So on Sunday morning, we left our Vancouver hotel around 9:30am, and had to catch the 11am ferry to Victoria. The hotel had a complimentary breakfast – basically the key ingredients to my parents LOVING the hotel is that it should have a jacuzzi and free breakfast. The breakfast was decent though carb heavy (waffles, pancakes, toast, yogurt). We had woken up around 6:30, excluding my brother. My mom and I did a quick walk to the steam clock, and made sure to get back before 9:00. I think we probably could have walked around a bit more and taken in more of Gastown’s brick cobblestone ambiance, but oh well. Nothing was open at the time anyway.
Our hotel, the Hampton Inn, was right across from the football/soccer stadium, BC Place, and a BLOCK from Costco. Everyone in my family was seriously bummed that we hadn’t had the chance to go out and explore Costco. I made up for this by going to the Richmond Costco on Monday, right before going to the airport, but I do kind of regret not having the delightful experience of walking to a Costco. We had some sandwiches with us that we had taken from the cruise, which we ate on the ferry to Victoria.
The ferries here seem really well run – I would hope they work just as well elsewhere in America, but who knows. It got us into Victoria around 12:30, and we drove to Butchart Gardens, about a half hour drive. This is often on the top 10 gardens in the world – I would say it was nice … but I personally liked the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens even more (maybe because that was like a nice surprise and was an easy bus ride away) yet I’ve never seen that one listed on any top lists. There were way more people at Butchart Gardens, understandably, and while it was really nice … it also seemed, I don’t know … kind of basic? Like, not as creative as as Edinburgh Gardens which had a lot of interesting touches like the greenhouses and composting area and such.
Nevertheless, we took our sweet time here, about four hours in the gardens. I wanted to make sure we got a FULL experience, as I don’t want to have to take a ferry out to Victoria Island again in my life (not that it was a bad experience, there’s just so much to do in the world and it seriously takes up so much of the day just to get out to the island). Unfortunately, while walking around the Japanese Gardens, my dad’s leg really started to hurt, so he had to sit through the rest of the day with my brother (I think my brother was relieved) and even as we left Canada, he is still clearly limping. AHH my parents are getting old!!!
After Butchart Gardens, I made a quick stop at a really cool looking rock wall I had seen driving in – from what I can tell, it was built right next to an elementary school and seems to be free? There were zero reviews for it on yelp, so I don’t know how new it is. It seemed WAYYYYY higher than any other wall I’ve seen in climbing gyms. I don’t know how to convey my first sight of this wall, but it was almost like a mirage. Imagine driving past just fields and fields of grass and then out of nowhere there’s a towering structure that turns out to be a ROCK WALL! Sooo cool, I’m honestly considering returning to Victoria Island just to try the wall out.
Then we drove to the hotel I picked out, the Chateau Victoria. The hotel has the feel of an old hotel, with attempts to modernize it, but you can still smell the oldness of it in the paint and the wood. I was really relieved that it was essentially a suite, with one bed in a room and the other in the living room – even though it looked odd, at least we weren’t all in the same room breathing together. I think that is the one thing that really sets me off about vacationing with the entire family – my brother likes to sleep late and have the tv on, and while my parents seem to sleep with it ok, I end up stewing in my bed thinking “JUST GO TO SLEEP OR LEAVE!”
Because my dad couldn’t really walk around, and because my mom and I were probably sick and tired of eating out all the time, we walked out to get Subway sandwiches to bring back to the room to eat. My parents LOVE Subway, so I knew this would actually delight them, though it’s the kind of thing that annoys my brother. Well, while ordering the Subway sandwiches for my parents, I decided I no longer wanted a sandwich, because it just seemed so sad in the Subway (and the guy didn’t seem to really know how to make sandwiches that well, no offense to him). So my mom walked back to the hotel with the sandwiches (the greatest thing about traveling with her is that she actually has a better sense of direction out of everyone, even though she generally has no idea what the plan is) while my brother and I walked around “looking for restaurants” which was more like, I was yelping as we ambled around.
We settled on a place called Bin 4 Burger, which featured gourmet burgers. They had fried red onion rings which were REALLY good and a selection of sauces – I chose curry aioli to go with our fries, and it was REALLLLYYYY good. I was debating between a vegetarian burger called “Mr Bean” and another burger that was a mix of pork/chorizo, with panko fried goat cheese. I ended up choosing the latter. Even though the vegetarian burger sounded sooo good, I never end up getting those because I’m always like WHAT IF IT’S TERRIBLE?!??! And I’ve never walked into a burger place thinking “I am craving a vegetarian patty.” It’s just such a risk that I’m not willing to take. The burger place was really good though – I usually don’t bother linking to restaurants in my blog posts but HERE IT IS.
We then walked back to the hotel room, and my mom tried to go to the jacuzzi but unfortunately there was a group of three that took it up the rest of the night, so she decided to just shower and go to bed. I stayed up a little later to finish a game of sudoku and some youtube, before heading to bed around midnight. SO SAD, the last night of the trip!!!