Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friends, Flowers, and Castles

To start out the summer, the family decided to do a little weekend trip to Victoria, Canada.  This meant that my parents and I got to go to Seattle, WA for a long weekend trip.  :)  We had a blast!  We experience the wide spectrum of weather the Northwest gets in June.  Our first day was beautiful mid to high 70s (which is Seattle's version of hot).  The next day plunged down to the 60s with off and on rain.  (It seemed mostly on but that was because we spent most of the day outside.)  The third day started out cold and cloudy.  The afternoon turned in to sunshine and still cold.  Then went back to cold and cloudy.  Now that you have the weather report, lets get on with the activities.

Mom and I flew to Seattle, WA.  (Dad flew to Seattle from Sacramento since that was where he was working the previous week.)  Here is a picture of beautiful (snow-capped) Mt. Rainer from the plane.

My brother Chris was kind enough to pick us all up and we spent the evening at his house.  Allis entertained us with her tricks and just being the energetic dog she is.  We saw Allen briefly when he returned home from work.

The next day was a beautiful day in Seattle!  I took a walk around Chris' neighborhood.  Here is the view of downtown Seattle from his house.

I spent a few hours with my friend, Katie, and her sons.  We drove to Alki Beach where we finally found a parking spot.  (It seemed there were a lot of people out enjoying the beautiful weather.)  We walked to Slices, a pizza restaurant across the street from the beach and ate some pizza.  Then we walked across the street to the beach.  Katie and I sat and talked on a blanket on the beach while the boys played and threw rocks with a sling shot.  I had a fun time!  I enjoyed talking and spending time with Katie.  As we were walking back to the car, I told Katie we needed to get a picture for my blog.  Of course, we forgot!  Sorry Katie!

While I was spending time with Katie, my parents, Chris, and Allen went to Snoqualmie Falls.  Here are some pictures from their fun outing.

Mom brought me back some clam chowder from Ivar’s.  It tasted delicious!  I loved every drop of it!  Here's a picture of me and Allis looking out the window down to Chris (who was taking out the trash).

It was Allen’s birthday.  He opened his presents and cards.  

My family ate dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory to celebrate Allen’s birthday.  My friend, Adam, took a break from his intense studying for the Bar exam and joined us for dinner.  (A man has got to eat!)  We enjoyed talking (and mostly laughing).  I was sad we couldn’t spend more time together, but he had to get back to studying.


At Chris’s house, we ate cake and ice cream.  We were all so full when we went to bed!

The next morning, we got up at 5:30 AM.  It was WAY too early to get up on vacation!  Chris and Allen dropped me and my parents off at the Clipper terminal in downtown Seattle while they parked the car.  While we were waiting, we saw a guy jogging with his dog BAREFOOT!  The man AND the dog were barefoot running on the sidewalk!  Gross!  My family rode the Victoria Clipper to Victoria on Vancouver Island in Canada.  The voyage took almost three hours.  I ate breakfast and did a lot of reading.  I was cold during the entire trip because we were sitting by the door people kept going in and out of to get on the deck.  Brr!


After we went through customs, we got on a motor coach that took us on a city tour.  We drove past the Parliament building, The Empress Hotel, Chinatown, and the shopping area.

Once we got on the freeway to The Butchart Gardens, the tour guide/bus driver stopped telling us about Victoria.  This picture illustrates what happened to both me and Dad until we got to The Butchart Gardens.  (WARNING: This is what happens when you get up at 5:30 AM on vacation and the action comes to a rolling bus ride!)

The tour gave us over two hours to explore the gardens.  The gardens were huge!  Our first stop was The Blue Poppy Restaurant for lunch.  Mom, Dad, and I got bowls of seafood chowder.  It tasted delicious!  Chris and Allen ate sandwiches.  Once we refueled, we got serious about the gardens.  Dad wasn’t very interested in seeing the gardens.  He stayed with us about half the time and then went and sat by the entrance.  Mom, Chris, Allen, and I walked through the sunken garden, rose garden, Japanese garden, and Mediterranean garden.  They were beautiful!  There was such a variety of flowers and vegetation! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the Rose Garden because it seemed we visited between bloomings.  Two weeks later (or earlier) would have been amazing in the Rose Garden!

