Victoria, BC

They’re REALLY Going To Stop For ME? Wow! That’s Weird!

One of the things that’s really nice about Victoria and is also kind of unnerving is their politeness when it comes to the pedestrian crosswalks. I am a native New Yorker who knows you NEVER, EVER just ASSUME that the cars are going to ACTUALLY stop for you in those crosswalks and if you live in Florida like I now do you also know that even though the law says you have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks people take is as more of a suggestion rather than an actual law.

Well, here in Canada it is also the law that they have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks but the weird thing is that they ACTUALLY do it! EVERY TIME! Without being prodded or made to feel guilty in to doing it. They just see you and STOP! They actually smile at you too and wave you to cross like some friendly neighbor or family member like ‘Go on Johnny. It’s okay. I am stopping just for you!’ It’s freaking amazing!

The reason it’s unnerving is because I am actually afraid that I am going to get used to this and start taking it for granted that it’s just something that happens naturally because it’s the law and then I’ll go home or to some other city and without thinking walk into the pedestrian crosswalk and get run over as I am being flipped the bird and cursed at.

Oh well I’ve got another week and a half here and until I leave I’ll enjoy the moment and just keep reminding myself that this is some sort of alternative reality and that back home I have to really be on my guard again. 🙂

Categories: Canada, Challenges Insights and More, Strange Ways and Customs, Victoria, BC | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Barb’s Famous Fish And Chips And More…

Beautiful Architecture!

Today we set out on another beautifully sunny day in Victoria, B.C. to see the city on foot (which is really the only way to do it) and enjoy the beautiful weather. We left our friend’s condo and head across the bridge to the city center taking some pictures on the way.

Talk about strength…check this little one out!

Down by the harbor we found that there was a protest going on at the Parliament building (I guess more of the Wall Street protests spreading everywhere) but there’ll be more photos of that later on in this blog.

The Empress Hotel in all it’s spendor, Victoria, B.C.

The Empress Hotel was beautiful in the sunshine with the red vines crawling up it and then we decided that it was a little too warm for the clothes we were wearing and caught a water taxi to take us across Victoria Harbor back to the condo to change. When you come to Victoria you really have to take the water taxis even if it’s just to take the complete circuit of the harbor. So much of Victoria is about being on the water – the water taxis, the seaplane strip that is the harbor, the fishermen that go out every day to supply the city with fresh caught, wild salmon, haddock, etc, etc. to go to Victoria and not experience that life would be a shame.

Check out the video of our water taxi ride and the seaplane that was right next to us:

If you notice in that video we’re on the water taxi and have to slow down for a seaplane to get to the terminal in the harbor. Our friend informed us that Victoria Harbor Airport is the third largest airport in Canada and the biggest seaplane airport anywhere. They take that very seriously here. This harbor is alive with action from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. when seaplanes, ferries to Port Washington, Seattle, and Vancouver come in and out, as well as kayakers, fishermen, whale watchers and more take to the harbor to have a look.

Barb’s Place, Fisherman’s Wharf

After we changed into more appropriate clothing for the glorious weather we were having we decided to once again take the water taxi but this time from the dock in back of the condo across to Fisherman’s Wharf to finally taste the famous fish and chips from Barb’s Place.

Now due to the fact that both Matt and I have gained a bit more weight lately than we’d like to admit we abstained from having the ‘chips’ with our ‘fish’. I know it’s blasphemous but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Instead we opted for a nice green salad with it.

Barb’s Famous Fish and…errr…Salad?

This place is on Fisherman’s Wharf and it’s an area where people live in floating houses. It’s like a little tiny (really tiny) village in itself. Seagulls are flying overhead and the occasional seal can be seen next to the docks hoping for some left overs to come his or her way. We didn’t see any seals today but I overheard someone say that there was one there just a few minutes before.

Our meal was very flaky, moist, and greasy just like you hope your fish and chips will be. I still think I’ve had better than this in Victoria the last time we were here at a pub that I can’t remember the name of (but I do remember how to get back there) so I might have to revisit that place and do a comparison.

