A Day Walking in Victoria, Part 1--This is Victoria Harbor! (+11 insets!)

(+ 11 insets) (this scene is really best at full size so you can see the whole show! :D) Trip Talk: Our Last Visit to Victoria Wasn't Long Enough! Some years ago, Steve and I went on a group motorcycle ride with a bunch of people including our good friend Andy. The plan would be to ride up into Canada, take a series of ferries to various islands and eventually end up in Victoria, Vancouver Island before heading back down to Washington and then home. The idea seemed reasonable until Steve started doing the math. There was no way we'd be able to make the ferry hops in time. But nobody wanted to think about details, so we went on the trip and lo' and behold, the ferries were missed and our adventures changed substantially. Steve and I didn't even make it onto the first ferry because of navigation issues with our phone. In the end, we decided to make our own adventure and took a ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. From there we took the day cruising slowly south to Victoria. It turned out to be the best day of the whole trip! After exploring several quaint towns on the way down we eventually wound up in Victoria, where we ended our evening at an amazing sushi restaurant, followed by a walk along the harbor and finally tucking ourselves into bed after a glorious day. The only thing we'd wished was to have more time in Victoria, which was so beautiful and full of things to see and do. Therefore, when we discussed going on a trip to Vancouver Island, spending at least a couple of days in Victoria was at the top of our short list. And so, the day after we went to Goldstream Provincial Park, we decided it was time go have a proper day at Victoria. What would we do? Why, walk everywhere, of course! We wanted to see it all…and you know, I think we did a pretty good job if my photos are any indication! In fact, there are so many pictures that I processed that I'm reminded of the day Steve and I spent in Nice, France a couple of years back. A different adventure for sure, but equally full of wonderful sights and lasting memories. That being said, I'll have to take several days post pictures from our day walking in Victoria…either that or force you all to endure 30 insets! :D I didn't think that would be reasonable either, heh! :D Today's Pictures My main picture today shows the beautiful and extremely active harbor of Victoria, capital of British Columbia. There was a constant show going on with dozens of boats and ships of all kinds going by. I'd read that you might get to see pontoon planes in the harbor, but I never imagined we'd get to see them constantly taking off and landing! Steve and I really enjoyed looking out on this harbor! The rest of my presentation today includes more harbor pictures and some of the popular sights and cool things I saw as we enjoyed this gorgeous day! Inset 1: See the plane coming in for a landing on the main image? Here it is coming around to land on the bay! How cool is that?! And we got to see lots and lots of planes landing and taking off here! In fact, I've never seen so many planes land and take off in such a short period of time...such great entertainment! Inset 2: This is the plane from the main image preparing to take off. It's amazing how quickly these planes get off the water and also, how fast they land. They don't need much space which I thought was really interesting. The fact that they don't waste their time also meant a challenge to get pictures! Inset 3: This was a typical docking of sea planes. They were constantly taxiing into dock and then a different one would pull out and was soon zooming up into the sky. Inset 4: Across the bay was the magnificent Delta Hotel, overlooking the busy harbor. That cute little boat is a water taxi and they were constantly buzzing customers to and from water-based destinations. I'll have more pictures in my next set of images! Inset 5: We walked past the circa 1908 Empress Hotel, famous destination for celebrities and royalty through the years. Also known for its very schmancy "High Tea" service offered only with weeks-in-advance reservations and prices high enough they aren't listed on the menu! Inset 6: Built in 1897, the Baroque-style Parliament Building shown here is a construction of four government offices. This place was absolutely crawling with tourists so we didn't bother trying to get closer. Inset 7: I thought this statue might be Vancouver but upon looking closer I discovered that it was Captain James Cook! WOW, has that man been around!!! Here is what the plaque read: Capt. James Cook, R. N. 1728-1779: After two historic voyages to the South Pacific, Cook was cruising the waters of the Pacific Northwest on his third and final voyage. With his two ships Resolution and Discovery he was searching for the western exit to the legendary Northwest Passage. In March, 1778, they put into Nootka Sound for repairs and to trade with the native people. With him on the voyage were Mr. William Bligh as master of the Resolution and midshipman George Vancouver. Inset 8: As Steve and I approached the harbor I saw this sculpture and nearly dropped in my tracks! "The Homecoming" celebrates a father and daughter's joyful reunion as he returns home from sea. I was just stunned by the expressions, body language and perfection of anatomy and every single detail presented. An incredibly touching sculpture that really hit home with me. Inset 9: In daddy's bag we see that he's got a teddy bear for his daughter and a small wrapped box for his wife. Fantastic details! (I also adored the girl's frolicking dog, so darn cute!) Inset 10: I couldn't resist posting a picture of some of the ridiculously colorful planters that were absolutely everywhere around Victoria! Inset 11: Finally, this was a very interesting place to park your bike in inclement weather. :) Explored on 9/19/19; highest placement #5.

