THE INNER HARBOUR
The inner harbor is the center of the touristic action in Victoria. There is a very convenient tourist information boot there. Walking around you see the government street with all the tourist shops(don't go in) the Bastion square, the Empress Hotel, the B.C. Royal Museum, the government house, the Thunderbird park, and a lot of other attractions. Most important, the water front. In the summer there are variouse street shows and artists all around. You can spend here more then a day, just walking between the attractions. Make your homework in advance, and decide what is that you want to see, otherwise you'll get lost Street shows and artists
no longer going west, young man
The first room had no windows. It was very small. We laid naked on top of the covers, sweating. In Victoria, sweating. How could they squeeze all that heat into such a small room? The second night we scored one with a window but the only thing it seemed to let in was noise from the busy street. Hell, if we knew it the weather was going to be this nice, we could have camped. Of course, then we would have had to drive each day and that much we truly were enjoying-not having to deal with the car.
We could go down the pub, have as many pints as we liked and walk back to our hotbox. The only problem was it was bloody expensive! Just our luck, the Canadian dollar was at an all time high. The US dollar had not been this weak since before the Civil War and I'm not even sure Canada existed back then. Pints were $7....Canadian. Usually, when you add that word at the end it means it was cheaper than say $7....American as the happy-go-lucky Canadians like to say. Oh, I still drank some pints, just not as many as I might normally do when cask ale flows like water down from the Rockies, eh.
Finally, after days of eating interesting food every day, enjoying my adjusted for inflation fair share of pints, and weathering all this damn fine weather, I realized what the problem really was. I was at the farthest point west on the trip as I was going to be. For five months, the trip had always brought us west. Sure, we drove east on occasion but I always knew that eventually I would be going west. This was it. From now on, it was going to be east. Going home. A trip of a lifetime was coming to an end. Actually, we still had six weeks to go and for most, that would be an amazing trip in itself. The truth was, and unbeknownst to me at the time, that some of the very best bits of the trip were still ahead of us. But driving only east still meant the end was coming. I was no longer going west, young man and not even the envious could blame me for dreading that.
browse the local artist booths at Bastion Square, located in downtown Victoria at the western foot of View Street. You'll find many fine items here, from hand made soap, jewellery, paintings, and more.
Photo: Tourists exploring Bastion Square on a Saturday afternoon on July 13, 2002. Photo taken by me! Click to enlarge.
One think I liked about Victoria was that everybody (well, almost) is very, very polite:
- Always say 'hello' and 'thank you' to the bus driver
- Is very common vendors, bus drivers, waitress, shop owners, etc. asks 'how are you'
- if you're going to cross the street but you are still some meters from it, cars will stop (well that doesn't apply in big avenues of course)
- Don't forget to give a tip to the waiter.
People can be so nice and friendly that once I was waiting for the bus when an old lady talked to me and we had a very nice conversation while our buses came. I was lucky we took the same bus because she was a veteran of the World War II so, I learned many interesting things from her.
Victorians are a good example of polite, nice and friendly people, even my sister once told me she was fed up with so much politeness!! hehe
American coins are on par with Canadian coins
Please excuse me if you think this is a silly tip but I just wanted to point out that American coins (quarters, dimes, nickels etc) are NOT considered eligible for preferential exchange in stores or banks.
So if you are shopping somewhere and see something listed for $1 Canadian if you pay for it with an American dollar bill you'll receive some change back (unless there is tax on it that uses up the difference between an American and Canadian dollar). But if you pay for it with 4 American quarters you will not get any change.
Also take note that American coins will probably not work in parking meters, pay phones and vending machines so have some Canadian change handy for those things.
CustomHouse (see website below) has many outlets in Victoria - they have a currency converter on their website that is useful.