You have to spend a little money in Victoria to do it right. The inner harbour is so small and compressed and there is so much going on all the time, that if you don’t have a big window or balcony overlooking it you will miss amazing things.
We rented a room at the Victoria Regent. It is a resident hotel. People own each unit and the hotel operator rents the units out when you aren’t there. It’s a weird feeling at first to be living in someone else's home, but that feeling quickly subsides when very quickly, you feel right at home. If your home has a view like this, that is.
It wouldn’t be anywhere near the same experience without the harbour view. I paid a little extra for the view that’s for sure. We booked a partial view room and I had them upgrade us to a full view. worth it.
I had a terrible sleep with a few coughing fits, as my weird night cold had reared it’s head. I did get those really good night shots tho…
The room comes with continental breakfast. No waffles like in Merritt, but pretty nice just the same. For an extra $2 each they will deliver your choices to your room. That was a good deal!
After breakfast we walked around downtown chasing some cold medicine for me, then headed down Yates to hop on the Harbour Ferry. We spent a total of $74 in two days on these things. It gave us 6 ‘hops’ and our total ride time was somewhere north of 2 1/2 hours. It was incredible value. The pilots are very casual, very good at what they do and are incredible anecdotal tour guides. So many little nuances about some of the boats in harbour, the airplanes, what is going on that day, where to eat. Invaluable. Also the perspective from the water level is unmatched. We are meters from landing floatplanes, docking ships. At one point a flotilla of cool old BC forestry boats came in and we learned that there was an annual gathering of these vintage houseboats in the harbour.
They have no real schedule. They just drive around picking up people when they are standing on the designated docks and will take you where you want to go, even of they have to drop off others and a few stops before yours. This was always a bonus. We liked when we had to stop at many of the other spots before getting to our destination. We also purposely picked hops that had far destinations from where we were.
This is Jeanne Socrates’ boat. She took up sailing at 51 years old, and now at 67 she is attempted her most recent round the world unaided sail. She was unsuccessful, and arrived in Victoria on Wednesday Aug 1st. She was relaxing on deck each time we passed. Her website is quite compelling, and her most recent log post as she arrived in Victoria is here.
Now. Between hops we would just explore wherever we got dropped off. The first one was over to Fishermans Wharf. It was still relatively early for lunch so we strolled around the cool floating homes and watched for sea life in the low tides around the docks.
From the Wharf we headed over to main downtown docks for a walk around the flea market. It was busy and pretty warm, so we ended up with a hotdog and shave ice drink in a shady spot overlooking the marina and the Ledg.
From there it was as short walk over to our one planned visit. Miniature World. I was there when I was Andrews age and I was anxious to get back. As usual for this trip the price seemed a little steep, but once you were in there, you felt like you got full value and more. Here are the highlights as per my camera. Click for larger images, it’s worth it. incredible detail and workmanship. These are all shot through the Plexiglas cases.
From there we headed into downtown. As stop at Rogers’ Chocolate was required, of course.
We were heading back to the hotel to re-energize for some more exploring when we decided to pop into Market Square. I love this spot and Andrew and I took a few artistic shots while Traci was shopping in a huge bead store.
After Traci was satisfied with her purchases, we headed back to the room for some patio time. This is the absolute best part of having a Harbour front room. You can go relax and never feel like you are missing out.
We just played around in the room, had a couple refreshing drinks and made up our minds to head back to Fishermans Wharf to get some live crab to cook in our room. Thankfully the shop did the cooking and cracking for us. We had a couple punches left on our hop card, so we could get to the Wharf and back. The day was just so gorgeous we couldn’t get enough of being out and about. It worked out great as both hops had extended stops in downtown. We sure weren’t complaining. Think of the worst delay you ever had on a city bus on a hot stinky day. Then think of the opposite of that. That is what it’s like on the Harbour Taxi.
Once we got back to the room with out giant bag of Crab and little chunk of Halibut for Andrew, we got the side dishes cooking, I walked over to a store for some condiments, then it was feast time. No pictures as it was that good. Andrew also now likes crab. He thinks they are super ugly, but really tasty. He even relates to them in the wild now… YUM he says!
After a much needed sit down in the room after supper, we took a walk across the big blue bridge. We hadn’t spent anytime over on the other side of the harbour, so we wanted to! It’s a different experience over there, almost like a different type of tourist stay there. There are also a lot of homeless people that hang out on that side, but it was still early enough that it wasn’t much of a bother.
There was, however, a really crazy weird flash mob thing happening…
That was pretty much our night. We do so much in the day, we end up wiped out and in bed early. We did take one last ride on the Harbour Taxi back to the hotel, as it was way past Andrews bedtime. It was completely perfect and amazing. We are having the time of our lives on this trip!
Next post: Victoria to Princeton: The heat is ON!