A Day Walking in Victoria, Part 2--HFF and much more! (+9 insets!)

(+ 9 insets) Trip Talk: No candid people photography this trip! We chose to just enjoy wandering around... When I thought about visiting Victoria, I hoped to work on my skills of candid people pictures. However, I have to be in the right mood for this sort of sneaky photography and as it turned out, I just didn't feel like it. Any time a camera is aimed in the direction of a person (even if the camera is down low and obscured), there's potential to be glared at or even aggressively approached. Steve and I just wanted to walk around without thinking about anything but enjoying the sights. It would turn out that during the entire trip, I never did feel like working on people-oriented street photography. Funny how it works out like that sometimes. A shame because I really do enjoy how these turn out but I'll have plenty of opportunities in the future. We love the modern, clean streets of Victoria and we also appreciated that most of the city's "must-see" destinations are all within a reasonable walking distance—it worked out to be about 5-7 miles to get from downtown to the harbor and then to the far side and back again. You also couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a lovely, sunny and warm day with the perfect breeze. Steve and I were so happy! Today's Pictures My main picture today celebrates Happy Fence Friday! This substantial metal post and rusty chain are doing their job to hold back the throngs of visitors to Victoria's beautiful harbor district. The boat you see is the MS Coho , an enormous passenger and vehicle-carrying ferry which travels back and forth between Victoria and Port Angeles, Washington (the boat we took from Anacortes to Sidney, north Victoria was the 1981 MS Chelan .) Steve and I were surprised to see that when this ferry left dock, it backed up a very long way so that it could tuck its back end into another wide channel and then turn around. We were both totally fascinated at the speed it went backwards and also how quickly it was able to turn around and head out. The rest of my second Victoria presentation includes more harbor images and some of the fun things I saw as we enjoyed this lovely day! Inset 1: The MS Coho, built and put into service in 1959, is shown here backing up in preparation to turn around and head back to Port Angeles, Washington. This ship typically makes the two-hour trip twice each way every day! Inset 2: As Steve and headed out to the water's edge at the Victoria harbor, I found this wonderful mural that shows a very similar scene to my main image the other day! Inset 3: I saw this mural on the side of a building near the harbor and did my best to get a good picture. I only noticed later that Robert Wyland himself had painted it in 1987, one of dozens of his "Whaling Walls" found around the world. (You can see Wyland's signature on the lower left of the mural) Inset 4: I just loved the awesome design of this artistic, creative bench! Inset 5: At one point we walked through a park where we found a shady bench to have a seat (not the one shown in Inset 5!). There we looked out on the bay and saw this pretty view. Inset 6: Seated at the park bench, we saw a group of Canada Geese floating through colorful reflections on the water. Inset 7: We also saw this huge orange tour boat, complete with tourists adorned in matching life jackets! Inset 8: On our walk we visited Victoria's wharf and I couldn't help taking a picture of the wonderful sign that welcomed everyone passing by. Inset 9: This gentleman was very busy selling his day's catch of crabs. We were surprised at the fair price (going rate: $25 per crab)--we figured they'd be offered at a ripoff for tourists. Pam, have you ever been on a big ferry like the one here? I am in total awe of these monster ships and it was just incredible to have our truck and RV on one, with so much room for dozens of other vehicles. Another thing that's fascinating is that even underway, there is very little motion detectable. Of course this would change if there was a storm but for the most part you hardly knew the boat was moving along at quite a fast clip! Well, I hope you are having a good day...my thoughts are with you! *BIG HUGS* from southern Oregon...oh, and I apologize for not including a note to you in my last post! I was in such a hurry to get the presentation together that it slipped my mind! UGH! :P Explored on 9/21/19; highest placement #8.

A Day Walking in Victoria, Part 3--Water Taxis, House Boats & More! (+7 insets!)