After our nice leisurely meal dockside we decided to walk along the docks and see what else there was to see. Our friend, Jurg, had told us about a coffee shop here that he said was really good and gave us a frequent customer card to take advantage of so, of course, I had to oblige and check them out. 🙂

Chilly after our nice lunch on the docks, a coffee was in order!

I went in and ordered a nice, hot, decaf Carmel Latte with soy milk and it was heavenly.

It was a nice little place too and the staff was friendly and had a great sense of humor as well. The apparently have performers there from time to time and the atmosphere was really relaxing. It seemed to be a great place to chill out and enjoy your coffee and scone.

I think I may just have to visit this coffee house a few more times while I am here. I LIKED it!

Armed with our hot, delicious caramel lattes Matt and I set out to see the city and walk all the way home.

Floating homes on Fisherman’s Wharf

You see, Fisherman’s Wharf is directly across the water from where we are staying. The only way to get back there is to take the water taxi or walk all the way around. We opted for the walk all the way around option because of the aforementioned weight that we need to lose and the fact that it’s a beautiful city and a beautiful day.

I have a fascination with the floating houses here. I think it’s really cool but I don’t think I would be able to live in one. I think the constant rocking might really mess up my already messed up ear. Heck, I start rocking when I am on land. I can’t imagine what it would be like if that was a regular thing with my house! Geez!

Nautical Delights!

Solar Powered Trash Compactor

Some of the boats here are gorgeous as well. As we walked along the waterside trail we found things that I’ve never seen before like have you ever seen a solar powered trash compactor? Well, I can now officially say that I have. Quite a great idea too in my opinion!

In town we noticed that the few protesters mentioned earlier had apparently recruited some of their friends and were marching down the main thorough fare to the Parliament building.

Protestors in Victoria, BC – Oct. 15th, 2011

More Protestors, Victoria BC – Oct. 15th, 2011

Police had a few roads blocked off for their safety and all in all it was a peaceful protest.

I can’t say that I completely GET what all these protesters are trying to accomplish but I will give them an A for doing something…what that is exactly I am not sure but it’s something I guess.

We gawked with the rest of the tourists and snapped photos and video reading the signs that they carried. Some I have to admit didn’t make much sense really but I am not really into politics so maybe I just don’t get it. I am okay with that so no need to teach me a history lesson or give me any political opinions here. It’s my blog and I am just saying what went through my mind in my own space. It’s all good. I am all about peace and I was glad that everyone was allowed to express themselves freely, safely, and without violence.

We continued our leisurely walk back to our friend’s condo with a brief stop off at the local Stop & Save to gather some groceries for some recipes I want to make for all of us this coming week.

Upon arrival back to the condo we decided that we probably should work out in the gym BEFORE we got too comfortable.

So down to the gym we went and put in a nice hour long workout complete with some weight lifting.

Having completed a great day of exercise and fresh air I decided to make some granola tonight which was a request from our host. His supply was running low and his wife was out of town. So here’s a picture of the finished granola.

Crunchy, Vanilla-Cranberry Granola

Well after that day there was nothing left to do but make dinner, pour a glass of wine, and watch several episodes of the fourth season of Boston Legal! Ah…what a nice day!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Victoria!

Categories: Canada, Canada, Challenges Insights and More, Food and Other Stuff, Recycling and the Energy Crisis, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC, Video Tours | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do I Have The Kinks Song Victoria In My Head Again?

Our View Of Victoria Harbor in British Columbia

Well that’s easy, because I find myself in Victoria, B.C. again thanks to a good friend of ours who lives there. His wife was away and he wanted company so he sent Matt and I tickets to come visit him again. A very nice surprise indeed.

