O Canada…and a little bit of Seattle!

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Well – I’m back again – this is getting serious, three times in one week. I’ve had kind of a stressful day thus far so I’m hoping blogging will help with a little of the stress. So, without further ado, back to the vacation.

Port Angeles, Washington

Lindsey & I took the ferry, called the Coho across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the town of Port Angeles Washington to Victoria British Columbia. Before we even boarded the ferry, we had a moment of slight panic – nothing major but I know we both freaked out a little bit. Our turn to flash our passports came up & the guy took a look at mine & said “Your passport is not valid.” Lindsey was in front of me & she came to a dead stop & spun around – I was completely confused because I had only just gotten the passport, how was it not valid? He then said “You just need to sign it at the bottom before you get to Canada, that’s all.” I mean, do you have to give us a heart attack?? Geez. The boat we went on was absolutely huge – but I don’t think I really gathered how huge until we came back. On the way to Victoria there were several cars on the ferry, but when we boarded to go back to Washington there were 2 18 wheelers on board – along with several RV’s & cars.  It was a big ol boat. We were only going 22 miles, but it took about an hour and a half to get from one place to the next. It was a nice ride though, just a little bit of rocking along before Canada came into view & we made out way into the harbor.

The Coho – anchored at the Inner Harbor of Victoria

I’ve never been out of the country before – Canada isn’t actually that different from the United States though. Certainly, the money is colorful & they have a coin for their $1 & $2 & yes, they actually do say “Eh”, which just cracked Lindsey & I up…but it isn’t that different. We stayed at a pretty great Bed & Breakfast called the Rosewood Inn; they had a 3 course breakfast every morning & we stayed in the Magnolia Suite – pretty good for 2 girls from Mississippi. I’m going to take a small detour because the night we arrived in Canada, we went to see The Hunger Games in Imax! Awesome! I should have been telling Lindsey this:
Seriously – she was too excited. Of course, so was I.

I’m not going to lie, seeing The Hunger Games was a big part of our trip. We were so excited to get to Canada because we knew that we’d be going to see The Hunger Games mere hours after we arrived. Getting from our B&B to the theater took a little figuring out, but we got there & saw the movie & it was incredible. I could write a whole post on The Hunger Games & maybe I will later, but for now I’ll get back to the vacation. We slept & then enjoyed the first breakfast at our B&B before setting out to find Hatley Castle. Hatley Castle was certainly more of interest to me than it was to Lindsey, but she hopped onto the city bus & humored me by going along. Hatley Castle served as Lex Luthor’s mansion on “Smallville” for the ten years it had it’s run on television. It took a little while to figure out our way around & get there, but we did. And I was thrilled! 🙂
The Luthor Mansion & Me…
The Luthor Mansion as it appeared on the show.

After we’d explored the Castle, we walked back to the bus stop & went back into down town. We ate lunch at a place called The Stickey Wicket – anyone know what a wicket is?* It started to rain, as we were warned it might do since Victoria is still considered part of that temperate rain forest, so we bought 2 umbrellas at the drugstore across the street & began our journey to Craigdarroch Castle. Our waitress had told us it was about 8 blocks. Well, I think they define blocks differently in Canada because I think we walked about the equivalent of 18 blocks…mostly uphill. Thankfully it quit raining after just a bit, so we wandered along in the weak sunshine. The thing about the castle is that is sits on a hill, so we’d think we were close to it…only to round a little bit of a curve & see it disappear again. We finally made it to the castle & explored all 4 floors & probably about 50 rooms. Lindsey was intent on reading every single plaque on the wall, so I just wandered along with her & made comments along the way. It was pretty fascinating & what was more interesting was the son who grew up in Cragidarroch Castle went on the build Hatley Castle to show all of Victoria that his family was wealthy & has always been that way & would continue to be that way. I preferred Hatley to Craigdarroch, Lindsey preferred Craigdarroch to Hatley – go figure.
Miss Priss with the Castle…

We were so thoroughly worn out after our first full day in Victoria, once we trooped the 18 blocks back into downtown we explored Thunderbird Park & ate supper at the Spaghetti Factory before we wearily crawled into bed at the Inn. We decided the next day to rent a car because we wanted to go to Butchart Gardens & we’d been told that riding the bus took about an hour & the bus only came/went every couple hours. So, with map in hand we drove our rental car off the lot & headed out for adventure. We found Butchart Gardens almost too easily – but let me detour a minute & tell you that Canadians like to drive very slow. I tend to have a bit of a lead foot, so this was a problem for me. We were cruising down the highway (I guess it’s not an interstate highway if you aren’t in the States…ha-ha) and the speed limit said 80 kmh. Did you know that 80 kilometres is about equal to 50 miles? So the max speed limit was essentially 50 miles per hour. I felt like I was crawling! We got there all the same & I managed not to get pulled over for speeding, even though I did keep having to check myself – but let me get back on track. Butchart Gardens has been “in bloom” for over 100 years. It is gorgeous, even in the rain – which yes, it was raining when we were there. We helped ourselves to the clear umbrellas they provided & explored anyway. It was beautiful & well worth the drive.
This picture is from the greenhouse…the rest are outside.

