Coast Roadtrip: Gardens and Victoria

Look at this handsome fellow.
Look at this handsome fellow.

Best thing about waking up this morning was that we were still at the Waddling Dog! He was gracious enough to allow me to snap his photo as we checked out.

We were at The Butchart Gardens right when they opened, and M and I walked for a couple of hours in the drizzle. We were both so glad we added the gardens to our trip. Two good things about touring the garden today: the grey skies prevented the sunshine washout in our photos, and there were very few people around. See? I’m a Pollyanna to the core.

Her Royal Highness, Victoria
Her Royal Highness, Victoria

The Sunken Garden was our favourite, followed by the Japanese garden for me. I’m not sure if he would choose a different second best garden. The grounds are immense and March was a good choice because the trees were blossoming and the bulbs were at peak. Tulips and daffodils and hyacinths galore! As it rained and rained, M decided he would like to work there. He wanted to have the job of watering the plants.

While most of the plants were familiar to me because the climate on Vancouver Island is similar to Portland, we finally got to a section where M knew all the plants: the indoor room, filled with orchids and other exotics that I find hard to imagine growing wild, like M described it.

We returned south along Highway 17, now becoming familiar. M is constantly astonished at the laid back nature of Vancouver drivers, who are extremely polite and make room for the Jeep while we change lanes. Not like Boston drivers. Back in Victoria we took one of those little yellow water taxis I included in my post yesterday. It was inexpensive and fun. We got out at Fisherman’s Wharf and ate fresh sturgeon for lunch – yum! I was stuffed for the rest of the day. While we ate, we watched kids feeding mackerel to seals off the dock.

Victoria is a lovely city. We saw interesting  architecture, history, statues, cultures. M (from Sri Lanka) and I (from the US) both have a history of British Colonization…but much different obviously. Coming across the many references to Britain, the Queen, the crown, etc. caused a reaction in him each time we saw something new. I am getting a bit of an education on this trip, I will say. And I trust he is as well. If only you could hear the discussions we’ve been having for days on end while the Jeep carries us around the wet West.

Rain. Yes. Lots and lots and lots.

After a good look at the key points of downtown, we were ready for the next adventure. We got onto the Tsawassen Ferry without so much as a bump in the road, and by evening were on the mainland. We went through the rain and dark in search of my blogger buddy from Quillscratches. We found her! We went and had eats and drinks and chats and then I had to break it all up because I just need my sleep. M has been such an accommodating traveling companion.

Here’s my plan: I’ll drop a couple photos on you and add an IOU for a new post dedicated just to the Butchart Gardens, since I took many many photos and don’t have the time to go through them all tonight. Cheers! Thanks everyone who has been travelling along with us and commenting. It has been a lot of fun to do this trip with a group of friends. 😉

Delicate twins. Beds of Flowers are often raised, making close-ups of tiny, ground-hugging flowers easier.
Delicate twins. Flower beds are often raised, making close-ups of tiny, ground-hugging flowers easier.
This is what we were able to see because it is March.
This is what we were able to see because it is March.
The Sunken Garden.
The Sunken Garden.
Darling little water taxis.
Darling little water taxis.
Kids feeding the sea lions. Look at the expressions on their faces!
Kids feeding the seals. Look at the expressions on their faces!
There was also an otter.
There was also an otter.
Next fish for me?
Next fish for me?
We loved the colorful floating village.
We loved the colorful floating village.
Here's another look at all the house boats at Fisherman's Wharf.
Here’s another look at all the house boats at Fisherman’s Wharf.
The most impressive architecture in town is the Parliament Building.
The most impressive architecture in town is the Parliament Building.
Parliament Building domes
Parliament Building domes
Grand entranceway
Grand entrance way
Confederation Garden Court
Confederation Garden Court
A hunter so intent on its prey that it held still while I got close for a photo.
A hunter so intent on its prey that it held still while I got close for a photo.
British history is embraced in Victoria, British Columbia's capitol city.
British history is embraced in Victoria, British Columbia’s capitol city.
The hour and a half ferry journey from Swartz to Tsawassen was more interesting than the previous ferry ride, because we wound our way through islands.
The hour and a half ferry journey from Swartz to Tsawassen was more interesting than the previous ferry ride, because we wound our way through islands.
M on the deck in the wind.
M on the deck in the wind.