(+ 7 insets) (best at full size!) Trip Talk: Where Would YOU Most Like to Travel? I wonder if you are like me…if asked that question, I simply can't answer with a single destination. How do you prioritize a favorite place to go when the world is simply bursting with incredible locations! Maybe that's an easy question for some of you but I am very interested in so many things that it's really hard to say. So basically, when Steve tossed "Vancouver Island" into the air as a place we should visit in our RV, I immediately said, "LET'S GO!" :) Vancouver Island is such a cool place because it has basically everything I love! Unspoiled nature and wilderness, quaint little towns, fun touristy places, a deep history of indigenous people and also of explorers and settlers. There are simply endless activities to be involved in--basically you name it and you'll be able to find it somewhere on the island! I'm not kidding…think about something you're interested in--I bet it's available! Our walking adventure in Victoria really couldn't have been nicer. The biggest requirement was that we didn't make any hard-fast plans--except for making sure we visited a few places that couldn't be missed. Then we just started to stroll. I didn't get any pictures of the lovely street fair we stumbled upon but we really enjoyed visiting and chatting with the many talented artists there. Walking along the harbor, we found ourselves wandering into Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf. There we discovered another surprise! Along with being a traditional place to dock fishing vessels and sell the catch of the day, this place is also home to dozens of adorable house boats! I'd seen pictures and read about the boats but I wasn't prepared for just exactly how fun it would be to see them in person! Steve and I strolled up and down the docks and enjoyed looking at the quirky, unique, and colorful houses. Both of us agreed that it would be really fun to sleep overnight in one of these homes but thinking about living in a place like this had us shaking our heads…how would you like to live in a place where thousands of tourists are peering into your windows every day? NOPE! But it sure was fun to visit! There was also a regular stream of darling water taxis which picked up and dropped off passengers. We simply couldn't get enough of these little boats and their fun paint jobs. The green taxis were cute but the ones we were crazy about were the yellow ones with the black and white checks! We wanted to OWN one of them! :D Today's Pictures Taking the main picture today was one of those instances where you say, "Quick! Raise your camera, it's perfect!" I'm glad my reaction was fast enough because I got a great angle of a water taxi (and a view of one coming up behind it!) and also a few house boats and their reflections. Lucky me!! How could I resist making this my Picture of the Day?! :D (To be honest, I would have loved to pick most of the insets as main spotlights but I could only choose one! *cry*) Inset 1: This was perfect to turn into a selective color image because otherwise the picture was too busy. I was so happy with the way it turned out that I wish I could have made it my main shot! Inset 2: The green water taxis were really cute too but they really couldn't compare to the yellow ones with checks! Having to ride in a green one would be like going on a carousel and being forced to ride a stationary animal instead of the ones that goes up and down! Inset 3: Would you just LOOK at all of those fabulous boats?! WOW! So pretty! Inset 4: Another boat picture complete with more reflections! Inset 5: This serious fishing boat made me think of the Orca II from Jaws…though these two boats are completely different. Inset 6: This was our first view of the house boats at the wharf…aren't they amazing to see?! Inset 7: I took a picture of this crazy character while Steve and I were visiting the house boats. At the time I didn't realize that there were three others hidden around the area which represented the other Winds. After I got home and looked at my pictures, I noticed this artwork and saw there was a group of pictures under it which showed what the other Winds looked like, along with descriptions of each Wind: The Four Winds: They represent the main four winds and weather conditions around Vancouver Island South West Wind (Pineapple Express): This wind originates from an "atmospheric river" which affects the West Coast of North America. It is a strong and persistent flow of atmospheric moisture and is associated with heavy precipitation from the waters adjacent to the Hawaiin Islands. Atmospheric rivers are typically several thousand kilometers long and only a few hundred kilometers wide, and a single one can carry a greater flux of water than the Earth's largest river, the Amazon. (Artist: lvise Dogloni Major) North West Wind: This wind is considered to be the more violent and dangerous than the rest. It brings frigid air from the continent, which moves over the coastal inlets and fjords. In the fall, it becomes a dense fog, espeically in the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the Mainland. This wind brings fog, that's why he's blowing a horn. North East Wind (Squamish): This most well-know arctic outbreak wind on the British Columbia coast. It bursts out of Howe Sound, past Bowen Island and onto the Strait of Georgia. Locals named it the Squamish after the small town that lies at the head of the sound's inlet. Common conditions associated with arctic outbreaks include gale or storm force winds, moderat to heavy snowfalls and squalls, and, over the waters, severe icing, high waves, rough seas and poor visibility. This wind brings cold weather and fog, that's why he's wearing a fur hat and holding a lantern. South East Gale: Can cause very high seas and severely affect boats. Pam, would you like to live on one of these house boats? They are so darn cute and full of character. I think it would be really fun for a while...but I like my peace and quiet so I think it would get really old after a while. Plus...the wharf smells as it should: like FISH...so *wrinkles nose* ... I wouldn't want to be there for too long! Love to eat the fishy. Don't love to smell the fishy! :D It's raining here today...hopefully you are having nicer weather! *BIG HUGS from southern Oregon! Explored on 9/22/19; highest placement #1.