Lindsey & I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the gardens, even in the drizzle. We found a Cajun restaurant in Brentwood Bay, which was near the gardens. We were thrilled & a little surprised to find Cajun food in Victoria, but someone pointed out to me later that Cajun people often have French influence & since Canadians also have French influence that might have been the uniting factor. Whatever the reason, we were glad to have some good home cooking for lunch that day before we ventured back into the city. We explored some parks in downtown for the afternoon before stopping in at the Fisherman’s Wharf to get supper at Barb’s Seafood. I had to take a picture on the wharf because of all the house boats; I thought they were so neat, now that I think back I also wish I’d taken a picture of the paddle up windows at the restaurants on the wharf.
Fisherman’s Wharf

Lindsey & I got up the next day to catch the ferry back to Washington – this time the ride was a little more choppy, but still not so bad. All too soon we were back in the States & at the wheel of the car, winding our way along the coastline to Seattle. Before we move on to Seattle, I have a couple more pictures of Victoria.
Inner Harbor
The Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Houses of Legislature

Lindsey & I thought we’d just be driving right on into Seattle, but we saw on our GPS that the next stop on the route was to board the ferry. We were a little confused, but soon enough the road we were on came to an abrupt end, the only option being that you boarded a ferry to take you across the Puget Sound & further our destination. We just went right along & before we knew it we were back on land & cruising into downtown Seattle. We stayed downtown the night we were there, we were mere steps from the Pike Place Market which was really neat! It was so windy the evening we arrived in Seattle, the wind felt like it was trying to physically tear your hair off your head. We sought refuge in the Hard Rock Cafe & ate some supper. We had an early night so we’d be ready to explore the Pike Place Market the next day.
The Pike Place Market has been located on the waterfront of Seattle since it was first opened in 1907. It is nine acres of shops selling anything & everything you can imagine but is certainly famous for the fishmongers that spend the days tossing fish as well as the beautiful flowers that go on for miles & the fruits & veggies that are everywhere you look. Lindsey & I watched the fishmongers toss a 21 pound halibut like it was nothing & sampled some famous Washington apples from a fruit vendor. The Pike Place Market is also home to the first Starbucks, so of course we joined the line of people waiting for coffee so we could say that we’d had coffee at the first Starbucks. If you’re interested, I got a white chocolate mocha & Lindsey got a chai latte. After a delicious lunch at the Pink Door, we explored a bit more of the market & then headed back to the B&B to pack up. We were headed to a hotel near the airport, but first we had a date with the Space Needle.
The famous Pike Place Market
Flowers everywhere!
The Pig!

I am – as previously mentioned – not a fan of heights. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to handle going to the top of the Space Needle, much less staying at the top for an extended period of time to eat supper. I mustered all my courage though & up we went. I’m certainly glad I did because we had an awesome time eating at Sky City, the rotating restaurant at the top of the Needle. We both started our meal with some soup; I had cream of potato & leek, Lindsey had clam chowder. I had prosciutto wrapped chicken with potatoes for supper while Lindsey had…well, I can’t completely remember. Oops. Salmon! She had salmon with potatoes & some asparagus maybe? I know she had salmon. We both got dessert, she had the apple cobbler while I had the Lunar Orbiter – which was a glorified ice cream sundae but had dry ice surrounding it for a cool smoking effect. The Lunar Orbiter was the premiere dessert when the Space Needle’s restaurant premiered at the World’s Fair in 1960. After our awesome meal, we headed towards our hotel at the airport.
I conquered the Space Needle!

My flight left at 8 in the morning, Lindsey’s flight didn’t leave until 10. I am always restless before I fly, so I finally just got up at 5:45, got ready & went down to eat breakfast before catching the shuttle to the airport. I gave Lindsey a sleepy hug before I left; she was still in the bed & I’m sure she stayed right there dead to the world until about 8:15. I was already airborne by then. I had a small hiccup at security; the rocks from Rialto Beach were a little odd & so they had to search my carry-on bag. Thankfully rocks aren’t considered weapons so I was allowed to hang on to my free souvenir & climb onto the plane. The flights home weren’t bad, although they were a little bit bumpier than the flights heading out to the Pacific Northwest. Because of the crazy time zones, I left Seattle at 8:10, was on a plane for 4 hours & arrived in Atlanta at almost 4 in the afternoon. By the time I finally got back to Meridian, it was 7:45 at night & I felt like I’d wasted almost a whole day, but I guess that is how it goes with flying sometimes.
I had a blast exploring the Pacific Northwest & would tell anyone to go – just be sure you have rain boots & an umbrella handy. You can’t let rain stop you from having fun. 🙂

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