Victoria

I have some strict beliefs about running.  I really don't understand doing it for recreation.  Why run when bikes exist?  As a rule I only run away from things, or in the airport.  But I will modify that from now on having had to run to a pier to catch a boat. 
Both my friend and I were running uncharacteristically late.  Well, we left on time, and the uncontrollable elements of a big city got in our way.  But we found ourselves arriving at the port for our boat to Victoria, Canada with literally minutes to spare as we parked the car.  So, I only run away from things, or toward things that will take me on a trip.  That adage is a work in progress.
Running toward your transportation is an exhilarating way to start a holiday.  Then sitting in a boat for 3 hours is less exhilarating, but, as I love boats, I didn't mind. 

I'm sorry, Canada, but it is easy to forget you are a foreign country.  I blithely put my passport back in my backpack, stowed under our tour bus.  It wasn't until I sat down and thought for a second that I realized that without it, I couldn't get back home.  I immediately retrieved it. 

We took a great little prebooked overnight trip to Victoria, because we are elderly.  To be fair, we did bring the median age on the bus down by about 30 years.  But Victoria is home to the amazing Butchart Gardens.  Here, some well to do Victorians bought some land for its rich lime deposits.  They were cement tycoons, one could say.  They built their quarry (or whatever it's called) on this land, and eventually their home as well.  Mrs. Butchart had a bit of a green thumb, and eventually, once the lime had all been used, she created an amazing garden around their house and even in one of the old lime quarries.  The result is magnificent, and even on a rainy day, early in the season, it is a botanists and photographers dream scape.  I am sure millions of budding and enthusiastic gardeners have drawn inspiration from the Japanese, Italian, Rose, or Eden-like sunken garden here.   

When our tour was over we explored Victoria, the capitol city of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.  This is a very interesting European feeling town with a cobbled high street, historic Chinatown, and some very expensive ivy-coated hotels.

On the waterfront, I had the third best fish and chips I've ever had.  I have a deep philosophy concerning fish and chips.  The taste is directly proportional to the eaters proximity to the sea.  Well, literally sitting on the dock, enjoying the evening activities of boats mooring and sea planes landing, this was about as close as I could get to the sea without actually being in it.  The fish and chips were amazing and, I attribute it to Canadian haddock, great preparation, and of course, the sea air.

The next day we returned to Seattle and went in search of the Fremont Troll, which is a really cool art installation under a bridge.  We did find it, and it was cool.  We stumbled upon the flagship Archie McPhee store which had me over excited, and made me never want to give a serious gift ever again.  (Inflatable turkeys for everyone!)

This was more or less the conclusion of my trip to the pacific northwest.  A return trip is all but compulsory, if for nothing else than to see the top of Mt. St. Helen's.

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