Monday, June 3, 2013

The Great Adventure Part 2.

Location, Lummi Island, WA

Blog written on June 1, 2013. Posted June 3.

A comment before I continue with the blog.

Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan City. It is also very expensive. Most people live in condominiums in the city center. These condos dominate the city skyline. Vancouver never really had a slump in housing prices during the real estate downturn as there is a large demand for housing. While many people have moved South and East of the city and commute because of high real estate prices in the city center, condos are still being built. One instance of high prices is that of wine. Wine is taxed at 110% which more than doubles the price of a bottle.

On Friday morning we were picked up at the hotel in Vancouver by our tour operator. After gathering several more people we proceeded to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassn south of Vancouver. About 15 minutes later the bus drove aboard the ferry for our 90 minutes cruise to Vancouver Island. While on the ferry we had lunch in a very nice eating area. The ferry holds about 2250 people plus cars, buses, trucks, RV’s, and commercial vehicles.

 On the ferry towards Swartz Bay.

Disembarking at Swartz Bay on the bus we drove for 20 minutes to Butchart Gardens for a 2 hour tour. Two hours just doesn’t do these gardens justice. See the photos below for a sample.

After the tour we drove to downtown Victoria where everyone else on the bus was let off downtown and Clyda and I were driven to The Inn at Laurel Point for our overnight stay. It is a very nice inn but not quit up to the standards of the Georgian Court Hotel in Vancouver.

Dumping our bags, we walked the sea wall around the inner harbor. The harbor was filled with sail boats for the Swiftsure 2013 race. The boats along with multiple vendors made for a colorful display all around the inner harbor. 
 Swiftsure boats fill the harbor.

We checked in with the float plane base and then had dinner at The Otter Grill on the water front. The grill is named after the Otter aircraft used as float planes. It happened to be happy hour so tap beer was cheaper along with 2 for 1  hors d’ oeuvres.
 Float plane base with our hotel in the background.
We walked back to the hotel after dinner.

Early the next morning all the Swiftsure boats left the harbor for a day of racing. It took about 1 ½ hours for them all to leave.
After breakfast at the hotel we checked out and took a cab to the float plane base and checked in our luggage which would be shipped back to Vancouver sometime during the day. The weight limit is 25 lbs so if your luggage is over weight and the plane is full of passengers the bags wait until a later flight.
Our bags weighed over the 25 lb limit so we took them early so they could be flown back at the airlines discretion. Besides, we didn’t want to deal with them during the day.
We toured the Empress hotel but declined “High Tea” as it was $60 each. In hind sight we probably should have done it just for the experience. We also took a tour of the Parliament building. Later we wandered the streets around downtown Victoria.
Empress Hotel.
Parliament building.

About 3 PM we went back to the Empress Hotel and had drinks and a snack on the veranda over looking Victoria harbor. It is a very nice way to spend an afternoon. 
We walked back to the float plane base for our 5:40 PM flight to Vancouver but were told we could go earlier, so we did. We had a very nice flight with great views of the islands and ships going and coming from English Bay.
Flying over Stanley Park with Vancouver skyline in the background.

We arrived in Vancouver just as Mark and Candi got off the elevator by the terminal. We picked up our bags and drove through Vancouver back to the Aldergrove crossing at the US border.

With a stop for dinner, we are in Lynden for 10 days.