Dave Koz

Dave Koz Travelogue: Thursday - Day 7


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Day 7: Thursday - Victoria, B.C.
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC
Vancouver, BC
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Buchard Gardens
Empress Hotel
Empress Hotel
Thursday: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
We arrived in Victoria in the morning and for me personally, it was lovely to be in Canada again. My whole family is Canadian…my parents were born and raised in Winnipeg but we have family all over the provinces. When we were kids my parents took my brother, sister and me all over Canada—B.C. was always my favorite.
We got off the ship and got a cab right away to one of the places I remembered so fondly as a young kid, Butchart Gardens. This was one of my mom’s favorite places on Earth. And after going back there as an adult, I see why now. My memory was a bit foggy from my kid years…but wow, this place is nothing short of mind-boggling. The amount of different foliage and areas to walk…and the attention and care in the upkeep of the various gardens. It’s no wonder that it’s considered a national treasure by the Canadian government. We walked around for a couple hours and took it all in…it was a feast for the senses.
You can also easily get an excursion bus to the Gardens direct from the ship and have lunch or tea there as well. But we had our sights on having a late afternoon High Tea at the world famous Empress Hotel right there in downtown Victoria. It’s a very old-world Grand Hotel with a famous tea room that has hosted people from around the world for over 100 years. Finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and the best tasting mini-desserts together with delicious tea and world-class service. I could’ve stayed in that place for a week!
After our high tea (how sophisticated does THAT sound?!), we walked through Victoria’s main shopping district where you can find fantastic antique shops, restaurants and bars…there’s a lot of sightseeing to be done there as well with ferries to take you to other parts of British Columbia and a beautiful harbor area where museums are located . Canada has such a distinct feel—so different from the US…it’s a bit of a throwback to older times…very British in many ways. There is a real sense of history, tradition and pomp and circumstance. I always find the country inspiring and trips there good for the soul.
And there are any number of different excursions that you can use your time in Victoria to do as well…from horse-drawn trolleys through historic old town, to whale watching expeditions; castle visits to a tour of the B.C. wine region complete with wine tastings.
Back on The Rhapsody, we had a final cocktail party with the team in the champagne bar off the Centrum and then a wonderful farewell dinner in the main dining room where we had a near-teary goodbye with our incredible waiters and servers. These guys all work SO hard—and care so much about all the guests having the very best time possible. I retired after dinner to my cabin to pack my bags for the trip home…alas, it had come to the end of our cruise.

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