Traveling a Bit

Entry to ChinatownSince Betsy got here last Saturday, we've been pretty busy, traveling a bit and being quite the social butterflies! Our most recent jaunt was up to Victoria, British Columbia to do the research for an article about "Shopping in Victoria." I've known for a long time that the shopping there is really interesting and the clothing is so different from here. But I was completely blown away by the diversity - from Cuban cigars to Irish lace and everything in between.

Of course there are also masses of curio and tourist shops selling anything with Victoria on it, or Native American mass-made for the trade. But there are lots and lots of hidden gems that we found with the help of the locals. Wonderful craft stores - not arts and crafts but made by craftsmen (and women) - painting, carvings, etchings and lots of jewelry. [singlepic id=82 w=320 h=240 float=right]We were fortunate to stay at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa, a boutique hotel right in the heart of Olde Victoria. What a delightful place that is. And we were treated like royalty with a lovely room that looked out towards the Parliament buildings. And great wine and chocolates too! Our hosts, the General Manager, Bill Lewis and Sales Manager Ronette Nyhan treated us to cocktails and hors d'ouvres at the Catalano Restaurant and Cicchetti Bar. Of course, I can pronounce Cicchetti as it the ballet style we learned for so many years with Mrs. Bryan. We had a bartender, or mixologist, who really knew his stuff. He had been stolen away from a competing bar and I can tell why! The drinks he created were amazing! Betsy's first one had a Mescal base and goodness knows what else and I had a rum drink called Knickerbocker, apparently invented back in the 1700s. Then he made more - ones that were not on the menu but made to our preferences!

Oh and the hors d'ouvres? To die for, as they say. A sampling that included fried octopus, polenta sticks, various spreads like cauliflower and anchovy! Amazing taste sensations. We felt very spoilt!

Later, we wandered around town and ended up at the beautiful Bard and Banker pub - and some strange man was attracted to us - well, actually to Betsy - but that's a story all on it's own! Back in our room, we ate chocolates, some take out from a neighboring restaurant, the 10 Acres and had a good night's sleep.

Colorful KimonosOur second day started with a full Continental breakfast, masses of coffee and delicious food. Then off we went again - to the Maritime Museum where there are ...ghosts! And on to Chinatown, the oldest in Canada. Lots of color and a great grocery store which was full of Chinese people - duh! But the real deal, most of the packaging being illegible to me! But we did buy some good rice and green curry paste! We were the only white people in there! We went to Fan Tan Alley, a skinny little brick alley that is famous for being so narrow; a gorgeous tea room and spa - the Silk Road - all organic and local.

It was a great trip and I could go on and on - but instead, you can look at pix in the gallery. I took way too many pictures - and we actually had dualing cameras - Betsy has one just like mine so she would be getting one angle and I would get the other! Funny!

Saturday was a fun party at Danelle and John's house - they have been there for a year now so it was a big celebration. They have done a wonderful job on the house and there was a really good turnout of all their friends and family. Plus it was a gorgeous day and the mountains were out in all their glory.

Tomorrow, we go to Steep Island Lodge to go fishing - Betsy is doing an article - Women Gone Fishing - today is a lay day, as was yesterday and trying to catch up on photos and writing and blogs. Then off to Jim and Mardelle's for martinis on the deck.

Rough life - but someone has to do it!

[nggallery id=2]