Our first morning in Victoria saw us awaken to grey skies and heavy rain, by contrast to the beautiful weather that had guided us in the previous evening. We were disappointed to not have the weather on our side in our quest to explore the city and surrounding areas; and this was also the final ‘straw’ hat led to us deciding that the infamous Buchant Gardens weren’t going to be an attraction for us. We had previously been warned that they were excessively expensive in any case and we were dubious as to whether Theo would derive much enjoyment from them- or, indeed, if we would, given that we would have to chase him around!- so considered it the best call. Instead, our lovely host Dwayne gave us a mini guided our from the comfort of his car when he offered to drive us into town for the day. Even between the streams of rain water on the windows, we could appreciate it was a beautiful city. We were told the city had imposed building restrictions to limit the height of it’s structures and thus avoid the appearance of a traditional ‘skyscraper’ city, and this appeared to preserve it’s integrity and grant it a certain charm and character. We drove along the harbor and saw the government buildings; drove outside the city to view the spectacular scenery (although admittedly, not as great as it ought to have been due to the limited visibility!) and wished we’d had the opportunity to undertake a tour of the place by bike, as the cycling facilities continued to be extensive.
We got dropped by a square downtown close to the Maritime museum and while the rain temporarily held off, decided to walk about the city a while. In spite of the more logical ‘grid’ foundation we still found ourselves going around in circles however; and sightseeing with a toddler is far from easy. He rode on my shoulders for the majority, but the continuous wriggling and moving around made it far from comfortable! We missed our trailer-come-pushchair immensely that morning.
For lunch we found a lovely Italian and ate ‘out’, properly (ie-not McDonalds or Subway!) for the first time since we flew into Canada. After 10 days (!) of not having to pay for accommodation, we felt we could justify treating ourselves and really, really enjoyed the food. Having stopped by the Tourist Centre, we then debated how best to spend the afternoon with Theo. There was an abundance of choice of attractions that could tempt him- from the Bug Zoo to the Ocean Discovery Centre, Miniature World to Craigdarroch Castle/Historical house or the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm. We were divided; with my appreciation of architecture I leaned towards the castle, but begrudgingly admitted that Theo wouldn’t derive the same enjoyment from it and would prefer something more ‘hands on’. This is perhaps one of the ‘disadvantages’, if you can call it that, of travelling with a young child- sacrifices need to be made along the way for the sake of ensuring your child gets the most enjoyment from the trip, and as such, I’m aware that we are ‘missing’ what many travelers may believe to be essential sights and experiences of the places we visit- but I will argue that the sights we do see are also appreciated from an entirely different perspective when seen through Theo’s eyes. I guess it’s a matter of compromise.
We finally agreed upon Bug World as our destination for the afternoon, although I can’t say the prospect filled me with much excitement!
However, I was pleasantly surprised. Very reasonably priced (with Theo free) and with friendly, well-informed staff, we were given a step by step tour around the various displays and offered every opportunity to hold the bugs themselves. There was a perfect combination of more “scientific” fact and information for the adults with the more fascinating and gruesome facts that enthralled the children- and both Theo and Matt enjoyed it immensely. I took a little more convincing and had to overcome some true phobias (I generally hate bugs of all descriptions- especially those that move fast- but spiders in particular are my no. 1 hate and fear!) but with the encouragement of our guide and spurred by seeing everyone around us holding the bugs, I managed to swallow my fears and join in. I even held a tarantula!
Matt took it one step further when he opted to have a millipede mustache. Ugh.
Theo enjoyed running about, watching the ants going to and fro in the many tunnels and climbing chairs to peer closer into the cages. He frequently stroked the many bugs as they were being held and even held one himself- although I’m convinced Matt probably had more enjoyment than anyone else!
When we left Bug World, it was absolutely pouring with rain and prevented us from exploring much further- especially given that Theo was walking about with us, rather than in a waterproof trailer! and so called it a day. I was admittedly slightly disappointed; I would have loved to explore the city further, but as many, many Canadians have told us, they’re currently experiencing one of the worst springs they’ve had in years ( although it has to be said that in spite of those claims, their spring is far better than I would tend to expect from the UK at the same time of year) and even Dwayne admitted that Victoria is really one of those places that comes into it’s own in better weather. Perhaps we’ll have the privilege of returning one day and doing the city justice; but for us, this was the best we could do.
At this point I must extend further thanks to our lovely hosts Lisa, Dwayne and Luke for taking such great care of us and allowing us to impose upon them. Our visit would have been a complete flop without them!
Miles Today – 0
Total Miles to date – 607