If you ever get the chance to visit Victoria, be sure to reserve more than one day! We were here 2 1/2 days and still only saw maybe half of the area. Victoria was undoubtedly the prettiest city I've yet to see in North America. The downtown harbor area features a number of English-influenced buildings such as the Customs House above and the Empress Hotel and BC Parliament Building below:
There were also many blocks of cute little city cottages with beautiful "English cottage gardens" in their yards (filled with lots of blooming Rhododendrons and Azaleas).
In the suburban outskirts, Victoria felt heavily American-influenced with it's McDonalds, Safeway grocery stores, Shell gas stations, and American-styled suburban houses, but in the city center, Victoria was a great mix of British and native B.C. influences-- such as this Scottish Highlander bear greeting guests at a downtown hotel, the horse-drawn carriages, the native totems in Totem Park, and these fine chaps playing at the Royal Cricket Club:
There's a great drive along Dallas Road that takes you all along the southern and eastern shoreline going through a number of nice neighborhoods and parks with terrific waterfront views. At one stop, we were able to spot the ferry we'd be taking to Port Angeles (the M.V. Coho) as it headed out across the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Looking across the 30 mile Straight, was a great view of the Olympic mountains poking out above the fog clouds on the Washington side.
Another interesting sight along Dallas Road was a group of para-sailers happily crusing up and down the shoreline at about 40 feet above the ground
Heading back to the harbor, we stopped at Craigdarroch Castle that had been highly recommended by my stepsister Holley. Unfortunately, they were already closed for the evening. However, we did chat with their friendly security guard who even gave Millie a few milk bone treats to thank us for coming by.
The next day, it was time to pack up the T@B and head back to the U.S. again. We got down to the ferry docks with plenty of time to spare, so walked around the harbor area a bit and happened upon this delightful Ukulele Orchestra that played some great arrangements of Beattles and Beach Boys tunes. Lots of fun!
Finally, our ship came in...the M.V. Coho. This time they lined me and the T@B up separately from Mom and her car, but I was able to get on board and up to wave at her from the deck!
Millie anxiously awaiting another fun, lonely ride in the hull of the ferry. At least she had a little window light this time.
As we left the harbor, we were able to take some shots of the cute little "harbor taxis" that scurry across the harbor, as well as watch a number of seaplanes follow us out the harbor to take off behind us.
Out on the Straight, the clouds lifted a bit over the mountains around Vancouver and Whistler for this neat shot:
I had been warned that the Straight of Juan de Fuca could be quite daunting at times as it's the only spot in the whole Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria area that receives direct winds and waves from the Pacific. On our crossing, the winds were fortunately pretty calm. However, the ocean swells were a different story! The Coho rolled strongly from side to side as we approached Port Angeles, so we wisely stayed up on deck to avoid getting sea sick!
Finally we arrived in Port Angeles, WA to calm water, beautiful Olympic mountains, and this charming oil tanker: