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I enjoy a short trip to Victoria, though it really isn’t far away, the need to ride a ferry to get there definitely gives it a sense of remoteness. This year we went during the summer rather than our usual spring trip. This meant we were there in the busy tourist season but also in the better weather. Now this year we were in the midst of a dry spell, so things were dry and dusty at home and unfortunately not much better in Victoria. It also meant that our favourite hotel was booked full and we had to find an alternate location.
We left mid-morning on Thursday and caught the noon ferry, though we were almost an hour early we just made it onto the next scheduled trip, the crowds were definitely there. The ride across was uneventful, we ate lunch in the café and read in the lounge afterwards. We tried sitting outside but the announcements on the PA system were so loud it got very irritating very quickly. Once we had arrived in Swartz Bay we had a leisurely drive to Island View Park. I always seem to stop by here as the beach is interesting with driftwood and the views of the islands quite entertaining. This trip saw many more people laying around in the sun which was a new experience as it always seemed so empty on my prior visits.
Done with the park we drove to Victoria and our hotel – The Abigail Hotel – but not before grabbing a coffee at the standard purveyor of legal drugs, namely Starbucks. The hotel proved to be very lovely. It was all that the photos made it out to be. Our room was very enjoyable and offered a very comfortable bed – one of the best I have enjoyed while away from home. Now the place was great but the hot breakfast and early evening Hors d'oeuvres were incredible. They even operate scent free and looked after Carolyn’s wheat allergy. Needless to say that after 3 nights we were very happy with the place and plan to return on our next visit.
We ate dinner with two of Carolyn’s friends who live in Victoria at the Breakwater Café. It was a nice meal and we enjoyed the sunset and a short walk on the breakwater after dinner. Friday saw us lounging around our room and walking into down-town for a few purchases. It was a nice walk, though a bit longer than we would have had from the Magnolia, it was still quite reasonable and we enjoyed the exercise. We enjoyed dinner with my cousin Jim at the Canoe Brewpub. The meal was OK but nothing that special certainly not up to the level of our hotel. I suppose if I drank bear, they would have had some nice choices of their own production which may have made the meal better.
Saturday saw me out and about. I decided I wanted to visit the summit of Mt. Douglas. This is a low peak on the edge of town and offers a road to the summit with a great view of the city. I left mid-morning and arrived at a bit past 11am only to find that the road was gated shut until noon. So I back-tracked to the nearest Starbucks and enjoyed a fresh brew while I read until it would be open. I arrived back at the gate just after it was opened and I was third up the road that day. I parked and walked the short way to the actual summit where I set up my new portable 4 element yagi antenna. I wanted to try it out and see how the summit would do for a possible SOTA peak. It worked well, I was able to work into my local club repeater. A few asked about ham radio while I was up there and I shared some of the fun of the hobby.
Later that afternoon I drove over to my Cousin Jim’s home in Oak Bay and he showed me the major renovations done to his 70 year old home. The place looks great and I am sure it is a very enjoyable home to live in. We walked to the beach and made our way to the Oak Bay Marina for a cool refresher. It was a pleasant walk and we felt good for the exercise. The drive back to the hotel went quickly as the whole area really is quite small. For dinner Carolyn and I walked to a restaurant we enjoyed on our previous trip – the 10 Acres Bistro. It was a pleasant walk in the warm evening and we had another nice meal.
Sunday began well once again with a very good breakfast at the hotel. We then packed up and were on the road by 11am. As we had lots of time, I took Carolyn back to Mt. Douglas so she could enjoy the view from the summit. She quite enjoyed the place and was even able to get to the actual top. After a short stay we started on the drive to the ferry but took the scenic shoreline route where we discovered another good eatery – Adrienne’s at Mattick’s Farm. Done with lunch we high-tailed it to the ferry and arrived just before 2pm, in time to line up for the 3pm sailing.
The trip was very enjoyable, though I didn’t really take many photos, I found the time relaxing and well worth the effort and expense to be there. We will definitely return to Abigail’s on our next visit. Did I mention it was our 36th anniversary and we both felt it was a great holiday celebrating our marriage?