Sunday, November 18, 2012

Retro Travel Sunday: Victoria, BC

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In my last Retro Travel Sunday post, our Alaskan cruise had left us in Ketchikan. Well, not "left us"...we were not stranded, despite our propensity to cut our boarding times really close. Our final stop on the cruise was in Victoria, British Columbia. Now, I have wanted to visit Victoria for a while...I really wish I could go to a Victoria Sampler retreat, but mostly, I just wanted to have tea at the Empress Hotel and visit Butchart Gardens. Unfortunately, our in-port time was so short, there was no way to do both. We decided that we didn't want to rush tea at the Empress, so we took a shore excursion to Butchart Gardens. That also was too short for my tastes, but at least we got to see the whole thing!

Our bus ride through town didn't allow us to see too much, but then, it looks like things were tough all over...
Hey, buddy, can you spare a Tie Fighter?

The first thing we learned when we got there was that it's not Butchart Gardens, it's THE Butchart Gardens.

The next thing we realized was that we were going to have to go very, very fast to make it through the whole Gardens in the time we had. Waaaaay faster than we wanted to.
I mean, I've been known to stare at a clump of irises like this for a good ten minutes.

The first major area you come to is an old quarry that Mrs. Butchart converted to a beautiful garden. So, the whole thing looks a bit "sunken".
I think this was my favorite part of the Gardens!

I show you this next picture only so you can appreciate my picture taking skill. Because, most places you looked, this is the kind of view you'd see:
This is what happens when multiple cruise ships bus in loads of folks all at once. Not really the relaxing garden experience you want, but we made do.

This is right around the area we saw the mamma otter and one of her babies dash by!
They were way too quick for me to get a picture.
You can really see the quarry walls in this next shot.
Home of the otters! (Though we never saw them again.)
Beautiful fountain set up in another of the quarry-made lakes.
Even though we were there in June, the azaleas and rhododendrons were still in bloom (they bloom around April here in Atlanta).
I actually asked about it, and the volunteer I spoke to said that it was very unusual for it to be cold there so late...their azaleas usually bloom around the same time as ours!

There were some gorgeous big redwoods. It made me want to go back to Sequoia National Park really badly!

There were several other sections of the Gardens; like one with "ancient" plants, and a formal section. But if I showed you pictures of all of them, this post would measure several yards! So I'll just skip to the next largest section of the Gardens--the Japanese garden.
Here I am under the Torii gate, wondering where the Shinto shrine is.... (You learn in Japan that if you see one of these gates, there is a shrine close by!)

There were lots of very neat, twisty trees there.
They were a cool Pacific Northwest take on giant bonsai...way more moss than in Japan. =)
I think I had to say "Michael" about fifty times to get him to turn around so I could take this picture. =)

Finally, it was time to leave.

The gate in this giant hedge leads out to the old house...
...which now contains a gift shop. A very large gift shop!
Yeah, I didn't get enough time in there, either. =)

Gorgeous flowers at Butchart Gardens...sorry, THE Butchart Gardens, but sadly, no time for tea.


cucki said...

Thank you for hs truly a very lovely place
Happy Monday xxx

Julie said...

What a stunning place to visit, thanks for the virtual tour.

pinkundine said...

Wow, those gardens are beautiful!

Shirlee said...

Gorgeous photos!

Chris said...

What a beautiful place! The pictures are lovely.

Emma/Itzy said...

Looks such a beautiful place to visit!

Parsley said...

Wow! Looks like you had a blast!

kathy b said...

SO fun to see the Gardens. How lovelly. we saw the Seqouia's for the first time in August... I was in BIG TREE heaven

Melanie said...

I think the photos are FAB. Crowds be damned! You did a great job getting the snaps in.

rosey175 said...

Such a lovely place! I think I would've loitered behind a bush until the crowds scurried away, haha. Who needs time limits, lol! :)

Nic said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

But is it pronounce THE But - chart Gardens, THE Butch - Art Gardens or THE Boo-charr Gardens to be really posh?

whichever, they are THE most beautiful gardens to spend time in.

Anne said...

So glad you got a chance to see the Butchart Gardens. I live right across the pond and have never seen them! The ferry ride is so expensive. BC is a gorgeous place to live in!! Love the photos!!

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