Reflecting Victoria

I’m going to post at least once a week, eh?  Well, maybe I’ll give you four posts this week, how about that?!

I spent nearly three weeks in October on Vancouver Island, chasing the edge of the camping season as far west as I could go (south wasn’t a consideration at the time because the American national parks were closed due to their government’s shutdown).

I’m not much of a fan of cities, but Victoria, British Columbia is one of my favourites.  I was stunned when I drove off an early Sunday morning ferry and realized I’d forgotten how exotic the Island is!  Strange flowers and shrubs, giant trees, city and country blending seamlessly, air so thick with humidity you can lap it up for hydration, tangy salt air.  Oh, and did I mention the plants were still green?!

I spent a couple of days in and around Victoria.  I realized I have layers of memories there, from my first visit when I backpacked the West Coast Trail in 1992 or thereabouts and stayed with my friend’s family, who gave me directions to walk downtown to spend a couple of hours exploring before we headed up-island.  Next up was the start of cycling across Canada, nervously setting up our bikes at the airport, riding into Sydney for replacement parts (already!), pedaling through a farmyard complete with pigs, and asking a stranger on a recumbent bike about the location of Mile Zero of the TransCanada Highway (“I’ll take you there!”).  I visited Victoria a few times when I lived in the Comox Valley in 2002-2003, including the time my sister and I reveled in Butchart Gardens even though it was early spring (I visited the Gardens again this trip but have yet to process all my photos).

I was delighted to discover a new-to-me gem, Fisherman’s Wharf on the harbour.  33 colourful float homes hug three piers, along with some restaurants (including Victoria’s best fish and chips), tour companies, a fish store, and of course, addtiional piers for fishing boats and a handful of yachts.  It was a brilliantly sunny day and I felt like I was in another world.  Most of these photos were taken there, as well as a couple at Beacon Hill Park.

I had wandered past the restaurants to look at the boats (always an attraction to a prairie girl) and was almost back to the businesses when I noticed a large crowd had gathered and a young woman was feeding three seals (there was a fourth one, but he was too shy to come up for food).  One piece looked like bacon and I was a little alarmed that they were feeding wild animals human food, but then I overheard someone say that you could buy a plate of five or six strips of salmon and small fish from the fish shop.  No, I definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore!

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