hotel overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbor.
The Art Deco building adjacent to the Inner Harbor that is now the Victoria Visitor Center was originally an Esso gas station. The top is designed to look like the Empire State Building.
The next photo is Victoria City Hall, which we passed on our way through downtown on the way to the garden.
After our visit to Butchart Gardens and our tea, we caught the next tour bus back to town. We had a few hours before the ferry departed, so we spent some time around the harbor area.
There were some
street entertainers along the docks. We watched Plasterman for a
while. He would strike a perfectly motionless pose, then reach out and
hug an unsuspecting passer-by. If you dropped something in his container, he would pose for a picture with you.
We watched a few other entertainers, then strolled past the craft vendors along the far side of the harbor. Indian art and jewelry were popular items.
The food at the tea at Butchart Gardens was excellent, but it wasn't all that filling. Plus, it was a long day, so we were both getting hungry again. We remembered our bus driver mentioning a good place for fish and chips near the harbor, so we set off looking for it. It is called Barb's Place, and it's a floating restaurant located about four blocks from the Inner Harbor at the fishing docks. The photo below shows Barb's Place.
They had all sorts of seafood - fish, mussels, oysters, prawns, crabs, and more. They are best known for their fish and chips, so we split a two-piece order of fish and chips with a side of slaw. It was delish.
at the ferry dock, it was soon time to board to head back to the United
States. As the ferry left the Inner Harbor, we could watch the float planes
land and take off on the waterway beside us. Victoria is the busiest
float plane port in Canada, much to the dismay of the local residents. The photo below shows a departing flight, and, as you can see, there are condos in the background.
As we reached the outer harbor, there was a large cruise ship in port...
...and we overtook another one that had just left port and was heading for the Pacific.
As we crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we could see the Olympic Mountains over on the U. S. side.
The next photo shows the harbor as we approached Port Angeles. The ferry dock is the second building from the left.
We again cleared customs fairly quickly and were on our way back to the motor home. It was a long, but interesting and fun day. Stay tuned...we have more plans for the Port Angeles area.