Sunday, July 26, 2015

Long Live Victoria!

The short version is that while I was looking for vacancies to take our extended family to the beach for a week, I stumbled across two nights available in Victoria, in the penthouse, in a two bedroom unit (sleeps six) and was able to add on a third night in a different room making a wonderful Saturday through Tuesday jaunt to Victoria. We invited our friends Don and Gracie and Angie to join us and we had a perfect time. Perfect.


^On the ferry from Port Angeles, just imagine the deep blue sea out the window


We drove up the Hood Canal which is the western shore of Puget Sound, leaving early enough to pick up our friends and make it to the ferry by 11:45 AM.  Along the way we recited the Indian names of the communities we were passing: Dosewallips, Hama Hama, Lilliwaup, Quilcene, Potlatch.

Our reservation the first night (which I added on to make a fuller weekend) was for a 2 bedroom in a “less desirable location.” I didn’t know what that meant exactly for this resort, so I was a little nervous for our guests’ sake, but our timeshare hasn’t disappointed yet and I knew it would be fine enough for sleeping the first night.

But it was beautiful, way more than fine! We had a balcony overlooking the harbor and succumbed to an early glass of wine on the deck watching the boats and water taxis come and go.  Then we went for an exploratory drive of the St James and Oak Bay areas, reviving memories of earlier trips.


^We went by the Emily Carr house, a BC author and artist that I am enamored with because of her life long determination to express herself with or without family or public support.  This was her family home where she grew up and later used as a boarding house to help pay for her paints.  She tells this story in The House of all Sorts.  I was impacted by her struggle to become an artist in her book, Growing Pains.  Now, of course, she is lauded as one of BC’s great historical figures, but she is long gone.  This home is a museum and was closed when we were here but that didn’t stop us from looking in the windows!




^Don taking a picture of the cruise ship which had just landed

Our friends hadn’t been to Victoria in 12 years and they were sad to find some of their favorite spots changed.  Restaurants and shops have moved with the culture into more casual style.  A favorite shop for English fine china is now a “Hot Dawg Heaven” or some such thing.  (In fact, we had several conversations during the weekend with older people who have admired and collected nice china and would like to sell it as they downsize but can’t find buyers who want to pay more than small change for it.)  Victoria itself is still thriving and beautiful, a clean city with lots of flowers and great customer service.  The tourists, I would say, have become younger and more casual in their attire and certainly life style.  Or maybe I have just become older…

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel, a classic old favorite of Don and Gracie’s, had undergone a remodel that completely removed the Victorian gingerbread and we wouldn’t have known it without the sign. It had a beautiful Rolls Royce in its courtyard so it appears to be still doing a good business.


^the remodeled Oak Bay Beach Hotel

The plan for the weekend had emerged on the drive up: eat fish and chips as many times as possible and have tea often! So now it was dinnertime and we headed to Barb’s Fish ‘N Chips which was on the wharf just around the corner from our resort.  The sign said “Barb’s Place was listed among “The top 10 Seafood Spots by the Sea” in North America  by Sunset Magazine”.  And it was delicious and fresh and had atmosphere galore.


^Girlfriends since our teens



And we walked back to our lovely room in “a less desirable location” feeling satisfied and happy with the wonderful day! And finding our beds a very desirable location indeed.

to be continued