January 21, 2011 - Victoria, Canada

We arrived on our cute little train into Victoria in the early evening.   A woman who was sitting behind us on the train was also going to stay at the HI hostel so we all went there together and went out to dinner at Ferris' just down the street.  Well, Ferris was a great restaurant but the hostel didn't impress me that much.

The hostel had everything you could want or need but the rooms were arranged in a weird closed-off style with a single room here and a dorm there around the corner.  We were only planning to stay for one night originally.  Erk wanted time to see the museum so we booked another night but could only get beds in a dorm.  It turned out Ok since there were only 2 other people staying there who came in late at night.

We went to the Ferris restaurant both nights.  The first night we were in the pub with our fellow train passenger who was from the Island.  She was going to fly to Mexico in the morning.  Upon talking to her more, I learned she had been to Guyana a few years ago with a friend on vacation!!?? Interesting...

The next night we went to Ferris we ate upstairs at the oyster bar.  It was fantastic...almost (but not quite) as good as our favourite restaurant, a seafood restaurant in Ottawa.  We had a great time, eating oysters, wine, golden beets with goat's cheese, smoked salmon, truffles and cake!

We walked to the Royal BC museum past the Empress Hotel, the parliament buidlings with Captain Vancouver on the top and lots of boats in the harbour.   Erik talked to 2 Red Cross canvassers, like he does at home.  One was a young aboriginal woman who had dropped out of school and then went back and turned her life around - very cool! The first thing we saw walking in the doors was a crazy yellow car that belonged to John Lennon at one point.

We attended a talk about a little-known BC artist which the speaker was very passionate about.  Her masterpiece was a story that she wrote and illustrated for children.  The presenter had the orginal drawings which depicted a myth she created about the creation of Savoury Island in BC.  There were only 4 of us in the room so we got to ask lots of questions!

We then went on a guided tour of part of the museum with an older man who was a former history teacher.  He was very knowlegdable and outgoing, a bit too out-going for me, but he and Erik got along well.  Erik was also almost able to answer some of the questions himself, having just read a gazillion of related books on the way out to BC!  I was only on my 2nd book but it was one about the forestry industry in BC so I knew a little bit.  We went through a diaorama of Victorian Victoria and stopped in at the theatre which was playing Charlie Chaplin, the engineer's house, the hotel, various shops, the train station, Cook?'s ship.

Leaving Vancouver Island, we took a city bus to get to the ferry dock, far from the centre of Victoria.  It was a double decker bus!  We went through Sidney and a number of other communities.  It was nice to see some real life, something different from the downtown of a city.  At the end we were one of the last few people on the bus and got talking to the driver. Once again, we had a great conversation.....this one even ended up with the guy giving us a wedding present!  It turned out he was a 3-D photo artist who makes "phantograms".  The images are visible in 3-D when you use the special glasses.  Erik charmed him, like he did with everyone else on the tour...he can't help it, can you Erik?? So the driver gave us one of his photographs on a card and a pair of the glasses .  It was a 3-D image of the Empress Hotel with all its turrets, arches and dormer windows.

Off the bus....and onto the big ferry!






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