Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beautiful British Columbia

We celebrated graduation, the nearing end of flight test, Labor Day, and our third anniversary in Victoria, BC. The license plates in BC say, 'Beautiful British Columbia', and they are not joking. Victoria greeted us with 4 days and 3 nights of Goldilocks weather. It was just right. Mike said, the weather here is the temperature that you would want the inside of your house to be. 73 degrees and severely clear. There was not a cloud in the sky. We felt blessed and refreshed to end our summer vacationing with perfect weather. It appears that we hit the jack pot because one local said the weather in Victoria tends to be as cloudy as Seattle but 5-8 degrees cooler at all times.

We woke up early on Saturday morning (Sept 3) and hopped on the Victoria Clipper. It's a high speed, no-car ferry that zips across the Puget Sound, Straight of Juan de Fuca, and Pacific Ocean right into the Victoria Harbor in 2hrs and 45 minutes. It's a great way to travel (and thanks to Groupon, our tickets were 50% off). I was a little nervous about vacationing without a car (as infants often require a lot of 'stuff'), but we walked all over that city with the 'Bob', and it was just fine! Victoria is a very manageable city/town. It's expensive and has abundant amenities and character like a city, but it is also quaint and compact like a smaller town.

Victoria is named after Queen Victoria of England who ruled over Canada up until the 1890s (I think). If you want the actual time period, please refer to my husband. He's the smart one who loves details and actually has a memory. (Thanks to child bearing and rearing, mine is still missing). So anyway, Victoria is historically British. They are famous for their pubs, fish n'chips (served with malt vinegar, of course),  afternoon tea, scones/jam, double-decker buses, and stunning Parliament buildings. You'll see these themes in the slide show below.

In addition to the natural charm of the city, Victoria was hosting a wooden boat festival the weekend we went, and the harbor was full of beautiful boats. It was great! The gardens in Victoria also took my breath away. They were perfectly designed and manicured. Victoria is also the world's second busiest seaplane harbor (second to Anchorage). There were flights in and out it seemed every 10-15 minutes. That was a real treat, for sure. I was also very pleased with the plethora of shops to indulge in ice cream. After all, what is a vacation if you don't have ice cream every day?

This was our first vacation with Owen. We've travelled to our parents' houses a couple of times, but the schedule and comforts of home remain the same. This scenario was a bit different, though. It required some flexibility and alternative vacation plans. Once we (I) re-framed our expectations, we (I) had a great time. I should note that my dear husband is perpetually flexible and content and does a much better job relaxing than I do. So the above statement applies to me only. 

So it was Owen's first 'vacation', and he had a lot of other firsts too! He had his first ferry ride and first small boat ride. We took a Harbour ferry tour of different parts of the island. He loved the wind through his hair and talked/yelled the whole time. We rented bikes with a baby/toddler attachment and took him on his first bike ride as well. He wasn't a huge fan of this activity. We think maybe it was just a little too bumpy or maybe he wasn't quite tall enough.... we'll attempt it again though. We also took him to a petting zoo. He didn't care about the baby goats, but Mike and I sure had fun! Owen also had his first play time on a swing set. Don't worry, it was the bucket swing seat that supported him well. He giggled and kicked the whole time. Again, he loves that wind through his hair. We'll definitely be heading up to the neighborhood park a bunch now!

Because of the stage he is at, he either wanted to be walking fast in the stroller or crawling around on the picnic blanket. (Thank you again Alison Francis for the picnic blanket you gifted us with at our wedding. We use it ALL OF THE TIME!).  Both of these activities were fine by Mike and me. We love walking around and exploring cities, and the Parliament building had a huge lawn where we threw down the blanket and let him crawl and rip up the grass. We also ate most of our meals here too.

When we had to be back in the hotel @ 7pm to put him to bed, Mike and I indulged in the 'House Hunters' marathon on HGTV. We don't have cable at home, so we had a blast watching this show. It's fun to dream and discuss what you do/do not like about different houses. It really opens up a wealth of conversational opportunities. We had a great time connecting and being away from the responsibilities of 'home', and it was actually really wonderful being back to the hotel that early.  

We feel so blessed that we are able to get away together and explore new places. Thanks for reading this marathon of a post. Hope you enjoy the slideshow of pictures! (Thanks to my blog advisor Chelsea who helped me get that figured out, again).

Love, The Wades

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