Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yes, I promise- The Final Chapter


My last full day in British Colombia was simply delightful. After a leisurely breakfast of oatmeal, eggs, toast with jam, grilled mushrooms, a pot of green tea, I was ready to devote my day to the outdoors.

One of the things that I embraced on this solitary adventure was dressing for my own comfort & not for “style”. My costume most days was crop pants or comfortably baggy jeans, polo shirt, sport socks & my walking shoes (what a great investment!), a hat or visor, & my sling backpack with knitting, camera, notebook, tissues, sun block, & the ubiquitous lip balm inside.

My first stop was Beacon Hill Park, right off downtown Victoria; it is a pleasant urban oasis, with paths, gardens, ponds, playgrounds, a small children’s farm, & sports fields. I spent about an hour strolling around, enjoying the cool quiet & watching the mother ducks with their chicks. This group was having great fun playing hide-and-seek among the lily pads,


carefully supervised by Mama, who kept one eye on the little ones,


and the other on me. I also enjoyed watching these two friends, sharing some conversation & a few peanuts.


The rest of the day was spend at the world famous Butchart Gardens; I was surprised how many people filled the park- the crowds would rival most amusement parks in the US- but, with the exception of some poorly supervised children, everyone was quietly soaking in the beauty. I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of the 11 hours I spent here (yes, you read that correctly), just a few highlights & impressions. First of all was the smell; everywhere you went, there a sweet, green flavor to the air. Second was the sheer amount of color that jumps out at you- it just can’t be experienced through photographs. Lastly was the vast variety, of plants, of terrain, of artistic vision- no area was anything like the previous or the next.

I explored for about four hours before having afternoon tea at the Dining Room Restaurant, the family’s former residence. I was served a lovely meal on the veranda, overlooking the Italian Garden;


my server was graciously kind not to remark on my taking pictures of everything- the place setting, the menu, the food, as well as the view.



Afterward, I explored the rest of the gardens, stopping to watch a group performing “The Wizard of Oz” in Waterwheel Square & picking up some gifts in the store, before going out to the car for a little rest. Around 7:00, I went back in to take some photo of areas that had been jammed packed with people all day, & then went over to the Concert Lawn to see a performance of the Marc Atkinson Trio. Later, I went back over to watch Ross Fountain dancing in the lights & enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate before heading back to my lodgings.

I packed & took all my belongings out to the car that night, leaving only my clothes & toiletries to use in the morning, since I had reservations on the 10:00 ferry the next morning & didn’t want a repeat of the earlier trip. In the morning, I was up & ready early, so I had time to chat with a woman from Australia who was also traveling alone (for 12 weeks, lucky thing) & we shared breakfast, stories, & photographs. I left by 8:30 & made such good time on the road that I was able to board the 9:00 ferry! I spend the entire time on deck, as it was another gorgeous day, & took some great photos along the way.

Sorry to disappoint Jane, but the return to the airport was spectacularly uneventful; I arrived way early, returned my car, checked in & went through customs (a loooong wait), then had 3 ½ hours to read, knit, & wander around. The only noteworthy event of the trip home was flying past Mount St Helens- even from 20,000 feet, the destruction was wide-spread & obvious, even after more than 20 years.



Arriving back in San Francisco, I had another 1 ½ hour wait for Chris, who was stuck in some nasty traffic on the San Mateo Bridge. We were home by 8:30 pm & were smothered in feline affection, as well as demands for food, water, & an explanation as to my whereabouts for the past week. Some things never change!

Forgive me for the length of these last few posts; I really did not intend to take up two weeks with this tale. There were just so many impressions, so many stories that I had to share, & I’m afraid my guys weren’t particularly interested in hearing them, since I ran off alone J.

The past couple of weeks have been very full, & I will get around to sharing the highlights, but I’ll leave you with this:



This is the “End of Summer” swap package I received from my friend Mitchowl ; this was sponsored by the Great Pretender & it was great fun! Mitchowl nailed my habits- uh, I mean hobbies- & supplied some great goodies for me to indulge with- Thank You!


Carrie said...

Wow sounds like you had a great trip! And I've loved reading about it and looking at the pictures!
God bless :)

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh I havent been to the Butchart Gardens in 18 years! What gorgeous pics. Now I wanna go!