Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Victoria, Canada

On Wednesday, July 13, armed with our passports and some snacks, we boarded a ferry boat in Port Angeles, Washington and set sail on a 90 minute ride across the ocean.  This was the first time the girls and I had ever been out of the country, and we were excited!

Getting ready to board the ferry

On board

Crossing the ocean

We were on a passenger/auto ferry, so there were
lots of cars that had driven on while we were loading.
We weren't allowed to go into where the cars were,
so this is a picture of an 18-wheel truck through the door.

The red flowers on the grassy area spell out
"Welcome to Victoria."

Canadian Flag

Tiny little water taxi

Empress Hotel

We unloaded the ferry and had to wait in line to go through customs.  We had to show our passports and answer questions about why we were there.  Then we took off for the streets of Victoria.  It was 10:00, and our ferry back to Port Angeles didn't leave until 7:00 that night, so we had plenty of time to explore.  We started off by going into the Empress Hotel to see the inside.

View of the harbor across from The Empress

The Empress

Mailbox inside The Empress

Eavesdropping on a tour in progress
Then we spent some time strolling the streets of downtown Victoria and exploring the shops.  One of the shops carried homemade cosmetics, soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc., and you could smell the fragrances from a block away.  The sales clerk showed us some samples and rubbed some "fly-away" cream on Emilee's hair.  She was hooked.

We ate lunch at a little corner deli - it was a little cold at the time, so we opted for soup and sandwiches.  Up to this point we still had not purchased anything, so we weren't sure what to do about exchanging our currency into Canadian money.  Then we found out that the shops/restaurants took American money but, legally, had to give you your change back in Canadian money.  That was fine with the girls... they wanted some Canadian money to take back home anyway.

We had also heard that the we could take a tour of the government building, so after lunch we headed that way.  We got there just in time to take a guided tour of the building.  Here are some pictures from our tour.

This is where their legislature meets.

Standing in front of the government building

Posing with some fun characters outside the government building

 This is a picture from inside the building overlooking a gate.
The Queen is the only one allowed to enter through this gate.
Scott wanted to go climb over the gate.

One of our explorations took us into a gelatto shop... Italian ice cream (in Canada! - ha), but it looked really good, so Scott promised the girls an after-lunch treat. 

Each flavor had it's own design.

Scott - Vanilla Bean
Ashlee - Cookies-n-Cream
Emilee - Almond Crunch
Cheri - I sampled Banana Fudge but opted for a Coke instead!
(I needed the caffeine at this point!)

We spent the rest of the day just exploring and strolling the streets.  Here are more pictures of our adventure in Canada.

These whales were formed out of different shrubs.

 I just thought this was a cute sign since it had my name on it.
I think it is actually advertising a bar,
but we'll just ignore that!

Candy Apples

They had a Chinatown too, although not as big as San Francisco's.

Canadian Geese actually in Canada

Street artist - he was really good!

 John Lennon's custom-made Rolls Royce.
This was in the lobby of the BC Museum.
We didn't go into the museum, just took a rest inside the lobby.

On the ferry ride back to Port Angeles

Overlooking the Olympic Mountains in the background

Overlooking the Olympic Mountains
By 6:00 we had exhausted ourselves, so we headed back to the ferry terminal, found a bench, and crashed until time to board the ferry.  It was a great "first" experience out of the country for the Murphy girls, and we came home with souvenier T-shirts and Canadian coins.

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