Victoria, BC

Ryan and I really wanted to do something different over the three day weekend, so we headed to the capital of British Columbia: Victoria.

It’s quite ironic that we found ourselves in British Columbia over Valentine’s weekend… it doesn’t seem like long ago that we were sitting under “our” tree at Living Waters (a tree that is now cut down) with a can of coke and a bag of chex mix talking about how we would someday be married and live at the bottom of a mountain, on a lake, with a VW bus in British Columbia. I would post a drawing that Ryan mailed me back when we were fifteen, but during one of our breakups, I burned it.
Earlier Sunday morning, we boarded the Victoria Clipper at Pier 69 on Alaskan Way in downtown Seattle. The Clipper is kind of like the Kat in Maine… I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a good spot to go outside to capture some great photos as we cruis
ed our way to the top of Puget Sound. I was able to get be outside looking backwards, but we were going so fast that I couldn’t even get photos that way. It was a beautiful morning. Blue skies. Bright sun. 
After about 2 and half hours of watching mountains, islands, and water pass us by, we arrived in the port in Victoria. It was much colder than Seattle, so we quickly walked down the  brick sidewalks and roads to our hotel. We left our bag there and headed to the BC Royal Museum.
Although fairly expensive, we had decided on this location for our one pricey, tourist attraction. At first, I thought I would be very disappointed with our choice, but once inside, I was fairly confident in our decision.
The museum was unique in it’s bold, stunning, and post-modern approach to it’s collection. Each exhibition was an experience.
 We became part of the story. The first exhibition included the wildlife and habitats of natural BC. Although, I’m quite confident that I will not ever run into a woolly-mammoth in BC, the presentation was stunning. There were also elk, deer, bear, seals, and sea lions (oh my!).  The habitats were a combination of real, natural surroundings and stunning life-like paintings. 
Upstairs we became slightly more civilized by entering an old BC town. We were able to walk through the store front, visit the local stables, check in at the train station, visit the anchored boat, and “stay” at the grand hotel. To top off our experience, we went to the iMax theater to see a short film on the Alps. 
That night after dinner, we discovered that the Parliament Building is fully illuminated in the evenings. It was truly stunning, especially along with the sail boats in the Harbor. The city was overall quite calm. It’s known as the Garden City, so I’m guessing that it’s much more busy during the summer.
The next day we enjoyed the complimentary bike rentals at our hotel and followed the seaside road. Although Monday was not nearly as clear as Sunday and I could not get the dust off the lens of my camera, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and as the clouds cleared we were able to catch a glimpse at the mountain range on mainland BC. We visited an old-style Ice Cream Parlor and the Sitka shop (a board company that Ryan had looked into working for at one point).
Oddly, Parliament opens in BC on the day we Americans call President’s Day, so Ryan and I walked over to watch the presentation. We learned two things: there’s no security
for such events in Canada, and there are actually a few people unhappy with the Canadian government.
We were able to watch the Canadian mounties and other military officials come to the Parliament building. As you can see, they also shot off canons while we were there. They were very loud, and the birds seemed to believe that they were actually shooting something, but really it was all show. While I was busy capturing the moment, a man yelled out “You’re all Frauds!” Ryan and I chuckled and turned to see a crazed man with a signs both on him and in hand–both apparently detailing just exactly what made the Canadian Parliament a fraud.
We had an early dinner and then road back on the Clipper in the dark. 
It was a great weekend–really nice to get away for a few days. 

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