Ferry Lucky – A Tourist Again

After nearly three years (pandemic, cancer, moving), we are enjoying the fun of planning and anticipating travel and being tourists! Since moving to Washington State in January, we’ve had many local ferry rides but recently took one over the border into Canada. This was a special trip, planned entirely by my husband as a birthday treat for me.

Our trip started in Port Angeles, WA, where we caught the famous Black Ball Ferry. Black Ball used to manage the Washington State Ferry System (now state run), but now runs the private line between Port Angeles and Victoria, B.C. Waiting for the ferry to depart, we walked around town for some history and street murals. With a long history of ferry crossings due to geography, it is where my Mom’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Canada. Of the many street murals, these are my favorites:

“Olympic Visions” street mural by artist Tim Quinn.
“MV Kalakala” street mural by artist Cory Ench.

I love the huge mural of the vintage MV Kalakala (flying bird) which carried cars and passengers across the Strait of Juan de Fuca during the 1940’s and 1950s. Artist Cory Ench’s mural is a crowd favorite for photos due to its three dimensional looking kids and dog in the foreground and the cool mid century ferry.

So excited about our trip, I forgot to take a picture of our ferry; the MV Coho – here she is. After a 90 minute ride on surprisingly smooth water, we entered the port of Victoria and headed straight towards the Empress Hotel – our home for the next three days. We did not do high tea, but we packed in a lot of other really fun things in this beautiful, vibrant Canadian city and capital of British Columbia.

The port entry right behind me.

We spent our first evening wandering around town at dusk before meeting a friend for dinner.

The Parliament Building at night.

We walked a lot, over 20 miles in three days. I also had my first mini ferry (i.e. water taxi) ride, which we rode to Lime Bay for more walking, then back again to get ready for the birthday dinner.

Speaking of my birthday, we stopped by the original Rogers Chocolates store for a sampler. In spite of this purchase, we ordered a desert trifecta at Il Terrazzo following our main meal. It was all incredible, and I highly recommend the calamari (not your typical fried rings and dipping sauce.)

The day before our departure, we drove up to Butchart Gardens. We really lucked out. The weather was wonderful and there were no cruise ships in port. It was still a bit crowded, but stunning. Even the trash cans at Butchart are fabulous!

How does it feel to be a tourist again after three years? Wonderful! We’ve been so busy planning our next three trips, I nearly forgot to finish blogging about this one. Where are you going next?

18 thoughts on “Ferry Lucky – A Tourist Again

  1. Tracey, happy Birthday! What a beautiful place to reenter being a tourist again. We stayed at the Empress Hotel years ago, and we also toured Butchart Gardens. It is a pretty little town, with lots to offer. So glad it was your inauguration trip. Cheers to many more. P.S. you look great!


    • Thank you. Seems like I’m the only person I know who had never been to Victoria or The Empress. It was a magnificent birthday. We love the old grand railway hotels. So beautiful! To be honest, not as comfy as we expected, but hard to complain about the location and the view from our room.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy birthday, Tracey! Glad you had a wonderful trip to Victoria. I enjoyed high tea at the Empress about 2 decades ago (time to go again soon, methinks 😁). Have not stayed there but have stayed at other Fairmont hotels and they are a treat. Butchart Gardens are fabulous too…they have a beautiful light display at Christmas time.



  3. What a wonderful trip. Congratulations on moving to Washington State, I lived there for 8 years and it is an amazing state! We used to pop over to Vancouver and Victoria all the time. The Hoh Rainforest is amazing if you get a chance to visit and I recommend Lake Quinault area. Enjoy your new adventure and glad life is bringing you more than pandemic and illness.


    • Thanks! I think I read on your blog that you had lived here at one point (in fact, I think that’s how I found you.) I definitely will be going back – it’s so close! I appreciate the other suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy belated Birthday! What a great journey on all accounts. Absolutely beautiful pictures. I was fascinated by the MV Kalakala because of its streamlined look, so I read up on it. It has such a sad ending unfortunately. Great pics of you…. hope you go on many more trips! – Marty


  5. We took that ferry in 1981 when we left for a year in Australia. Living in Vancouver and it was cheaper to fly from Seattle. That mural is outstanding. Happy belated birthday — what a wonderful trip. Victoria is lovely and Butchart Gardens outstanding. The dessert on your plate makes me want to fly there tomorrow!
    As to next trips — off to Mexico with my soccer girlfriends. C.J. turned 50 the same year she had a bilateral mastectomy for cancer (the preceding year her Mom died of cancer and her father of an aneurysm). My one trip to Mexico in 2015 (?)didn’t make me love it but we are on the other coast and such a fun group of girls!! Then Fernie and BC skiing and then the Yukon for summer solstice and then….. Bernie


    • Sounds like you have some fun travels ahead. To be with long time friends is worth a trip to almost anywhere, I say. I just returned from Phoenix visiting my high school buddies. It was super hot, but we enjoyed our time together. Have fun in Mexico!


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