We drove to Port Angles, parked the van in the overnight parking lot, and boarded the Coho Ferry, a private ferry line taking passengers and vehicles from Port Angles, Washington to Victoria, B.C. I had already checked online regarding prices, and shelled out $17.50 per person, each way. (Except Joey who was free, because he is under the age of 11). There are no student rates, nor senior rates.
After a 90-minute ferry ride and a quick trip through immigration and customs, we stepped out of the terminal and walked to the bus stop. By the way, all Americans over the age of 16 are now required to present a passport to enter and leave Canada. Those under 16 need to present a birth certificate. We boarded a bus ($2.50 fare ) and rode to our motel about 20 blocks away. Of course, the motel was at a premium with it being summer. We stayed at a Super 8. Can't complain too much--although the rooms were a bit on the small size and we had to share two double beds with our two older boys (the youngest stayed in his grandparents room), the price included free breakfast, and the staff was helpful, stored our luggage in a locked room after we had checked out, and also called us a cab.
Once upon a time, I thought the city had more character, the hanging flower baskets still hung from the lamp posts and horse drawn carriages still prance down the streets, but it was rare to see a double-decker bus. In addition, I used to think it was like visiting Europe without having to take a long flight over the Atlantic, but I feel Victoria has just become too commercialized and not as clean as I once remembered. Maybe it was the grey skies and the rain.
After we did a little window shopping, we then stopped for dinner. Half the group went to a French Bistro, while the other half went to the Old Spaghetti Factory. We didn't think the boys would have cared for the French Bistro. After dinner, we took the bus back to the motel and went to bed.
After lunch, the group split again, and half went to the Butterfly Gardens, while Ed and I took the boys downtown to see the Undersea Gardens. I admit it was interesting seeing the variety of marine life and watching the diver bring out the Wolf Eels and Giant Pacific Octopus, nevertheless the water is very murky and hard to see through the viewing windows. I would skip this one, not worth the cost or time.
Next, we waited in line at the ferry terminal before going through immigration and customs again and boarding the ferry for our journey home. Had a great visit with my aunt and uncle and cousins. I don't see them very often, so it was good catching up with them. However, I'm not sure if I will make it to Victoria, B.C. again, anytime soon. Not as a family get-away anyway.