“All aboard,” said the Captain of the Victoria Clipper, a ferry that transports passengers from Seattle, Washington to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Canada. The short cruise was windy, a bit chilly and there was scenery of land in the distance. Of course, I had the option to sit inside where it was warm and spacious, but I opted to brave the cold and ride on the balcony instead. My adventure had officially begun!
As the ferry drew near, I could see the layout of this historic city. The famous landmark, The Fairmont Empress Hotel is also known as the Empress Hotel, stood tall in its beauty and grandeur while overlooking the Inner Harbor filled with beautiful sailboats and finely contoured vessels.
The Victoria Clipper, arrived in Victoria just in time for me to partake in the British ritual of Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel. It was awesome! There was a selection of seasonal teas on the menu. However, I chose the Empress Tea! This tea is a combination of flavors from international countries mixed to give it a unique taste.
The color of the tea was a brilliant coppery color. The Assam ingredients gave it a delicious malty flavor, while there was a subtle floral taste that came from the Kenyan Black Tea. The Kenyan Green Tea added to mouthwatering aroma along with the light yet sharp flavors from Dimbula from Sri Lanka. The light oaky spices blended with small hints of Keemun gave The Empress Tea it’s rich burgundy character.
Afternoon Tea was delightful, and I savored every moment of it all the way down to the last drop! The Empress Tea paired with freshly baked scones and pastries served on William Edwards China. There were similar china plates used during King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s visit to this majestic city of Victoria back in 1939. Indeed I had a genuine Victorian experience.
At the completion of Afternoon Tea, I went on a ninety-minute sightseeing tour around the capitol. My experience was unique because it was aboard a two-level horse-drawn carriage! Naturally, I sat at the top level and I was given a blanket by the tour guide before we departed.
The beauty of Victoria showcased throughout the tour. I saw historic landmarks such as the Thunderbird Park, St. Ann’s Academy, Beacon Hill Park and the waterfront of Dallas Road. What was interesting to me was there was a significant amount of distance between the waterfront and the traffic on Dallas Road; which is unlike St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, in which the waterfront in Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a lot closer to the traffic on the land.
The tour continued passed the heritage building of the historic district of James Bay. The houses were preserved in its original state. Homeowners lived in a portion of the house while the rest is reserved for daily walk-in tours. Afterwards, I was downtown on the popular shopping streets which eventually led to the China Town.
This is the second oldest China Town located in North America! It was exhilarating stopping here. Throughout the tour, I took pictures while sitting on the deck but this was the first stop where I was allowed to come off and explore for a bit before hopping back on the carriage. I continued to the British Columbia Legislature, the home of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The edifice of the Parliament was enchanting. The architecture of the building resembled that of a dreamy mansion in a fairy tale storybook. Eventually, the tour concluded at the Empress Hotel.
One of the many things that I’ve learned on tour was how this city got its name. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom which was formerly known as British North America visited and since then it was called Victoria, British Columbia.
Overall, the attractive city of Victoria was full of life, beauty, history and above all royalty. I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves and enjoys the finer things in life!
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