A Foggy View toward the Inner Harbor
I slept “ok”, poorly for me. I could sleep through a hurricane or a train wreck. My knee recently whacked in my bicycle “accident” was acting up. I awoke early and saw a clear morning. Just a few hours later, the fog rolled in. Visibility went from miles to feet in a few minutes. Oh well, we’ll make the best of it.
We rolled out of bed around 8 AM listening to NPR streamed on my iPhone. This mimics our morning routine at home. Espresso, some cereal, and we were ready to greet the day. What? It’s 10:30 AM? At least the fog had rolled out. The day promised to be a glorious fall day in Victoria.
My knee was not getting better. To save “the gimp” (my new self imposed moniker) we decided to take the water taxi to old town in search of a great bakery. I had researched two: Murchie’s and Crust Bakery. We would pass Murchie’s on he way to Crust.
Ferry Pickup Information
We picked up the water taxi at the Marina just past RV Haven. A sign said call with a number for pickup. I called and a taxi was on the way, it would be 15 minutes. A short time later the water taxi came into view and stopped for us and another family of four. The water taxis are cute little ovoid diesel driven enclosed bubbles with windows all about and an open doorway centered on either side. They chug chug along with the driver acting as tour guide pointing out things of interest to you or to himself as you go. “Now we are crossing runway B, this is the only waterway that crosses a runway.” “There is the control tower. We’ll be stopping at Fisherman’s Wharf. Where are you going?” “Old Town”, we could have stopped at “The Empress”, but I wasn’t sure my knee would cooperate over distance. I very highly recommend taking a water taxi at least once if you visit Victoria, they’re a blast.
View over the Inner Harbor toward the Delta Hotel
Disembarking at Old Town, we walked the stairway from the harbor, crossed at “The Local”, and continued up Bastion Square. Murchie’s is past Bastion Square to the right half a block. It was easy to find with the crowd headed into the bakery. Murchie’s is less a bakery than a confectioners; more a coffee shop with pastries. We looked around and continued on to Crust Bakery.
I remembered it was left at the next block then down a long block and on the right. We didn’t find it! No problem, dial up the address and off we went, around the block and back to the same street, but on the other side. There it was, Crust Bakery. It is small. Most of their baked goods are in the front window beside the doorway. Inside there is a narrow counter running along the right side with simple steel stool seating. They have coffee, espresso, and remarkable baked goods. Here there was a line too, but unlike Murchie’s, these folks were local. We asked for almond croissants, which was Ellen’s driving motivation for baked goods. “I’m sorry, we sold all our almond croissants early this morning. We have almond Danish left.” Ellen asked “Are they good?” “Yes, they are very good. We usually sell out of them early in the morning too. I’m surprised we have any left!” Ellen had one. I asked if they had anything with cherry. “Yes, we have a cherry Danish” We both ordered cappuccino and a cookie each along with our pastry. Ellen opted for an oatmeal cookie; I was seduced by the double chocolate and pistachio one. My cherry Danish was wonderful as was Ellen’s almond one. We bought two more before we left. I recommend Crust Bakery. Their baked goods are not super sweet, but rather flavorful and very well presented.
We hobbled on; I hobbled on, Ellen was doing just fine. We went looking for ibuprofen and an ace bandage for my knee. We happened on a Danish Bakery, Starbucks, Banks, Pubs, Restaurants, lots of business before seeing a drug store across the street. They had generic ibuprofen, ace bandages, and fabric knee braces. Perfect. I was not sure if a small/medium or a large/X-large would fit. Ellen asked the pharmacist and she suggested we try them on! “I don’t understand how someone could buy one thinking the size is correct without trying them on”. Cool. The small/medium was a tight fit, but provided support. With the knee brace in place and a couple of anti-inflammatory pills down the hatch, we wandered off.
The knee brace was astounding. Somehow it kept my knee in place and made walking far less painful. I could walk and not limp along! In fact the more I walked the easier walking became. Not 100%, not walking with ease, but walking full stride with minimal pain. What a difference. “Let’s go to the columnar building” Ellen said. It is along the waterfront past “The Empress” across from the parliamentary building. It was a hike. “Ok, that should be fine!”.
Clearly a Challenge to Peloton’s Business Model
Along the way we stopped to watch a street performer rocking back and forth on an extremely high unicycle. He was eloquent, a born barker who had his spiel down. He was fun to listen to up to a point. As we moved away, the Ferry, Coho, from Port Angeles came into the inner harbor with a few blasts of its horn. “Let’s go see where we’ll get the ferry tomorrow.” I said, not caring that we would be walking another few hundred yards past the columnar building. My knee was feeling less like a wad of pain and more like a useful appendage. We watched cars disembark and watched the first motorhomes drive on the ferry. We’re set for tomorrow, we know where to go to catch the ferry.
We visited the Robert Bateman Center, which features the Robert Bateman Gallery, which features Robert Bateman’s photographs. We didn’t visit the gallery, but we did stop in the gift shop which featured prints of his more famous works. Funny, I found most of his photos just “OK”. Compare any one of them with the photo of the Bison in Winter in Old Faithful’s Visitors Center and Robert Bateman will come up short. I’m not being flippant, I’m just not impressed by his work.
We walked across the street to the Hotel Grand Pacific and into the lobby. We walked in, down the short lobby, and out. Not much to see there. Just past and a bit behind the hotel is a fountain and plaques commemorating the introduction of the provinces into Canada. That was impressive.
A Victoria Harbor Ferry
Rather than taking the water taxi back from The Empress, I suggested we walk back to Fisherman’s Wharf and take the taxi from there. It would save a few bucks and we could see Fisherman’s wharf. My knee was doing well in its brace. We walked briskly thinking the ferries would shut down at 5PM. At Fisherman’s Wharf we were told we would be taken back toward old town then taken back to the marina. It seemed strange that we would go in the reverse direction practically back to where we started, then go to the marina. That is exactly what happened. We were ferried back to the marina along with three Chinese students. The ferry captain had a good time pointing out hew buildings, that we were crossing runway A, or that there were tens of cameras monitoring harbor traffic. We all had fun on our way back. Well into the evening we saw ferries coming to the marina. Clearly they did not shut down at 5 PM on a weekend evening.