Oh dear. Now I’m sitting at the Vancouver airport!!! Totally failed to write down my thoughts in Canada as they happened.
On the last day, we woke up on Victoria in the Chateau Victoria. My dad’s knee seems to have essentially blown out during our four hour tour of the Butchart Gardens, so he sat in the hotel room in the morning while my brother slept and my mom and I went out to see Beacon Hill Park around 8am. This was my pick for the walk, and I’m really thrilled that I ended up doing this. I have no interest in parliament buildings or harbors, which seems to be the main attraction in Victoria.
Beacon Hill is essentially their massive city park – when I think of city parks, I usually just think boring fields of grass, and a couple of trees. But this one was REALLY nice. There’s several different walking trails, if you go all the way to the northwest end, there’s even a coastal trail that gives you a view of the water and distant mountains. There’s a little rose garden area, several patches of beautiful flowers throughout, a children’s farm which has goats, a pig, a sheep, and chickens … there’s even peacocks roaming around and I saw a heron nesting area. Near the coastal trail, there’s “the world’s tallest totem pole” (it did look quite tall) and it was near here that we saw a deer. So, TONS of wildlife!!!
The slight negative is that there aren’t thatttt many restrooms and with my mom in tow, that sort of limited us to a certain radius. But we still got to see a LOT. There’s biking and walking paths, and there’s a few ways cars can drive through the park, though of course it’s much nicer to walk through it. Reading through the yelp reviews, I don’t think most people have the time to go through the entire park (it took us over two hours, and while I think we saw all the important bits, I’m sure there’s little gems we missed). Overall, an amazing park!
We even had time to walk down to the harbor and take a few pictures with the building. The plus side is that the hotel I got was pretty central to all of this. We got back to the room around 10am, finished up our packing, and then checked out. Because my dad couldn’t walk in the morning, I drove everyone around to see everything again via car. He got out to look at the ocean view and the farm (he loves taking the worst, most blurry photos of birds – I don’t know why). Then we set off for our 1pm ferry back to Vancouver.
This time, the ferry experience was less thrilling for everyone, as my dad couldn’t walk around and my mom is now sick (it turns out, from bronchitis!). I fell asleep in a chairfor what must have been about half an hour or more. It’s more scenic near Victoria than it is near Vancouver, because the ferry passes through a few islands as it heads into Victoria. The ferry was much less crowded today.
We headed to Costco mainly to get poutine, though I wish we had had time to shop around. I kept mistakenly thinking my parents and brother’s flight was an hour later though, so I was in the mindset that we had all the time in the world, and meanwhile, I think everyone else was silently freaking the fuck out. We got our Costco food court food, which I must say, was DELICIOUS. We shared fries with poutine (YUM, I think they’re quite generous with the cheese portioning, and their fries are a perfect amount of crisp and thickness), chicken wings (personally my favorite because they were surprisingly very moist – and I normally HATE wings), two hot dogs, and chicken strips with fries. Pretty darn good meal! Thinking about it, I don’t think they sold smoothies or chicken bakes.
I dropped my parents off at the airport then circled around to get gas at the airport gas station, before returning the car. My flight is two hours after theirs, so I wasn’t in a rush at all. In fact, part of me debated driving out to explore more, though I probably saved myself a massive stress attack by just sitting it out and writing my blog posts in the airport. Now, here I am!
In summary, I found a list I made on my last day of the cruise. If it had a title, it would be “a revised packing list.”
Alaska was generally much warmer than I had anticipated. Certainly there were a few cold moments on the ship, but I suspect it was because of the wind and maybe not exactly because of the air temperature. So, stuff I brought that wasted precious luggage space that I wish I hadn’t brought:
- My down jacket, which was the largest piece of clothing I brought. Thank goodness I didn’t bring my even larger down jacket though, which is the type of jacket you would see New Yorkers wear in the dead of winter
- Thermals, which admittedly did not take up that much space, but STILL!
- Umbrella, which I could have maybe used in Ketchikan but it wasn’t raining that hard and my waterproof jacket sufficed
- Book, as I may have referenced before, I didn’t open my Anna Kendrick memoir a single time
- Scarf, I don’t even know why I brought this
Stuff I WISH I had brought though, and will need to keep this in mind if I ever go on another cruise:
- Air freshener, I thought it would have been nice if we just brought a plug in. Since we had an interior room, the air really does get a bit stale
- Lotion and soap, while the ship provides it, I think I could have bumped up the luxury by just bringing my own toiletries