Monday, March 30, 2009

Last Day in Victoria

Friday we took ourselves off to Victoria for one last visit. We started the morning off with a visit to Craigdarroch Castle , which a Scottish rags-to-riches coal baron built for his wife in 1890. Sadly, he died before it was finished, and the family fell to pieces eventually. It was gorgeous, in spite of the sad history of the family.


This is the view when you first walk into the castle, looking straight up four floors...



Beautiful stained glass windows throughout!





I loved all the wood and special touches in the finishings




Check out the ceiling...





Most of the finishings and contents were not original from the castle--most of the originals had to be sold off...

I thought this chandelier over the billiards table was amazing...


View from one of the top floors--unfortunately, the day was overcast:

Nicholas was desperate to play all the pianos in the house! This one, dating circa 1897, held a sign saying that people with musical training could play it...if they played music that the other guests would enjoy! I figured that Nicholas' pounding wouldn't qualify!


A beautiful bedroom...


Chris claimed that this room, the breakfast room, was his kind of place:


Nick liked it too:
Me and the boys posing outside of the castle (Chris was in the car reading a book):




Closeup of the tower:



Next we went off to Murchie's tea shop on Government Street for lunch. Murchie's provides tea for the famous (and very expensive) Empress Hotel high tea...but maintains its own (much less-expensive) tea shop as well.
Here is Nick while we were waiting for our food:
Mike had a lovely Greek salad; Chris had a grilled beef sandwhich and soup; Kieran had a breakfast scone (with eggs and bacon); Nick had a ham-and-cheese croissant; and I had the spanokopita (yummy!). Then came the best part: dessert!
Mike with his butler pose (and Chris with his "bottomless pit" pose)
Chris and Mike had the white chocolate cheesecake for dessert
Kieran had the princess strawberry dessert
And I had an incredible rum ball!

Then we bought some more tea and other goodies for ourselves and for our friends Nancie and Dave


Right next door to Murchie's is another favorite spot in Victoria, Munro's Books. We had been to Munro's earlier in the week, but had to return again...especially because Chris was determined to blow all his money on a book there. According to its web site, Munro's has been described by noted columnist and author Allan Fotheringham as "the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, possibly in North America." While of course I think that it doesn't quite beat local favorite Powell's, it does have a much grander mystique than Powell's.





It's also in a historic building:

After lunching and book shopping, we went for a wander down to the harbor, where we saw the ferry coming in from Port Angeles:

Nick liked the little tug boat, and the seagulls:




Then onto Chinatown. While in Munro's, Kieran and I read a Magic School Bus book about Imperial China and learned that touching a stone lion's paw brings good luck:


Here is, reportedly, the narrowest street in the world, Fan Tan Alley--home of opium dens and brothels of days yore:



Chris, striking a criminal's pose:


Soon after this photo was taken, Nick fell asleep and we headed off to Market Square, where I was able to indulge in my very favorite bead store anywhere: BeadWorld. Do I need more beads? Hell, no. But I couldn't resist!

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