I promise I will be living in Alberta in these posts very soon but first, a stop in the capital of British Columbia, the gorgeous city of Victoria. As I mentioned in the last amazing WILW post, I did my first year of University studies in Port Alberni at the local post-secondary school, but because it was such a small school, anything after first year had to be done at a bigger University. I transferred all of my courses to the University of Victoria and did the second year of my BSc in Victoria. I absolutely LOVE Victoria. It is gorgeous and more laid back than Vancouver, there is ocean on three sides of the city and although it is known for its retirement age population, it is a really fun place to live.
I was both excited and nervous to live on my own and as the time grew closer, I became so excited. I was going to be living by myself in a basement suite and I couldn’t wait. Neither could my parents. They were ecstatic that their grocery bill was going to decrease by 50% and that they wouldn’t have to put up with my random chatter and country music shower singing.
I have the most AMAZING parents. They helped me pack up my stuff, drove me down to my new place, and helped me unpack and get settled. As they drove away I realized how much I would miss them and during the first month, actually pretty much the whole eight months I lived there, I was super homesick. Yes, I was 18, but I am so close to my family that it was so hard to be away from them. My dad came to visit me every weekend for the first five weeks, that’s just the kind of parents I have 🙂
Don’t worry, as soon as I got the chance, I moved right back in with my parents and will be living in their basement until I am 33 😉 Despite how much I hated living by myself (in a scary basement suite that is the setting for pretty much every episode of Criminal Minds), I did have so much fun with my friends in Victoria and I absolutely enjoyed every moment of my time at UVic. Whenever my parents came to visit, we would do really fun touristy stuff to squeeze every ounce of goodness out of Victoria. My mom and I even went whale watching one weekend!
Our favourite place to go whale watching is definitely Telegraph Cove on the northern end of Vancouver Island but we had a really fun day and actually saw a few whales on our tour in Victoria. Could you ask for a better backdrop?
I really love photography, and not just gross sweaty selfies and pictures of oatmeal, but I have a thing for taking pictures of flowers too. There is a huge garden in Victoria that is just amazing. It is called Butchart Gardens and it might seem like a tourist trap to spend a wad of cash to go look at a garden but it is SO worth it. One day when I wasn’t working or in class I drove out to the Gardens by myself and spent the day photographing flowers. It was wonderful!
I just love the bright colours of these flowers. The neat thing about Butchart Gardens is that they have a unique set of florals in each season. They have skating in the winter, fireworks in the summer, and tons of activities all around the gardens. No matter what time of year you go (even in winter!) it is gorgeous!
The one great thing about my suite was that I lived literally 5 minutes away from the ocean (walking!). There were paths down to the beach and on a sunny day it was the perfect place to study and take pictures of yourself. A self-timer > friends.
Another cool place that I lived really close to was Mount Doug. I don’t think you can actually call it a mountain but being in the middle of a residential area, it was the closest thing we had to “hiking.” There was a paved road to the top (how is that for roughin’ it) and then tons of trails on different sides of the hill to get to the top. It was a great workout to run up it and even though I only ran up it a couple of times, I LOVED it and it had a spectacular view from the top. I wish I was as into running then as I am now because it would have made for a wicked hill repeat workout.
Perhaps my favourite part of Victoria is downtown. It is stunning. There are always street performers, new and awesome cafes (Check out West Coast Waffles if you are ever in the area, you won’t regret it), fresh ocean air, great people watching, tons of shopping, and just a peaceful and happy atmosphere. Yep, our parliament buildings were on the ocean.
Things you should probably do in Victoria, BC:
Just go and walk around the harbour downtown. With a coffee. On a sunny day. And breathe in the clean, fresh, salty, air.
- Go whale watching.
- If you have plenty of cash that you want to spend, go have tea at the Empress and pretend you are the Queen.
- Butchart Gardens… and bring me… and a camera.
- Go for a run along Dallas Rd. Ocean view, baby.
- Bike along the Galloping Goose trail. My mom and I did a 32km race there once!
- Eat waffles at West Coast Waffles.
- Eat sushi at Ebizo sushi.
2002 – 2004 Gold River
1996 – 2002 Kimberley
1993 – 1996 McBride
1993 Prince George
What city/town/hamlet/village do you consider your hometown? If you could tell people to do ONE thing in your hometown, what would it be?