Sailing Away to Canada!


At least for the day, last week it was, and we managed to do it on the sunniest day of the week.

We spent the night in Port Angeles and took the Coho Ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria the next morning.

It was an easy crossing with wonderful views of the Olympics behind us and Canada before.

After little more than an hour we arrived at our destination and easily passed through customs.

There were views of the Parliament building on one side,

and the Empress Hotel on the other, both iconic landmarks.

We walked along the Inner Harbour admiring the wildlife

and the boats, while planning the day’s activities.

Our first stop was the Royal Museum, which was already being ramped down for its closure in September. It’s a favorite of ours so we took a final look while we still could. It will be seismically retrofitted and won’t reopen for several years. Here’s a Woolly Mammoth inside.

Next door is Thunderbird Park with its colorful collection of native totem poles.

Afterwards we walked up Government Street for shopping and lunch, and amazingly I managed to abstain from buying anything despite the favorable exchange rate. Instead, we continued on a few blocks further to Chinatown, Canada’s oldest, and the second oldest in North America, after San Francisco.

Though I’ve been to Victoria many times before, I only discovered Chinatown on our last cruise, when we stopped by for a few hours.

My favorite spot is Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada.

After ice cream (I was adventurous and chose green tea matcha) we walked along the wharf back to where we started. By then we were both exhausted (I’d have 20,000 steps on my Fitbit by the end of the day) and decided to hop on the red tour bus that took us around town through charming neighborhoods, Beacon Hill Park, and along waterfront beaches (this is an island so there are many).

We were finally deposited back at the Empress Hotel, where we did not take high tea, though we could have for $89 a person. I probably would have enjoyed it, Bob not so much. Instead, we found a place nearby for dinner,

then walked over to the magnificent Parliament building

Across the street we waited for our ship to arrive to take us back to the United States.

We left Victoria behind

and arrived back in Port Angeles, Washington, as the sun was setting.

It was an easy walk back to our hotel where we had a good night’s sleep after a long day of international travel! πŸ™‚ The trip home the next day along Hood Canal was also wonderful but I’ll save that for another time.

~ Susanne

32 Comments on “Sailing Away to Canada!

  1. Lucky you. We’ve been to Victoria several times but not in recent years. I find it magical – the ferry from Seattle and then exploring Victoria. We have a nephew there. I like the book stores best with the Museum 2nd.

  2. I loved the photos and enjoyed seeing the sites. It’s been years since I visited Victoria, and your post was a wonderful reminder. 🌺

  3. I love the photos, so many great things to see! Thanks so much for the tour, Susanne!

  4. Remembering my one and only trip from Port Angelus to Victoria, I chuckled when I read that you sailed through customs. We were favorably impressed with Canadian customs but returning to the U.S. wasn’t nearly as pleasant an experience. Similarly, the agents in Amsterdam were so pleasant that we didn’t even realize we were being interrogated. Returning to LAX we were again met with surly staff.
    Your photos make me want to go back and spend more time in that beautiful city. Thanks for sharing!

    • So glad you enjoyed it! I’m happy to report our experience with customs was good both directions! But to enter Canada, we’d already entered info into their online ArriveCan system, including vaccination dates. Other than that, it was easy. 😊

  5. What a lovely day out. That ferry crossing was one of my favorites – Vancouver Island on one end and the Olympic Mountains on the other. What’s not to like. I loved Victoria, though not for the high (priced) tea. There was a restaurant there I loved, Pagliacci’s I think it was, a small Italian place with lines to get in, live music inside, and often line dancing through the tightly packed tables. Such a good time. Thanks for rekindling the memories.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! We love Victoria and also love that ferry crossing. The Olympics are magnificent and just an hour later you’re in another world – well, at least another country!

  6. What a fabulous day out! Thanks for these amazing pictures that took me back home to one of my favourite places in Canada. I’ve had high tea at the Empress with a girlfriend. So special. Chinatown is wonderful as is the harbour. So much to see and do in Victoria. Those hop-on-hop-off buses are a great way to see a place.

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it! We love Victoria, and had a great trip! I still remember taking the Princess Marguerite from Seattle when I was a child. So many memories!

      Next time I think I’ll have high tea at the Empress. I only did it once before, a long time ago. But it may take some convincing to get my husband to join me! 😊

  7. What a super day out! Your boat ride reminded me of visiting both Vancouver Island and San Juan Island (on separate trips). We skipped Victoria when we were there – limited time and it seemed so English we thought it was miss-able. It does look lovely however, and I would have enjoyed seeing all those totem poles πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your comment! We love Victoria and had a great time as always. It’s such a fun, walkable town, and yes, has a very English flavor! πŸ™‚

  8. Loved the photos! It makes me much less worried about our scheduled trip to Canada hearing various bloggers say that customs were a breeze!

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