Few people outside of Canada likely realize that the capital of British Columbia is not Vancouver, but Victoria. Victoria sits on beautiful Vancouver Island, and you need to take a ferry from the mainland of British Columbia to get there. I had never been there, but I was planning a trip to go see it as I was going to be in Vancouver on business anyway. I had heard that it was quite a journey, but also worth the effort. If you’re leaving from Vancouver, you need to drive to a ferry station, hope you get on the next boat if you don’t have a reservation and then take the ferry for a couple of hours. I had all of those details planned, including my car rented and my ferry reservation. All that was left to do was pack, or so I thought. I got a terrible feeling, when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to book a Victoria hotel.
After I came to my senses and calmed down a bit, I told myself that there was certainly a way to find a hotel room in Victoria at the last minute. I grabbed my phone and found an app called HotelTonight. I searched for Victoria hotels, and I was delighted to see that there were quite a few available. I chose one that looked like it would suit me and proceeded to the booking process. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to book and confirm a room. I was all set, despite my temporary panic. I was going to see Victoria.
Before I even got to my hotel, I was completely mesmerized by the beauty that was Victoria. This is a gorgeous city that is about as clean as it gets with about as unique a look as you’ll ever experience. You feel like you’re in some type of European city when you consider the architecture, the way the streets are organized and of course with almost opulent office buildings nearby, seemingly overlooking everything. I spent my first couple of hours just walking around, looking around and talking to people about where to go and what to see next.
Just south of downtown Victoria is James Bay, a very pretty and diverse neighborhood. It’s so diverse that it is home to the parliament building and to a wide array of homes ranging from apartment buildings to single family residences. I spent some time down by Fisherman’s Wharf, and it was stunning. The water was perfectly still and clean, and the boats were lined up perfectly. I went from there to Five Corners and enjoyed a coffee. I needed a bit of a break from all of the excitement and just wanted to watch the people walk by for a while.
I ventured over to Fernwood after spending some time in James Bay. I was noticing a trend – this was another beautiful area in a beautiful city. There were very nice homes here along with some local businesses and local people. There were also some restaurants, which was good news because I was really hungry and it was time for lunch. Someone told me about a place with locally sourced produce and the freshest seafood around, and as soon as I sat down and ordered I realized I was going to have a great lunch. That’s exactly what happened. It was fantastic and I couldn’t wait to get back into my day so full of fresh food.
If you want to see some history firsthand in Victoria, spend some time in Rockland, which is on the other side of downtown from where I had been. This was the original prestigious neighborhood in Victoria, but during World War II there was a housing shortage. Many of the big mansions that existed at the time were subdivided into apartments and flats, and quite a few of them remain that way to this day. I also spent some time shopping for gifts for the important people in my life, as I wanted to be able to tell all of them about this day in this place.
I decided to end my day in Fairfield. Fairfield is another neighborhood that appears to be quite diverse in terms of its offerings. These include different styles of homes and several types of local businesses and, thankfully, restaurants. It was getting to be the end of the day and I was famished. I found a place that is apparently known for its fish and chips. I love fish and chips, so I ordered my dinner with excitement. I had never had fish and chips like this before, though. It was a dinner I would remember for a long time.
After such a great dinner and a full day of enjoying a beautiful city, I was ready to turn in for the night. I began to realize once again that I had a very nice Victoria hotel room waiting for me. I had also forgotten how I nearly didn’t have anywhere to stay just hours earlier, but thanks to HotelTonight that was a very temporary concern. I laid down in my warm, soft bed and thought about what I would do tomorrow now that I had gotten a bit of flavor for the town. I looked forward to it. I also looked forward to traveling with HotelTonight in the future.