A Day Walking in Victoria, Part 4--Squirrels and More (+6 insets!)

(+6 insets) Trip Talk: Animals Along the Way! Steve and I saw plenty of wildlife on our trip to Vancouver Island. Off the top of my head I remember seeing many species of birds, deer, insects, snakes, lizards, seals, crabs, snails, slugs, fish, various rodents…we even saw a Black Bear! However, we didn't spend a lot of time just chilling out, which meant that we didn't get to see as many animals as we'd have liked to. (I hoped to see elk, whales, more bears, otters, beavers, etc.) It would have been nice to quietly make my way around the edge of an estuary so I could see more of the birds (how I wanted to see a kingfisher!) but it wasn't in the cards."Sitting still" made us feel guilty because we couldn't escape the urge to get the very most out of every day. We weren't frantic about this so we did relax plenty, but we didn't have occasions where we sat and allowed nature to come out of hiding around us. I'm so happy that we got to see at least a few animals and so I thought today I'd share some pictures of critters we've seen up to this point in our trip. (Some of these are reposts from days before.) Today's Pictures While Steve and I wandered up through Beacon Hill's beautiful park, I spotted a black squirrel on a tree! I was so happy that it wasn't afraid of us and came down to see if we had anything to eat. The main picture shows our fluffy friend pausing on its tree before leaping onto the lush lawn below. (By the way, I was surprised to learn that this squirrel is a variant of grey tree squirrel, which can be pure black or a sooty color like this one. I also learned that Grey squirrels were introduced to the city of Vancouver's Stanley Park in 1909 and then to Vancouver Island in 1966. They were considered to be invasive until it was learned that these squirrels are more visible because they adapt to cities better. Local species prefer the forest and move away from civilization, whereas Grey squirrels establish themselves where there are people.) Insets 1 and 2: We almost always have a bag of mixed nuts with us for a snack, so Steve tossed some into the grass for our little buddy. Inset 3: I noticed a pair of very noisy crows in a nearby tree and liked the way they looked up there! Inset 4: This Bald Eagle picture was such a highlight for me! These birds actually live within miles of our home here in southern Oregon but until I got this picture, I'd never seen one so close before. Exhilarating! Insets 5 and 6: What a nice treat it was to get these pictures of Canada Geese on our way up to Vancouver Island. My Sony camera made it possible to get some great close-ups! Pam, I can't remember what sort of squirrels live around your place. We get normal grey squirrels, though they don't come around the house and prefer to bark rude comments at me from the trees down in the lower forest! Instead we have ground squirrels, as you know, heh. Did you know that we've actually had to shoo these little stinkers out of the house from time to time?! They'd come in through the dog door looking for treats or water or both. Ridiculous! :D I hope the lovely sunny day we're having is the same for you! *BIG HUGS* Explored on 9/24/19; highest placement #1.

A Day Walking in Victoria, Part 5--HFF and MORE!!! :D (+11 insets)

