Friday, October 11, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

usbackroads destination--Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Timing is everything on a cruise ship.  It is worthwhile to careful look at your itinerary to decide your personal schedule on the ship.  There are times to look at the scenery, times to explore on land, and lots of times to read books, watch movies, and eat food.  You don't want to waste scenery and exploring time eating food.  It is a day and overnight trip at the start and a similar schedule at the end of the trip.

There were only four hours in Ketchikan and the next stop after an afternoon, a night, a full day of cruising a four hour stop in Victoria, BC.  The ship then leaves Victoria for Seattle at midnight arriving in Seattle the following morning.  AND it must go real SLOW to take so long to make the short journey.

Passports required for entry in Canada and we had to show them for the cruise.  However, as all the cruise ship passengers left the boat in Victoria, the Canadian authorities just waved everyone through in massive waves of humanity.  There is a bike/pedestrian path from the harbor to downtown.

I lived in Vancouver, Canada in the early 1970's so was looking forward to seeing Victoria again after more than 30 years.  I do owe a debt to Canada for making me realize that I really was an American.  Complete story is found HERE.  Living in Vancouver, I would wake up every morning to Newfie Jokes and jokes about the little old English ladies living in Victoria.

Then to no one's surprise Census Canada officially reported that the largest "ethnic" group in Victoria was little old English ladies who moved there after living at all ends of the earth managing the Empire.  They would all gather for afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel.  I was fortunate to have tea with "ladies" back in those days.

These days the English ladies have joined the Russian babuska's in the next life.  Victoria is now a young, vibrant city complete with with cranes and condo's everywhere.  Afternoon tea is probably now a tourist event, rather than a social event.

I am not quite sure why MicroSoft couldn't make it in Victoria.  Maybe all those "young" folks are too busy with IOS7 to bother with "office".

Even though the old English ladies are gone, there is plenty to do and see in Victoria.  The Parliament Building reminds you that Canada really is a foreign country.

Butchart Gardens are always worth a visit.  Hey, all those little old ladies are into gardens, eh.  Then there is the Royal BC Museum which should not be missed.

And after all that city stuff......there are the Canadian backroads of Vancouver Island.

Victoria is worth exploring for a weekend or more.  Vancouver Island is worth exploring for a month or more.  Is was nice to see Victoria again, and we will be back again.

The cruise ship left at midnight and by morning we were back in Seattle.  The disembarkation is an event.  As one group of 2500 passengers leave, the ship starts boarding the next set of passengers.  It is a pretty amazing event scripted so that people can leave, board, while rooms are cleaned and supplies refreshed all in the span of five hours or so.  Pretty impressive stuff.