Quiet evening in Vancouver yesterday (Monday) – really tired after 2 days in the lap of luxury on the Rocky Mountaineer! Went for a short walk and bought a sandwich for supper, which we ate in our room. The room has a huge comfy bed and a little kitchen area with a cooker, pans, microwave, fridge etc.
Collected at 7:20 for a full day trip to Vancouver Island. We will be getting the ferry at 9 for a 90 minute trip; there is a chance of seeing whales, bald eagles, seals, sea otters and maybe an orca.
Then a 20 minute drive to Victoria, where we have free time for a couple of hours. Followed by another short drive to The Butchart Gardens, supposedly the best gardens in the world! Free time there too, then back for the 17:00 ferry back to Vancouver. Sounds like a perfect day especially as the weather is gorgeous.
Crossed from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, took about 90 minutes, amazing views and lovely and sunny but we didn’t see any wildlife though. Bought a ham and cheese roll and a drink and went on deck. Very busy, loads of Japanese with selfie sticks, which are very intrusive. Back on to coach for a 40 minute drive to Victoria.
Stunning city, the capital of British Columbia. Its museum is supposed to be the best in the world, but we didn’t have the time. Bought a big wooden salmon carved by a First Nation man (present from M&B) and two pictures of dolphins and whales. Sunny day so just pottered round the bay and did nothing much. Had a tropical smoothie while wandering and hot dogs for lunch. Back on the coach again for a 30 minute drive to Butchart Gardens.
Everything that Brian, our tour guide, said about the gardens was true, stunning densely planted flowerbeds with amazing colours, no weeds or plants that needed dead-heading and not a gardener in sight; apparently the work is done overnight. Several different gardens: Rose, Italian, Japanese, Sunken and of course a lovely shop. Very hot and absolutely packed out.
The Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens
Jaya in Butchart Gardens
Bought a pack of postcards because there is no way our photos will do the gardens justice. Had a gelato in the Italian bit.
Back on the coach at 4 to get the ferry back to Vancouver.
Got back to the hotel at 7:15 and had a farewell drink with the whole group and Brian as he will not be coming with us on the cruise. Went to the Banana Leaf for a (much needed spicy) Malaysian meal. Back to post this blog – photos will be added tomorrow before we go on the cruise at 10 (cases outside the door by 9).
NB. Wi-fi on the boat is supposed to be very expensive so probably won’t be posting a daily blog, especially as the first 2 days are at sea. Communication by text please, it shouldn’t cost you any more than your usual rate.