The first time Brian and I went to Vancouver Island, in 2003, it was a bit of a disaster. We stayed at a beautiful place called Point-No-Point. Email me if you want the details; it's turned into a funny story now, but then it was not at all amusing. For one thing, in the States, if you decide to stay at a cottage resort in a wilderness area, there are amenities along the roadside. Stores, little restaurants, gas stations, etc. Vancouver Island is a different story. This is the gateway to some seriously HUGE wilderness. Not your east coast woodlands, but huge rivers, cliffs, waterfalls, thick forests, bays, coves, inlets, fjords, ocean and an awful lot of large animals. And if you ain't careful, you will die. But when the tourbooks described the southwestern shore of Van Isle as "remote", I was thinking Ft. Bragg, CA or Lake Quinualt, WA "remote". No, the books mean remote in its most literal sense. The nearest town is Sooke (the double-o is said like "loop", not "look"), and that's a good 20 miles away. On that 2003 trip, we had picked up a few things in Sooke for the cabin (which was fully furnished and quite beautiful, but no TV), because we figured there'd be a local store closer to the resort. We were quite sadly mistaken on that point.
But I digress.
I decided to go to French Beach to exorcise the demons of the 2003 trip. French Beach is located on this remote southwestern shore. I took my metal detector down to the tideline but it didn't register anything unfortunately. Although the first couple of times it beeped I was all excited, then I realized that it was only beeping b/c I was also carrying a metal shovel so the detector beeped when it got too close to the shovel. Oh well. I did find some pretty rocks though. And a maple leaf too, which I've pressed into the pages of my travel journal.
Again, those are the Olympic Mountains on the other side of the Strait.
That's my new house. I wish!
Ya have to respect Ma Nature when you live up here. Case in point: beach logs. Huge logs and tree stumps, like this one, wash up on shore after winter storms carry them down the rivers and into the ocean. You do not want to be standing on the beach with heavy surf and turn your back to the water. It's not a good idea to turn your back to the ocean under any circumstances, but especially not in heavy surf. I can only imagine the power it took to get this giant stump up that far on the beach.
After I left French Beach, my plan was to drive down into East Sooke Park. There are lots of trails and one of the trails leads to ancient petroglyphs. I drove all the way down to the trailheads and changed my mind. I was, however, chuckling to myself, thinking about if Julie had been in the car with me, she'd have been like, "Jo! Come on! Let's hike! It'll be fun!" and me saying, "Yeah, you go right ahead and hike the shoreline trail...I'll pick you up in Metchosin in a few hours." As I drove away, thinking of that scenario and laughing, I said out loud in the car, "Because JoJo. Don't. Hike." and I went back to Victoria.
I was back downtown by 12:00 noon, so I walked aimlessly and messed around a bit with some old postcards I bought at an antique show last year. This is Government Street in days of old......
And this is the same shot, now....although I was unable to stand directly in the middle of the street.
And this is me trying to be artsy fartsy.
This is a nice view of Inner Harbour and Parliament from another old postcard.
I couldn't get up into any of the buildings on Govt. Street to shoot the same scene from that high, so this is the best I could get.
I read a ton of stuff that highly recommended Pagliacci's as a must-eat restaurant. I went in for lunch and all I can say is WOW. This is the kind of place that is really tiny, always packed and has autographed photos of celebrities dating from the present time back to what looked like the 1940's and 50's. I had a caesar salad and "vegetarian mediterraneo". It was DEE-LISH-USS!
Inner Harbour promenade with all the artists. I bought a beautiful painting from the artists on the corner, under the 2 green & white umbrellas...you can see one of the guys dressed in white under the umbrella. That's a protective suit b/c they work with spray paints. I've seen them every single time I've been in Victoria and they always attract a huge crowd. They create the most amazing works of surrealistic art focusing on nature, animals, Northern Lights, etc. that I've ever seen, and they do it right before your eyes. I overheard one of the artists answer a tourist's question that they've been at it since they were 13, in 1992. I bought one of their gorgeous creations, featuring an orca whale to commemorate my whale watch, and once it's framed, I'll take a picture of it. Only $40 too. I thought it was a very reasonable price for such a beautiful painting.
The only thing I didn't get a chance to do was take the Harbour Air float plane tour. After I had lunch at Pagliacci's, I walked down to the terminal but the next tour wasn't leaving until very late in the afternoon, and I have to admit, I was pretty exhausted and I didn't think I could productively kill 4 more hours downtown, so I had to forego it. But hey, now I have an excuse to go back.