"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Friday, July 27, 2012

From Campbell River to Victoria

Our three weeks in Campbell River have come to an end and we've moved to Sidney, BC, close to Victoria. The night before we left, we had a marvelously cloudy sky.

I took one last walk around Salmon Point Marina and RV Resort and took a few pictures of the flower beds that are beautifully maintained in strategic locations.  The whole place is really very well taken care of, very clean and comfortable, and with great scenic views of the strait and the mainland. The only drawback of this place is how close together the sites in the lighthouse section of the RV park are. But we'd stay here again. 

The drive to the southern or lower end of Vancouver Island took us about three hours. Our new location is near Sidney, in a park called Oceanview. It's also nicely landscaped and the sites are little roomier. There isn't a good place to walk Kona, but there is a nature trail out to the ocean beach (no dogs allowed).

We took a little evening drive up to the town and port of Sidney. It's a sailing port and it also has lots of condos right on the water for retirees who want to watch the boats come and go from the marinas.  The evening light made for some nice photos.

Fireweed growing along the water in Sidney

We're only here for two days, and our first outing was into Victoria to have afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. 

Our reservation was for 1:15 and we arrived a little early so we could look around inside and out. The Empress sits right on the harbor. It is really the central most impressive structure in the city, except for maybe the Parliament building, which sits perpendicular to the hotel and also overlooks the harbor.  

Like the rest of Vancouver, there are beautiful flower beds everywhere. Along the harbor "Welcome to Victoria" is spelled out in white and red begonias (below) providing the backdrop for First Nation vendors of carvings and other crafts. (First Nation is how the aboriginal or native people are referred to in this area.) 

Everywhere on Vancouver we've seen totem poles in prominent places. This one is at the harbor side between the Parliament building and the Empress.

Inside the Empress we explored through several grand rooms. I think this one was a ballroom.

This is the lobby...

The dining rooms...

And this is the tea room.

Tea was a fixed price arrangement, and all you could really choose was the kind of tea you wanted. We chose the Empress Blend. First course was fresh strawberries and whipped cream and the tea, all graciously served in beautiful china cups and plates. 

Next arrived the try-level dish of treats. Lowest level was finger sandwiches: smoked salmon pinwheels, egg salad on croissants, cucumber and cream cheese, roasted tomato on crostini, and chicken curry salad on brown bread. Middle level was current scones and clotted cream. (In England as a teenager I avoided clotted cream because it sounded gross, but now I've learned its just a heavy whipped cream, and yummy.) Top level was chocolate shortbread cookies, cake with marzipan icing, lemon meringue, cheesecake, and some other little cookie sandwich with dark chocolate.  We ate the whole thing! Well almost. I did stash a few of the more sturdy cookies in a little plastic bag to take home with us. I didn't see anyone taking away doggie bags or styrofoam boxes.

It was a pretty pricey affair, but they did give us a couple of boxes of tea to take home with us, to ease the sticker shock. It was certainly a special, memorable and high quality experience. Was it worth it?  I don't know.  I think I'd rather go whale watching.

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