Friday, June 6, 2014

Victoria Adventure - Day 2


Wednesday May 28th - We slept in a little and didn't get out of bed until around 7 am.  Troubadour was nice and went to the lobby to fill our travel mugs with coffee while the in-room maker brewed. We have a Bunn coffee maker at home with a thermal block and are used to piping hot coffee in 3 minutes.  And when that takes too long we have a CBTL single brewer system instead.

After an extra mug of coffee and getting ourselves presentable for the day, we packed some trail mix and grabbed a few complimentary (grown in Washington) Gala apples from the lobby then left the hotel.  Our destination was Butchart Gardens.  We had the address entered into the Garmin and I believe it took us along a different route than the one listed on the Gardens' website.  There were no road signs advertising the gardens along the way, but they were some nice twisty roads through farmland, so all was good.

We arrived just after they opened so there weren't too many people.... yet.  I think only two or three managed to annoy us before we could walk through the parking lot.

There are arrows and signs directing people through the entrance and into the park in the desired route they wish you to go.

For those of you that don't know Butchart Gardens is a once former private house and grounds now open to the public. Part of it was originally a limestone quarry and cement plant.  Originally owned by Robert and Jennie Butchart.  (Read more on their story and how Jennie devised her plans for the gardens by clicking the link on their names and scrolling down the linked page). Here is a link to a map of the gardens:  LINK.  The gardens were started over 100 years ago and remain in the family.

We walked through the gardens for a few hours commenting on the various types of plants and flowers we recognized as ones we see in Oregon and many we have in our own yard and taking lots of pictures.

Here are a few photos from our stroll:

(The Butchart Boar - Tacca, purchased in 1973, cast in Florence, Italy - Replica of Porcellino)

(A view of the Sunken Gardens - we skirted it and didn't actually go down closer)

(Former limestone quarry - see old chimney from cement factory kiln - top right quarter)

(Troubadour on a horsey)

(Attached to the carousel building)

(The Carousel opened in 2009 - each animal carved from basswood, aka Linden)

(There were several totem poles)

(Two totems and a Trobairitz)

(A variety of Deutzia - if I remember correctly)

(A beautiful sample of a Meconopsis Poppy)

(Another gorgeous poppy)

( A lot of arbors were leafing out, but not yet blooming)

(Troubadour catching me taking photos)

(Pretty Paeonia - aka Peony)

(Hmmmm, do you think he made a wish?)

(A stunning Rose, not many were blooming yet, but a few were)

(Photo bombing the gazing ball on Troubadour)

(More arbors)

(Entrance gate to the Japanese Gardens)

(Me in the Japanese Gardens)

(The Butchart Cove - adjacent to the Japanese gardens - tours of Tod Inlet)

(I liked the blue poppies combined with the red bridge)

(Archway through the hedge to the Italian Garden)

(Italian Garden of annuals)

(The patterns and colors attracted my eye - then it started to rain)

(People bolted for cover from the rain - great time to take a picture)

(All done, time for a soy chai latte and back in the car)

With no vegan friendly restaurants or cafes readily available we snacked on the apples and trail mix, then headed back to the hotel to regroup and check out how to get to the Malahat portion of the Trans Canada.  Princess Scooterpie and MotoMan suggested we might enjoy the drive.  We took a break (oh look, housekeeping left more cookies for us), consulted the maps, and headed back out.

The Trans Canada was easy enough to find once we discovered it turned into Douglas Street while downtown.  Off we went.  Traffic was heavier than we thought it would be.  Maybe people were heading out of town in that direction because there is a turn-off for the BC Ferry terminal or maybe just heading north on the Island to other cities.

We were surprised people seemed to be in such a hurry and the traffic was constant.  The terrain was pretty and it reminded us of some roads at home in some ways.  The grade was quite steep compared to most of our roads in the Willamette Valley though.

(Totem Pole at the Malahat Summit - 1156 ft/356 m)

(Taken at a  viewpoint on the Malahat)

(Zoomed in a little)
We drove down the other side, turned around and headed back over it once again as we headed back towards Victoria.  On the way we happened to get stopped at a red light.  We noticed the big Harley sign as we approached the light, but then Brad spotted the Triumph sign.  He'd discovered Savage Cycles - selling Triumph, Suzuki, and Ducatis.  

Of course we had to stop.  While they had a lot of bikes in stock, they didn't seem to have much gear or any shop shirts either.  We managed to get a little sticker shock with the out-the-door prices of new bikes in BC.  Between price, dealer set-up, and taxes, I am not sure how anyone could afford several bikes.  One very nice salesman offered to take Brad out for a long ride on some twisty roads if he came back at closing time, but we graciously declined.

We headed back to the hotel then walked downtown for dinner.  We ate at Green Cuisine.  While the website made it sound like a wonderful and fresh vegan buffet, we were unimpressed.  The people who gave it great reviews must have gotten there right when they put the food out or weren't good cooks themselves.  The food is sold by weight.  For the two of us we paid $27 for bland and flavorless food, except for the samosas, they were alright.  We wouldn't go back, nor would I recommend it.

