Wednesday, May 25--Victoria BC

Royal BC Museum; Maritime museum; Miniature World; tea at the Empress Hotel; dinner at the Harbour House

Harbour Towers



I woke up absurdly early this morning, about 5:30, but I was able to go back to sleep for another hour and a half or so. Then, about 8 AM some workers in the immediate neighborhood began using power tools and other equipment that made quite a lot of noise.

I wasn't in a hurry to do much of anything, since everything I had planned to do was in the immediate neighborhood of the hotel, no further into town than across the street from the Empress Hotel.

About 10 this morning I called the Empress and made a reservation for their tea at 3:30. It was the most expensive meal I've had in a very long time, especially since it's basically a light lunch, but I felt it would be worth it. As Rick Steves and one of his fellow tour guides said in one of his videos about Paris, you're paying for more than the food and the setting, ambience and experience do make it worthwhile.

I headed out about 11, and went on over to the Royal BC Museum, and had a small pastry and sandwich in their smaller café first. It didn't take me too long to go through the museum because as usual I don't spend a lot of time reading the informational signage, but the museum itself and its exhibits are still as wonderfully done as I remember them being. I have always especially liked the First Nations sections, with the masks, totem poles and other artificacts.

I had quite a bit of time before my tea reservation so I went around the corner to the very small but extremely well done maritime museum. They had a special touring exhibit on the lost Franklin expedition and the continuing search for it, and I enjoyed telling the three very nice ladies working the desk (well, one was working and the eldest lady was waiting for her husband to come and pick her up, and the second young woman worked there but might have just been relieved by or just visiting with the woman on the desk) about the song "Lady Franklin's lament" and that there were several versions on YouTube, as I had told my tour guide in Greenwich last July.

Since as I said the maritime museum is quite small–but well worth the $5.00 donation they ask for, and which I was happy to contribute–I still had plenty of time after visiting there to go across the street to the always extremely well done and rather fascinating Miniature World. Because I don't pore over every detail, I still had about an hour or so before my tea reservation, I went across the street down by the water front and found a bench to sit on and read one of my Kindle books using the app on my iPhone.

Although the entrance to the Empress Hotel has been moved since the last time I was there, however long ago it has been, the tea seatings are still in the same part of the hotel they've been for decades and decades. I didn't have a seat looking out over the hotel's front lawn to the harbor but it didn't matter since I had just spent an hour down there anyway, and the part of the hotel's restaurant where the teas are served is quite lovely. I had three cups of tea, after they each cooled down enough for me to drink them, of course, and enjoyed all the different kinds of pastries and small sandwiches.

They serve tea from 11 to 5 or so, with seatings every fifteen minutes or so, and today is in the middle of the week, so when I was there the house was only two-thirds full.

I came back here to my room for about an hour or so before going back downstairs to do my exercise walking on the treadmill. The weather today was the nicest it's been while I've been here, almost warm enough for shorts and not needing a sweatshirt. I had thought about doing my walking by going down to the waterfront below the hotel, to the Victoria Clipper dock, and walking around to the same street on the other side of this end of the peninsula but I chose to use the treadmill because I've been having some foot problems–heel pain, mostly, and mostly in my right foot–which seem to bother me a bit less when I can hang on to the rails of a treadmill.

I had thought about waking over to the local outlet of the Old Spaghetti Factory, since that's one of the two places I'll probably make a special effort to go to while in Seattle (the other being of course Ivar's fish & chips down on the waterfront) but decided I'd check out one of the restaurants here in the neighborhood of the hotel, the Harbour House whose menu I checked out online. It's a lovely place right around the corner, halfway down the block towards the Clipper terminal, and I had some delicious seafood fettucine followed by creme caramel.

The Clipper leaves here for Seattle at 11:30. That will give me plenty of time to have one last breakfast in the hotel's restaurant and get rid of some of the Canadian bills I have left. I'd probably have time to use the treadmill here as well, but the boat gets into Seattle at around 2. The only plans I have for tomorrow after getting to Seattle is walking on over to the REI outlet which isn't far from the hotel and catching the 9:15 laser light show, so I think I'll just wait and use the treadmill at my hotel there in Seattle instead.

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