June 29, 2016
Dana and I flew to Victoria, BC bright and early. My wonderful sister had dropped us off at the airport at an ungodly hour and we had just loaded the plane as they were paging “last call” passengers.
We had a great cabbie take us downtown from the airport – Paul was his name – and we arrived at our budget hotel, Helm’s Inn, before 10. We expected to ditch our bags until our room was available, but amazingly they gave us our key right away. Helm’s Inn is nothing fancy, but it certainly fits the bill. Our unit had a kitchenette and was quite spacious. Plus it’s very conveniently located about 100 m away from the West Coast Trail Express pick-up spot.
After repacking our bags for the seemingly millionth time and inventorying what was still missing, we headed out for breakfast. A quick Google search directed us to Mo:Le which is located vaguely near MEC. It was a real winner! If you have dietary restrictions- vegan, gluten-free, you name it – these guys can accommodate you.
I had an iced latte and then a mix of items – sausage, pesto hashbrowns (AMAZING), and a side salad (ALSO AMAZING). Dana enjoyed his breakfast beer and huevos rancheros.
From there, we hit up MEC and some local Victoria hot spots, like Murchie’s (the tea shop).
Dana was on a mission to find a tasty sandwich for the next day’s bus trip up to Bamfield. He went with one from Meat & Bread and it looked pretty divine to me!
We also discovered a Victoria gem – an indoor market sort of like a small version of Granville Island in Vancouver or Borough Market in London. It’s called the Public Market and has a fresh seafood vendor, a grocery store of sorts, an amazing sandwich place, a French bakery… If we lived in Victoria, I’d be there weekly!
The Royal British Columbia Museum is hosting the Mammoths exhibit for the rest of the year, and had this photo op set up outside.
Of course we had to make a visit to the BC Legislature Building’s rose garden (located behind the building). This is where we got engaged six years ago!
And no trip to Victoria is complete without a visit to the Fairmont Empress. A little out of our price range, but still gorgeous to wander through its gardens and the hotel itself. We couldn’t get over these hydrangeas!
As anything local is right up our alley as far as food goes, I made us a dinner reservation at 10 Acres Bistro. I can’t recommend it highly enough! Super accommodating with my dietary restrictions. I even had chicken wings, which I haven’t had in years. Dana had halibut and I had salmon for our mains (both delicious), and Dana really loved his lemon tart for dessert. We left very happy and very stuffed.
Our sleep that night was a little broken as both of us were feeling excited about starting the West Coast Trail. Somehow morning came though and we were off!
Tune in for my next post about traveling up to Bamfield, and starting the Trail!