Sunday, May 26, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia

We drove to Tsawwassen ferry terminal and took the 9:00am BC Ferry to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island.

We spent the rest of the day in Butchart Gardens and Victoria. These are some of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen.

At noon, we decided to have lunch/afternoon tea at The Dining Room Restaurant in Butchart Gardens.

We really enjoyed that stack of cakes, pastries, scones, and sandwiches with our afternoon tea.

After lunch, we went back to Butchart Gardens, to explore more of the beautiful flowers.

After visiting the gardens, we checked in to Abbeymoore Bed & Breakfast.

We decided to have dinner at Cafe Brio, nearby.

After dinner, we drove to Victoria and enjoyed the harbor and the lit up Parliament building.

Monday, May 27, 2013

After a delicious breakfast at Abbeymoore Bed & Breakfast, we drove to downtown Victoria where we visited Miniature World Museum.

Miniature world has a lot of small , miniature models of important historical events, such as World War I, World War II, the American War for Independence, and other conflicts. There were also many intricate doll houses.

Afterwards, we drove nearby to the Royal British Columbia Museum where we saw an exhibit of Robert F. Scott and Roald Amundsen's race to reach the South Pole in Antarctica. Amundsen succeeded by using over 100 sled dogs and 9 men (far fewer than Scott). Scott, focused much more on scientific endeavors, and did not survive the journey back from the South Pole. It was a well planned exhibition with a lot of personal effects on display.

According to Wikipedia:
Using skis and dog sleds for transportation, Amundsen and his men created supply depots at 80°, 81° and 82° South on the Barrier, along a line directly south to the Pole.[4] Amundsen also planned to kill some of his dogs on the way and use them as a source for fresh meat. A premature attempt, which included Hjalmar JohansenKristian Prestrud and Jørgen Stubberud, set out on 8 September 1911, but had to be abandoned due to extreme temperatures. The painful retreat caused a tempering quarrel within the group, with the result that Johansen and others were sent to explore King Edward VII Land.
A second attempt with a team, consisting of Olav BjaalandHelmer HanssenSverre HasselOscar Wisting, and Amundsen himself, departed on 19 October 1911. They took four sledges and 52 dogs. Using a route along the previously unknown Axel Heiberg Glacier, they arrived at the edge of the Polar Plateau on 21 November after a four-day climb. On 14 December 1911, the team of five, with 16 dogs, arrived at the Pole (90° 0′ S).[n 1] They arrived 33–34 days before Scott’s group. Amundsen named their South Pole camp Polheim, "Home on the Pole." Amundsen renamed the Antarctic Plateau as King Haakon VII’s Plateau. They left a small tent and letter stating their accomplishment, in case they did not return safely to Framheim. The team returned to Framheim on 25 January 1912, with 11 dogs. Amundsen’s success was publicly announced on 7 March 1912, when he arrived at Hobart, Australia.
Amundsen’s expedition benefited from careful preparation, good equipment, appropriate clothing, a simple primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs), an understanding of dogs and their handling, and the effective use of skis. In contrast to the misfortunes of Scott’s team, Amundsen’s trek proved rather smooth and uneventful.

The Royal BC Museum had a lot of totem poles, masks, and other artifacts from First People's on North America on display.

As it was about lunch time, we decided to have afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel. Although very expensive, afternoon tea was delicious and the ambiance was wonderful (with a real piano playing in he background).

After lunch, we drove to have a final look at the beautiful Butchart Gardens. The weather cleared up for a bit and the ongoing drizzle was gone. Although we arrived late, around 4:00pm, we enjoyed exploring the garden with far fewer people (than the day before). It was nice to avoid the crowds and enjoy the sights and smells with a small measure of privacy.

Around 6:00pm, when Butchart Gardens closed, we drove to nearby Sidney, and had dinner there. Sidney is a sleepy little town, but very clean and well managed. We had a nice dinner at Haro's Waterfront Dining.

We drove from Sidney to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and took the 9:00pm BC Ferry to Tsawwassen, near Vancouver.