As we walked back to the hotel we wandered around outside the Royal BC Museum (they were closed) and made our way by the Parliament Building.  Not many people mulling around so I took one close up of the front of it.

(Wow, no one on the stairs - quick take a picture)

We walked a block back to the hotel and called it a night.

- Au Revoir

"Like all travelers I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." - Benjamin Disraeli


  1. Stunning pics. You and I have similar eyes for composition. We should plan a photo trip together. A moto-photo trip!

    I love the pic of you in the Japanese garden. It's a gorgeous place. Looks like a fabulous spot to while away an afternoon. Next time I'm in Victoria, I'll have to go there.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I like the idea of a moto-photo trip.

      It was Brad's idea to have me sit on the bench. And it seemed to work. Leave it to me to wear the flower print shirt to the Gardens.

  2. Beautiful photos and definitely need to visit the gardens. I remember wanting to go during the last visit but was out voted.

    1. As grand and as beautiful as it was we were still a little disappointed. I think because so many of the plants we have at home in our yard. We actually enjoyed Beacon Hill Park more, you'll see that in the say 3 post.

  3. Trobairitz:

    You could have taken Dallas Road all the way around the coastline and still end up at Butchart Gardens. You would have liked Matticks Farm good place to stop for ice cream and a few shops there

    and then headed back to Victoria on West Saanich Road

    weather didn't look too bad, mostly nice. I would have liked you to continue north of the Malahat to Cowichan Bay, a nice seaside town with many restaurants. Dar used to live there on a float home

    If Brad had his bike I am sure they would have taken him into the Highlands area. Lots of twisties and all the sportbike riders like to go there. It's a narrow road in the forest with technical challenges.

    It's nice to get away and relax

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Spoiler alert. We walked and drove Dallas Rd on day 3, but not all the way back to the gardens.

      Weather in Victoria was nice, then raining on the Malahat, then sunny again back in Victoria.

  4. Brandy, thanks for bringing back all those precious memories. The gardens were beautiful, and I will miss Vancouver Island forever. Can't wait for your next instalment. I'll never get enough of Victoria and the Island.

    1. We didn't see much of the Island, but we did see quite a bit of Victoria when all was said and done.

  5. My wife and I have talked about making Vancouver one of our next vacation stops. I'm putting the gardens down as a definite place to visit. Thanks for letting us know about it!

    1. Victoria is very pretty and clean and we felt safe walking around after dark. I am sure you two would enjoy it, especially the old world architecture and gardens.

  6. Try and imagine a public building in the US not surrounded by armed guards and barricades...what have we wrought in the land of the free?

    1. I know right. Not a security officer in sight. Lots of cameras, but not a one armed guard or baton wielding security person. How to they manage to stay safe, lol.

  7. Some great pictures alright! But think about those poor bikes sitting at home...

    1. I know, sitting in the dark garage, all alone, pining away and crying radiator fluid and oil tears......

  8. That boar freaked me out!!! Why? Because I touched the original in Florence TWO WEEKS AGO!!!!

    1. Good to know I freaked you out. Had to be good for something. Very cool you touched the original when in Italy.

  9. Meanwhile, on an Island far, far away, these guys are doing pretty good!

    1. That Island is far far away, sure wish it was as close as a days drive. Go Team Suzuki.

  10. Breathtakingly beautiful shots of the gardens and everything!

    I haven't seen gardens like that since I was a child and lived in Europe where such things are cultivated and appreciated.

    A virtual paradise!

    1. Thanks Deb. We were a little late for the tulips and a little early for some of the annuals and roses, but the weather was pretty good. I can't imagine how busy it is during summer.

  11. Beautiful pictures! I love the flowers!! Victoria Island is on my to-do list, along with Orcas Islands! Thank you for letting me tour along vicariously with you! :)

    1. Thank you. I always love flowers so it was nice see and smell them. And of course, photograph them.

  12. I have been to Butchart twice in the 22 years I have lived here, once in the summer and once in the winter and it was ok. I agree I think Beacon Hill is much prettier and of course it's free! Lovely pictures of the gardens though. Hopefully you guys will get up here with the bikes at some point and we can go for long crawl along the Island. Cowichan Bay is a very pretty little hamlet. You sure did pack a lot in during the couple of days you were here.

    1. You sound like us - hard to be a tourist in your own area sometimes. I've only been to Crater Lake once and it is in our back yard too.

  13. Trobairitz,

    Wow, sounds like you guys had a great trip. The gardens were fantastic and your photos made me feel as though I were right there with you. Very cool indeed. Cant' wait to see the rest of your photos.

    Maybe one day I'll get a chance to visit Washington State and Canada. Until then, you can be my virtual tour guide.


    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

    1. We did have a great time even though it was short. I'll endeavor to be your tour guide to the Pacific Northwest - when we actually travel that is.

    2. Sounds good, thanks!

      Curt :-)