Victoria, British Columbia 7/7 – 7/21

Victoria, British Columbia: Population = 85,792 (Metro area = 383,360), elevation = 75  feet, Average January low temp = 38.5º, Average July high temp = 74.8º, Average snowfall = 10.35”

From Tacoma, our route leads us across the famous Narrows Bridge, North through Puget Sound.  On a map, this area looks like a big chunk of Washington is breaking away from the mainland, leaving behind a maze of water-filled cracks.  Up close, there are gigantic tall trees with velvet coatings of moss, rising up out of lush beds of ferns.  Long rows of snow covered mountains loom on the horizon.  We are driving country roads through small towns.

The original Narrows Bridge twisted and turned and buckled under high winds then collapsed. The new bridges seem pretty solid.
A woodland trail near Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

To get to Victoria, we have to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a ferry.  The easiest way for us to do that is to spend the night in an overpriced but shabby hotel in Port Angeles and then catch the ferry in the morning.  We found some passable BBQ and beers and made the best of it.

Half rack at the Coyote BBQ
Looking back over the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains

The next day, we drove over and got in the “first come, first served” line that boards after the (sold out) reserved ticket holders.  No problem getting on.  With Gypsy stowed away on the Auto Deck, we went topside to watch the scenery.  It was sunny and windy and the ship had a roll that made walking a straight line a challenge.  Just 90 minutes later, we were in the harbor at Victoria.  This is a busy little harbor, full of water taxis, seaplanes, fishing boats, sailboats, and now, a big ferry.

The harbor in downtown Victoria

The weather on Vancouver Island provides for a long, moist growing season, so the profusion of flowers and trees is remarkable.  The most famous garden is The Butchart Garden.  Robert Butchart once ran a lucrative limestone quarry.  When the limestone was exhausted, his wife, Jenny, converted the remaining pit into a floral showcase.  Over the last century, the Butchart descendants have maintained and enhanced the gardens.  Today, they are a National Historic Site of Canada and host to over a million visitors annually.

Entrance to the Sunken Garden
Looking down into the Sunken Garden
View from the log cabin in the Sunken Garden
The Ross Fountain dances in the pond
Hostas and ferns abound in the Bog Garden
Stop and smell the Rose Garden
Simple but elegant, the Japanese Garden conveys tranquility
The burbling fountain adds sound to the Italian Garden

And, finally, just because I love flowers, a collage of closeups.

Next up: more of Victoria


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We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

6 thoughts on “Victoria, British Columbia 7/7 – 7/21”

  1. Dear Followers – If you knew how many photos we have, you would appreciate the restraint used in posting them on the blog! Someday, we hope to add a page or two of favorites that didn’t make it to the main page. Although I have come to realize there are just so many pictures we’ll be able to peruse in our lifetimes, discarding excess flower photos from our library is almost as sad as throwing out a fresh bouquet.


  2. Thanks again for showing me a part of your adventure. I enjoy all your photos and discriptive thoughts on all the cities, pubs, and experiences.


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