DM and MM's USA and Canada 2004 Trip Diary

Day 19 - Victoria

Wednesday, 14 April, 2004

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We slept in a bit this morning and got up around 08:30. While Michelle showered I went down to the lobby to get some pastries from the included continental breakfast. I grabbed a berry muffin, an apricot scone, an apricot danish, an apple turnover, and a cinnamon roll. We ate them, then wandered out for a day in Victoria.

The weather was chilly and overcast, but didn't look like rain in the next few hours, so we left the brollies at home. The first stop was Craigdarroch Castle, a four storey stone manor house on a hill overlooking Victoria. We did the self-guided tour of the house, looking at the amazing interior wood panelling and antique furnishings in the family areas, and contrasting them with the plain painted walls of the servants' quarters on the other side of the building - the two halves of the building accessed only by a scant few doors between them in strategic locations. The view from the tower above the fourth floor was a panorama over the city.

Craigdarroch Castle

The cool and interesting thing about Craigdarroch from a geeky point of view is that it is the location of the short-lived expansion set for the Cheapass Games game Kill Doctor Lucky.

Craigdarroch Castle
Craigdarroch Castle

We left the castle at midday and walked back down the long hill to the downtown area, where we grabbed lunch at the food court in the Bay Centre shopping mall. Michelle had minestrone and a multigrain bagel while I had two slices of pizza - a pepperoni and mushroom and a tomato and olive. Then we looked around the mall at the shops for a bit.

Next we walked to the waterfront and around the Inner Harbour around Laurel Point Park, admiring the view across the water back to the town. Then we turned inland and walked to the Parliament building and around the rear of the building. When we got to the front we found it was open to the public, so we went in and wandered around. There was no security barrier and x-ray machine like at the Sacramento Capitol, but there were a lot more areas inside that were closed to the public.

Seat of British Columbia
Legislative Assembly chamber, Parliament Building

We did get to see the legislative chamber, which was appropriately richly appointed, as well as some stunning stained glass windows facing each other across a spacious antechamber, which were made to commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, and Queen Elizabeth II's gold jubilee. The Queen Victoria Window apparently had been lost for many years after it was removed for cleaning, and only recently been rediscovered and replaced. We bought a souvenir red lacquered pen that looked quite stylish.

Jubilee Window
Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Window, Parliament Building

We left the Parliament and took a few photos outside. As we walked across to the next block to see Thunderbird Park, it started raining a bit. I too some photos of the totem poles in Thunderbird Park and then we sheltered in some nearby souvenir shops while the rain built up and then eased off again. It only lasted 15 minutes before ending completely, and later the sun came out.

Government tulips
Parliament Building

Next we walked towards Chinatown and stopped in at Pacific Rim Pizza in Market Square, where Michelle had a spinach and feta slice and had a pepperoni and mushroom. Then we walked through Fan Tan Alley - allegedly the narrowest alleyway in the world. It was wide enough to allow a single person to walk normally, which was a bit wider than I was expecting, but still impressively narrow. Then we wandered back to the motel for a rest before a later dinner if we actually get hungry again.


I just got back from Noodle Box, two blocks over in Chinatown, and eating the take away Malaysian lamb curry that came with jasmine rice, cucumber raita, and a roti. It was delicious!

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