For a lot of cruisers, Victoria is little more than a fuel stop and a way for the cruise line to comply with the Jones Act (also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) that, among other things specifies that a foreign-flagged vessel operating out of a US port must call at a non-US port before disembarking passengers back in the US port. It makes things a bit more complicated and interesting for cruises originating from a US port and going to places like Alaska and Hawaii.
Situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, which interestingly the city of Vancouver is not on, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. The locals say that on a clear day you can see across the channel to the Seattle area, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascades and Mount Rainier. I’ll take their word for it! We could barely see the water, let alone the US, it was so rainy and cloudy. No problem, though. We were going to see a castle!
Our tour started, ominously enough, with a visit to the highest point in Victoria, Mt. Tolmie. But the peak was socked in with clouds and rain, so other than a few photos of blurry yellow flowers and some wet rocks, there wasn’t much to see or photograph. We spend some time driving through town and looking at the sights of Victoria through raindrops on our bus windows, so not many photo ops there!
Craigdarroch Castle is an interesting attraction, and its history is full of intrigue, family feuds and probably some steamy romance. Check the website for details! Located in a residential neighborhood, buses are not allowed to come to the castle, so we were dropped off a few blocks away and walked there through a very nice neighborhood. We didn’t have time for a leisurely walk because we were late for our scheduled arrival, plus it was raining (still) and we wanted to get to the shelter of the castle. That sounds so romantic!
The castle was fairly dark and full of people, so my photography there was rather limited and shot at a pretty high ISO (thank you 5D Mark III!). I don’t think there’s much here that I’ll frame and put on the wall, but we’ll certainly have a few frames to remember our visit. The furniture was beautiful and the woodwork was extraordinary, most of it original but some of it added recently during renovation.
Our visit to downtown Victoria was complicated by the fact that it was Victoria Day – British Columbia’s version of Memorial Day – and downtown was rather congested due to closed streets for a parade. And it was raining pretty steadily, so except for a few grab shots from the sidewalk outside our bus, I don’t have much to show. It’s definitely a place I’d like to return to and spend some time, hopefully in better weather.
I’ve reached the end of the cruise portion of our vacation, so I’ll start shortly posting about our visit to wine country. I think I have more to write about our visit than I have photos, and I haven’t decided exactly how I want to present it, but I’ll be working on that soon. It’s been fun reliving our vacation, and I hope those following along have enjoyed the recollection of it as much as I have!