Friday, May 30, 2008

British Columbia and Washington trip, Day 3

More snow!

We woke up after a deep, dark sleep in Sidney-by-the-Sea (a cute little seaside town north of Victoria itself) feeling rested and ready for more exploration. (Can I mention that when you travel with my dad you are either GOING or TOTALLY ASLEEP?! I am a girl who needs a lot of quiet and processing time, but somehow all of our activity made me fall asleep around 10pm most nights and up at 8am - which is just SO not my normal sleeping schedule)

However, we hadn't expected snow on the ground! It was only about 2-4cm (the temperature was about 2-4 degrees as well - love that metric system!) but it gives you an idea of how chilly things were. Everyone reassured us that it hardly ever snowed on Vancouver Island, even in the winter.

Nevertheless, I bundled up in pretty much of all my clothes (tights, jeans, 2 shirts, hooded sweatshirt, jacket, and scarf!) and we went into Victoria for museum fun. I love the totem poles that are all over B.C.! It seems that the First Nations of the area are given more of a respected place in modern society than here in the US - but that there sadly can always be improvement.

We went to the Royal BC Museum, which had funky but cute exhibits about the history of British Columbians, as well as a First Peoples Gallery and a Natural History portion. I liked these First Nations masks and other artwork:

We then drove up to Craigdarroch Castle, a "castle" built by a coal magnate out of beautiful woods. Devon always says that he wants to live in a house that looks like a castle, and this wouldn't be a bad place for that. It was even a college in early 1900s, which again reminded me of my school (particularly our music building), which was relatively new for the East Coast in that it was built in the 1930s, but to a California girl it felt really old and fascinating. I always loved seeing photos of 1930s Bennington girls!

I digress (too much caffeine!) - here is the beautiful inside of the building:

There was a lot of beautiful stained glass:

Next we went to Butchart Gardens, where I saw this disheartening sign:

We had a nice time, although it was extremely expensive for us both, especially considering many of the flower displays were either not yet in bloom or trampled down by snow and hail! Still, I'm glad we went and we saw lots of gorgeous blooms.

Then we wandered down to the Southwest coast of Vancouver Island. There we saw: lots of trees, lots of ocean, and hardly any people. Lovely!

We finished up with a trip to Smoken Bones, an amazingly good BBQ joint in Langford. Ooh! Was it ever good. I'm not widely experienced in good BBQ (having never been to the South), but we both keep bringing it up now that we're home... "wish we could go back and have that BBQ", and "you know what would be good right now? Smoken Bones brisket!". My lovely bride and groom, Jacqueline and Greg (who were married last weekend, photos very soon!), planned a long honeymoon in B.C. and I totally stole this recommendation from their honeymoon registry. G & J, I cannot wait until you have a chance to try their food! SO tasty.

(I also loved Sidney's Fish On Fifth, and would go back in a hot minute. Yum!)

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