Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Laura and I got up early this morning. We had reservations for the ferry from Anacortes to Sydney, BC, and knew we had to get there early to board. We drove off of the island while the sun tried to break through the ubiquitous fog.
The ferry wasn’t very crowded this time. Only the lower car deck had vehicles, and the seating area was largely empty. We took our usual positions at the front of the boat, despite the chilly, damp wind.
Pretty soon, though, it got too foggy, and they even closed off the outer decks for safety. Visibility was nil, and the ship slowed and blew its horn regularly.
About the time we were crossing the Strait of San Juan the fog began to lift. However, in the open waters the wind picked up, too. Still, we were finally able to get some photos of the islands.
After landing in Sydney, we drove straight to Butchart Gardens. The place was expensive and crowded, but worth every penny. It seemed that everything was in bloom. Or, more likely, the gardeners made sure that plants that were blooming were the ones on display. Regardless, it was a riot of color.
The main part of the garden is the Sunken Garden, constructed from an old quarry. One can can view the garden from the edges or from a central rock formation. Descending into the garden allows visitors to explore several paths, which eventually lead to the Ross Fountain.
Since it was close to lunch time we did a cursory walk through the Sunken Garden, then headed straight to one of the restaurants for a great lunch with fantastic views of Butchart Cove.
After lunch, it was back to the Sunken Garden, where we spent more time exploring the nooks and crannies. One of the things that impressed me was the excellent blending of color, shape, and texture. Yellow marigolds were matched with dark purple salvia. Pink dahlias were paired with white snapdragons, and so on.
It was almost overwhelming.
We took a turn through the Dahlia Garden, then wound up in the Rose Garden. There were more variety of roses than we could keep track of.
From the rose garden we entered the Japanese Garden. This was mostly mosses and ferns, but was still spectacular. Again, the gardens were styled ingeniously. One enters each garden through a steep descent, usually by stairs, but exits through a gentle slope back up.
The crowds and the heat started to get to us, so it was time to leave. Needless to say, I took a ton of photos – more than I could possibly post here. Here’s a link to my photo set of the gardens, and below is a slide show of those photos.
We drove over to the eastern coast of Vancouver Island and drove southward to Victoria. We stopped at a couple of overlooks along the way to look out over the water.
Eventually we made it into Victoria itself. This city has always reminded me of a more British, more European city, especially with its prominent Legislative House and Empress Hotel overlooking the waterfront. Of course, we weren’t staying at the Empress, but at an adequate hotel one street off the waterfront and slightly behind the Legislative House.
After checking into our room we went for a walk around the waterfront and down Government Street, one of the main streets in the town. We looked into several restaurant storefronts and menus, and finally decided on a place that had steak and seafood. Good meal, suitably relaxed, and we headed back to the room to crash after a long day of traveling.