Monday, June 7, 2010

Vacations All I Ever Wanted

For awhile now I have been wanting to go to Canada and see our neighbor to the North.  With my mother and aunt visiting it was the perfect chance to have an excuse to do it.  My mother has been talking about staying at he Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. to take "High Tea" at the hotel, which she has heard so many things about.  Wheels in motion... we did just that when the two of them came to visit two weeks ago.

Up at the crack of dawn we headed down towards Seattle to catch the Clipper to Victoria.  We barely made the deadline time of 7:15 AM to board the boat, because we took the express lane on the I-5 and missed our exit.  With our motion sickness pills in hand (just in case) we were off and sailing towards an overnight vacation.  Why only overnight?  I have cats and no one to care for them.  Don't worry, I put out three bowls of water, two bowls of dry food and a soft radio playing to keep them company.

We landed in port at 10:30 in the morning to see our hotel just across the way.  It was a glorious sight and what made the day even more special; Victoria Day!  The entire city was celebrating.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel is even more beautiful in person and worth the money to stay there.  Although this visit  my husband and I were treated by my mother and aunt.  We love them for that! 

 Our goal was to have the high tea at the hotel on our first day and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised by the beauty and richness of the hotel interior and the friendliness of the staff.  I wish I had brought my camera to tea and taken shots, because I have never had the types of sandwiches and tea, not to mention the desserts, the hotel served at tea.  They had a curry sandwich that was out of this world.  We even asked for another plate of them, which Rick and I ate.  I have no shame in my game.  The teas were so good we brought home two boxes of them and have been drinking them every day.

After tea we decided to go to our rooms and take a short snooze before heading back out.  Well, Rick and I snoozed.  I had four hours of sleep in the last two nights and I didn't have much left in me, so I went down for the count.  The room was wonderful with the nicest beds.  Totally my style.  Again, I wished I had the though t to take pictures.  My brain was fried from lack of sleep.  After a two hour nap I was ready to see a bit of Victoria and have a early dinner.

We ended up at eating at the Irish Times Pub.  I am trying to watch the things I eat and I did a good job eating a salmon dinner with salad, but I have to say I took a couple of fries from Ricks plate and OMG... these were the most amazing fries I have ever had.  The pub fried them in such a way I have never tasted any other fry like it.  Lets just say I had ended up stealing five of them from him.  We also had a really interesting beer sampler.  I can't drink the darker beers and the really pale blonde beers, aren't always the tastiest , so I discovered I am a middle of the road girl.  Again, the camera would have been nice here too!

After dinner we did some sight seeing and shopping.  I did more of the sight seeing.  I am not a shopper!  Yup, I am probably the only girl alive who doesn't like to shop!  The beauty of the buildings, streets and even the trees made walking through town really nice.

Love the "friend" with the sign!

Serious Yumm!

We called it a night and got to bed early.  You would think I would have gotten some badly needed sleep, because of how tired I was, but no.  I worried about my animals and I got a whole THREE hours of sleep.  Exhaustion is my friend.

We had an early breakfast the next morning (included in our package), which was very good and we started off on some more sight seeing, shopping and to see the Parliament building, which happen to be across the street from the hotel.  The Parliament building is their legislative branch.  The building is amazing to see and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it or not, even though other countries fascinate me and how they go about doing things that differ from our country, but I am so glad we went. It actually was the best part of the trip for me  besides those damn fries!

Now i f you don't notice the little spikes that are sticking out from the dome and building they are lights and at night they entire building is lit up like a Christmas tree and is spectacular looking.  They have free guided tours that you can go on, but since we a limited time before we had to get back to the boat to go home we chose to go free stylin' and do our own tour.  Interesting enough that the Parliament building was designed by the same architect that designed the Empress Hotel.  Riveting stuff!

They had the most amazing stained glass windows.

Two of the windows were dedicated; one to Queen Victoria  for her 60 years of rein and to Queen Elizabeth for her 50 years of rein, which now is now 58 years as of 2010 and  she just might out rein Queen Victoria herself.


The best part of the Parliament visit was when went inside the assembly chambers and watched the  members debate a bill.  Their government is not so different from our government.  I watched one member use her Blackberry under her desk almost the entire time the debate was going on.  Shameless!

 We ended our tour a bit short to find a place to eat dinner and head back to the boat to get through customs.  We had the most amazing salsa at dinner.  It was chunky, spicy, and sweet at the same time.  If I could have a plate of the curry sandwiches from high tea and the fries from our Irish pub and the salsa from this dinner I would be a happy gal.

It was 7PM and we were headed home and I was glad, because I needed to see that my cats were okay and I needed to become friends with my bed again.

Unfortunately, it was too cold and a tad too dark to take the picture, but we saw two cutter boats, from the Coast Guard, escorting a U.S. submarine up the coast.  Coolest thing I have seen!  Fun times, but I am glad I am home.

**All photographs are watermarked **


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