21 thoughts on “Coast Roadtrip: Gardens and Victoria

  1. The Watch Me Sri Lanka restaurant was our favourite when we lived in Morden, South London. Hot came as standard. It was full of families and they gave you all the time in the world. I’ve never seen an otter. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    1. “Hot came as standard,” ha ha! That’s great. M has been telling me about Sri Lankan food, complete with photos from his smart phone. It looks like good stuff. I can see how it became your favourite restaurant!

      It was neat to see the otter. Are there no otters where you are, or have you been unlucky not to see them?

  2. Perhaps the fundamental difference is that the British in North America was expansionist colonialism but in Sri Lanka it was economic imperialism? What do you think?
    I found drivers in the US to be very polite, even those who were taken by surprise when I drove down the wrong side of a highway in Clearwater, Florida!

    1. The biggest difference in my perspective is that while I was a child growing up, my family identified with the colonizers, and not the Indians. Since we are both, we could go either way I suppose. Thus, I wasn’t raised with a feeling of being invaded but rather a pleasure in being descended from the underdogs who gained independence. In talking with M, the story I keep hearing is the one about having outsiders come in and disrupt life as it used to be. So he identifies more with being invaded than with gaining independence.

      I think identifying expansionism vs. imperialism is an important one, and is likely at the root of how people recount their personal history stories.

      1. I am being prickly and protective here but the Portuguese were in Sri Lanka 300 years before the British and somewhere in between the Dutch took a colonial controlling interest. It was only during the Napoleonic wars that Britain took control.
        When it comes to North America I always think that the so called War of Independence was more of a civil war than a war between nations. British colonists split from Britain. It always amuses me that all the nationalities that weren’t there at the time now celebrate Independence Day!

      2. No worries at all, Andrew. I totally get the importance of setting it straight when you know the facts. I claim ignorance here, but I will say that M expressed more of an issue with the historical political dealings with India than with the British. When it comes to the U.S. “origin story,” I was relaying my experience of it with a bit of humor that didn’t show: we like to tell ourselves that we were the champions. It’s very human, don’t you think? In the way that you note all the nationalities celebrating Independence Day.

      3. I can’t speak for other countries, but for the U.S., we recognize the anniversary of the date we consider to be the birth of our country. July 4, 1776 is the date when our Declaration of Independence was adopted by the US congress, though we were legally separated from Great Britain two days earlier. It is an important holiday for Americans, and people really do pay attention to what we are celebrating. There are always speeches by politicians about the history of the United States since 1776, and nearly always fireworks – commemorating the battles that were fought in gaining independence.

  3. I’m travelling with you!!!!!! you know I LOVE travelling and now without luggage, not paying anything…hahaha…Victoria seems to be a nice city, and the shoots you put here are very good!

  4. I’m so hoping to go back there one more time. Butchart Gardens, Butterfly Garden, and Victoria had me enthralled. I took hundreds of pictures and that was so many years ago. We did girl things as I was with my sister and her friends, Tea at Butchart was an experience like no other. I’m sorry it’s such a soggy trip but glad you got to go. Looking forward to more photos. Living vicariously. 🙂 M

  5. What a great adventure, Crystal. Although my dog was larger, the Waddling Dog looks very much like a basset hound I once had named Socrates. His ears were always getting in his food bowl.

    The Butchart Gardens are as I remember them. I am looking forward to the rest of your photos.

    Peggy and I stayed about a block away from Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria when we came back from our kayak adventure on northern Vancouver Island last summer in a delightful B&B. It is a charming neighborhood. (http://wandering-through-time-and-place.me/2014/11/08/albion-manor-one-of-canadas-top-ten-bbs-a-delightful-interlude/)

    –Curt

    1. I began reading your blog during that kayak adventure, or just before. It’s nice to have known you long enough to be able to remember past posts! Your book was here when I arrived home, btw. Can’t wait to read it & thanks for the autograph!

      1. Enjoy the book, Crystal. There are serious parts— how could there not be with Liberia, but I tried to balance it with some of the fun and unique adventures I had. And yes, getting to know people through their blogs has definitely been a highlight of the blogging process. –Curt

    1. It really is a worthwhile destination. Combined with having to take a ferry to get there, and having the city of Victoria to explore as well…I definitely recommend Vancouver island as a visit. Also, it’s a huge island but we only covered a tiny bit of it.

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