Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Strange Delivery

Print magazine readership has declined over the years due to digital capability allowing for instant access to articles across multiple platforms.  In fact, so many of the articles that are found in magazines eventually find their way to the internet, whether you've paid for a subscription or not.  And even if particular publishers don't share their content online without a subscription, the sheer volume of content that can be found can make print magazine subscriptions a waste of money.   The thing is, I like magazines.  I like holding them in my hands.  Tearing out an article you want to read later, a recipe you want to remember, or a unique picture just can't be done on electronically.  I resisted letting subscriptions lapse for a while, but have finally given up most of them.  There just isn't time in the day.  There is one that I haven't given up yet...Vanity Fair.
Several years ago I went to a Vanity Fair photography exhibit at the LACMA.  The caliber of work that this magazine produces is incredible.  I've been a subscriber since.  While I am able to access the magazine through their app on my iPad, it's far more impressive in its print form.   So, I continue to receive it each month.  
Last week the newest addition arrived.  Oddly, when I opened the front door to take the dog for a walk, it was sitting on the doorstep.  I had assumed it was delivered to a neighbor's mailbox by mistake, and they dropped on my doormat.  I threw it inside the house and headed out.  Not too much thought went into it again until a day or so later when I was cleaning up.  As I removed it from its plastic wrapping, the following letter was included.
Hand delivery?  Have they really hired people to hand deliver it to my doorstep?  Is that cheaper than mailing it through the postal service?  The funny thing though is that it's not saving me any time.  I still have to go to the mailbox and get my other mail, so really, it's a strange service.  Maybe it's giving someone a job who otherwise didn't have one? 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Afternoon Tea

One of the most impressive buildings in Victoria (along with the Parliament Building) is The Empress.  This hotel was built and 1908.  It's a must to visit The Empress for Afternoon Tea when coming to Victoria.  So that's what we did...
 A view of the hotel from the Parliament Building 
 The grounds of The Empress are simply stunning.  There are flowers everywhere.  Bushes after bushes of hydrangeas are a sight to see.
We arrived a few minutes before our 4:00 tea time, but were seated right away.
Hand cut glass dome
The Queen Mary portrait has been on the wall at the Empress since 1908.
 Fresh blueberries were served to start.
 Hot tea was entirely inappropriate after spending the day at Butchart Gardens in the extremely rare 90 degree heat, so we drank a bucket of ice water as well.
 Those scones were to die for!
 The tea sweets were just darling.  However, after the scones and the chocolate treat, we were too full to eat the rest.  The waiter packaged them up for us.  Unfortunately, a few hours later they all fell into themselves and ended up getting tossed.  They were sure pretty though.
 Tea at The Empress was a nice experience.  I would say it is definitely a must do, at least once.
And this concludes the Summer Vacation 2015 posts!  ;)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Happiest Place on Earth

About a half an hour from Victoria is The Butchart Gardens.  The story of the gardens can be found here.  The amazing thing about this place was that it started out as a family home garden.  And now, over 100 years later, it is an incredible amusement park of flowers.  I probably took 300 pictures at this place (thank goodness for digital) because every direction I looked was gorgeous.  
The Butchart's home has been turned into a restaurant and outdoor patio area.  
 The begonias were mind blowing!
 When the limestone quarry next to the house was exhausted, it was turned into what is now the Sunken Garden.
The Butchart Gardens was hands down the best part of this trip - a breathtaking place.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Beautiful Victoria

Victoria is my kind of place.  British Columbia's capital city is quite large, which was somewhat of a surprise for me considering it's on an island, but the historical area near the water is very quaint and village-like.  We took the ferry from Vancouver to Swartz Bay and then a bus to Victoria.  I haven't taken all that many ferries in my life, but I'll tell you what, I was so impressed with the experience.  The whole process from our Vancouver hotel to the harbor to the ferry to the Victoria Hotel and then back again, to the airport, was like a well oiled machine.  I'm sure they have their glitches every now and then, but their promptness and efficiency puts the airline industry to shame.
Anyhow, Victoria is very pretty.  The fires continued to take its toll on the air quality and the sky color.  Thankfully, it wasn't yellow there, but still very hazy.
Parliament Building
Salish Totem
Victoria is one of the oldest cities in British Columbia, and a lot of its buildings in this area are original structures.  There are also colorful structures sprinkled in, which added to the prettiness of it. 
Market Square Main Gate Fountain - early 1900s tri-leveled fountain, one level for people, one for their horses, and one for their dogs.
For dinner one night, we headed into Chinatown.  It is the oldest Chinatown in Canada.
Fan Tan Alley is the narrowest street in Canada.
 There are small shops and galleries on this street.  We ended up having dinner at FanTan Cafe, and it was delicious!
Victoria is small enough that it's ok to get "lost" by just walking up and down the streets.  My favorite part of traveling is the exploring and stumbling upon some interesting sights.