Trip report on Victoria, BC!

Old Apr 25th, 2008, 10:31 PM
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Trip report on Victoria, BC!

Well, after all the help I got from the great board on my Victoria trip, I thought I would post my report and links to pictures (at end). Thanks everyone!

Flight from Sacramento to Seattle.
Flight from Seattle to Victoria, BC
AKAL shuttle to Rosewood Inn B&B, downtown ($16.50)
Lunch at Murchies
Walked around downtown area
Dinner at James Bay Inn, 1 block from B&B

AKAL shuttle was definitely the way to go. We got on and left right away, with no wait time.
The Rosewood Inn was just magnificient. The room was amazing – fireplace, robes, fridge, microwave, writing desk, huge tub, movies to borrow… and the staff were a delight.
Lunch at Murchies was a big disappointment. Food was mediocre; quiche served cold. We had to ask them to heat it for us, then had to go back and get forks; ordered soup which was barely warm and came with bread – had to go back and ask for butter.
Dinner at James Bay Inn was terrific! It looked like a glorified coffee shop, so we were reluctant, but the food and service were definitely five star.

Breakfast at the Rosewood
Bus #2 to Craigdarroch Castle ($2.25 for a bus ticket and $11.75 for the Castle)
Bus #2 down Oak Bay to the White Heather Tea Room for afternoon tea
Shopped around Oak Bay
Coffee at the Penny Farthing Pub
Movie and popcorn in our room

Breakfast at the Rosewood is served in a beautiful atrium, and the food was delicious!
Buses are so plentiful and quick, that we were glad we didn’t rent a car. They run every 10 minutes and are a mere $2.25 per ticket. You can ask for a transfer (free) and get on any other bus within the hour. If you go to the visitor’s center, you can get a day pass for $7 that gives you unlimited bus rides.
The Castle was absolutely beautiful, and the docents very knowledgeable. You get off the bus and walk 1 block uphill to the Castle.
The White Heather Tea Room was the highlight, and Agnes (the owner) was an absolute dear! The tea we had there was the best, and I’ve had quite a few teas.
We were so full that we didn’t have dinner at the Penny Farthing as recommended, but had to stop in for coffee. The food going by looked wonderful – especially the burgers… another time perhaps. We ended up going back to the Rosewood Inn and having popcorn in our room as we watched a movie.

Bus #30/75, to Butchart Gardens ($2.25 for ticket, free transfer to the #75) ($26.50 for the Gardens)
Afternoon tea at the Gardens (full tea is $26.65)
Bus #30/75 back to downtown Victoria
Dinner at Pagliacci’s in downtown Victoria
Bus #2 to the Belfry Theatre, and back

We opted to take the city bus to Butchart Gardens for $2.25. If we did it again, I think we would take the Gray Line’s ‘Butchart Express’ bus for $14 roundtrip. It goes directly there whereas the city bus makes lots of stops and takes twice as long.
Afternoon tea was lovely, in a pretty dining room. You can also choose to have lunch from a large menu selection. The bachelor button tea was marvelous, and we picked some up in the gift shop.
We got to the gardens at 10am and left at 3pm – plenty of time for touring, lunch, and shopping.
Early dinner – we went first to Il Terrazzo, but they were packed and the menu was very expensive, so we went to Pagliacci’s. That was such a good decision because we had a fabulous meal and got a huge slice of carrot cake to take home.
After dinner we hopped on the bus and went to the Belfry Theatre playhouse on Fernwood. The play was “The Violet Hour”, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

E&N Rail train to Chemainus ($33.60, round trip)
Dinner at the Sticky Wicket pub

This was the first morning we had to miss breakfast in the atrium… so sad!
We picked up coffee and had it on the train with the carrot cake from Pagliacci’s – wow, what a cake!
We got on the train at 8am and got off in Chemainus at 10am. We shopped all day and got back on the train at 4pm. It was a fun train trip and cute little town.
Dinner was fish & chips at the Sticky Wicket, a short walk from downtown. GREAT food.

Check out of B&B
Royal BC Museum and IMAX theatre ($23. If purchased separately, the museum is $14 and IMAX is $11)
Lunch at Nautical Nellies
Shop for last minute gifts
Coffee and pie at Milestones (beneath Visitor’s Info Center)
Victoria Clipper Ferry to Seattle ($76.50)
Alexis Hotel
Dinner in Seattle at McCormick & Schmick

The museum was fun, but could certainly use some better planning. Most of the time we had no idea what we were looking at, and the map had no explanation. There were displays with objects that had the briefest detail, and we couldn’t figure out how the objects were used. On the plus side, the map was very helpful showing you what path to take… rather like Costco *g*. My favorite was a live storyteller who played the character of Lady Overlander and told the story of The Overlanders traveling from Toronto to British Columbia.
In the IMAX, we saw ‘Hurricane on the Bayou’ – fabulous… I learned things I never knew about Hurricane Katrina and the environment.
Lunch at Nautical Nellies was very nice – great French onion soup, bread and salads.
Shopped around town for gifts, and bought chocolates at Roger’s.
Stopped in at Milestones for coffee and the best key lime pie I have ever had!
Picked up luggage from the Inn and boarded the ferry for Seattle at 6pm. It is quite a production getting on the ferry… you have to get in a line to check your luggage; then another line for boarding; must show your passport. Onboard there is a bar where you can get coffee, sodas and snacks. There is also a duty-free desk to buy wine, etc. When we got to Seattle, the people with no bags disembarked first. About 15 min. later the rest of us could get off, then find our bags. We then had to go through immigration to show passports and declare anything of value we bought… about another 15 min.
The Alexis Hotel is only a few blocks from the terminal, but it’s like San Francisco – streets are straight uphill and downhill, so we got a taxi. The hotel is big, impersonal and clean. After our cozy B&B, it was a little disappointing.
We walked down 1-1/2 blocks to McCormick & Schmick’s which was the only thing still open at 9pm. Food was very good – a good end to an exhausting day.

