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Night Photograph, Victoria Parliament Building, British Columbua, Canada
We were sorry to leave Tofino; a place that had delivered on every front… Except for the whales! But all good things must come to an end and there were more adventures to be had.

We drove to Nanaimo where Tony headed home to Vancouver and we caught the bus further down the Island to Victoria.

Deciding to treat ourselves a little, (well it was sort of our honeymoon!) we got a harbour view suite in a boutique hotel called Magnolia. The staff at the Magnolia were very friendly and on informing them that we were honeymooning (kind of!) we got a luxury room upgrade and later received a complimentary bottle of Prosecco. We dumped our bags, put the Prosecco on ice and headed straight out.

While Vancouver has all the hustle and bustle of a thriving, modern city; Victoria has the historic charm and quaintness of a capital city (Victoria being the capital of British Columbia). We’d heard good things about the museum at Victoria and naively entered the building expecting nothing more than being entertained for a couple of hours while learning the odd new thing or two. What we didn’t expect was to enter a wonderful world of life-size reconstructions, full of hidden gems and treasures!

We paced ourselves through the temporary exhibition about the race to the south pole between the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and British Robert Falcon (what a cool middle name!) Scott. Having a memory a bit like a colander, I’d forgotten the tragic ending to this epic and historic event. I subsequently found myself feeling pretty glum by the end of this feature exhibit. However, those feelings evaporated into a distant memory as soon as we entered the permanent exhibitions on the top floor, or rather China Town! The imaginative, detailed and interactive reconstructions were truly brilliant! We got completely and happily lost from one recreated world to the next.

After our marathon meander through the museum we made a quick trip back to hotel to freshen up. We then headed out to eat at the trendy Rebar restaurant. Rebar is a modern vegetarian restaurant and their food (and cake!) is awesome enough to turn the most hardened carnivore veggie, for one night at least!

The next day we ditched plans to get the coach back to Vancouver, opting instead to take a whale watching boat that would taxi us to Vancouver afterwards. It was a 5/6 hour trip so we aimed to take full advantage of the buffet breakfast at the Magnolia. Unfortunately, in my eagerness to soften up a chewy croissant, I managed to get both halves stuck in the rotating toaster. Upon inspection, I discovered that not only had my croissant got stuck on the grill, but both halves were now on fire! I instantly switched off the non-croissant designed toaster and tried to get the attention a member of staff as subtly (but hastily) as possible. Needless to say my efforts at discreetly alerting staff to the situation weren’t very discreet at all! By the time myself and three members of staff had successfully prevented triggering the alarms and sprinklers, there wasn’t a guest at breakfast that didn’t know my face and what had happened. This somewhat hindered plans to make several trips to the breakfast bar without drawing too much attention!

After breakfast we bought some presents and souvenirs from the not for profit museum shop and had a coffee in a Rebar owned bakery. We then got our boat for Vancouver via some whales. (Or so we hoped!)

Being two of four passengers on a boat with three ship’s crew was as surprising as it was great and we hoped a sign of good luck rather than a sign of the whale watching quality! As it happened we got to see two pods of orca, travelling together close to shore with two very new/ young members. The experience was thrilling and a big fat tick on the Canada trip wish list!

Despite being known as killer whales, orca are actually from the dolphin family which means we had been on two whale watching tours and still not technically seen a whale! Not that we gave a Fraggle Rock after seeing such beautiful creatures in their own environment.

After the Orca sightings we picked up about 20 more passengers from Butchart Gardens and continued, arriving at Vancouver in time for tea (pizza & beer!), bringing a rather splendid end to another awesome chapter in our Canadian adventure.