September 24, 2012
Today was dedicated to Victoria, BC. Victoria is not only the biggest city on Vancouver Island but also the capital city of British Columbia. This might seem a little odd, given that Vancouver is much bigger and actually located on the mainland. We had arrived here in the late afternoon yesterday, and today was to be our first day in downtown Victoria. After the heavy Chinese meal yesterday, we decided to leave the car at the hotel and walk into the city. Fortunately, this was possible along the 3km “Galloping Goose Trail” which is a very nice cycling and jogging route along Victoria’s inner harbor.
Chinatown and other strange encounters
As we passed onto the east shore (and into downtown) we basically stepped right into Chinatown. There were lots of cute Chinese shops (and people), and the whole dynamic on the street was in fact very Chinese, in contrast to the rest of the city. We continued along Government Road south, looking at the many shops along the way. At the Empress Hotel, we visited the tourist information to get some more tips about the rest of the island.
After a short sandwich-and-soup pit-stop at a nearby Deli (thanks Daria) we went up to the BC Parliament Building. We only wanted to peek inside, expecting the kind of airportesque security we had encountered in the Ontario Parliament in Toronto in 2008. But since the legislature was not in session we could freely wander through the Parliament building and even peek into the legislative chamber. Quite impressive, and in general very British. There was a whole room dedicated to Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family in general, which I found to be a little over the top (and I’m not even a French-Canadian, just saying).
By this point we were already quite tired, Katrin managed to nap for a while on a bench right next to main street. We halfheartedly went down to Beacon Hill Park, but then decided to make our way back home. At the hotel we grabbed our books, a cup of joe from Tim and sat on a bench in Gorge Park looking over the inner harbor. When it got darked we went grocery-shopping and retired to our hotel room.
The next three nights on Vancouver Island are already planned as well, which is something we don’t usually do. We will spend the next night in Nanaimo (with lots of planned on the way there) and the two nights after that just outside Tofino on the western shore, next to the Pacific Rim National Park.