During our week in Vancouver, BC, we took a day trip to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. Only giving ourselves a day there was a huge mistake (read more on this in a later post), but as packed and exhausting as that day was, we didn’t regret going for one second. As soon as we arrived on Vancouver Island I felt a change. It was so… relaxed. We had spent the last week and a half hopping around major cities in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver) and the vibe on Vancouver Island was a welcome change. Traffic moved slower and less frantic, people were in less of a hurry, and we weren’t overwhelmed by skyscrapers at every turn. We liked it so much we’ve already decided to spend several days in Victoria next time we are in the area.
Here is how we spent our day:
First we walked down along the Inner Harbor, stopped at Red Fish Blue Fish, and had THE MOST AMAZING FISH & CHIPS IN THE WORLD. I can’t even describe to you how good this was. I’ve never been a huge seafood fan, so I really was just on board with trying fish & chips in Victoria because it’s such a popular dish there (the city has a strong British influence). This was far and away the best meal we had on our entire trip. We got the 2 piece Halibut fish & chips meal to split, with a cup of chowder to go along with it. We bought our food from the shack, then ate it at a table along the water. Man, just thinking about it is making me crave it right now…
After our fish & chips, we walked over to The Empress Hotel on the Inner Harbor. It’s a beautiful, moss-covered, Victorian-style hotel. You do not have to be a guest of the hotel to go inside, so we explored around the inside for a bit.
Next we walked over to the Parliament Building. After admiring the outside for a few minutes, we walked inside and hopped along with a free tour of the building. The tour guide explained the building and process of Parliament, while different costumed characters popped in along the tour to share some history of Canadian government.
From the Parliament Building we walked through Beacon Hill Park to the beach. We sat on a piece of driftwood and relaxed for a while. The weather was perfect, we could see the Olympic Mountains in Washington from our viewpoint, it gave us a chance to rest our feet, and maybe most importantly, we were so close to the US we got cell phone service!
After our rest at the beach, we walked along the coast to Fisherman’s Warf. I was not all that impressed with this part of our day. It was really touristy. We did walk along the docks to see the houseboats, stopped for some ice cream, and watched people feed the harbor seals who are regulars to the warf. We didn’t spend as much time here as I expected us to.
Once we finished our ice cream we took a water taxi from Fisherman’s Warf back to the Inner Harbor. It was $5 per person (CAD) and probably the most wasted $10 (total) of our trip. We both expected a lot more out of it. We thought it would be longer, or more interesting with the captain pointing out things along the route. The views of Inner Harbor were nice, but other than that we were really disappointed. If we’d known what it was going to be in advance, we would have just walked back to the Inner Harbor.
With a little bit of time to kill before our bus back to the ferry, we took a detour to walk through Chinatown on our way to the bus stop. It is the oldest Chinatown in Canada. I was impressed by all the little details in the architecture that let you know you were in the Chinatown area. Even the street signs were different than the rest of the city.
Have you been to Victoria? What should we make sure we do next time we go?