Up early this morning. We had to drive 30 minutes from Vancouver the city to the Tsawwassen ferry which we boarded with our car and rode 1 1/2 hours to Vancouver island (not to be confused with Vancouver the city which is not on Vancouver Island - WHY is Vancouver not on Vancouver island??? And WHY is Vancouver the city not the capital of British Columbia instead of Victoria, which is on an island and not the mainland? So many questions!!!!) It was Grammie, me, D, Todd, Drew, and Elle (Grampie & Jade could not go because they were at MDRT all day, working - we missed them!)
The ferry ride was long but beautiful. The scenery was GORGEOUS! Of course, it was tough to appreciate it a lot because it was POURING and quite chilly!
On the ferry in the rain
It was rainy and cold and fairly miserable. It was kind of hard to maneuver on the tiny, narrow paths when everyone has massive umbrellas. Eventually, thankfully, the sun came out! We were SO thankful as we collapsed our umbrellas and took off our jackets.
We got off the ferry and had a 30 minute drive to Butchart Gardens (pronounced Boo-shart, but which will forever be known as Butt-Chart by our classy family!). We paid a king's ransom (highway robbery) to get into the gardens, but since that was what we were THERE for, we had no choice.
The gardens were BEAUTIFUL!!!! They were formed in what was originally a quarry that was finished being dug and had left a huge, ugly hole of scarred earth... the wife (Jennie Butchart) of the man who owned the quarry decided not to leave it that way and planted the lovely sunken garden in the former quarry. This was QUITE an undertaking and top soil had to be brought on and landscape experts brought in. This was just the beginning though... it is now HUGE and much larger than just the original quarry. Mrs. But-Chart would be SO proud!!!! She could have had NO IDEA it she was creating something SO spectacular that would be such a delight for CENTURIES after her!!!
The original sunken garden where the Quarry once was
Showing Grammie the camera
Off to the races
Um... yeah... creepiest carousel animals...
Rose (roseless) arches
In the Japanese Garden
Even though SOME of our party members grumbled a little bit about having to spend a couple hours looking at FLOWERS, they were all good sports and we had a GREAT time with the family. The flowers were truly AMAZING and I am so glad we went!
The whole gang
After the gardens, we went down to Victoria (30 minutes) where we had Noodle Box (which I will be Yelping at 2 stars). We looked briefly at the water front and popped into the famous Empress Hotel then scurried back to the car to make it back for the 5:00 ferry.
British Columbia's Parliament Building in Victoria
The Empress Hotel - a courtyard
One of the entrances of The Empress Hotel - Victoria
We made it in plenty of time and had to kill an hour+ in line waiting for the ferry to arrive. I started chatting with a woman while we were waiting in line who lived on the island and was an "aboriginal". The term "Indian" is seen as derogatory and she wasn't really even into "Native Canadian"... it was aboriginal. And we are "non-aboriginals". She works for an organization that kind of represents all "First Nation" tribes ("tribes" is still OK) and tried to build bridges between their people and ours and their culture and ours. They get government grants from the Canadian government to do that.
We finally boarded the ferry at about 5:15 - we were impressed to learn they can hold 450 cars.
These things were MASSIVE. They had a restaurant, a walk up food "bar" and a private lounge. The seats were fairly comfortable & cushioned and there were TVs and even a little play area for kids.
We rode back, this time in the sunshine. It was SOOOO pretty. I would never get tired of looking out at the sea and all the green trees. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, it stays light out until after 10:30PM, so we were sailing in broad daylight.
I wanna LIVE right there
We got back to Vancouver and went to the Royal Suite and ordered Pizza, Wings and Salad and just ate in while Todd hooked up his computed and played the new "Alice and Wonderland". I pooped out early though and headed back to out hotel to check emails and hit the hay.