Blogs from Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, North America


August 18, 2013 Enjoyed a lovely day in Victoria with a lot of walking (good thing considering I gave into temptation and had an A&W burger & fries for lunch). We walked in the opposite direction to the harbour straight into a residential area with detached houses. Victoria appears to be so much less densely populated than most big cities (although thinking about it, Ottawa and Canberra are not dissimilar in this respect but you know what I mean. Certainly compared to Vancouver with its mass of apartment blocks it seemed very different to be walking just a block or two away from the busy touristy downtown Victoria past detached houses in the residential area known as James Bay). Within minutes we were on an empty beach at Holland Point watching the sea traffic travelling in ... read more
"Search for the greens"
Chinatown, Victoria
Dragon Boat Races

It's been about 3 years since Helen and I first talked about traveling to Canada. From the January through June 2011 we applied twice to the Canadian consulate in Shanghai for her travel visa and twice were denied. We knew it was an uphill battle, we weren't married and had only been a couple for a year. However we thought it was worth a shot, but when we were turned down we wondered just how difficult it would be with our applications in the future. A year later we got married and in the summer had Meili. So last summer travel was not possible. In to this year though we thought we'd give it another shot and applied in February. Newly wed friends, a Canadian husband and Chinese wife, applied at the same time. They were ... read more

Seattle is a very industrialised city developed around the Puget Sound with some very impressive scenery- it is quiet different from Portland with cycling less obvious and little specific facilities provided to allow for safe riding. It has an good public transport system with combination of bus, street car, tram and light rail and of course the mono rail from the Seattle Centre to down town shopping centres. There is a section of the city downtown where light rail and buses uses a dedicated transit tunnel which works very well. We enjoyed the best experience we had since coming to the US when we visited the Chihuly Glass and Garden Museum- the works of a local US glass artisan-Dale Chihuly- on permanent display in a new facility close to the Seattle Needle ( telecom / sky ... read more

Ian and Helli here one last time. ONE LAP BACKWARDS AROUND INDIANAPOLIS. Seven provinces and twenty-five states later, we have come full circle. Indianapolis happened to be in the middle. Number of: - visits to Tim Horton's: 18 - visits to McDonalds: wouldn't even know where to start. Probably ~60 - refuelling stops: +60 - times we dropped the bikes: 0 - blogs written: 65 - Provinces: 7. BC, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI - States: 25. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California - Biker waves: +4,000 - Ferry rides: 9 - Hotels: 51 - runs and/or exercise: 3 (I wasn't going to include that, bu... read more
and cool

Three days of brilliant sunshine helped us to enjoy this lovely city. The first day the objective was a stay awake and recover from the flight culminating in dinner at Fishermans Wharf and a ride back to the hotel in one of the little water taxis they call "pickle boats". We started next day by watching the water taxis perform a water ballet to the tune of the Blue Danube. They are very manouverable and it was quite impressive. We then visited the historic Craigdarroch castle, a stately home built in 1890 for the coal baron Robert Dunsmair lovingly maintained and restored. It is four floors of stained glass, intricate woodwork and lavish Victorian-era furnishings. It has been used for many purposes over the years such as a hospital, conservatory of music and now an historic ... read more
The Empress at night
Labrador and Golden Retriever Hot Dog
Parliament building at night


This morning is our last chance for breakfast in the Vista Dining Room, having lost an hour overnight with a change in time zones. We are not due into Victoria until this evening so you might think we have a bit of a light day. We in fact have a bit of a long day. I thought I might take this opportunity to list some of our likes and dislikes about this cruise experience, as we were enjoying a little extra time in bed this morning before going up to the Vista Dining Room. This cruise was all about our moms. On the positive side, number one on our list of observations is how helpful the staff was towards making their time on the cruise enjoyable. In the Lido, all staff: be they servers or bar ... read more
Very tall Totem from 1 Tree
Eagles Nest
Ships docked in Victoria

Victoria, BC May 4th –7th, 2013 Ship was late arriving and clearing customs after a lovely sail in the Juan de Fuca Straits B and Jess were there to meet us and walk our suitcases to our 351 St James/ corner of Rendal in James Bay, 4 blocks from the Inner Harbour. We dropped our suitcases off and walked a few more blocks to a neighbourhood bar and had dinner and a local beer. We enjoyed meeting Jess, she is all and more of B’s descriptions of her. Nice lady, bright and funny. Sunday was B’s day off work, first, he drove us to the Salt Spring ferry dock in North Victoria, where we boarded a 35 minute cruise (again) to the lovely and well known Salt Spring Island. We saw it all: scenery, bakery, wineries, ... read more

ARRIVED ON TIME DELAYED by customs met by B and Jess walked to b&b then walked to dinner with kids going out with them today see read more

After A pretty Beautiful ferry ride to Victoria we arrived at Swartz bay, from there we jumped on the local bus for an hour plus and soon arrived in the heart of Victoria which is a beaut, then the hard work started finding our hostel, we walked up and down every other road, I must have asked 10 people, no one knew where it was, anyway we found it, turns out we passed it four time while looking and its nice enough, although I suspect there are some homely people living here too. Victoria's is a really lovely little city it feels more like a town, it has a harbor and loads of little shops selling amazing clothes and trinkets. The city has a real British/European Vibe, so far I've seen Three British sweet shops and ... read more
Not our best looks
Free Willy
Sea puppies

Six months ago, we, Ian and Helli McColl, had a "we should do that" moment. We've had many "we should do that" adventure moments, all of which have come to fruition over the years. Such as, "we should take our 27' Formula powerboat down the outside of Washington State and cross the Columbia Bar into the Columbia River". Done: June 2007. "We should do that again!". Done: July 2008. "We should boat up to Juneau, Alaska for 7 weeks". Done: July 2011. So last year when we casually remarked that we should ride our motorbikes from Victoria BC to St. John's NL and back, I didn't quite expect our departure date to arrive so quickly. The last six months have been filled with I wonder where Canada's largest Tim Horton's is. I wonder where Canada's largest ... read more

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