Travel offers such a wonderful opportunity to step into a way of life often different from our own. For a short time we open our minds to new sights and experiences all the while learning new things as we go.
When we began planning the British Columbia portion of our recent trip, a visit to The Butchart Gardens was occupying the #1 spot on my list of "must sees."
It wasn't until we started researching the various places we planned to visit that we realized the gardens were not in Vancouver, but in Victoria which is located on Vancouver Island.
In the process of making flight arrangements, hotel reservations, rental car arrangements along with researching the many different places we hoped to visit, it somehow seemed like the way to get from Vancouver to Vancouver Island would be to hop on another plane.
Hence the reason for our 13 minute flight on the prop plane.
We have since learned that most people take the ferry.
Like I said, we can learn a lot as we go. :)
Not only that but, the prop plane was an interesting experience.
I think that's the first time I felt my entire body vibrate on take-off.
Once we were airborne things smoothed out and we very much enjoyed viewing the islands below as we made the quick trip to Vancouver Island.
Our time in Victoria was short so we wasted no time in getting started on our adventures.
We had read about the highly recommended drive along the Scenic Marine Route and thought it sounded like a great way to get a true feeling for life on this very pretty island.
This drive took us along the Pacific Ocean with breathtakingly beautiful sights all along the way.
When we came to the Ogden Point Pier we felt it was a good opportunity to stretch our legs.
We walked to the end of the pier and back pausing to appreciate the beauty and also noticing many jelly fish in the water below us.
We noticed piles of driftwood along the coast.
This is driftwood like we've never seen before. Huge pieces, more like logs of driftwood.
The weather during our stay in Victoria was picture perfect.
The blue of the sky coupled with the blue of the ocean ... well, what can I say... beautiful.
I think that is Mt. Baker in the background.
If any of the BC gals are reading perhaps you can verify this or correct me if I'm wrong.
Driving a little further we began to get hungry and stopped into The Beachhouse Restaurant for lunch. We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed this view as we ate. I'm not sure, but I think I could get used to this.
I should also mention how much we enjoyed fresh seafood all throughout our time in BC. If I can ever find halibut around here it costs an arm and a leg. So, I ate plenty of it (and also salmon) on the trip.
We also spent time walking the streets of Victoria checking out the shops and restaurants.
We first saw the Parliament Building when it was all lit up in the evening. Many people were across the street taking pictures.
I had planned to be one of them the next night. Seems we got so busy I neglected to do that, but here you see it during the day.
Pretty impressive, eh?
Also impressive was The Empress hotel.
After looking over the various options we decided to spend the rest of our day at the Royal BC Museum. We felt that it would be a good way for us to learn more about the history of British Columbia. We spent several hours there and were not disappointed. It is very well done. While there we also saw the IMAX film entitled Flight of the Butterflies. I am fascinated by the fact that monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico every year. They seem so fragile and yet they are able to make that long journey. This film chronicles that journey in a way that will amaze you.
These topiary in the shape of whales were near the museum.
I'm not sure what that big spot is all about, but you get the idea.
We were so impressed with Victoria.
People were so friendly and it was so clean. We noticed the great strides being made in the recycling effort here and also in Vancouver. In fact at the museum there was even a basket for used paper hand towels which would be used in composting.
We were also impressed with how physically active people seem to be... everywhere there are people walking and biking. The roads are very bicycle friendly. And speaking of friendly, it seems to be a very dog friendly place as well. Often we would see bowls of water in front of the shops for the doggies.
By now you may be wondering what happened to our plans for visiting The Butchart Gardens.
We went and they were so amazing that they deserve their very own post. Once I sort through my 200+ photos I'll be back to share this gorgeous garden with you.