Victoria, July 30–31, 2010
After the garden tour we rode to Victoria and were dropped off at our hotels. Mine was the Empress, another Fairmont hotel. The room was fine, though not as roomy as the one at Lake Louise, especially the bathroom. But the view was spectacular. There was one window facing the harbor and in view of the provincial parliament building. There were two more windows on the side. You can see the ledge and leaves and vines on the pictures I made out of my front window. There was no air conditioning, so having the windows open during the day was fine.
The hotel is widely known for its Afternoon Tea. That currently costs $63 a person, and it seems like it was almost that much back then. The hotel web site explains that it is not "high tea," which it says is more working-class fare. I checked on reservations and couldn't get anything that worked with my intended schedule. So instead I had a fine dinner later in the Bombay Room, where they had a curry bar. I was very hungry, but even so, I hardly did the buffet justice. The "Empress" name honors Queen Victoria, one of whose titles was "Empress of India." So the Bombay Room was appropriate to that name.
I liked the carpet in the hallway outside the Tea Room enough that I took a picture in case I ever want to make a tiling pattern of it as a background or something.
I did finally go outside to wander around.
I couldn't tell which room was mine looking from the front, so I went back to the room and parted the shears. You see that my window was the top left one you can see. I think it was the fifth floor.
As evening came, more and more people came out to the harbor area. It was like a festival with street vendors, street musicians, street magicians, and other entertainers. As it got dark, the lights on the parliament building became more prominent. I took a last shot of it from the window back up in my room and then of the sunset over the harbor.
In the morning I wandered north of the hotel and found a place for breakfast. Then I headed east to visit the cathedral. I came back to harbor area to visit the science museum and some other exhibits in the area, such as an early school and a doctor's home.
The flowers and gardens around the hotel were lovely.
From the science museum I had a good view of the bell tower in front of the harbor and a view of the parliament building that emphasized the domes.
The doctor's home I toured.
Then it was time to get my stuff together and go around the hotel to the bus terminal for passage back to the ferry. My hotel room for the night was near the Vancouver airport, so in the morning I just had to hop on the shuttle to take me to catch my flight home. It was a great trip, which I hope you realize if you've made it all the way through these pages.