No, we didn’t go to the Butchart Gardens or have high tea. Why did you go to Victoria then?!
Victoria is charming. From the architecture to the Sitka Spruce’s, the friendly and engaging people, the coffee shops and bakeries on every corner. There is so much to experience, it was just a matter of choosing what to do with our two days. I had a short list of things I was interested in seeing but other than that the trip was unscripted. My idea of a vacation is waking up early and finding a coffee shop, then exploring. I love a day unfolding as it is happening, not knowing what will be accomplished. I never once felt exhausted or rushed, but looking back I can’t believe everything we were able to do!
We couldn’t have spent our anniversary better.
Getting to Victoria from Portland: We drove up Highway 101 about 4.5 hours and arrived in Port Angeles at Black Ball Ferry Line. Once we got on the ferry (with our car) it was about 1.5 hours and we were in Victoria!
We rented from Airbnb and I have to say it was much more rewarding than staying at a hotel. At least for this particular trip. I did some research and based off location, photos and reviews I found the place where we would stay! We were in the heart of downtown surrounded by all the good stuff. It was our first time using Airbnb and I will definitely do it again. After getting off the ferry, we drove a few miles and met the host outside our condo. He was obviously an experienced Airbnb’er and made the process easy. He gave us the keys, some pointers and we were set!
This adorable narrow alleyway is Fan Tan Alley. It is just ten steps from where we were staying. The alley comes with a lot of history, neat doors and little shops. All the way down the alley in the corner we discovered a gem, La Tana. An authentic Italian bakery. It became our morning go-to for cornetto, which is basically the Italian version of a croissant. Next door to that, is Habit Coffee. Oh my latte. The perfect pair.
So, we are enjoying our breakfast and this adorable miniature lion-looking dog and his owner walk by. Obviously I was staring at the dog with beady eyes and a huge smile on my face. The owner asks if we’d like to watch him while he gets coffee.. I thought he’d never ask.
This is Tuva. I’ve never met a more serious dog. And come to find out he is three years old! A very serious three year old. Chow Chow’s are apparently not very affectionate and are guard dogs. Well thats ok, I still talked to him in a baby voice and tried my hardest to get him to look me in the eyes. We talked with his owner for some time who was very friendly and happy to chat. THEN, the very next day we set out to find another coffee shop. We came across Hey Happy coffee, and guess who is sitting outside? Its Tuva and his owner!!! I do this weird thing when I meet someone briefly and randomly, I get kind of bummed knowing I will probably never see them again. Seeing them again completely made my day.
The two things I did have on my list to see was Goldstream Provincial Park and Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse. It was the main reason we brought our car, she takes us on all the adventures. The park has so much to offer and we got to explore only a small part of it, but it was breathtaking. (It was either this or high tea.. tough choice ;)) The only way to get to Niagara falls is by walking through the tunnel that runs under the highway. So cool. Up beyond the falls is a trail that leads to this train trestle. We spent about an hour up on the trestle, talking with more friendly Canadians and enjoying the view.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse
On June 21st we celebrated our two year wedding anniversary! and we continued the tradition. We had Italian cuisine at our wedding (plus the pizza we ordered at the hotel at 2 am), so last year we started a tradition. Although I’m not really sure how next year’s Italian meal will beat this one, hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had. I didn’t even need ranch which is a big deal.
Parliament of Victoria
What an impressionable and romantic city. It felt so familiar and took me a day to even feel like I was in another country. I’m convinced the nicest people live there and it just made me feel at home. I wish I could narrow down my favorites, but seriously every experience was memorable. Just when you think you have a place crossed off your list, it goes right back on. This place is special!
A few other highlights from our trip: