Thursday, February 26, 2015

Visit to Victoria, BC

Stan and I have just returned from a beautiful four days in Victoria, British Columbia.  The weather was amazing!  Sunny except for the last day, and very much into spring, with crocus and flowering trees everywhere.

The Empress Hotel at Victoria's Inner Harbor

We went up on the Victoria Clipper, a comfortable 3-hour ride from downtown Seattle.

Checking in early
Clipper heads back to Seattle in the evening

Stan has belonged to a timeshare, Worldmark, for many years and they have a great place on the water a few steps from Victoria's inner harbor.  It's like staying in a condo with a complete kitchen, and it also has a hot tub on the balcony - a perfect way to relax after a day of walking around town!

View from our balcony

 We usually just stay in the downtown area and travel by foot or bus, but this time we rented a car for 24 hours and took two nice trips further up Vancouver Island.   One afternoon we drove up the wilder, less populated west coast as far as French Beach, through the town of Sooke, and with a lengthy detour around the East Sooke peninsula to check out East Sooke Park.  Stan did great driving us around the city and countryside, even when I was getting mixed up as navigator.

French Beach

The next morning we headed northeast, up the Saanich peninsula to the town of Sidney, called a "booktown" because of its nine bookstores.  Stan was happy to find one bookstore devoted solely to military history and politics, and I was surprised how interesting I found it as well.  Folks were outdoors all around Sidney, walking dogs, browsing the shops and stopping in the cafés.  (So did we - - I only had the small half of Stan's chocolate chip muffin.)  Sidney looked like a very pleasant place to live.

The downtown area is right on the waterfront

I could get comfortable here!

So how did I do on health and fitness?  Even with the rental car we managed to get in a lot of walking.  The first day I was surprised to feel the vibration of my Fitbit, telling me I had completed my daily goal of 10,000 steps, as we walked around town in the afternoon.  We had walked to the grocery store to stock up as soon as we arrived, and it must have been further than we realized.  We made 15,000 steps another day, as we took a long walk along the water across from our timeshare.  All along there we checked out the many condominiums and thought how nice a place it would be to retire.

Beautiful spring weather made walking a pleasure

I'm learning that there is a lot of terrific healthy food available, even in places I don't expect it.  With my new awareness I found some very good meals.  For example, the first day we had a late lunch in our favorite place, the Irish Times pub.  We visit every time we're in Victoria, and I usually have a glass (or two) of wine and pub food like fish and chips or a pot pie.  This time I read the whole menu and saw a salad with tuna poached in olive oil.  It was delicious and so big I couldn't finish it.  I did have one glass of wine with it.

Salad Nicoise  (I didn't eat the bread, but the little potatoes were a nice bit of starch)

For lunch on our drive we stopped at a cafe in a shopping center.  It looked quite ordinary - the type of place you would get a grilled cheese sandwich or a hamburger.  There was a chicken mango salad on the chalkboard menu, and I almost skipped it because it was more expensive than anything else.  I did ask how big it was, and was told I could order half.  Perfect!  And I had a cappuccino which was one of the best I've ever had.

This was a half chicken mango salad!

Here's another surprise.  A new Italian restaurant, Il Covo,  opened right across the street from our timeshare.  I went in picturing some favorites like spaghetti Bolognese or ravioli, but I found this delicious pork with roasted veggies.  Okay, I did have two glasses of wine with it, but no dessert.  I know if I had had a pasta meal, I would have felt overstuffed and bloated afterward, but I felt fine after eating this - pleasantly full but not uncomfortable.

Cotoletta alla Milanese

On our last day, we usually have breakfast at the Coast Hotel near our timeshare before going back to the Clipper.  However, in winter there is only one sailing at 5PM, so we had most of a day to enjoy first.  We strolled around and revisited the Robert Bateman art exhibit that Stan really likes, then headed back to pick up our luggage.  We arrived at the hotel at lunchtime, so instead of having the eggs Benedict as usual, I checked out the salads and got this seared salmon with beets and goat cheese.  Yum!  The salmon was cooked perfectly (I had asked first, to make sure it wouldn't be raw in the middle), and it was so big I couldn't finish it.  It kept me perfectly happy all the way home to Seattle.  And no wine - just a latte.  I suppose a latte could easily contain more calories than a glass of wine, but I think it's better for me to avoid the wine.

Seared Salmon Salad

Other meals we cooked at our timeshare.  (We being mostly Stan.)  For breakfasts, bacon and eggs with fruit, and one night for dinner this coconut-encrusted tilapia, which came from the store all ready to cook and was very good.

Note sparkling water - having a bottle of San Pellegrino handy was a good idea

Do you notice how great healthy food looks in photos?  Much more colorful than a plate of mac and cheese or a sandwich.  I didn't feel I was missing out on anything with the food I ate.  Will focus more on beverages in the months to come.

Altogether, a very nice trip.  Being retired is so much fun!!

No comments:

Post a Comment