Saturday, October 16, 2010

Victoria, B.C.

Saturday, October 16 2010
Today, we got up early to make the one daily trip on the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria.  Arrived in Victoria around 9:30 am with our bikes.  We rode up a very long hill to Craigdarroch Castle, a huge home built around 1890 by a family who had come from nothing in Scotland to huge wealth.  No expense was spared in the building - beautiful stained glass, woodwork galore, about 5 floors of splendor.  Unfortunately, the man died before the house was finished, the wife and 5 daughters and a couple of grandchildren lived there for about 18 years.  Wife died, none of the 5 daughters were in the position to buy out her siblings, so the house and extensive grounds went to a developer.  He divided the grounds up into lots, sold lottery tickets for $2750 each - each ticket holder would get a lot.  The second ticket drawn gave ownership of the castle and grounds around it to one man, who immediately mortgaged it for $25,000, and proceeded to lose it to the bank! After a number of different uses over the years, it now is in the hands of an organization that hopes to continue restoring it completely.
We then rode over to the Government House and walked through the amazing gardens there, maintained by volunteers.  Because of the currents in the Pacific (the Humboldt Current), Vancouver Island has an amazingly long growing season, lasting much of the year.  They had just put in their "winter plants", panzies and other flowers we couldn't consider at this time of year in Michigan!  The gardens (took lots of pictures) were beautiful, even this time of year - I can't even imagine what they would be like in June!!
We then had high tea in the Empress Hotel, built in 1908.  Served by Elly, from Newfoundland, who has worked there for 37 years!  Lovely, lovely experience - what a wonderful treat!
Then, it was back on the ferry for the return (once a day) to Port Angeles.  Normally, the ferry's season is over - they extended it through October, because the weather has been so unusually good.  We've been so lucky with weather this whole trip.  Tomorrow, continuing on around the Olympian Peninsula.
Victoria Harbor

cool boat...

the ferry that we rode

Craigdarroch Castle

beautiful window in the castle

oh, the woodwork!

garden at Government House

weeping Sequoia

it's October, and they've just put in bedding plants!

duck, goose!

next few shots are for my gardening friends...

this plant's leaf undersides are a totally different color..

perfect hydrangea

don't know what it is, but it's beautiful!


beautiful bed of ferns

again....bedding plants, October??

Hotel Empress, more weeping sequoia trees.

gorgeous rose October!


In the hallway at the Empress Hotel

entrance to the Empress Tea Room

meeting space at the hotel

courtyard at the hotel

tea, anyone?

ceiling in the tea room


stairwell from level one to two in the lobby

stairs again...

Empress, from the harbor

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