I took the guidance of Google Maps to understand how much time it would take me to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal from the house. I had a booking for the 8.25 am departure. My aunt told me that the ferry would not be as busy on weekends as it is on weekdays with commuter traffic. Even though I had to report only at 7.30 am I left the house at the stroke of 6. Traffic was light and I reached the terminal in less than an hour. At the check-in, which I could complete from within the car in a few minutes, I produced my booking, paid the balance amount and was asked to join a lane with a pink colored slip on the windshield. Boarding started after almost an hour. Announcements were made much before the boarding for people to return to their vehicles as many had gone off to the restaurant to grab something to eat and drink. I stayed put in the car and attended to social media requirements.
The boarding was completed in quick time and as the ferry was not full there were enough places to park oneself. I took a leisurely stroll on the deck taking in the beautiful sights of the Bay and clicking away merrily as the sun rose to give the Bay a shimmering hue. When the ferry began its journey to Nanaimo the cold winds tore into my body and soon I was back within the comfortable confines of the ferry. I sought refuge in a strong cup of coffee to warm the insides. The journey lasted barely 90 minutes and in the eagerness to watch the ferry dock I missed the announcement asking passengers to return to their vehicles. I realised the mistake when I heard the announcement for the driver of a Chevy Impala to return to the car! My car was at the head of one of the queues. When I got to the car, huffing and puffing, people in my queue gave me dirty looks and were impatiently behind their wheels to move out.
I had jotted down a couple of places to visit in Victoria. I did not stretch them because I wanted to rest properly before starting the expedition. My foot also had not healed properly after the corn was excised. Dressing had to be done daily and antibiotics had become part of daily meals. I reached the much publicised Craigdarroch Castle as the first stop of the sightseeing tour. To say that the experience was a disappointment would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. It certainly is an ornate building with large number of bedrooms for its intended occupants and servants on four floors. Of course, it was not a structure that brought forth oohs and aahs, except for the fact that it was envisioned and built by a man, Robert Dunsmuir, who came to Vancouver as a mines hand. He built his vast empire in Victoria out of shrewd investments. The sad part was that the Castle was completed only in 1890, after he had passed away. The large number of bedrooms testify to the ten children he and his wife, Joan, had. The castle feel on hard times before the war and was converted into a military hospital. Later it served many purposes before becoming a heritage monument in the 1960s.
The legislative assembly of British Columbia operate from the Parliament Buildings that face the majestic Inner Harbour. The baroque style buildings are in a large 110 acre plot with fountains, statues, memorials and lawns. At the entrance to the building is displayed menu of the Parliament dining hall, which is open to the public. Guided tours are offered at designated intervals round the year. A statue of Queen Victoria stands proud in the foreground of the buildings, with the magnificent Empress Hotel to her right. Next to the statue is a two hundred year old, 100 feet tall sequoia tree which is the official provincial Christmas tree. Thousands of lights decorate the tree every December. Horse drawn carriages are a great hit with tourists here. The hairy horses and their carts can take one on a historic tour, if one has the time and money. The Victorian age remnant is hotly debated as out of place in an urban area. The V2V ferry, which transits Vancouver and Victoria announced boarding from its terminal when I was on a stroll there. Passengers keen to catch the ferry were running to it, some with local ice cream cones and some others Thai crepes in their hands. I was tempted by both. After slowly savouring the banana flavoured ice cream in a small cone I gravitated towards the crepe kiosk. The lady at the helm induced me into a mango and banana crepe with caramel sauce which set me back by CAD 9. It was a very large portion, though.
The next item on the agenda was to recce the Zero Mile monument area. I got around there pretty quickly, but had to do a couple of rounds of the Beaver Hill Park to get to the ideal location to take photographs with the car. I found one and marked them for the morrow after testing out a few photos. On the way back to the Inn I drove along the lovely Bay, where I parked in some locations to take in breath-taking sights. At one such place an Indian origin family were engaged in flying fancy kites that looked to be on hire from a vendor.