The capital of British Columbia is Victoria, and in terms of vibe it reminded me a lot of London. I felt, as I did during last year’s trip to London, a kind of bliss walking around. The locals seemed a content lot, laidback and casual in an upper-middle class kind of way.
Our Airbnb was a condo located in the heart of the city’s tiny Chinatown, so the location was perfect as well as interesting, as this part of downtown bordered an area where one could find many restaurants, cafes and interesting boutiques, as well as, of course, Chinese-themed grocery and gift stores.
The only meals which we really enjoyed were both Chinese; the pizza place had us waiting too long and we eventually took a so-so pizza back with us to our place.
You never know what you’re going to get with an Airbnb, and in this case it was the very noisy seagulls squawking their lungs out near the harbour close by, loudest at dawn and at bedtime. A fair amount of fantasy time was spent scaring them away.
There was also the too-soft bed. I opted to sleep on the living room sofa, even if it meant closer proximity to the seagulls.
One thing that had us laughing and talking about it was the tendency of waiters and waitresses in B.C. to ask, right near the start of a meal, “How are the first few bites tasting?”
We found ourselves repeating this line a couple of minutes after each meal as we walked away.
As also happened after our visit to Saskatoon, I could see myself living in Victoria in an alternative universe. Somehow you just know that making friends in this city wouldn’t be that difficult. The weather’s usually fair and, all in all, it seems like a pleasant place to live (for a city).
Also, only 20 minutes away, Naomi and I were able to find very nice hiking. One never gets tired of these enormous trees…
Finally, the States
A ferry takes us to Port Angeles, Washington, on an early morning trip. Naomi and I had slept only four or five hours when we awaken at 3:45 am, so we know that the drive to Seattle will be a drowsy affair.
But, after a light breakfast aboard, I’m feeling surprisingly normal.
Getting through customs before leaving was a breeze, surprisingly (you never know how it’ll turn out) and we realize that we could have taken the two half-finished bottles of wine we left behind at our Airbnb in Victoria.
It’s an overcast day, but I do get a glimpse of a fiery sun just above the horizon just after we pull out of Victoria harbour, at about 6 am.
There are not that many passengers on board; this is the early ferry, and on the benches many people are sprawled out trying to get some shut-eye. In the chilly front seating area when I am parked (Naomi is trying to sleep in the middle section of the ferry) there are many more empty seats than those taken and I get to see the Strait of Juan de Fuca ahead of me through the full glass windows, left, right and centre.
When I return to Naomi she’s looking glum at not being able to sleep and rests her head on my shoulder. Soon we’ll be in the United States. When we look out the window, besides the grey-blue sky, we can see the outline of mountains in the distance.
A month into the trip by now, we’re both pretty tired of travelling. While Naomi would certainly like to be home, I can’t say that I’m homesick yet. I’m tired but still enjoying the adventure.
I’ve heard and read so much about Seattle and Portland, so naturally I’m looking forward to what these cities will offer.