Because I am usually only one person traveling it is often difficult to get a tour company to allow me to be included…I throw the numbers off but I lucked out with this tour company and got to ride shotgun in the front passenger seat….this allows me to get the view unobstructed through the windshield so I can take pictures if I want while driving along. Good deal for me! So, today’s tour guide picked me up at my hotel and then we proceeded to pick up 3 couples at there various hotels. It was a tight schedule to get to the ferry on time but we had a little spare time and he showed us some things in town before we headed out. It is a nice ride over to the island and it was a lovely mid-October day.
Once we arrived on Vancouver Island the first thing the guide (Michael) wanted to show us was a cool totem pole…one tall continuous carving. It was very difficult to get the whole thing in the image.
Our next stop was Butchart Gardens. I thought it was mid-October….how many and what kind of flowers are we going to see but this place is huge and they plant their flowers so there is something all year round. They had a shop set up for gifts, the have a cafe, they have a sunken garden and a lot of sculptures and separate gardens. It is a must see place! There is a picture below that doesn’t belong here but I posted it anyway…it was at a park in downtown where protesters were criticizing the treatment of whales…they had large whale balloons. Also to be noted below are the animals created from moss…a tiger, a bear and cub, and a whale and its calf.
I wanted to keep the sunken gardens separate from the rest of the Gardens because it is amazing…so well designed and when you are up at the higher level looking down into the garden you can see all of the plants, trees and paths. How amazingly stunning!?
The last thing I would like to share before we leave Butchart Gardens is some of the individual flowers…beautiful, beautiful flowers.
After leaving the Gardens we went into downtown Victoria. We had about an 1 1/2 – 2 hours to explore and have lunch. I walked around the marina for awhile, went and sat on a bench across from the Hotel Fairmont Empress…a huge, amazing hotel with horses and carriages, well dressed door men, a beautiful front porch and a lot of very well dressed guests from all over the world. After people watching for awhile I decided where I wanted to go eat before I ran out of time. I chose a lovely place named Finn’s…everyone was eating out on the patio but the hostess chose to sit me alone at a high top table near the bar…was it my jeans and t-shirt that wouldn’t allow me to sit on the patio? It was lunch…oh well! Good food either way and the waitress I got was very friendly and made good suggestions for lunch. After lunch there was a gentleman in a kilt playing bagpipes so I went and listened to him for awhile. There was also a gentleman with a portable amp and microphone who was singing and had a very good voice.
Back on a strict schedule once we met up again shortly after lunch. We had to get back to the ferry terminal by a set time. The plus to our timing was that while in line waiting to board the ferry I got a little bit of a sunset shot. I will say one last thing about the ferry…it was extremely difficult to remember where we went up for the vehicle deck and go back down and find the bus…I kept wandering around aimlessly and finally the tour guide came looking for me…I was on the wrong side of the boat! Here are some shots while driving around Victoria and Vancouver Island as well as the sunset.
Tomorrow I will be moving on toward the east. As I mentioned I am going as far east as Calgary before I head south into Montana again. Not sure where I am going to land at the end of the day tomorrow but I checked a map and there is pretty much one main road toward Calgary so if I find no side trips I will call it a day when I get tired and can find a decent hotel. See you tomorrow!