O Canada! Venturing to Victoria…..

I have been pretty bad about blogging lately, but I’m trying to catch up.  A couple weeks ago, my mom, dad and I drove from Seattle, around the Puget Sound and back up the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles, where we caught the ferry to Victoria, Canada.  I know this is going to be strange, especially considering our extensive travel in Europe, but this was my first time visiting our northerly neighbors.  So far, I can say that Canada did not disappoint and Victoria is absolutely beautiful.  Some people say it’s a sleepy town, with its quaint tea houses and the small bay based on sailing and sea-plane tourism, but I found it charming.  Granted, I’m not sure I would want to actually live there, considering you are rather isolated.  The only way off the island are ferries to mainland Washington or Canada or a small airstrip at the north end of Vancouver Island.

Our ferry didn’t leave Port Angeles until 4pm, so we took the opportunity to stop on the Olympic Peninsula along the way.  First up Silverdale, WA (it was a very short, windy stop):

Short stop in Silverdale, WA

Short stop in Silverdale, WA

The Silverdale boardwalk

The Silverdale boardwalk

For lunch, we decided to head over to the east side of Liberty Bay on Puget Sound to visit the tiny town of Poulsbo.  While the Olympic Peninsula has a lot of evidence of Native American roots, Poulsbo is definitely Scandinavian.  Founded by Norwegian immigrant Jorgen Eliason in the 1880s, Poulsbo was settled in its early years by a large number of Norwegian and other Scandinavian immigrants because of its similarities to their native countries.  When we visited Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Bobby often commented that he felt more at home there than anywhere else in Europe, so I guess that’s why.  In “downtown” Poulsbo, main street is lined with Scandinavian architecture, viking murals and a bakery featuring Scandinavian treats (among others).

Liberty Bay

Liberty Bay

Boat dock in Poulsbo, WA

Boat dock in Poulsbo, WA

Bakery in Poulsbo

Bakery in Poulsbo

Treats of all varieties

Treats of all varieties – Swedish pastries and “Viking cups”

......and pastries of the American variety

……and American pastries

Viking mural

Viking mural

Scandinavian mountain scenery on a local pub

Scandinavian mountain scenery on a local pub

Our last stop, on Native American land, gave us some great views of Puget Sound.

Art at a public rest stop.  Not bad, huh?

Art at a public rest stop. Not bad, huh?

Welcome sign in the local Native American language

Welcome sign in the local Native American language

View of Puget Sound with floating clouds

View of Puget Sound with floating clouds

Across the Straight of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles lies the capital city of British Columbia, Victoria. Washington and BC are rather close and it only takes 90 minutes to make the ferry crossing.  There is a faster way to get to Victoria of course (you can take the Clipper directly from Seattle), but in perfect Evans fashion (if you knew my dad you’d understand), we took the scenic route.  :)

Arriving in Victoria via the ferry

Arriving in Victoria via the ferry; Empress Hotel in the background

There are lots and lots of seaplanes (I want Bobby to invest in one!)

There are lots and lots of seaplanes (I want Bobby to invest in one!)

Seaplane while taxiing to take off

Seaplane while taxiing to take off

Our trip to Victoria was short.  We arrived on Saturday at 4:00pm and left the following day at 2:00pm.  The good news is that Victoria is extremely walkable and most of the tourist attractions are located within just a few miles.  The largest attraction is the British Columbia Parliament Building, located adjacent to Inner Harbour.

British Columbia Parliament

British Columbia Parliament

Parliament at dusk

Parliament at dusk

Panorama of Inner Harbour from the Parliament Building

Panorama of Inner Harbour from the Parliament Building

View of the Empress Hotel

View of the Empress Hotel

Mom and Dad in Victoria

Mom and Dad in Victoria

Inner Harbour under the spring sun

Inner Harbour under the spring sun

Meeting Bullwinkle the Canadian Mountie

Meeting Bullwinkle the Canadian Mountie

After walking around Victoria’s downtown for several hours, we took a long walk to Fisherman’s Wharf, up to Beacon Hill park and around the southern island coast.

Water taxi station at Fisherman's Wharf

Water taxi station at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf shops

Fisherman’s Wharf shops

One of the main streets (i.e. docks) of Fisherman's Wharf

One of the main streets (i.e. docks) of Fisherman’s Wharf

It was a wee bit cold for kayaking, but looks like fun

It was a wee bit cold for kayaking, but looks like fun

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill

Shore on the south side of Vancouver Island

Shore on the south side of Vancouver Island

Although our trip was short and sweet, I would certainly return to Victoria again.  I hear it’s even more beautiful in the summer!