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Something you should know about me before I start talking about the Butchart Gardens, is that although I love nature, I am not really a fan of gardens.  Perhaps if they were growing carrots I would be... there is nothing tastier than a carrot fresh pulled from the ground.  But... walking through rows and rows of roses and tulips, and whatever other flowers exist, oohing and aahing over their beauty... is not my cup of tea.  So when my sister-in-law suggested a trip to the Butchart Gardens and proceeded to get to the level of excitement normally only reserved for Christmas morning, I was hesitant at best.  

But everything is what you make of it right?  It was a beautiful day, and I was with a group of amazing... and rather silly... women.  We took pictures among the roses, in the Japanese gardens with cool trees, on the rocks through a pond as frogs, in the majestic lawns pretending to be fancy statues.... I was surprised when I realized I was having fun.  

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What is really cool about the Butchart Gardens is the fact that the whole area used to be a limestone quarry.  Robert Pim Butchart and his wife Jennie moved to the Victoria area in the early 1900s specifically for the limestone deposits - limestone was (or is? I don't know much about this) used to make cement.  When all the limestone had been removed, Jennie had the idea of making the ugly pit into a "Sunken Garden."  The rest of the gardens came later reflecting the couple's world travels - A Japenese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden.  Now the question is, what country is the Rose garden reflecting?  England?  My knowledge of flowers and the like is startlingly low.  Anyways, Mr. Butchart also had an interest in collecting birds and had an interesting array of ducks, peacocks, pigeons and parrots.    People started hearing about these gardens and by the 1920s over 50,000 people would come visit each year.  This number today approaches 1 million.

And now I feel complete, I am one of those million for the year.  Living in Victoria and not having been to the Butchart Gardens is like living in Vancouver and not having been to Stanley Park - just not acceptable.   

History thanks to the Butchart Gardens website

 
 
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Leaving Victoria Harbour
Have I mentioned lately how much I love living in this beautiful city?  One really cool thing about it, is you can ride from my house, onto a ferry bound for the states, all within half an hour!  My mom and I took our bikes to Port Angeles, a mere 90 minute ferry-ride away - in fact from Port Angeles, you can still see Victoria in the distance!

The first night, we rode our bikes out onto the spit to watch the sunset.  It was beautiful!!  But the coolest part was the seal colony that was living in the harbor on the logs - it reminded us both of Pier 39 in San Francisco and their resident sea lions.  The moon that night was also the largest I have ever seen!  Perhaps a warning of something?  Anyone know?

We finished off the night with copious amounts of Mexican food and fell into deep, food-assisted coma.

In the morning we cycled out to Sequim (no it doesn't rhyme with sequin, think more like "squid").  We took ourselves on a bit of a detour through the farms up Kitchen-Dick rd (yes that was the real name) to see the Dungeness spit - which was a really beautiful out-spurse of land - you could look over the edge at the beach below and cliffs lining the shore far into the distance.  Not only was this the most awe-inspiring natural beauty, it was also the place we stopped to eat a very, very delicious blueberry scone.  Mmmmm.  Fond memories indeed :)

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The town of Sequim was a little odd - very spread out, but had a cute little old town with a couple of interesting gift shops.  But before we could browse, we had to head to the bike shop.  I had discovered my helmet was cracked and close to splitting, so I wanted to replace it before I did much more riding (I also couldn't change to any low gears, but that was a less life-threatening problem).  Anyways the bike shop was awesome!! Great selection of stuff, and the guys were super helpful.  I, for the first time in my life, was able to find a helmet that fit my small head without hours of adjusting.  Fantastic!  The guys also took a look at my derailer issues and determined it was completely shot and needed to be replaced - so mom and I went for a coffee and a bite while they fixed it. 

The coffee shop was really cute, and I made a mental note to remember some of their cool details (you know, in case one day I ever open one).  The best part was the scrabble boards at the tables - how cool would it be to go play a game of scrabble while drinking a delicious cappiccino??  Ok maybe not "cool" per say, but I think it sounds like a great idea.   

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The ride home was fantastic!  It is so nice to have all my gears back :)  I hadn't realized how much I had been missing them.  We were going into a strong headwind most of the way, so gearing down was pretty essential to my enjoyment.   

We were both really tired when we got back to the motel, so we decided just to order a pizza for dinner and watch tv.  I wanted to go to bed at 7pm, but mom told me I was ridiculous and verbally prodded me until I agreed to go for a walk with her around town in search of dessert.  After finding out the yogurt shop had gone out of business, we ended up in the 24hr Safeway and bought a mini-tub of Skinny Cow ice cream.  I should remember that "skinny" stuff is never satisfying.  I wish we had gotten something really delectable like Ben & Jerry's Quadruple chocolate fudge brownie and cookie dough combo....mmmmmm drooool....