Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ah-guest 2013: Part 2 - A Whale of a tale.

mom n pop
The 2nd part of August hails in my folks from Texas. It is always good to see my parents and the older we all get, the more I soak in the moments (the good and the frustrating).  After a busy week with my brother-in-law, we still had a busy week but it was slightly more laid back.

This visit was flipped from the last guest, with my hubby going to work and me hanging out with my folks for the most part.

We started the week off with a visit to the Space Needle. (Sorry all my future guests... Your visits to downtown Seattle will be on-your-own. Rent a car, take a cab, or transit there 'cause this train is done with the typical Seattle tourist hits).

playing with forced perspective - how fun!
Seattle Space Needle  - my untested tip: Plan ahead...well ahead and make reservations for dining to visit the needle. No lines, no waiting and although there is a minimum per-guest charge, the view is free, the visit to the deck is included and you get chow. Plan a few weeks in advance because reservations are a few days to weeks out in the tourist season. Our family has been a total of 3 times (one regular admission, 2 VIP) and still wish we would have done dinner or lunch.

singing flowers

The next few days were filled with quality time with the parents and they with the grand-daughter.

Yum! goulash!
We had a campfire, visited the lake and gardens, completed school-shopping etc...

Then we took a 3-day weekend to "Beautiful British Columbia". We packed up like clowns into the VW Golf and took the Coho over to Victoria. Stayed in a nice little apartment near the Fishermans'Warf. Visited the Butchart, Craigdarroch, Parliament, and with all the walking we did... you would think I should have lost weight instead of gained.

Here is our experience...

Papaw and kiddo
Coho ferry   my rate = 4/5 stars
departs Port Angeles on the upper OP, across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca into Victoria Harbour. Wear appropriate clothing to stand out on the bow of the ship and look out for sea life. We sighted Humpback whales on the way and back. If you have kids or are a kid at heart... get up to the bow right away and watch them cast off.

Craigdarroch Castle   my rate = 5/5 stars
More of a mansion with a tower but, very cool anyways. The history of the building makes it interesting and how it is still in process of being restored after all the many faces it has worn. The docents are extremely knowledgeable and my hubby couldn't even stump them with his inquiries.

Parliament Building  my rate = 4/5 stars
How fun is this. A bit of politics, a lot of detail and astounding beauty in this building. Makes ya wanna run for office just so you can work here. The great thing - free! The guides were lacking and we were on the weekend so, the group was huge and wish we could have taken more time as we could have during the week. The guides seemed like they were scripted and did not know much beyond the speech with the exception of the surprise period speaker (not sure if there is a different one each time).

Waterfront  my rate = 5/5 stars
There is no lack of water-front on Vancouver Island. Walk the harbours, visit the parks. Fantastic! You can go at your own pace. Relax. Exercise. Eat. Watch the wildlife (people too).

Butchart Gardens   my rate = 3/5 stars
My 1st visit was (clears throat) about 20 years ago.Yikes. Seems about the same except the time of year.
It took us about 2 -2.5 hours to go through. We took our time and read signs and such. It is nice and the sunken garden is really nice. I was quite disappointed in the rose garden (they were labeled) because they planted carpet phlox along the pathway and it really really masked the scent of the roses. Carpet phlox is kinda stinky! If you are a garden person then I would suggest it otherwise... you can get your garden fill just walking around the city. It is a private garden not a botanical so, the plants are not labeled.

B.C's licence plates slogan is well-fitting and is not just a slogan - it is truly Beautiful! I would love to visit again and hopefully see some of the upper-lands.

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