The Sunken Garden

The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden
The Mediterranean Garden
The Mediterranean Garden
This was as close as we got to the tropics!
The bus dropped us off at our hotel, Chateau Victoria.  Our hotel was a suite with two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, living room, and small kitchen.  It was nice and reminded me of the suites we had in Hawaii.  We put our things in the hotel and then went exploring.  Chris and Allen went to Chinatown.  Mom, Dad, and I went to Red Fish, Blue Fish for dinner.  The food was ordered and cooked in a cargo shipping crate.  (The kind seen on large shipping vessels.)  The food was eaten outside.  I was grateful they had a canopy over the eating area because it was raining.  Mom, Dad, and I walked in the rain to the Original Christmas Village shop.  Just as we got there, we ran into Chris and Allen on the street.  Dad was tired of walking around in the rain so he went with Chris and Allen back to the hotel.  Mom and I looked in the Original Christmas Village shop.  There were so many Christmas things-stockings, ornaments, nativities, and junk!  I didn’t know you could cram so much stuff in such a small area!  Mom and I walked around and looked in some other shops as we made our way back to the hotel.  Since it was raining, my family spent the evening in our hotel room watching the movie Cars on TV.  We went to bed relatively early because we were all exhausted!  One good thing about the rain is usually a rainbow afterwards.

The next morning, my family walked to the Soda Shoppe for breakfast.  While we were eating, we decided we had seen and done everything we wanted to do in Victoria so we were going to see when the earlier Clipper left Victoria.  After breakfast, we walked to the Visitor’s Information Center and asked when the next Clipper left.  They told us 11:15 AM.  Of course, it was 11 AM when we asked!  Dang it!  We missed the boat, literally!

We walked through The Empress Hotel.  It wasn’t really that grande inside.  It looked more impressive from the outside.  It didn’t have a nice large lobby where we could just hang out.  We did find a few couches where Dad opened his Father's Day cards.


Dad, Chris, and Allen went to a movie.  Mom and I visited the Craigdarroch Castle.  After we paid our entrance fee, they had us clean the bottom of our shoes with this interesting machine.  I never experienced that before!  The Craigdarroch Castle wasn’t really a castle (meaning no royalty ever lived there.).  It was just a large house built to look like a castle.  It was a beautiful large house with a lot of rooms.  The rooms were filled with furniture from that time period.  I was glad we took the time to see it.

The Stairwell

On the way back to the hotel, the driver of the hotel shuttle took us through Beacon Hill Park.  It was a large park filled with people playing basketball, running, and other activities.

Mom and I walked down to the harbor.  We watched a street performer put on her show.  She was quite interesting!  We met up with Dad, Chris, and Allen at the hotel.  We went to Fisherman’s Wharf.  It had a type of food court where there were a lot of small restaurants near each other.  The restaurants were actually in floating homes in the water.  We ordered and ate our food on picnic tables on the dock.  Mom and I shared seafood chowder and salmon.  Chris and Allen shared poutine.  Dad ate a quesadilla.  Mom and Dad looked around the wharf at the floating homes.

My family walked to the pier where we went through US Customs and waited to take the Clipper back to Seattle.  Chris and Allen talked about and planned their move back to Florida.  After eighteen months, they were tired of the clouds and cool weather of Seattle and wanted to head back to warmth and sunshine.  How funny!  (As a PS to that story, Chris and Allen moved back to Florida in August.)

The ride on the Clipper was a little bit rocky because it was quite windy.  I did a lot of reading.  I was glad I don't get seasick!  Chris and Allen got off the Clipper quickly once we were docked in Seattle.  They got the car while Mom, Dad, and I waited (what seemed like FOREVER) to get through US Customs.  We drove to Chris’s house, ate some cake and ice cream, and went to bed.

The next morning, Chris drove my parents and I to the airport.  I had a fun time in Seattle and Victoria.  It was great to see places I had never seen before and get together with some friends.  My only request would have been for warmer weather.  After all, it was a summer vacation!