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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sail Away ~ Victoria

It was said this island was for the "newly wed and nearly dead". Even before we set foot on this wonderful island we were captivated by the nautical sceneries on the ferry. Gazing on the deck, the feeling of surrealism overwhelms me.  Instead of looking up at birds,  the sea birds were playing with the waves BELOW me, It was hilarious watching them struggling against the wind, flying in a shaky course. 

On the first day there, we invited Jen and Ralph, a missionary couple who used to serve in Rwanda Branch during genocide. It was really incredible that we got connected with them. Kitty and Cyrus met them during Panama and couldn't get enough of their blood thrilling experiences. Other sisters in our congregation also related their experiences during our local meeting, so I was very eager to meet them. 

Ralph needed to teach two pioneer schools in January and Jen needed to attend one herself in Vancouver. They also just finished their CO visit, so when they agreed to come for dinner, we were more then thrilled and must provide the best meal we can for our dear guests. 

 I have never cooked a dinner while traveling, so for my roast vegetable dish, I forgot to bring salt, pepper and olive oil..... Danny also needed to buy his pork chop and rosemary. So we punched in "super market" in our GPS and the result was a store located 40min away. It was 5pm at the time and guests are arriving at 6:30 so I don't blame myself for being stressed. We decided to visit the local Korean market in downtown Victoria instead, after many detours and troubles finding parking.... we got out of the car to find one homeless Korean couple sitting all wrapped up in blankets in front of the store....obviously the store was closed..... It was a melancholy moment, for some reason snow started spiralling down and cello started playing in my imagination. 

In Victoria, many stores would be closed in odd hours. Phoning in advance for reservations is always advised . In the end we got all our ingredients and I was very pleased with how fresh they were.  

Menu of the Night

Garlic Baguette 
Pasta bolognese
Rosemary seared pork chops
Assorted Roasted Vegetable ( beets, zucchini, eggplant, and yam) 
Bordeaux Wine

After soaking in the jacuzzi before bed, and learning the names of constellations we went to bed feeling very fulfilled. I don't know what the problem was but we all woke up at 2am. Although the sleep was poor we were still determined to do cross fit at 6am. I was skeptical that I would be allowed to join the class, given no prior experience..... but because the WOD was "extremely easy" that day and Danny is a coach, they made an exception.  

Before breakfast, we spent a little quiet time in the condo to prepare for meeting. It was very relaxing looking out to the water view and sipping our tea beside the fireplace. A curious seagull flew to our balcony and kept me company while I prepared the bible highlight.  Breakfast was lovely with fresh bacon from the deli, baked with chilli, blueberry pancakes,  and sweet pineapple. All of our trip mates were foodies, and we can't help ourselves but go on a food marathon. 

We were also interested to do a 15 min hike to lone tree hill, where I discovered my favourite tree the arbutus. Those trees are not suitable for architecture because of their wavy shape, so they were left to grow and populated the hill . I was so enchanted by the smooth red bark against the jade coloured leaves.

Next it was the empress hotel, something that tourists do without thinking too much~ 

Again I was not particularly impressed with the food, but the service and the environment was a very pleasant experience. As soon as we sat down we were offered whipped cream with strawberries, tea order were placed and the tier arrived after. I ordered the empress house blend. There was also a little tea sample as a gift to each customer.  It was a little forceful, as there were no alternative options besides ordering the afternoon tea. It would be perfect if I can just have a piece of opera cake, to taste the environment without over stuffing my stomach. 

And then it was stop at the local book shop, with the little wooden ladder. We had fun reading " the giving tree" in the children section, and were discussing about the moral and symbolism of this seemingly innocent book. 

Dinner was at the second most popular restaurant in Victoria, Ulla. It was a Contemporary French Restaurant. The scallops were blended and moulded back in to scallop shape and fried. The presentation is very fresh and fun, with a Japanese touch to it. 

The next day was a visit to Abkhazi Garden, built upon the love story of Peggy Pemberton Carter and Prince Nicholas Abkhazi. It was a charming heritage house, and afternoon tea is served. But at that time I was very much traumatized just hearing the " f" word , shuddering every time food is mentioned ~  So instead we just strolled around the well kept garden and had a chat with the gardener. 

Fisherman Warf is always one of my favourite place to visit . The place was unexpected empty and cold. The fish store was opened, much to our delight ~ but they ran out of fresh oysters and only have oyster soup. We ordered an Ahi tuna burrito with japanese rice, bean sprouts and cayenne sauce , the combination was just perfect. 

Just when we were waiting for our food another highlight of my trip happened. The seals decided to pop their heads out and performed for us in hope for some tasty treats. They are so cute and they know it. 

Our last stop was Bows and Arrows Cafe. Thinking back to this trip we would rate it 9/10, for me it was too much good food, for them it was too short :P  

Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. Special thanks to Kitty, Cyrus, AJ and Danny for contributing to the photos and being such awesome trip mates.