Our final port of call was the island of Victoria in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific North West and it's located very close to both Vancouver and Seattle.
We pulled into port around 5pm on Saturday evening and left at 11pm. It was a short visit, but it gave us just enough time to get a taste of the city; enough of a taste to know that we want to return.
Here are pictures that we took near the port.
A charming touch, for a very charming city: We were greeted by locals in historical costumes who helped give us directions into town.
Rather than taking a taxi, we opted to walk. We saw Canadian Geese. I adore Canadian Geese!
Dan loves his rum cocktails, and by that I mean he likes to mix Kraken rum + Malibu Rum + any other type of rum that's handy. "Release the Kraken" is the party phrase at our house. In Victoria, we found a Kraken themed food truck.
Our half-hour walk to downtown took us along the coast and right through residential neighborhoods. The homes were a mix of victorian era and modern, all with pretty gardens. We enjoyed our walk, but based on the short amount of time that we had in port, we wish we had taken a taxi.
We got a kick out of this funny sign outside of a local dentist office.
This car has a rat problem.
This is how we knew that we had reached the city center.
The British Columbia Parliament Building is grand.
It's even grander at night.
The B.C. Parliament Building has the Confederation Garden Court with a beautiful fountain and shields from the provinces.
Another grand building is the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Our cruise offered an optional excursion to have a victorian cream tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel, and like the B.C. Parliament Building, the Fairmont Empress Hotel is lit up at night. It was magical, like walking through Disneyland's Main Street at night.
Explorer Captain James Cook discovered Victoria Harbor in 1778 and there is a statue dedicated to him.
Downtown reminded me of walking through a posh part of London. It was filled with trendy shops and restaurants. We saw Munro's Books, which was founded by award-winning novelist, Alice Munro, and her first husband. She no longer has an association with the store, but still seeing it was very cool! I think owning a bookstore would be a dream for most book lovers. I certainly is one of mine.
Downtown was absolutely packed with locals out on a Saturday night and tourists from the ships. We were hungry and desperate to find a restaurant (without a long wait) for dinner. If you're planning a trip to Victoria, I'd recommend doing some research and making a plan. I felt overwhelmed with options.
We ending up having dinner at a vegetarian restaurant named Rbar. By grabbing the last two seats at the bar, we avoided a long wait. We drank yummy cider from local company Left Field Cider Co. and ordered a few appetizers. The restaurant was trendy with tasty food, but also pricy. We left feeling like we needed another meal.
Lucky for us, we found a street fair by the water front.
The Crispy Fish is the best food truck we've ever found. Excellent fish n' chips and the two guys that own the truck were super nice. Fingers crossed that The Crispy Fish will be parked in Victoria for our upcoming trip. For dessert, we had mini-donuts. It was perfect.
You know you're in Canada when...
Rather than walking back to our ship, we hired a horse-drawn carriage. A romantic end to our cruise vacation.