The 36 Hour Tourist

A rare window of opportunity opened Tuesday evening – realizing both of us were free Wednesday and Thursday, my husband and I planned a mini road trip. For one reason or another the scenic drive fell through – primarily for attempting to bite off more than one night could chew. Pouting lasted exactly 17 minutes – as I scowled at the packed bags, it came to me – we would be tourists in our own back yard.

The trouble with road trips is once you start driving, it’s hard to stop. Vehicles become the driving force – so much to discover, something always beckons just up the road. One time we left Vancouver for Seattle – 18 hours later, not the least bit surprised to find ourselves in San Fransisco. Coming to terms with our lack of restraint, cleared a path for the next 36 hours as car-less tourists – a slight attitude adjustment – half an hour later we’re on Pacific Coach Line bus destined for downtown Victoria.

We’ve been in Victoria dozens of times – never without transportation. Pulling up to the ferry terminal, it dawned on us this would be our first guaranteed sailing. Without exception, every previous approach came with anxiety over long line-ups, often a one or two sailing wait. We talked about a few of our worst ferry experiences – missing the cut off by one car, the time we had to wait two sailings (over 4 hours) with screaming kids in the car – it felt good to begin our trip without a hint of stress.

2014-08-06 16.00.35

The crossing takes just over an hour and a half – first the obligatory ferry lunch, followed by a few laps around two passenger decks. A perfect sunny day, barely a whiff of wind, people watching, and waving at passing boats – before we knew it, back on the bus for a 35 minute drive into downtown Victoria.

2014-08-06 16.26.19

2014-08-06 16.00.00

As our bus hit the highway, I pulled out a tourist map of downtown Victoria. A sucker for pamphlets, we laughed over the chances of going anywhere without stuffing flyers in my bag – this is when  “aha” struck again- for all our trips to Victoria, we’d never actually seen Victoria. Countless visits spent driving here or there, from one destination to the other, or passing through on the way to someplace else – deposited on foot at the bus station, what follows are random images of a car-less tourist with a day in Victoria.

2014-08-06 19.08.17

2014-08-06 19.10.56

2014-08-06 19.22.55

2014-08-06 19.26.58

2014-08-06 19.33.29

2014-08-07 11.22.22

2014-08-06 21.05.19

2014-08-07 11.23.24

2014-08-06 21.02.24

2014-08-07 11.14.38

2014-08-07 14.42.02

2014-08-07 20.26.22

So there it is – a collection of mediocre photographs taken by the happiest car free tourist to spend 36 hours away from home .We walked, ate, drank, took water taxis, then walked some more. Back to work in a few hours, and ready to take another car free adventure the moment opportunity shows me the door.