Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Victoria, British Columbia

An easy and wonderful weekend trip from Seattle is Victoria, BC. Just three hours up the Puget Sound via the Victoria Clipper will get you to this historic British Columbia capitol city. We even lucked out and arrived on a beautiful sunny October day. The harbor, historic buildings and friendly people make this little city a great place to explore.

The grande Fairmont Empress Hotel acts as a beautiful landmark in the heart of town. Fall colored ivy covers her front and will take you back in time.

The old towne is full of little restaurants and shops lining the streets. The cutest of which line the Fan Tan alley. As you pass through the alley you leave old England and enter Chinatown.
Tea, whether it's English or Oriental is very popular here.
After visiting the impressive Maritime Museum, we wondered along the harbor and were surprised to see one of the old steamer boats from museum pictures docked in front of us. Nestled in the corner of the dock, the boat and a salmon colored European building make for a great backdrop as people eat fish and chips from the Red Fish Blue Fish stand.

Around 5pm as our feet were tired from wondering through museums, we passed a sunny oyster bar offering 'a buck a shuck' happy hour that we couldn't resist. A local brew and a couple oysters were perfect for this cool, sunny evening.

Another must-see spot in Victoria is the fisherman's wharf. You can take a little harbor ferry from many docks in town and go explore the wharf. Fish & chips and lemonade stands line the dock as well as adorable floating houses. Home to these waters (at least during tourist season) are a few harbor seals who are quite well fed. Buy $5 worth of fish and you can hand feed these cuties.

It's a great little trip that could definitely be extended. So close to home, yet a country- and in some ways a century- away.