Stroll around the colorful Butchart Gardens
As the bus driver told one of the passengers, the moment you see colorful flowers around you, you know you have reached the Butchart Gardens.
No kidding, this place is a must-see and it is utterly mind-blowing! Even if you are not a flower person, these gardens will still knock your socks off. Luckily, we got in there early to beat the crowds. As the day passed, there were literally flocks of people inside the gardens, making it almost impossible to get good pictures without people in the background blocking the view.
The Butchart Gardens is craftily divided into multiple themes such as Mediterranean Gardens, Sunken Gardens, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Italian Gardens. Hanging baskets are everywhere; everywhere as in, even near the entrance to restrooms. Even the trash cans are beautiful with flowers planted on top of them.
The pathways inside the gardens are very well designed and the colors and types of plants and flowers are selected with utmost detail and sense of aesthetics. The roses are brought from different countries and the name placards next to each rose plant depict the country and the year in which they came from.
Several chairs placed along the way encourage one to relax, breathe in the fresh air, whilst enjoying the loveliness all around.
Their summer fireworks, I heard are popular, but we didn’t get a chance to see them because we visited the Butchart Gardens in spring.
Enjoy afternoon tea like royalty
Don’t leave Victoria without enjoying the famed afternoon tea tradition.
There is myriad of places that offer afternoon tea, the most popular one being Fairmont Empress. However, we picked Butchart Gardens. After spending over three hours strolling around in the beautiful gardens, we went to the Butchart Gardens Dining Room and sat next to a window facing the Italian gardens to enjoy our afternoon tea. By the way, I made the request several days in advance to get that window seat!
The décor looked classy with colorful flowers arranged on our table and by the window. Even the menu card looked sophisticated. We selected Bachelor Button and Teaberry Blend from the tea menu.
We were first served a hot kettle of one of their specialty teas, followed by berry triffle. A meal starting with a dessert is exactly the kind of meal I love! Then came three tiers, full of savory finger sandwiches, quiche, rolls, cakes, desserts, scones with jam and chantilly cream. With so many varieties, it turned out to be a meal by itself. In fact we were so full that we had to skip dinner that night.
Tea is not exactly “my cup of tea”, but we still liked the tea flavors that Butchart Garden offered.
The entire afternoon tea experience felt like royalty, something we very much enjoyed!
Amble through the Inner Harbor
The Inner Harbor is probably the most hip place in Victoria, with shops, pubs, restaurants, nightlife, museums, harbor and the popular landmarks like Parliament building and Fairmont Express. The place gets busier and livelier as the sun sets and the lights creep up.
It was really nice aimlessly ambling through the streets, doing window shopping and seeing the street performances. There are colorful hanging baskets everywhere, emanating a really vibrant look to the city. While you are there, don’t miss the Parliament Building and the Fairmont Empress that are lit up at night everyday.
Visit one of the night pubs
Invariably a pub culture – Only pubs are open late in the night and most of them have live music. Grab a beer, or eat the finger foods, while enjoying the live music. Pretty cool!