Day trip to Victoria and The Butchart Gardens

Quick breakfast in our room before pickup by the Landsea Tours shuttle bus at 6.55.

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René our excellent guide, who shows us pictures of his dog, his wife Rose, and entertains us with Groucho Marx style one-liners, eventually completes his complement of 24 from different hotels: American, Swedish, Swiss, New Zealander, Glaswegian, Asian and we’re off.
Three solid lanes of headlights coming the other way into town (René encourages us to gloat as we’re on holiday). This is another huge city. 22 miles, mainly through city, to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen –  and the 9am ferry is full and we have to wait in the terminal for the 11 – but it’s sunny, it’s a nice terminal, and everything is interesting…

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… and René negotiates a 25% reduction for the whole trip.

Big, modern ferry docks. 550 cars disembark (there’s a counter on display).

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Beautiful, 90 minute crossing, weaving through archipelago of forested islands…

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… linked by smaller ferries and sprinkled with homes

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Victoria René points out some highlights and then drops us off for two hours.
Chinatown…

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Perfect, elegant light lunch with one of the superb BC craft beers…

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And down to the waterfront.

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Seaplanes running trips

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Welcomed in to look at the gorgeous lobbies of the Empress Hotel

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where we were given the hard sell for a stone sculpture of reclining bears in one of the boutiques. Helpfully translated into pounds sterling: £ fifteen thousand. Felt flattered.

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Butchart Gardens The apotheosis of the garden? Really stunning garden combining an amazing sunken garden in an old quarry

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…choreographed fountain displays

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and the most incredibly labour-intensive bedding displays…

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Great buffet on the ferry back

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Another great day

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