Thursday, June 12, 2014
I took out my earplugs sometime during the night last night because they were uncomfortable. Big mistake. Evidently the Victoria garbage trucks congregate directly outside our building and fire it up around 6:00am. Might as well get up.
We enjoy a lazy morning. I get in aanother good “Levi” workout and then settle in to blog a while.
The big plan for today is to go to Butchart Gardens. I have heard about these gardens for years and always wanted to visit. Today is the day and the weather is perfect.
Rich dislikes traveling on the freeway so he makes his own route on the fly. We end up seemingly in the middle of nowhere when the sign for the gardens appears. According to Rich, we have come the “cool way” and everyone knows it when they greet us at the gate.
This place is overwhelmingly beautiful. It was built by Jennie Butchart in the very early 1900’s. She wanted a way to cover up the ugly quarry and concrete plant that was in her backyard. I think she succeeded!
You simply cannot help taking photo after photo. Everywhere you turn is more beautiful than the last. It is almost sensory overload.
We wandered through the entire garden – Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden, Sunken Garden, etc. The Japanese Garden was especially intriguing with it’s order and peaceful fountains in hidden alcoves.
I am certain that Butchart Gardens is beautiful at any time of year, but I think we hit it at a wonderful season.
On the way out we both rub the nose of their mascot – the Cinghiale (wild boar) – for good luck.
With no other plans for this late afternoon we decide to take the long way home and drive to the end of the island on “Land’s End” road. The drive follows the water with some magnificent waterfront homes perched here and there. Once again, we have taken the “cool route” (just ask Rich).
I have already scoped out a spot online for dinner – Little Jumbo. It is a tiny bar/restaurant that specializes in craft cocktails and small plates. Sounds like our kind of place. Also, it is only about a 10 minute walk from our condo. Sweet. Since I read about the place I know that it is not really marked from the street. We are simply looking for the little neon purple elephant and then are instructed to “walk down the hall.” Sort of like a speakeasy – cool.
Little Jumbo is just starting to get busy at 7:30. We snag a couple of seats at the bar. We always enjoy sitting and having dinner at the bar when there is an opportunity. Most times the interaction with the bartender and the hustle/bustle behind the bar is quite entertaining. We both ask the friendly bartender to mix us up something special. He makes an “It Ain’t So Bad Aperol” for me (made with Aperol, grapefruit, rum and a splash of Champagne) and a Crimson something or other for Rich (made with Sloe Gin, Campari and some weird kind of bitters) They are both delicious.
We peruse the menu of “edibles” and decide to start with cheese and charcuterie. We order the Salt Spring Blue (local island), smoked tongue and house made pork cheek. To go along I ask for a nice flight of red wines (3) and Rich opts for a gin flight.(Don’t worry, they are all small pours!)
We sit for quite a while nibbling on our cheese and meat and sipping wine/gin. Love to dine like this.
Time for another order. This time we ask the bartender for suggestions and follow his advice. We order the duck breast, caramelized fennel with honey and the cauliflower gratin.
Everything is outstanding. I think we may even like the fennel the best. I wish we had more appetite to order more of their dishes. Guess we will have to return to Victoria.
Tomorrow is another travel day. We will be catching the COHO ferry and returning to the US. Kind of sad – we have truly enjyed Canada and Vancouver Island especially. I hope we get back to explore more of this area.