A real vacation

It was just a short trip to Victoria, but it was the first nice vacation I’ve ever taken that I could truly afford and actually wanted, deliberate instead of desperate. I’ve taken past vacations under some duress: I did them because it’s just what people do, because sometimes you have to get away even if you don’t have the time or the money for it, and above all because it pleased my wife to try. They were preceded by manic denial of the costs, and followed by a choking backlog of work and heart-stopping bills.

Past vacations were satisfying like a salad: healthy and necessary. This trip was just fun and nice: like eating waffles at Wannawafel!

Unbelievably tasty waffles at Wannawafel in downtown Victoria.

We flew to Victoria by seaplane — Harbour Air, a great little company — and stayed in Abbeymoore, a classy, award-winning B&B in a giant old heritage house in Rockland. We stayed in the Iris Room.

Fascinating geology in the Southern Gulf Islands, as seen from the seaplane on the way to Victoria.
Coming in for a landing in Victoria’s inner harbour. Seems like a small target from the air, but I guess it’s bigger (and softer) than a runway!

The photography really kicked up a notch when we got to Government House — a huge mansion — and discovered the amazing meadows and Garry Oak forest, which have been rescued from invasive species over the last decade.

At first, we didn’t realize there was a trail we were supposed to stay on. Oops!
You can hardly tell you’re in the city — it’s an amazingly secluded and beautiful spot. But if you look closely here, there’s a house window peaking through the trees.
The oaks are incredibly photogenic, with their twisting trunks.
This is a vertical panorama. Great way to photograph a tree.
There’s the path! And such a pretty path. It’s a light 15-minute walk around the forest.
The obligatory selfie.
Oak bark. I love photos with edge-to-edge natural patterns.
Walking through the tall grasses under the oaks was a highlight of the trip.
A mighty old cedar.
Lotbiniere Avenue, a steep winding hill beside Government House, with high walls. Felt very European.
You have to go for tea in Victoria. We eschewed The Empress and tried a homier place instead, the White Heather Tea Room. It turns out “tea” means “giant piles of delicious carbohydrates.”
Love this grass path in Beacon Hill Park.
Quadra Street Cathedral. I played with some photo apps for this, particularly SKRWT, which does some amazing things with angles and parallax for architectural photography.