On Gulls, Ghosts and Galloping Geese

For the closest thing we’ve had to a real holiday since we got back, Kathy and I are in API Call ErrorVictoria this week. I’m not on holidays, but have taken a few extra days around a business trip to enjoy myself. Kathy gets a holiday. Anyway, so here we are, and we’re loving it. We’ve often toyed with the idea of moving out here…I think given the opportunity, we’d jump at it. The grass is literally greener. Things may be budding in Edmonton, but this is a city already in bloom. There are flowers everywhere, and things just grow. Not just in the designated places like they seem to at home. The people also seem to be friendlier. The service industries seem to be well staffed with people in good moods, and we have had random strangers on the street stop and give us a hand – recommending a place to eat when they saw us puzzling over a map, and directing us to a bike rental place when it was nowhere near where the tourist information people had said it would be. I just have a hard time picturing the rushed Albertans taking the few minutes to point a tourist in the right direction, let alone if there were as many visitors as Victoria gets.

We’ve had a whirlwind couple of days so far. We arrived on the early flight Saturday morning, and were downtown by around 10. We stuck to just walking and exploring around the harbour in the morning. All the walking took its toll, combined with the early start (had to be at the airport by 6:30), and the heat/humidity combination, so we slept for almost two hours in the afternoon. After our sleep, we did a bit more walking, just wandering around the shore south of downtown, watching the cruise ships come in, and trying to get some pictures of the gulls.

Sunday was even busier. Our BnB was a bit slow on breakfast, and we spent much of the wait watching the seagull, pictured above, who just hung around on the balcony making noise. He gets fed for his trouble.

Then it was biking time. Despite the misdirection from tourist information, I think this has got to be the most impressing thing about Victoria. They have some old railway bed that they’ve converted into a biking trail – the Galloping Goose trail. Not only is it a nice, pleasant ride thanks to its flatness (trains at the time it was built couldn’t handle more than a 1.5% grade), but also very green. The railway cutting sometimes placed us in a fairly deep canyon, the sides of which were just covered in ferns and living things. We took a trail that spurred off towards Sidney, and took us past some farms and semi-rural acreages. We couldn’t help but think how this was about as ideal as suburban living can get, with a flat bike path providing a 1/2 hour of easy riding to downtown Victoria.

Again, nap-time, and then on to the ghost tour. It’s something we like to check out in different cities, since ghost tours tend to provide great story telling, and sometimes a good average-man point of view on history. The Victoria version is certainly memorable as one of the best. A good ghost tour depends a lot on the guide’s delivery, and our guide here certainly has good delivery. Interesting stories about the floating heads at Gatsby Mansion, the hanging man at the Empress, and a trip into some API Call Errorcreepy alleyways. Loads of fun.

Anyway, more to come. We’re certainly having a great time…I just wish I didn’t have to spend most of the week working.

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