Our journey there was an interesting one too. Having only found out about the journey to Victoria four days prior Matt and I found ourselves at Miami Airport VERY, VERY early in the morning only to find out that our flight to Victoria (you know, the ONLY flight to Victoria that only involved one stop in Seattle and only flew ONCE a day AND caused us to have to get up at 3 a.m. to get to the airport in time…yeah, that flight) was cancelled due to a sick crew member. Later they decided to fly a special flight for us at 7 p.m. So we got to peruse Miami Airport for about 11 hours but I digress.

Short of that the rest of the trip was good. Because the flight had so few people on it (most had rescheduled for the next day or had taken other airlines to get where they were going) we all got a whole row of seats on the plane to ourselves. I actually for the first time got to sleep on the flight because I could actually lay down. Oh it was wonderful! Other amenities we received for our troubles were a free glass of wine (I got two…Matt doesn’t really drink…it also helped the aforementioned sleeping on the plane bit too), a free sandwich (if you were a meat eater but still a good gesture), and free use of the portable Digiplayer with all the movies, games, music videos, etc plus they had to put us up in a hotel in Seattle being our arrival came at a time where no planes were flying to Victoria until the morning.

Here’s a video of our flight from Seattle to Victoria, B.C.:

And here’s a video of us landing at Victoria International Airport:

Once we arrived in Victoria we were greeted by our friend, Jurg, and we proceeded to make us a nice homemade dinner of pasta, wine, and appetizers.

A Canoe!

Outside The Canoe Club, Victoria B.C.

Home Brewed At The Canoe Club

Where all the magic happens!

Quinoa and Chickpea Veggie Burger with Butternut Squash Soup

The next day was our first full day in Victoria and we headed to the Canoe Club for lunch where I had a really great Quinoa and Chickpea veggie burger and a bowl of Butternut Squash soup. I washed it all down with a Canoe Club in house made Ale that was wonderful.

Wild Caught Local Sockeye Salmon!

In the evening we all strolled back into town for a wonderful meal at Nautical Nellie’s where I indulged in my first piece of Wild Sockeye Salmon in over a year. I am totally vegetarian but make certain exceptions (such as certain fish mostly…I am not interested in other meat things) when traveling in order to experience the local foods. This salmon was local and wild caught in British Columbia and it was the best salmon I believe I’ve ever had. Matt and Jurg had surf and turf.

Next up is a visit to one of the ‘famous’ local places to eat called Barb’s. They are known for their fish and chips and I’ve heard they are the best in Victoria. I’ll report back soon.

Categories: Canada, Canada, Food and Other Stuff, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC, Video Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

James Blunt and Victoria Get It On!

James Blunt Performing at The Royal Theatre in Victoria BC - May 9, 2011

We had a great time in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada last week and I’ll write about all that in upcoming blogs but the highlight of the trip (besides seeing friends, of course) was being surprised by said friends with tickets to see James Blunt in concert at the Royal Theatre right there in Victoria.

The concert was incredible and the venue couldn’t have been better. It was a nice little intimate theatre where the acoustics were fantastic and James freely walked in the back door through the crowd to the stage. He also did a complete walk around the theatre during the show as well which was a nice surprise to everyone.

His soulful, emotional presentation of his songs was incredible and no one can deny his musical abilities as well as his great sense of humor. The majority of the time he was trying to coax the entire audience out of their clothes. Eventually he continued to try and ‘woo’ us all out of them. I think several audience members were quite willing to take him up on it but no one (to my knowledge anyway) actually did.

Here is a partial video that I took of James singing his song ‘Billy’ from his first album called ‘Back To Bedlam’. I only recorded part of the song and then stopped. Why? I really don’t know. I think I got so enthralled with the concert that I just stopped but here’s a bit of footage of it anyway for your entertainment.

Overall it was a fantastic performance by a talented musician/songwriter/singer and I would highly recommend everyone check James Blunt out the next time he performs in your town…or do like I did and go on vacation and see him there. It definitely makes a vacation that much more special when you combine it with a great musical performance.

Come back again soon to read my further adventures in Victoria, BC, Canada…

Categories: Canada, Canada, Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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