Vancouver Island Part One: Victoria
Hey guys! It’s another exciting edition of Travel Tuesdays! These have become some of my favourite posts to write, and I’m so glad to hear that so many of you enjoy reading them! As promised, here are my reviews of places to be, places to eat, and a general summary of my trip from Vancouver BC over to the most Western island in Canada, Vancouver Island!
The ferries in BC (and probably anywhere else they have ferries) are so cool! They fit GIANT trucks and RVs and lots of cars and vans, in the hundreds! And also humans too… but seriously! How does it float!
First you line up with your car, but instead of having to wait inside like I thought we would, we got to go inside to the cool place where they have lots of stuff to buy and eat, and of course, a Starbucks!
AND.. they have a place that sells cheesecake on a stick.
Probably more importantly, they have a board that tells you when your ferry is leaving and whether or not it is on time, as well as announcements that get you back in your car.
The ferry is massive! If you have never been on a cruise before or a giant ferry before you would feel like I did, so small! I ate some food on the ferry cause I was starving, but other than that we wandered around and spent a lot of time looking for whales.
They had a lady on board to give a 15 minute presentation about BC wildlife and she was saying that she will normally see Orca’s throughout the summer. She did say however that there was no specific time to see them and she hadn’t seen them for three weeks! But she did have a stuffed octopus, and I took a picture with it, of course!
The route from Vancouver to Victoria was a beautiful one on the ferry, with all the islands in between the ferry route. It was luckily very sunny!
Once we got off the ferry, we couldn’t check into our hotel until 4pm. So we had asked the guide who was so knowledgeable about sea animals and octopi where a good spot to head was. She sent us to a National Historic Site called:
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse
Fort Rodd Hill is a coast artillery fort built in the late 1890s to defend Victoria and it includes three gun batteries, underground magazines, command posts, guardhouses, barracks and searchlight emplacements
Cost: 3.70 per person (seriously!!)
There were gorgeous flora and fauna unique to the island and a native guide local to the area who was more than happy to share all her knowledge with me and Manfriend. We talked to Cheryl (the guide) for a good half an hour about everything there was to see.
Most historic sites I’ve been to in Canada are much smaller than this one or do not have any guides, however I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of knowledge the guides here had and their willingness to help! One guide even drove the old army jeep to the lighthouse for a mom and her two children who were too tired to walk!
There was even a live demonstration of some of the weapons by a lovely woman! She was wearing Canada’s first women’s army uniform, and was very historically accurate in her descriptions of the various shotguns and rifles she had to fire blanks for us! She also made sure we knew that women would not fire the weapons at this time in history but were helpful in terms of being engineers, food staff, nurses and mechanics for the equipment.
The historic site is huge! Fisgard lighthouse is one of the first lighthouses built on the West Coast of Canada and has been turned into a museum to honor the lives of the men (and one woman who secretly) ran the lighthouse until it was closed.
It was amazing to see how much was packed into the lighthouse as display! The museum was very interactive as well and had exhibits where children (or adults in my case) could try and navigate a boat using a giant wheel to try to understand the importance of the lighthouse.
Overall it was an amazing trip to the historic site (I took over 330 pictures here). There was lots to learn, old newspaper articles and ads from the war, and a good idea of how our soldiers lived here during training camps and when there was a threat to Victoria.
Interested in learning more about Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse? Click here
Victoria: The Parkside Victoria Hotel and Spa
All I can say is, wow. I paid $110 dollars for this room on Hotwire (highly recommended!) and was NOT disappointed. Manfriend and I ended up with a beautiful suite in downtown Victoria!
They also had a really sweet pool and great fitness room! I didn’t get any use out of it due to my injury but it was well stocked and I was very impressed! Other than parking being 15.00 for the night, I thought the hotel was really worth what I spent on Hotwire! Interested in the Parkside Victoria? You can see their website here
Victoria at Night
For dinner we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory. Find out more about them here.
It was really crowded, so we ended up outside when it was a little bit chilly. However, they exceeded all my expectations and got me a blanket!
It was so fuzzy! I really wanted to buy one, but I don’t think they sell them. Also, I love blankets and already have eight at home.
As for food, cause I know all the foodies out there are curious, there was ample bread with both regular and garlic butter (that I (unfortunately for my waistline) inhaled along with Manfriend who ordered two loaves!).
I had roasted garlic chicken on linguine with an oil sauce
The uncooked cherry tomatoes added just the right amount of sweetness to the dish. I also had the raspberry lemonade which was great but a little too sweet for me!
Manfriend had tortellini and I’m pretty sure he loved it (had no complaints!)
The meals came with a salad/soup/fries included (I had a spinach salad that was delicious, so much so I forgot the picture. Manfriend had french onion soup that he loved). And the meals also came with ice cream! Which was amazing! I don’t often have ice cream but it was a delicious chocolate, vanilla, pistachio blend.
All in all I would give the Old Spaghetti Factory a 5/5 for their service, food and prices!
A lovely place in the evening, a walk by BC Parliament and through the harbour of Victoria was the perfect way to end our busy day!
All in all, Victoria was an amazing city to visit. Although we didn’t get to kayak like I wanted to last week, what we did get to do was a lot cheaper (still can’t believe the historic site was less than four dollars a person), and still amazing.
And that ends our day trip through Victoria! Next week I will feature the drive up the coast and our visit to Nanaimo. Thanks for joining me!