Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When in Victoria...................the city, not the Queen......


So way back in 2001 Karen and I did a weekend trip to Victoria B.C. just before the holidays. Even though it was December it was a great time to go.

The ride up on the Victoria Clipper was pretty uneventful for the most part. There was a little chop in the water and one of the best parts was that my not-so-evil twin (one of my best friends who shares my same first name and his birthdate is 1 year and 1 day after mine) just happened to be heading up to Victoria for the weekend as well. This gave us time to catch up with each other and share a bit of breakfast.

Karen and I stayed at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. I hate to say it, but I'm a bit of a hotel snob. This really is the only place to stay in Victoria as far as I'm concerned. Sure it's not got all the up to date tech conveniences that some of the new places has, but it has the charm and the service that surpasses all the other.

One of the things that you should do when there (Karen and I do everytime) is do the traditional English afternoon tea service. They really know how to pamper you there. The only thing they don't do is put the food in your mouth and wipe you afterward.


One of the highlights is Craigdarroch Castle. This grand spectacle of obscene wealth and industrialism was built by Robert Dunsmuir a coal magnate and railroad industrialist in Canada. While being a fellow Scot, he seemed to be obsessed with material things and showing off his wealth. While this house has some amazing features, it's more than I would need.






To the left is a photo of the gentleman's cigar room. This is where Robert and the boys would retire to for after dinner cigars and scotch or whatever 19th century rocket fuel happened to be on hand.

A little cluttered, but a fairly cozy room to have a pow-wow and dream up the next capitalist venture.











This is one of my favourite features in the house. There is a spiral staircase that leads up to a turret style look out room with a 360 degree view of Victoria. This is the spire at the top of said staircase that hangs from the ceiling.

This little guy is here to greet all the visitors to the lookout and watch over everyone.













This is another one of my favourite features in the house. This is the library. None of the shelves are taller than chest height.

The coolest feature though is the fireplace. Ah you noticed!!! There is a window just over the fireplace which means that this can't be a real fireplace, right? Wrong. The chimney flu for the fireplace in this room runs up either side of the window!!! That is really cool in my book.











Another thing we got to do that a majority of tourist don't get to do (simply due to the fact that December isn't a peak tourist time of year) is to see the Butchart Gardens at nite for the Christmas light display.


This photo is looking at the main house.










This photo is in the Italian garden just off the side of the main house.













This carousel is just behind the Rose garden.




I'm sure that there is a lot to see and do when visiting Victoria. There is a lot of shopping along Government Avenue. There is China Town. Interesting note about Victoria's China Town is that it's home of the world's narrowest alley which was used for a motourcycle chase scene in the movie Bird On A Wire starring Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson. Look it up. I wouldn't shit you on that. I'm a movie geek.

Thanks for reading. I'm off to hopefully make it through a Hitchcock film that our very cool new neighbour let us borrow. It's one of my favourite Hitchcock films: Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr. If you've seen it, good for you. If you haven't, then I'm ashamed of you and you will get 12 lashings under the light of a full moon with a wet noodle for not seeing it.

Oh, and read our neighbours blog. She is new to blogging and we welcome her to this new venture. Here is her site: CelticSprite

1 comment:

Celtic Sprite Seeking Knowledge said...

Ok I get it now Duh I was leaving emails instead of comments. Thanks for another Great tour I never knew about Castle Craigdarroch or that Butchart was open all year round. You're my new Travel Agent, Peter Greenberg has nothing on you. Nice movie Triv too didn't know "Bird on a Wire" was filmed there :) Very good & Thanks for the Nod