Wednesday, November 11, 2009

British Columbia trip revisited Part IV

Continuing on with our trip... after reaching Victoria we headed straight for the Inner Harbor and the Empress Hotel. This is one of several Victorian-era Hotels in Canada. While growing up in Seattle my family made many trips to Victoria, always to wind up standing & staring in awe at this beautiful building. Later my dad and mom did stay for a week-end here.
At this time of year the ivy is so spectacular! It has lots of variations from green to red. When I was little I always wanted to stay in a room up on the very top, behind one of those little gables. Now I know that those were the servants quarters!

We arrived too late for tea (sorry Kathy) but did enjoy just walking about the grounds first.

Between two 'arms' of the building there were a few little steps down into this courtyard. It was screened in by trees and shrubs, and seemed just like a little hidden place with a fountain in the center.

This photo is looking out from the fountain...back where we came in.

In one side of the garden is this pretty pergola with climbing rose vines all over it. There were still some actually blooming. Now from my part of Oregon we don't have climbing roses...so it's always a treat to find some.

And this is from the opposite side of the Empress admiring some fall foliage.

Of course we went in and walked around admiring the decor... and went downstairs to where they have a little alcove showing the history of the hotel, and some old photos. After we returned to the lobby, we decided to go up the elevator...something I had always wanted to do, but had never ventured. We found the fourth floor under renovation. They last had a major renovation in the '80's and so it was time again. These are their best rooms on the fourth floor. After talking with the project manager he OK'd us to look around all we wanted, and we did want to!

In each room there was an original fireplace...now gas lit. They were so pretty, and the details added so much.

We got to see what the views looked like from the inside...and to see the hanging strands of ivy at the windows. We found one room with a rounded corner cupboard by the window. I went in to look and found it was a very tiny toilet room. It must be the most expensive one in the world with that view : )

After finally and relunctantly leaving the empress we crossed the street to the harbor and took this photo of the parliament building. Victoria's famous hanging flower baskets were down for the season, but we did find some planters still blooming with geraniums, marigolds and dusty miller.

We walked to the parliament building and took a last photo of the Empress from there as the light was beginning to fade.

The same architect planned and built both this building and the Empress. We came by this building after it was fully dark, and it is outlined in hundreds if not thousands of white lights. Quite a sight and very impressive.

Out front is this statue of Queen Victoria...the city's namesake. The statue turned out black but you can get the idea. It depicts a young queen Victoria and has been there as long as I can remember (and that's getting to be quite a while now.) After walking around the downtown area a bit longer we found the car and drove over to Victoria's Chinatown. We had decided on Chinese food for dinner but it was crowded and a bit uncomfortable...I think we could have chosen better. Three of us liked our dinners, but Glenn had ordered fried oysters and regretted that until the next day!
Well, another wonderful day drew to a close, so we headed back to our cute B & B for rest and relaxation. It was good to know there was a warm room waiting for us. Tomorrow we were headed for Butchart Gardens.

2 comments:

Laffing Dawg said...

Oh the memories. Thanks Jennie. Can't wait to revisit Buchart Gardens.
Kathy

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your travels so much. You have so many beautiful pictures and visited so many interesting places. Through the years we went to Canada several times and always enjoyed it. Now I can scarcely wait for Butchart Gardens. Thanks for sharing with us. Elna