Monday, February 2, 2009

September 2008 Road Trip (52)

Port Angeles and Victoria

Port Angeles

Port Angeles is a city in and the county seat of Clallam County, Washington, United States. The population was 18,397 at the 2000 census, making it the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula. The area's harbor was dubbed Puerto de Nuestra SeƱora de los Angeles (Port of Our Lady of the Angels) by Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza in 1791, but by the mid-1800s the name had been shortened and partially anglicized to its current form.,_Washington

Port Angeles is pretty small. We had breakfast in a nice little place by the ferry dock after we got our car in line. Then wandered around some arty shops before we boarded the ferry. It was overcast gray again.

Ahoy! Lots of boats coming up.

Let's start with some tall ships.

"Hawaiian Chieftain"

The restaurant where we had breakfast was in this building.

From the ferry looking back.

Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria is a major tourism destination seeing more than 3.65 million visitors a year who inject more than one billion dollars into the local economy. Victoria is a cruise ship port where cruise liners stop at Ogden Point terminal. The city also receives economic benefits from its close proximity to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, the Canadian military’s main Pacific naval base. Downtown Victoria also serves as Greater Victoria's regional downtown, where many night clubs, theatres, restaurants and pubs are clustered, and where much larger regional public events occur. In particular, Canada Day fireworks displays and Symphony Splash concerts draw tens of thousands of Greater Victorians and visitors to the downtown core.

Starting here (below) we are heading into Victoria harbour where these two cruise ships are parked.

This is my speed - kayaking! These guys were like little specks beside the cruise ships!

This is a busy harbour. Boats of all sorts (big commercial vessels, private yachts, etc.) AND airplanes!!!

AND house boats!

Here is a little "pickle boat" - I think these are really cute! They use them to tour around the harbour.

A busy harbour needs law and order - here are the boys in blue.

Victoria is a major tourist destination. One thing to do is go whale watching - for orca. We took the boys whale watching years ago from Telegraph Cove (much further north on the Island). If we'd have had more time this trip we might have gone - but alas, we were quite time constrained. It will be a next time activity.

Back on land, we drove around a bit before locating a hotel and dinner. This is from Scenic Drive.

From Mount Tomlie.

The next day it was SUNNY! We drove downtown and found a parking place, then struck off walking.

The Empress Hotel. They say Victorians are more British than the British. Not sure if that is still true, but they still serve tea every afternoon at the Empress.

Here's the harbour from the ground on a sunny day. It's so nice (remember my comments about Seattle - there is just no comparison!).

The Parliament Buildings (Victoria is the provincial capital) in the distance. I was unable to get a really good pix of them due to lighting and proximity.

Here is the Empress again.

The Romanesque building left centre background with the columns is the Royal London Wax Museum. The large white houseboat looking thing is the Pacific Undersea Gardens. We have not gone through either of these things - the wax museum holds no appeal to us - and we've been in a lot of similar things to the undersea garden so just haven't bothered with this one. I suppose one day we'll have to check it out.

Joe worked at these Commonwealth Games doing CTV TV coverage. That was already quite awhile ago!

Undersea Gardens close up.

Tall ships here, too!

That's the Royal BC Museum back there. We didn't have time to go through it this time, but have many times in the past. We've been through many museums and it stands up to the best. It is an excellent museum.

This used to be the Chrystal Gardens - now it is the Spaghetti Factory.
We decided to go for a bus tour of Victoria. The next few pix were taken while we were on that tour.

This used to be an acquarium featuring an orca, but is now a marina with a restaurant, etc. Very pretty spot.

There was this little sea lion in the water at the marina.
As we were quite familiar with Victoria (Joe worked there for a year or so before I met him and we've gone there a number of times over the years), we found the tour probably wasn't as interesting as we've experienced in other cities. Still, I always recommend them to anyone who has never been there before as a fast way to get a high level overview of a city.

Back downtown, there was this display near the museum. Can you find me?
Oh! There I am! :)

We did go into the Museum lobby and there was this old "futuristic" car that was sort of cool!

Outside of the museum, there is a replica longhouse and some totem poles. Again lighting was an issue so the pix aren't too good, but here they are.

Joe and an arbutus tree.

Ivy covered walls of the Empress.

Looking back at the Empress (above). Does anyone know what sort of trees are on the front lawn? They remind me of dinosaurs or big Afghan dogs.

By the time 5:00 pm rolled around I was craving a chocolate milkshake so asked where we could get one - a real one made with real ice cream and milk from scratch - not the machine kind. The new Roger's Soda Shop was recommended so we headed over there - it's near the Empress. While we were enjoying our milk shakes, we were entertained by a busker dressed as Darth Vader playing violin. Very amusing! Perhaps a vision from the future my sister suggested - if the Star Wars loving Craig and the violin playing Rhonwyn were to procreate, perhaps this is what - oh no - banish that thought! :)
Anyway - we loved the milk shakes - it was a good recommendation.

We ended the day with a beautiful drive - this time under a sunny sun set.
Victoria is a beautiful city. As noted, we have been there a number of times, and always look forward to going back. The trick is to go off-season, because as busy as it was in September, in the summer months it's a zoo, impossible to move downtown and it is just not pleasant as there are line-ups/waits for everything. As you can see from the pix, when it's sunny, it is a beautiful place even in September as there are still lots of flowers and things are still green. Always a recommended destination.

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