Many of my vacations are to Vancouver Island. The island is a place where I feel relaxed and I still feel close enough to familiar territory. I like not having to travel with my passport and not having to exchange currency (lazy traveler). I recently spent a week in Victoria on the island and I fell in love with it all over again.
It was a perfect day to take the ferry. Can you believe this is January in BC?
This was a sign of good things to come. I spotted eagles during the ferry ride.
Welcome to Victoria! It takes about 45 minutes to get to downtown Victoria from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.
The parliament building looking ethereal with the sun behind it. I learned after my visit here that you can have breakfast or lunch at a bistro in the building. I hope to do that during my next trip back.
The Royal BC Museum is in the heart of downtown. It always has interesting, informative exhibits and has an IMAX theater. This display of totem poles was stunning in the First People of Canada exhibit.
In the First People’s of Canada section, indigenous languages were showcased. I liked being able to push a button and having a phrase spoken to me. The spelling was also shown. I attempted to repeat some back and others were too complicated as the photo above shows.
This is a very realistic display of a delta and how the marshy lands are changing.
A unique spot where I went for a walk was the Breakwater at Ogden Point. It is an elevated walk way that leads out to a lighthouse.
There are spectacular views from the Breakwater. It could be from the waves crashing against the structure, of the mountains or of all the aerial activity happening all around you as it is located beside a Helijet pad and sea plane launch.
Here I am admiring the views before sunset on the Breakwater.
To warm up after your stroll on the Breakwater, stop in at the bistro cafe at the start of it for a drink. This London Fog was the best.
I wish we had somewhere like this at home in Vancouver, an Interactive Board Game Cafe. Its a place that has endless types of board games to purchase or to play. Its such a unique place where I could see myself spending a lot of time just like how everyone there was.
The Interactive Board Game Cafe had a good looking menu but I was in the mood to try a milkshake off their extensive list. I went for the raspberry.
The most beautiful bookstore I have ever been to is Munro’s Books in downtown. Definitely check it out if you are in the area.
Just a few doors down from Munro’s Books is the most gorgeous pub, Bard & Banker. A friend told me to stop in here and I am so glad I did.
The place is immaculate and I couldn’t stop looking around. There is so much history in Victoria.
This is a bourbon sour at the Bard & Banker.
Another great place to visit in downtown Victoria is the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson. This indoor market has a variety of vendors such as a butcher shop, pie shop, bakery and as shown in the picture above, a cheese tasting bar at Salt Spring Island Cheese.
One of my favourite places to eat in this market was La Cocina de Mama Oli. They were making amazing Mexican food that tasted like home cooking. There are many places to eat at inside the Victoria Public Market but my nose lead me to them. They did not disappoint.
Their guacamole was made fresh to order and used a whole avocado. It was so tasty and I liked the addition of jalapeno pepper to their guacamole. I usually add cayenne pepper to my homemade guacamole but I think I will start using jalapeno peppers now.
I still dream about this veggie burrito from La Cocina de Mama Oli. It was packed rice, beans, chipotle crema and avocado just to name a few ingredients. The rice was so buttery and flavourful. I really liked how they pressed the outside of the burrito.
The Craigdarroch Castle is just outside downtown Victoria. It is open daily for self guided tours.
It was built in the 1890s for Western Canada’s richest family at the time, the Dunsmuirs.
The house is full of stunning stained glass, each window told a story.
This is the dance hall. This house was made for entertaining and parties here were the talk of the town.
The rooms have some original artifacts as well as period pieces.
The castle is the highest point in Victoria and had incredible views of the surrounding areas. It was used as a military hospital during the First World War so there is lots of history here. The place has been beautifully restored. Make sure you stop and talk to the volunteers so they can tell you the stories about the place and the people that resided in it.
The sunset on the ferry ride back home was stunning.
I really enjoyed my week in Victoria. There is still lots more I want to see, do and eat in this island city.