Dates:May 31 – June 2, 2019
Shortly after breakfast on Friday morning we headed west then north on US Highway 101 to Port Angeles where we would park and walk aboard the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria.
Everyone who has traveled this way will say “Did you see Lake Crescent?!”. It is breathtakingly beautiful. A friend of ours, Grant, visited there with his family a couple of years ago and paddled around the lake in canoes. Unfortunately, there was no place to stop for a picture. We lucked out on our timing and didn’t get stopped for the road construction – though we did have slow driving for about half an hour. We arrived in Port Angeles in plenty of time to park in a long term lot, gather our stuff and walk over to the Black Ball Ferry terminal. We got some great seats around a table and a view of the Salish Sea for our 90 minute trip.
After freshening up in our rooms at the Chateau Victoria we met Kate and Don in the bar at the top of the hotel. As we had cocktails and munched on delicious Happy Hour treats we were treated to a beautiful view of Victoria Harbour.
We then walked down to the harbour to take one of the tiny taxi boats over to Fishermen’s Wharf. This isn’t like the huge tourist attraction by the same name in San Francisco. This is a small pier of floating homes, some small shops, and food carts. We didn’t need dinner, but who can say no to ice cream? We licked our cones as we walked the docks.
The next morning – Saturday – we had breakfast at the hotel then headed out for some serious site seeing. Our first trip was China Town
Crates and pallets of vegetables and other delectables were being delivered with the accompanying hustle and bustle. We ducked down Dragon Alley where I saw this beautiful door.
Victoria is a great tourist town and we visited many shops.
Along with window shopping we took in the sites. It seemed that every block featured street art of some sort.
There are many tourist attractions around the harbour; one of the most popular was the sea plane tours.
We had reservations at the elegant Empress Hotel for High Tea. While Carla has enjoyed High Tea with friends and our daughters-in-laws over the years, I had never had partaken and I was a bit dubious. My dubiousity (is that even a word?) was soon swatted away. It’s mostly a Prix Fixe arrangements with extra charges for fancy teas and alcohol. The menu was a fold-open wooden “book” with names and descriptions of teas on the right side and little glass covered boxes of samples on the left. We each ordered something different so we could share.
Then the food towers came out – one to be shared with two people. I was next to Kate so we shared while Carla and Don dove into the other. I didn’t realize there would be two samples of each item – I had envisioned having to wrestle Kate for the good stuff. She may be tiny, but she is scrappy! Thank goodness it didn’t come to that! It was all so delicious; lots of savory and sweet choices. We ranked our favorites and while there was some commonality, it turned out we each had separate favorites. Are you going to High Tea soon? Invite me! I’m ready. Although holding your pinky out while holding a small hot cup of tea is tougher than it seems.
After lunch we wandered around a bit. A cruise ship had come into town and the tourists were out taking advantage of the sites. I was astounded by the various transportation options for tourists. There were rickshaws pulled my muscular young men and bicyclists pulling TWO trailers of people up and down the hills. I don’t think I could enjoy that mode of transportation. As we crossed Government Street near the Parliament building I captured one of the ubiquitous horse-drawn carriages.
Carla and Kate continued shopping while Don and I returned to our rooms to rest for a bit. Later, the four of us had a wonderful dinner at the Bard and Banker Pub. The four of us commented about how friendly and personable the service people are in Victoria. I was especially taken by our server’s phrase “I’ll be looking after you tonight.” It is much warmer than the standard, “I’ll be your server.”
Victoria on a Saturday night is a busy spot: tourists and locals are everywhere. After dinner we headed back down to the harbour to take in the Parliament building which is lit up at night. We stayed there for almost an hour as the sun went down. I left my trusty Sony back at the hotel but my iPhone captured the feel.
We had walked sooo many steps; we turned in for the night knowing we’d have to get up a bit early to catch the ferry back to Port Angeles. After another great breakfast at the Chateau Victoria we gathered our things and walked back down to the Ferry terminal. Along the way we took in the last views of the city and harbour. In this picture of a beautiful draw bridge you can see one of the little taxi boats we used Friday night to visit Fishermen’s Wharf.
We arrived at the Ferry terminal in plenty of time and scored some front row seats looking out over the bow. We slowly headed into a fog bank and as we made our way through commercial ships swam into view then faded away as we passed them. Because of the fog, our captain blew the low and loud horn every three minutes. We emerged from the fog as Port Angeles came into view. We got to our cars and said goodbye. Kate and Don headed to Seattle to visit Don’s brother and we headed home. We had such a wonderful time with them; I’m looking forward to our next adventure.
Carla and I stopped in Sequim (pronounced “squim”) for lunch. It looks to be a nice little town. If I’m not mistaken, this area doesn’t get as much rain as you’d expect because they are in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains. The moisture headed inland from the ocean rises up the west slopes of the mountain range mostly exhausting the rain.
We returned home in the early evening and are resting up for our next adventure.