Have you ever visited a place that you felt like you could call home? That pretty much sums up my experience in Victoria, BC. It reminded me of Halifax in many ways - smaller city with everything you need, ocean right at your fingertips, friendly people. But what it has in addition are mountains and a Chinatown :P.
I can definitely see myself living in Victoria and am already thinking of when I can go back next!
So to sum up the Victoria/Vancouver Island experience, here are my top 10 highlights.
1. West Coast Waffles - this place knows how to make a good waffle...at anytime of the day! I treated myself to the mango coconut waffle with yogurt for brekkie and it was a heavenly combination. Check out their menu. I definitely want to try the Johnny Mac waffle sometime (apple, bacon, and brie cheese? Oh yeah!!).
2. Hiking Mount Doug - this was an easier hike compared to Grouse Grind (it also wasn't raining) and had a gorgeous view of the city from the top.
3. Chinatown - this is the oldest Chinatown in Canada and has a very cute character to it. We took a trip down Fan Tan Alley and came out the other side to a bunch of Chinese restaurants and...bubble tea (of course)!
4. Cowichan Bay - this is practically a piece of Heaven on earth. If you are looking for a somewhere that is quaint and relaxing then this is the right place. I could have sat on the dock all day...
5. True Grain Bakery - located in Cowichan Bay. I ordered the almond croissant and a sesame cheese bread twist. I swear that my mouth waters when I still think about them! I have never eaten baked goods that were so delicious in my life!!
6. Qualicum Beach - a beautiful rugged beach where we left our mark ;). After a long day we came back here to relax on a patio for a late lunch, followed by ice cream!
7. Goats on the Roof @ Coombs - we stumbled upon this place completely by chance. And yes, my friends...there are actually goats on the roof of this market!
8. Cathedral Grove/Cameron Lake - words cannot describe how beautiful this area is. The forest houses giant redwood trees that are hundreds of years old. We made the forest our playground :).
9. Qualicum Falls - again, a beautiful spot! This was a random stop on our drive back to Victoria and I'm glad we made it!
10. Beacon Hill Park - what other park do you know that has peacocks roaming freely about? I can't think of any! This is the closest I've ever come to a peacock in my life (it was literally a few feet from me). At Beacon Hill Park you can see the Terry Fox Mile 0 monument and then cross the street to catch breathtaking views of mountains. We came just in time for an incredible sunset too!
11. Sushi (bonus) - Sorry, I just can't limit myself to 10 highlights because what trip is complete without sushi? In our late-night desperation my roomie and I stumbled upon Azuma sushi (all the other sushi restaurants weren't open at 9:30pm on a Thursday night) and had a meal that did not disappoint! Not as cheap as in Vancouver but still delicious!
Victoria, BC...thanks for an amazing 2 days!! I can't wait to come back!!