Last weekend Jacob and I took a much needed vacation. OK, it was just a 4-day weekend, but we did so much, that it felt longer. I guess we really needed to get away. Thursday morning we drove up to Port Angeles, Washington then took the ferry over to Victoria, British Columbia. The drive was beautiful along a section of the Puget Sound called the Hood Canal. From Port Angeles, we took the MV Coho ferry to Victoria. I love traveling by boat. It reminds me of my months on the MV Explorer when I worked for Semester At Sea.
I am not even going to presume to be an expert in Victoria, but it’s a fun little town that is a charming blend of Britian and Canada. We went to high tea at the famous Empress Hotel (it’s expensive but totally worth the splurge), visited Craigdarroch Castle, saw an IMAX movie at the Royal BC Museum, ate Rodgers’ chocolates, shopped for comic books and drank a lot of of Canadian beer. I expected to only drink Molson, Labatt Blue and Kokanee, but it turns out the Pacific Northwest microbrews scene is alive and well in BC. There was no shortage of IPA and it was pretty good. One night we even went out to a bar that made us feel very mature (old?) where we watched numerous 19-year-olds get passed out drunk. Remember, the drinking age is 19 in Canada.
We also took a couple drives around the city. One day to a little town called Sydney at the top of the Saanich peninsula, the next we went for a 10K hike at a provincial park then took a drive up the Pacific Coast. Then finally, we topped off the entire weekend off at a bar eating poutine and pot pies while watching “Hockey Night in Canada” which is like the hockey version of Sunday Night Football. Vancouver vs. Montreal.
(I’m not sure why the man with the boom mike was on the beach. Perhaps I’ll show up in a new Canadian reality show?)
If you’re thinking about going to Victoria, the two fastest ways to get there from Portland are through Port Angeles and Seattle. Port Angeles is a car ferry (and cheaper), Seattle is a passenger only. We really liked having a car, but you could easily get by without one. As for lodging, we found a wonderful place on AirBNB that was much cheaper and nicer than any hotels I priced.
Victoria is a beautiful weekend getaway just 4 hours drive and a 90 minute boat ride from Portland. It can be quiet and romantic for couples but fun and exciting for kids. I remember loving the high tea and gardens when my parents took me. Let me know if you decide to visit.