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Pacific Northwest travelblog: Relaxing in Victoria as we say goodbye

Knackers Yard performs in The Irish Times. (Photo by Berry Tramel)
Knackers Yard performs in The Irish Times. (Photo by Berry Tramel)

The big-ticket items already were checked off our list for the last day in Victoria. So Wednesday, Trish the Dish and I relaxed. We walked downtown and around the Inner Harbour. We took two small boat rides around the harbor. We had two great meals. We met some interesting people.

We just enjoyed the environment, which is what we loved about Victoria in the first place.

Including our dinner. We returned to Irish Times, the pub we dined in Tuesday night. The menu was so inviting, and the atmosphere so warm, ornately adorned in an old Bank of Canada building, we went back and had a great time. I had corned beef and cabbage for the first time in my life, the Dish had steak and mash – a really good piece of steak and exquisite mashed potatoes -- and we shared a great bowl of chowder.

Best of all, The Irish Times’ home band, Knackers Yard, was performing in the pub. A five-piece Irish band of rousing musicians and singers. They hadn’t started when we finished our meal, but we hung around to listen to several songs. They were great, and the packed pub got into the music, and a great time was had by all. Made us want to go to Ireland even more.

We met a couple from Nova Scotia, who were delighted to learn that we had visited Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island three years ago.

Meeting people is always fun. On one of our boat tours, we met a family of eight, which included three grown brothers and their parents. Two of the brothers and a next-generation teen-ager had been on a baseball trip up the West Coast. They are from the Ottawa area, on the other side of the continent. They were fascinated by the Josh Gibson Homestead Grays jersey I wore, a gift from the Dish after I saw it at the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City. They had been to San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. In fact, those hordes of Blue Jays fans we saw in Seattle last weekend? They were among them.

We had a great time chatting with on one of our tours of the harbor, which goes up the “gorge,” where the inlet backs up to houses and businesses you don’t see in normal Victoria activity. Our guide was great; he said he came from Ontario 47 years ago with a woman. They were headed to California and took the Trans-Canada railroad to Victoria for a one-day visit. One day turned into 47 years for the guide, though he long ago lost the woman.

He had great stories about Victoria and the region. A guide makes or breaks many of these tours, and our guide was fantastic. He was all fired up about us being from Oklahoma. He had a great accent. He called it “Oklahomer,” which is fine, because he calls his hometown “Victoriar.”

We took a shorter boat tour of the Inner Harbour, and that guide wasn’t much punk. He talked a lot but didn’t use his microphone, and even though there were only eight people on board, unless he was talking straight at you, you couldn’t hear him. He said he never had had an Oklahoman on his boat. That much I got.

Earlier in the day, the Dish and I strolled downtown Victoria. We went into a couple of fabulous men’s shops, and I found sportscoats in my size that I loved. One was a real dark purple pattern that was relatively inexpensive. Another was bright pink, from Italy, that was expensive in every way. You’ll be proud to know that I refrained from making a purchase.

We went into a classic bookstore, in the old Bank of Montreal building. Victoria has a batch of beautiful buildings. We stopped into a pizza place and shared a Neapolitan pizza, which is very thin crust. Pepperoni and mushroom. Excellent.

Then down to the water we went, reserving our two boat rides for later in the day. We sat on a bench looking over the harbor, just enjoying the splendor of this British Columbia jewel.

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Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›