Spring break vacation
Seattle skyline viewed from the Victoria Clipper
Having learned our lesson last Christmas not to stay home
bored during a long school break, Mary Lou, Ben, Craig
and I headed to the Pacific Northwest. We spent two days
in Seattle, three days in Victoria and a day in Vancouver.
Victoria was the gem, with character, good pubs and
interesting things to do and see.
This vacation unintentionally evolved a theme of
different forms of transportation. We flew in commercial
airliners and in a small seaplane. We sailed in a jet
catamaran and a water taxi. We rode in a horse-drawn
carriage, a bicycle powered rickshaw, taxis, shuttle busses
and a rental car.
Sunday March 31st -
Easter - Seattle
started the trip seeing a celebrity as we stood in line at LAX
next to Loretta Swit (Hot lips on MASH). We arrived in
Seattle in the afternoon and headed for the
Flight near the Boeing plant (1st picture below with Ben in
a fighter jet). Both kids liked the museum and we finished it
with a ride in a Desert Storm mission simulator. We drove downtown
in the early evening.
We took a shuttle from our hotel to the
Space Needle. We ate
in the revolving restaurant at the top where we had a surprisingly
good meal with a great view (2nd picture below with Craig as
the sun set over Puget Sound). On the observation deck, we
caught a night view of the city center (3rd picture
Horse drawn carriage tour in Victoria
Monday April 1st -
We walked from
our hotel to the
Music Project at Seattle Center
near the Space Needle (4th picture above). The
Music Project is an interactive museum of modern music and the
brainchild of Paul Allen (of Apple Computer fame). The
building was designed by architect
Frank O. Gehry who gave it a variety of
weird shapes, including Hendrix's smashed guitar as the roof,
which can be seen looking down from the
Space Needle. We
started with an interactive "Star Tours" style ride through
the history of Funk. The first picture
below shows Ben, Craig and I at the lobby guitar statue. The 2nd
picture below shows Ben, Craig and I in our debut "On Stage"
where we got to experience what it feels like to play a song
(Wild Thing) in front of a big live audience.
Tuesday April 2nd -
Seattle / Victoria
took the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria, BC. in the
morning. The Victoria Clipper is a jet Catamaran that promised
a 90 minute crossing with some sightseeing along the way. It
delivered neither. The entire observation deck (which is also
deafeningly loud, right over the engines) is shown in the 3rd
picture above with Ben in the foreground. The trip took over 4
hours because of an engine breakdown mid-way and we were
packed in like sardines (4th picture above with Mary Lou, Ben
and Craig seated). We decided at the end of the crossing that
getting to Vancouver at the end of the week would not involve
Once in Victoria, we took a taxi to our hotel,
checked in and then walked into town. The hotel was a winner
with a good pub downstairs, a huge two floor two bedroom suite and
interesting original artwork throughout. We paused in front of
the Empress Hotel (1st picture below) and then took a city
tour in a horse drawn carriage (above top right and 2nd
picture below with "Chester" up front doing the pulling).
Wednesday April 3rd -
downtown and started our sightseeing at the
building, the seat of government for British Columbia (3rd and
4th pictures above). We walked across the street to the
Museum, which had a good collection of local history and art
along with an IMAX theatre. Behind the museum is Thunderbird
Park, where there are various totem poles (1st picture below).
We walked through town to the Elephant & Castle pub for lunch
(2nd picture below). Pubs in Victoria were remarkably good and
could in some cases rival London's. We then did the
Museum in town which was small but interesting.
Thursday April 4th -
through the Empress Hotel and then caught a bicycle rickshaw
tour (3rd picture above) up a long hill to
Craigdarroch Castle. Our driver was a marathon runner actually named
Freddie Krueger. Craigdarroch Castle (4th picture above)
overlooks Victoria with interesting interiors (1st and 2nd
pictures below). The first picture below is the view up from
the entrance showing the hardwood staircase. We walked and then taxied
across the Inner Harbour to
Spinnakers Pub for lunch and then took
a water taxi across the harbour to our hotel (3rd picture
below). We then walked over to Chinatown (4th picture below)
to finish our last day in Victoria.
Friday April 5th -
Victoria / Vancouver
took a small seaplane (1st picture below) from Victoria to
Vancouver which was a new experience for all of us. The second
picture below shows the landing approach into Vancouver Harbour. We
picked up a two hour city-wide trolley tour outside our hotel in the afternoon and
then doubled back to a shopping area where we grabbed
a late lunch at a good restaurant on Robson St., Milestones. The first rain of our trip
occurred during the afternoon. Along the tour, we saw the steam
powered clock in Gastown (3rd picture below) next to a
terrible area of town. Vancouver was touted as a great city,
but I didn't get it. It had a nice park (Stanley Park) in
town, but had a hideous skyline of aluminum and glass and felt
to me like a hundred other big modern cities.
Saturday April 6th - Vancouver
We spent our last vacation morning at the
(4th picture below, white beluga whale) which was worthwhile.
They had a very good collection of local marine mammals. It rained hard this day. We took a taxi to
Canada Place downtown where we grabbed lunch and an IMAX show on
caves before heading to the airport.
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