On the last day of June, Andrew’s 30th birthday, I took the ferry over from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay in Victoria, BC. I’ve been to the island before, last year with dad. I took a different ferry then, but the route this time was actually way more convenient. After a bus ride, a train ride, and an additional bus ride I arrived at the ferry, bought my ticket at the self service machine and boarded the ferry.
Before starting my journey I dressed up in my best Agneta Fältskog outfit (a blouse I found in a 2nd hand shop for $3 the day before (and yes, I washed it) and flowy 70s pants for ultimate comfort). On the way the bus, a young woman with her dog stopped me to say I had gorgeous hair, and it made my morning. The week had been spent bleaching my hair and having mad in-between colors so to finally get compliments on the end result felt so, so great. Bless strangers giving strangers compliments for no reason at all!
On the ferry I chose to sit in the back where the restaurant’s located. I had a coffee while watching the water twirl outside. The weather was gorgeous, I was sitting next to an outlet so I could plug in my phone (always makes a difference!) and the universe just provided. The ferry from Tswwassen takes you through some amazing islands off Vancouver Island with some incredible houses. Definitely worth the $17 I spent on travel just for the views alone.
Andrew picked me up in Swartz Bay, I wished him happy happy birthday and we drove straight to Victoria to visit Beacon Drive In, a 50s inspired diner next to Beacon Hill park. I bought him a burger, fries, strawberry milkshake and a large coke as a birth day treat. It wasn’t Eddie Rockets, but still!
After lunch we went to the beach by Clover Point Park. It’s not a sand beach, but we still put our picnic blanket down on the stony surface and made the most of it. We watched people playing with dogs, dogs playing with dogs and looked out for killer whales down the Salish Sea towards the coast of United States.
I decided this would be a good time to give Andrew his birthday gift; a bowl of Swedish chocolate balls (his favorite, no birthday cake for him) and a very flat package containing a aerodynamic frisbee and a ticket for a seaplane tour around Vancouver!
Had to take a couple of more selfies because 1) the weather 2) my hair 3) why not? Also took some pictures of Andrew and my incredible wrapping skills. As you can see he was delighted to finally be turning 30.
As we walked back to the car, we hear a man telling his elderly parents who were sitting on a bench: “Look, look, can you see? The family of ocras there?” We turned our heads and could see the family swimming along far out from the shore. It was amazing; we actually couldn’t believe our luck. We had booked a whale tour later that night, but were happy to see them all for free with this gorgeous view. I decided there and then that I love Victoria as a city.
(you can’t see the killer whales on these photos, you just have to believe me)
We had time to kill after lunch and picnic. We decided to go downtown Victoria and find a parking spot for our car so we didn’t have to stress later on. I took a picture of the floor number of the parkade we finally found. The first parking spot we found wanted to charge us SIXTY- FIVE DOLLARS for overnight parking. Which was ridiculous. I looked up other parking spots around town and found View Street Parkade. This is only relevant because I want to mention the power of online reviews. The online reviews for this place was crazy, and I laughed at people who actually took the time to review a PARKADE. Yes it’s local, yes there were loads of spaces, but what else could they possible do that will spark such joy in people? Anyway, the day we left we realized why. The whole visit had been for free due to parking there on a Sunday and leaving on a Bank Holiday (aka another Sunday!). We were thrilled, and obviously left a Google review as well. This is in contrast to the $65 we were quoted for another place close by!
We went and checked in to our AirBnB. It was a loft apartment in downtown Victoria on Yates street; so, so cute. Unfortunately we had no meals at this table, but I took a picture and that’s good enough I guess! I wished we had stayed a couple of extra nights here, but we were only here for one night. These are the only 2 pictures I took (I think?), but according to Andrew this was his dream apartment, so I guess that’s saying something!
After a nap in the apartment we walked down to the harbor. It was the day before Canada Day, so Victoria was popping! Victoria is way cuter than Vancouver in many ways. There’s more historic-looking building, no skyscrapers or litter covering the streets. Victoria takes care of itself, and you can tell. We spent the evening doing the whale tour, which I’ll post more about later. We ended the night with pizza at Fiamo Pizza & Wine Bar right next to our AirBnB, a really cozy well-priced Italian restaurant. It was Andrew’s actual birthday, but I made sure to wish him happy birthday throughout the week to really make him know how much I love, love him and want to celebrate everything with him.