On June 1st, I headed towards the Canadian border with its PEACE Arch. I made sure I brought my US passport as I had to go through Canadian Immigration. After a few questions, the immigration officer wished me a good visit and waved me through. I headed towards my first Vancouver host's home. There I met Ms. J, originally from England but now a Canadian resident. Janet had a part time job so she had a couple days to show me around her beautiful city of Vancouver. During my three days stay with her, we visited Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Victoria's Garden and also saw the Shakespeare play Hamlet at Bard on the Beach.
Now in BC, you have to think in Kilo
On one of the days when she had to work, I visited a 75 year old German woman who lives in a lovely high rise overlooking the beach/downtown. After lunch at the Banana Leaf (a Malaysian Restaurant) we toured Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Gastown and some more of Stanley Park. She wanted to top off the day with a beer at historic hotel called Sylvias (my kinda woman!). I really enjoyed this beautiful city with the mountains in the backdrop, the ocean and Stanley Park riight in the middle of downtown. I was also intrigued with the many beautiful totem poles all over. Can't decide which of these two cities I prefer...Seattle or Vancouver??
On June 4th, I took the car ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay on Victoria Island.
Beautiful gardens at the Peace Arch
Here I stayed with Ms. E, an artist and kite flyer who has travelled extensively all over the world. My main reason for visiting Victoria is to see Butchart Gardens which was more than a dream come through. This garden is everything you see in the photos and so much more. It has a sunken garden, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, an Italian Garden, restaurants, gift shops etc. It's huge; I could have spent all day here...so beautiful and serene! I headed back to meet Elain at the White Heather Tea Room for high tea. This was a small tea room in her neighborhood with everything made from scratch. From the little cucumber sandwiches, to the scones with clotted cream to the jellies...delicious and half the price than what you would have paid at the Empress Hotel! Later that evening, I visited the Inner Harbor and took in a double feature (Africa's Serengetti and Journey To Mecca) at the IMAX Theatre.
On June 6th, I took the Coho car ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. I then drove to Olympia and had dinner with a distant relative and her family. I then headed to the Seattle airport to return my rental car and head home on the red eye flight at 10:35PM. What a great trip! My biggest worry was how to navigating around the different ferry terminals with the rental car but it was ok. I took another friend with me (my GPS) which really helped a lot when you are travelling alone and in unfamiliar territory!