Our days in Victoria right after the stormy weather on the coast were all sunshine and warmth. Leaving the country for the first time to Canada might not be so much of a culture shock, but the excitement for the kids as they handed over their passports at the border was no less a milestone, and the adults in our travel party got to trade all our less than pleasant border crossing stories.
We only had three days in Victoria and one of the things we wanted to do was go to Butchart Gardens and do the afternoon tea service. It isn’t as fancy or formal as the tea service at the Empress Hotel, but it’s half the price which actually nudges it towards the realm of “reasonable”, relatively speaking. The kid’s tea menu was better too, for the record, for pickier eaters as it had a bit more kid friendly sandwiches, like grilled cheese. Afternoon tea was a splurge, but who doesn’t love towering platters of food?? And it’s a lot more food than you think. The sandwich platters alone consisted of 6-7 varieties per person, along with cookies, cakes and scones. Nobody in our party could finish it all except for Mark (as usual), and his consistently fast metabolism, despite age, remains one of the biggest mysteries (mine used to be fast and I also used to be able to eat embarrassing amounts of food, but no longer. wah.)
The garden grounds itself are quite beautiful, but since it’s about an hour away by bus from the city, it’s pretty much a whole day activity. We boarded a city bus, though you can charter cushier tour buses for the ride, but given our short stay it was a nice way to see some of Victoria outside the city. On a related note, we chose not to bring our cars on board the ferry to Victoria from our departure point in Port Angeles. We didn’t want the hassle of driving and parking and the city is totally walkable, particularly if you’re only there a few days.