(+11 insets!) (Please view large! You'll enjoy it!) :) Trip Talk: Taking Time to Wander Without a hard agenda, Steve and I strolled along the southern coastline of Victoria, gradually finding ourselves along the southern shore which afforded a cool perspective of Victoria's harbor. We were both happy to get away from the throngs of tourists who frequent the busier parts of the city's waterfront. The lovely southern views were incredible and showed the 25-mile distance to Port Angeles, Washington. There was something really special about staring out at sea and seeing so much activity. Hard not to thinking about the history of this place. Victoria has been an important town since navigators came here in 1770 and befriended the native people who made their home there. Did you know that, with its proximity to Hong Kong, Victoria was once North America's largest importer of opium?! These days Victoria is known as the "Garden City" because it's so beautiful. There should be no surprise that it thrives as an extremely popular tourist destination, but it also makes an important home to the tech sector. One of the things I love about taking the time to walk around a city is that you get a much better sense of what it's truly like. Truthfully, Steve and I didn't get to walk as far as we'd wanted to but we did get to see enough of the town that we were really satisfied. We'll definitely be coming back some day because this city has so much to see! (By the way, this is my last presentation for our day in Victoria!) Today's Pictures My main picture today was captured at Holland Point, along the southern edge of Victoria's waterfront. The view along this pretty path was so nice and though I'm not a big fan of the pollution caused by cruise ships, I just loved the way this picture turned out with the meandering fence, a fringe of golden grass and the pretty clouds in the distance. Inset 1: This extremely wide panorama shows the amazing view from Holland Point. On one side it shows a ship at one of Victoria's two massive cruise line docks and on the other, a trail meanders along the southern end of the city. I love the way the fence stretches across the scene! I would have made it my main image today but I was afraid that it just doesn't look like anything unless you see it larger! Inset 2: This picture was a surprise to me. It's a very tight crop of a much larger image and at first glance looked like a garbage shot. As I was about to toss it I zoomed in. WOAH! There's something super cool about the sparkles on the water, the silhouette and that mirage-like background. I couldn't have planned for it, but this turned out to be one of my personal favorites! Inset 3: This sailboat in its festive red and white colors, zipped across the bay with its happy crew…you could almost hear them laughing as they flew by! Inset 4: This is the official start of the Trans-Canada Highway , a marker that sits at the edge of Beacon Hill Park. The Trans-Canada is the longest highway in the world, stretching all the way across Canada for 4,862 miles (7,821 km)! ! I specifically wanted to come and see this because I find places like this to be extremely thought-provoking. I stood there, vsualizing the line that begins where I stood, and crosses thousands of miles to a place I've never even seen. And then there's the giggle about this highway. In order to follow the highway, you actually have to take a ferry across from Vancouver Island to the mainland. On the far side, another ferry is required to get you to the edge of Newfoundland! Finally, thinking about the Trans-Canada Highway is exciting because both Steve and I would really love to make this trip sometime, taking months to explore as we go. (I have included another inset below this inset which shows the path across Canada.) Inset 5: This pano features a pair of oil tankers on the horizon. The industry here in Victoria and Vancouver Island are almost always visible just by looking out to sea. Tankers, fishing boats, ferries, personal craft, charters of all kinds…they are ever-present and make for a wonderful time sitting and watching the ongoing show! Inset 6: Here a powerful yacht flies by, what a beauty! The stuff of dreams, Steve once entertained the idea of maybe getting a boat to travel in. But the bigger the boat, the more money they cost and absolutely everything that goes along with that…they are notorious money pits and there are more economical ways to see the world. They sure are fun to see though! :D Inset 7: This is a detail shot of "The World's Tallest Totem Pole"! What do you know about that?! While we were walking through Beacon Hill Park we saw this totem pole in the distance and had to get a picture. Then we read the sign and discovered its claim to fame. Now that I'm home, I've done a search for "World's Tallest Totem Pole" and you'll be amused if you click on the link, to discover there are a bunch of candidates…and some of them cheat by using more than one tree to come up with it's final height…lol, that's not fair! :D Inset 8: Here's a picture of the whole totem pole, with me at the base to show just how tall 127 feet is! (Click on this link for more information about the pole's carving team and its history) Inset 9: Continuing our walk up through Beacon Hill Park, we began to head back into the heart Victoria's downtown. Parked at the side of the road, I couldn't help taking a picture of this enormous Caterpillar excavator . These monstrous earth-movers never fail to get my attention, and like a little kid, I would happily watch one of these guys for hours as it moved dirt from point a to point b! Inset 10: "What the heck is that?!" Next to the Cat was this group of wrapped things and Steve was happy to amaze me by saying, "You know the garbage cans you see on the street? This is what they look like before they're put into place. YES…the "can" is set incredibly deep below the sidewalk so it holds more trash! Isn't that just AMAZING? I stood and stared and stared. I had no idea that city garbage cans were made this way! Inset 11: By the end of our long day and many hours of urban hiking, Steve and I were absolutely ravenous for dinner. Because we have a ketogenic lifestyle, the easiest meal--as well as one of the tastiest--that we enjoy are burgers. We had hoped to return to the wonderful sushi restaurant we'd visited the last time we were here but sadly the doors were closed when we arrived…we almost cried to see they were closed on Mondays! But I'd remembered passing by a hamburger joint at some point during the day and discovered we weren't too far away. About 15 minutes later we walked into Fatburger and discovered a whole new Nirvana! Not only did they serve their burgers in lettuce wraps, they did an AWESOME JOB making them easy to handle and eat (if badly made, lettuce wraps fall apart or can't even be picked up at all)! The restaurant was super cool with bebop music, fun décor and wonderful staff. Did I mention the part about blazingly fast, free wifi?! We considered moving in! :D Pam, I think you would have had a fantastic time if you'd been our stroll through the area of Victoria. we visited. I totally understand why this place is on your bucket list. We loved it so much that we hope to return and spend some WEEKS just exploring this area of Vancouver Island! I sure do hope that you've had a good day, you are certainly in my thoughts! :) *HUGS* Explored on 9/27/19; highest placement #3.