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Published: April 2nd 2012
After a short 5 hour flight from Maui we arrived late evening in Vancouver. Our hotel the St Regis was only a short ride from the airport and is located in downtown Vancouver. We were very pleased to be told at check in that free international calls were included in our rate which allowed us to spend the evening chating with family.
Our second day in Canada started with a hearty Canadian breakfast before settong off for a walk to Gastown located near the harbour. We found the well known steam clock built in 1977 and incorporating a steam engine and electric motors, the clock displays the time on four faces and announces the quarter hours with a whistle chime that plays the Westminster Quarters. After our walk it was only a short taxi ride to the bus terminal to where we boarded our bus to Swartz Bay where we would catch the ferry to Vancouver Island. The ferry crossing only took 95 minutes passing many small islands on the way. Our bus was first off the ferry and in to Victoria in around 30 minutes, we found this a much easier way to travel than waiting at airports.
We checked into the Fairmont Empress Hotel on the harbour which has played host to kings, queens, movie stars and many famous people. In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth stayed at The Fairmont Empress as part of their cross Canada Royal Tour. The most recent Royal Visit of HRH Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip was in 2002. While Marg rested and had room service for dinner Alex and Ron found a lovely Scottish Pub for dinner with a band playing 60s and 70s music.
in the morning we had a lovely walk around the harbour before being collected by our driver for the day, Gary. We arrived at the beautiful Butchart Gardens around 11.30am which was good timing as we were able to see most of the garden before the rain set in for the afternoon. We enjoyed afternoon tea at the gardens before Gary took us on a short tour of the surrounds before returning us to the Empress for the evening.
Day three saw us leave beautiful Vancouver Island. We decided against travelling on the clipper (ferry) from Victoria to Seattle as we had heard it can get a little rough on
the crossing. Instead we took a short half hour flight to in an Alskan Airlines bombadier, arriving in Seattle around lunchtime. After checking into our hotel, the Arctic Club, we set off for a walk to the harbour. We found Pike Place market where we were impressed by the fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the market overlooking the harbour before walking back to our hotel.
Our second day in Seattle was spent enjoying brunch at the Space Needle. The Space needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair, it is 605 feet (184 m) high at its highest point and 138 feet (42 m) wide at its widest point and weighs 9,550 tons. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour (89 m/s) and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude. The view from the restaurant is superb, it was nice to linger over brunch while the view came to us as we slowly revolved.
Marg and Alex spent the afternoon shopping while Ron took a bus the Museum of Flight. Ron was impressed with the displays and thought the museum was very well layed out. Ron thought
it was cool to go onboard the concorde and airforce one. A quiet night with dinner in the hotel before packing for our flight to Houston tomorrow.
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