Friday, June 14, 2013

Victoria BC and Ship Life

Victoria BC in Canada was our last port of call on our final night of the cruise. We'd spent all of Friday and most of Saturday at sea, pulling into Victoria around 6:30 Saturday evening. Rather than book any excursion, Bryan and I decided to just explore the town on our own, and on foot. A little lady dressed Victorian style was handing out maps of town as we disembarked, and after talking with her a bit about what to see and where to go, we headed off.

We walked. And walked. And walked. I wish I could tell you how many miles we covered but my runkeeper app wasn't too thrilled with trying to locate us on GPS in Canada so I guess I'll just have to guess and say we walked a lot of miles. (How's that for vague?) We took the scenic route into town....saw lots of fun neighborhoods where the houses were incredibly charming, wandered through a gorgeous park, stumbled across a bunch of totem poles (yes, I was in raptures) and finally found ourselves downtown.
I'm not sure Bryan will be pleased I posted this picture...but I think it's really cute. We had a lot of fun exploring this park. And oh, the Herons...good heavens, when they are warning each other off about the salmon they have caught from the bay and fighting over it, I kid you sounds like someone is being brutally murdered. Completely unnerving!

Bryan decided to go all artsy and lay on the ground to get this shot of me and the whole, tall totem pole. So I whipped out my cell phone and got a picture of him....

(Side note: as we were walking through a neighborhood a car stopped to ask us for directions to a local restaurant. It was only after she had asked her question and right before we had time to answer, she noticed me holding a map. "Oh, you're not from here, are you? You don't look like tourists...your clothes and the colors you are wearing threw me off." Huh?
I was a little bit confused. The color of our clothes? I'm all about trying to fit in and not be all obvious touristy so regardless, I was pleased by her comment. I guess the mass amounts of cruise visitors to BC tend to wear brighter and more stereotypically tourist type of vacation clothes? Hmmm.)

The famous Empress Hotel. Admission...I really love ivy-covered buildings. And how pretty to be situated there at the water's edge.

And right across the street...the equally famous government building. How fun to be there on the grounds when the lights went on.
We took the water front path back to the harbor from downtown...equally pretty as the sun was going down. The Golden Princess is the ship in the middle.

This is the 6th cruise we have been on....all the other ones of the beachy variety: Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii. So it was not only fun to try something new, but also interesting to see the differences.
 (Leaving Seattle)

First of all,, jackets and jeans rather than flip flops, swimsuits and shorts. Seriously, we are the pack-light type of traveler. Cruises always tend to require more clothes anyway, but to try and coordinate outfits that required lots of layers and heavier clothing was indeed a challenge.

Second, as I've mentioned in past posts, we booked a balcony room. Knowing that much of our itinerary would be taking us past actual scenery rather than just miles and miles of ocean, and also the thought of being able to whale watch from our own personal balcony gave us the impetus to spring for a slightly more expensive room. And I have to say, it was so very, very worth it! I spent hours and hours on that balcony. And we also spent much more time in our room because of the light and bright rather than the dark, closet feel of an interior room. And this was a good thing because light and bright OR dark closet...Bryan likes to spend much more time in the room than I usually do. Naps, reading, etc. He's not as big of a fan of the ship entertainment. So it was really nice to not only not have to fight for balcony space while traveling through the Tracy Arm Fjord, but to also just chill in our room or out on our balcony during our downtime. And how fun to be reading on the balcony and hear someone on another balcony nearby yell, "Whale...9 o'clock!!" giving me just enough time to jump up from my chair, flipping my binoculars up to my eyes on my way to the rail and be rewarded with an awesome view of a whale tail. Saw lots of dolphins too. How cool is that? We also had conversations with our closest balcony mates to the sides and below us about excursions we'd gone on, the weather, how many whales we'd see, etc. I'm horribly worried that I enjoyed my balcony so much that I'll never be able to do a cruise without one again.

And did I mention how great of a reflection I got in the sliding glass door?? I had way too much fun taking selfies...

Third...we really didn't take part in too much of the ship's entertainment. We had late dining time so by the time we were done eating, we were usually tired and headed straight back up to the room rather than take in the night shows in the theater. Late dining and early to bed, early to rise....also differences on this cruise. We took advantage of the ship's gym....I signed up for the yoga classes. (Have you ever tried to do tree pose when the ground is moving beneath you??) I went to a health seminar. And I actually talked Bryan into accompanying me to a couple of visits to the art gallery and two actual art auctions (where he played candy crush on my iPad the whole time.) And really, I think the main reason he accompanied me to the auctions wasn't so much for support but more to make sure that I did not raise my hand and actually bid on I was truly tempted to do. One of my favorite things about cruises...I sure do love me a good art auction.

Fourth, we tried to watch our least a little bit. Oh, we ate frequently and plenty...but tried to keep it kind of, sort of balanced. And we did stairs. Seriously, I can count on one hand the amount of times we took the elevator during the week long trip. And let me tell you, we were plenty winded running around the ship....going from deck 4 to 14 for example, was a doozy...but it sure was good exercise. Plus, a lot better than killing time waiting for the elevator. When we got back home we happily discovered that neither one of us had gained a single pound. So yay for stairs!
Wayan from Indonesia and John from the Phillipines took excellent care of us at dinner each night. John was heading home on vacation two weeks after our cruise for a two month vacation after ten straight months at sea. He was planning to propose to his girlfriend of five years and was asking us to help him with ideas for a creative way to ask her to marry him. I hope it goes well for him. We really liked these guys...

Though we usually avoided the ship's photographers, just for kicks we decided to stop in at one of the photo-setups on formal night. And though this is the cheesiest high-school-prom-like pose of all 4 that he took, it was the best of the two of us. And frankly, maybe it's appropriate for a couple who's first date actually was Jr. Prom when we were teenagers, now celebrating twenty years of marriage.
So, Happy Anniversary to us!
(Here's to twenty more....)

1 comment:

Melissa@thebblog said...

oh yes, if I can get past the cheesy hands - it is a great picture of the both of you. You are making me mighty jealous. I think i could get Scott to do this cruise - not a beachy one since he'd want to be off the boat not on it, but this one, maybe doable. I'm antsy to go!