Saturday, July 26, 2014

Buds & Bugs

Having only two days in Victoria, we planned around the weather. Wednesday was to have a good chance of rain, so we planned to do things in the city that would keep us indoors most of the time. It worked out well, and we hardly got wet. In fact, the threatened rain turned out to be nothing more than a slight drizzle until mid-afternoon, at which point the weather gods gave up and left us with only clouds.

Thursday was the important day, when we were to be outside almost completely. There was a slight chance of rain in the morning, but in the event it was only morning clouds, followed by a spectacular midsummer afternoon of blue skies and breezes. We spent way too long at Butchart Gardens, a fabulous botanical spot in a long-dead rich old lady's back yard quarry north of Victoria. My feet still ache from the experience.

We arrived early, shortly after their opening, and stayed until around 4pm. At that point we headed down the road a short distance to the Victoria Butterfly Garden, which was more fun than I had anticipated. When that exhibition closed, we headed across the street for dinner at a so-so family restaurant before going back to Butchart Gardens, because they were supposed to be really something to see after dark.

Ross Fountain at Butchart Gardens
Night is slow in coming this far north in mid-summer, and it was well after 8pm before you could tell that the thousands of lights around the garden were on at all. We spent most of the wait in the Japanese garden section, relaxing in a small gazebo, before venturing out into the nearly-deserted gardens. With only about an hour before closing time, all we could really see was the Ross Fountain, with a dozen or so jets of water that dance with coloured lights. People naturally compare all dancing waters to the fabulous fountain at the Bellagio, in Las Vegas, but this fountain predates those by a decade or more; and even so, the Ross Fountain is vastly more relaxing to sit and watch, surrounded as you are by extravagantly gorgeous gardens, rather than the bustle of the Strip. 

After that, we just had time to walk through the Sunken Garden on the way out.

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