Monday, July 27, 2009

When Gram met Granny in Victoria

So I'm happy to report that there are no stories to tell about having to tie my grandmother to the roof of the car on this trip, though I may have been tempted once or twice to throw her into the harbour.

Our road trip started in Calgary on Friday morning. We drove through Banff, Yoho, Mt. Revelstoke, and Glacier National Parks. I saw a brown bear just past Lake Louise, but otherwise no other wildlife. There was a haze through every valley we drove through and the smell of smoke was so thick through Roger's Pass, that it hit you in the face when we got out of the car.

Roger's Pass

We have heard that the fires are 20% controlled and our highway has opened up if we choose to drive back through the Okanagan, but I don't know how safe (or smart) that will be.

fires still raging near Vernon and Kelowna, British Columbia

We will decide closer to our return date. The forecast predicted thunderstorms throughout the day, but someone forgot to mention it to the sky above us, because we had cloudless skies right through until we reached Hope, British Columbia. It's an interesting little place. You drive through some incredible scenery to get there and the town itself is where the Fraser River is met by the Coquihalla River at the entrance to the Fraser Canyon. What it may be best known for is that it was home to the filming of Rambo: First Blood. If I could remember any of that movie, perhaps I would have included some photos of the sites that appeared in the movie, but I'm afraid I have zero recollection, other than Stallone's terrible acting.

backdrop from the movie???

We set out the next morning for Tsawwassen to catch our ferry to Vancouver Island. The second we parked the car on deck to board, I was in love. It's amazing how one forgets the effect the sea has on your happiness, until you're near it again. I can live without living near the water, until I stand at its shores, then I think that I can't live away from it. Ironic that I live in one our few landlocked provinces. :( I watched a flock of seagulls chasing a bald eagle, I saw trees that were foreign to Ontario or Alberta, on the islands that we passed. I loved every second of the hour and a half ferry ride.

We arrived in Victoria Saturday afternoon and settled into our wonderful, family-run hotel. We are sitting a block and a half away from the harbour, right behind the famous Empress Hotel. Check out the view:

Today was awesome. After much coercing (a very frustrating experience to convince my grandmother to go whale watching, knowing full well that she wants to go while she enjoys complaining and sulking that she doesn't)- we boarded the 5 Star Whale Watching catamaran and had a great time. We saw our J-Pod and it was so great.

From left to right, I was told that they are Ruffles (58 years old), Granny (98 years old), Taquisha and a new unnamed calf. 98 YEARS OLD!!! How amazing is that! It was beautiful to watch these guys and they seemed to jump out of the water just for me to take their photo.

We went for a little ferry boat ride through the inner harbour and stopped at the Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. I decided that I want to buy one of these floating houses. How neat are they? Didn't Jason from the Bachelor live in one of these?

This is the Empress Hotel. So pretty. I'm sorry to be leaving tomorrow, but we have more of the Island to explore. We are hoping to visit the Butchart Gardens and/or Victoria Butterfly Gardens tomorrow before heading up to our next stop in Nanaimo. I'm looking forward to having more pictures to show off!!


Yaya said...

Whoa! Those mountains look awesome, and the whales!!!

ModernMom said...

Your pictures are absolutely amazing. I do hope they manage to get those fires under control. I'll try and send some of this rain in Ontario that way:)

Lady Di said...

That's so cool seeing the whales. I loved all the pictures, and I'm glad you didn't have to strap Grandma on top of the car.

Charlene said...

The pictures are fantastic! The whale watching must have been amazing. I would love to do that some day. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

Kristina said...

I love the pictures, especially the whales!!! What a beautiful trip you're taking =) I can't wait for more pictures!

monica said...

Wow what a beautiful country you live in! The mountains and the river very pretty. And those killer whales beautiful pictures. Can't wait to see more of your journey. Thanks for following me I am following you also!

Unknown Mami said...

Can you buy me one of those floating houses too?

Maddy said...

I wonder if I could make my own floating house out of recycled materials? Love the whales and fabulous piccies.

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