We awoke promptly at six in the morning and drove north from our quick overnight in Seattle up to Anacortes, Washington. We drove the car straight onto a boat– a strange sensation if you’ve never done it before– and we were ferried through picturesque islands toward Victoria, British Columbia.
Victoria is the capitol city of British Columbia, and it’s located on Vancouver Island. The only ways to access it are by boat or by plane. It’s a pricey trip once you bring a car aboard, but it was completely worth our short trip over just to see the world-famous Butchart Gardens which were in full bloom as we visited in May. See all the pretty sights below:
The ferry, operated by Washington State Ferries, stops at the San Juan Islands en route to Sidney, BC on Vancouver Island.
The ride was about three hours, with plenty of spectacular views.
Our first stop on Vancouver Island: a small lunch spot on a farm, The Roost. This guy was just running around in the lawn as we ate our sandwiches.
They converted the old school bus into more seating areas.
Next, we visited Butchart Gardens, which was absolutely gorgeous. Almost everything was in bloom in late May.
This “sunken garden” was the most breathtaking exercise in landscape architecture, framed perfectly by the mountains in the background and the scoop of the land surrounding the gardens.
The Rhododendron/azaleas were out in full force, in every color from fuchsia to orange to purple.
Next, we swung by some of the Victoria landmarks, including a quick stop at this old castle.
The Parliament building still houses the parliament of British Columbia. We also stopped by the Fairmont Empress for some drinks before dinner.
For dinner, we met my aunt and uncle who live in Victoria at a new restaurant in the Chinatown neighborhood, Ulla.
And then we went back downtown for some night views of the adorably lit buildings.
More delicious eats at my aunt’s house: beef noodle soup for a midnight snack and a full spread for breakfast the next morning.
And just like that, we were back on another boat, this time the BC Ferries from Victoria over to Vancouver on the mainland.
Much more of our Canadian adventures to come!
Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco but often jetsetting around the world. Follow her on facebook for more photography and travel adventures.