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Saturday, October 02, 2010

VICTORIA, BC--DON'T MISS A CHANCE TO SPEND TIME HERE

On our last “outing” of this journey, we board our concierge-booked tour bus that travels along Rt. 99—The Pan American Highway which goes all the way to South America—and head for the BC Ferry Terminal and our trip to Victoria Island. The terminal is a destination in itself with shopping, cafes so used to international visitors that the computerized cash registers adapt to the country of the money of the moment.

In Victoria we have time to explore before our biggest destination. We get off in Chinatown, once the largest Chinatown in North America. We walk through Fan Tan Alley, once a hotbed of gambling and opium dens and now a place of pleasant shops. The alley was named after the gambling game, and it once led to a labyrinthian maze that was then Chinatown. Today only 3,000 Chinese residents live here
Fan Tan Alley and Chinatown, Victoria

When we see a tour bus drop some Chinese tourists in front of a restaurant, we know that is the place to be, and we have an incredibly delectable bowl of soup filled with roast duck and wontons.
Chinatown Victoria

After lunch we stroll back down the hill toward the water, looking at the shops and sights, buying some chocolate, and being amazed at the number of bikes until we learn the cost of parking in the city--$2.50 an hour with no repeats.
bkike for the enviornment
street artist in chalk

Artists have contributed eagles to auction for charity, and they decorate the city. There is also a totem pole dedicated to the First People. This is a beautiful city on the water with marinas, varied architecture, good hotels, a zillion flowers and plenty to see—more than we can cover in this short time because we are off to the famous Butchart Gardens.

eagle sculpture
eagle sculpture
totem
Victoria marinas

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