Check out of hotel
Spend day at Pike Place Market
Lunch at Sister’s Café
Flight from Seattle to Sacramento

We checked out of the hotel and headed to Pike Place Market about 9am. We were told to find a little donut shop and get a bag of hot, tiny donuts to walk around with… everyone knows about this little shop and you know you’re there when you see the line. Boy, were those donuts delicious! We walked around with donuts and coffee to appease our appetites until lunch.
Lunch was at the Sister’s Café across the street from Pike Place. Disappointing to say the least, so I do NOT recommend them.
The flight home was at 6pm, so we picked up bags and got a 4:30 shuttle, the ‘Downtown Airporter’.

Rosewood Inn B&B on Government St. at Michigan St.
Tea at the White Heather Tea Room in Oak Bay
Pagliacci’s for dinner…. Or at least for dessert, downtown Victoria
James Bay Inn for dinner, 270 Government St.
Butchart Gardens
Belfry Theatre, on Fernwood at Gladstone
Donuts in Pike Place Market

VICTORIA pictures:

SEATTLE pictures:
cheezz is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Thanks for posting.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2008, 02:04 PM
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I would like to add one thing... the people in Victoria were the nicest I have ever met ANYwhere in the world! Whether it was the bus driver, shop keeper, someone just walking down the street... they were all incredibly kind and helpful. Once we stopped in front of the Rexall Drug on Government Street to look at our map and a saleslady came out to ask if we needed help. Coming from Los Angeles, I am always impressed with the kindness of people in other cities. Until Victoria, Austin was at the top of my list, but Victoria comes out WAAYYYYYyyy ahead!
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Cheezz: Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed your trip report. We have three nights planned in Victoria for this Summer. Do you think three nights was enough or could you easily have extended your time? Also, thanks for the tip about using the Grayline Bus to Buchart instead of the city bus. How long was the bus ride you took? Thanks again.
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Old Apr 26th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Hi Cheezz, glad you enjoyed your visit to my town.
And yes we are known for our assaults on furiners with map problems. We try to help out.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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icithecat - your city is just fabulous! Honestly, I was there from noon Monday until Friday 4pm and we could have stayed another week!! We never got to see Chinatown or some of the shops east of Government. In nicer weather, we would have loved to do some of the lovely walks, take one of the boat tours from the Wharf, and explored Beacon Hill Park more. I think with our next trip we will make sure and have tea TWICE at the White Heather Tea Room, too!

And annetti, I guess that answers your question, too... the city bus ride to Butchart took 50 min., whereas the express bus would have taken 30. But, with the city bus we got to see more scenery, chat with the driver, and just generally get a feel for the city. If you see something interesting, just ask for a transfer slip, get off the bus, and get back on within an hour for free. The bus service there is really incredible, and one bus driver chided us because we didn't just tell him where we were going so he could help! I'm from Los Angeles and I told him that here, they would have driven us to Montreal without even asking where we were going... nor would they care if we told them. He thought that was very sad, which, of course, it is.

If you need more details for your trip, please ask! I still have all the maps, train schedule, etc.

cheezz is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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Great trip report and lovely photos. We plan to visit Victoria some time soon -- I'm going to check out the Rosewood website. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Apr 28th, 2008, 07:18 PM
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Thanks, cheezz for answering my questions. Victoria sounds like a wonderful, relaxing holiday. I just hope I don't return home too envious of the people who have the good fortune to live there!!
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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Thanks for your terrific report!

We're heading to Vancouver Island in May and as I've planned my trip, I've been amazed at the warm response from all the folks in BC that I've contacted...can't wait for our trip to begin!!

Once again thanks for taking the time to post.
Great photo galleries!
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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cheezz, glad u enjoyed ur visit to our sweet little provincial capitol. with less people than on the mainland and an easier pace of life we have time to be friendly and courteous. i love going into the bank or thrifty's one of our local food markets: the teller and checkout lines move slowly because those folks are greeting achatting w/ customers. it makes it worth the wait.
re the buses and drivers i always get a kick that most riders regardless of age, thank the bus driver when they get on and off.
i go out dancing once a week late night and although i am twice or 3x the age of some of the young folks i meet they r all charming and comfortable. come back and see us again when the weather is warmer
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 10:20 PM
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not sure where that grimacing face came from; not my intent?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2008, 10:18 PM
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Enjoyed your Trip Report seeing as I have spent three separate vacations to Van. Isl. one having spent a month on the island.
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Old Jun 24th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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Glad to hear you enjoyed the White Heather Tea Room. I've never been impressed with Murchies either.

Nice photographs. Sorry about the hail!
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 04:13 PM
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Oh NO, April!! The hail was just fabulous!!! Living in southern California, we don't get to see a lot of it - and having rain/snow/hail all within minutes was quite exciting
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Old Aug 6th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I love Victoria!
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