That’s right. It’s back to Vancouver Island. Lush, beautiful and fresh are just a few words to describe the big V.I. I took a WestJet flight to Victoria and it was a very nice, quick flight. I have to say, WestJet is absolutely super. They treat you good, the seats are comfortable and you can watch movies on your I-pad right on the plane. After getting a rental car, it was time to explore.
My first stop was Butchart Gardens which is only 20 minutes southwest from the Victoria airport. There are no superstitious mysteries here but these gardens are pure magic. When I first arrived at the gardens, I was entranced by the swirl of brightly colored flowers that surrounded me. It was like stepping into the most beautiful dream. It was certainly a dream to have their famous high tea. Reservations were needed but luckily the friendly staff at the information center helped me out with that. It only took five minutes to get to the dining room from the information center and they sat me immediately.
I recommend sitting outside because you will be WOWED! There’s a spectacular view of the garden. In one direction, there is a view of the Italian garden, opposite of that is the rose garden and in the middle, I saw a small glimpse of the Saanich Inlet. The high tea starts with beverages both hot and cold. I ordered a limoncello cocktail and a “mixed greens” green tea. Both were equally tangy and tasty. The first course was a berry parfait that tastes like heaven. It was sweet with a little berry bite and a smooth creamy texture. Next came a course of sweet and savory foods. I always start with the desserts because life is too short. Besides, how could anyone resist the chocolate brandy napoleon cake, orange poppy seed loaf and a chocolate Irish cream truffle? Mmm, delicious. The warm delicacies like the vegetable pastry and the onion, asparagus quiche were absolutely delight
ful. Then there were the little sandwiches. There was a wonderful variety but my favorite was the roast pepper
cream cheese roulade. This little sandwich had quite a kick to it. The mixture of flavors in each bite of these treasures was unforgettable. Now that’s not bad for $34.75 + tax (Canadian).
After such culinary delights, it was time to explore the garden. It’s easy to fall in love with the rose garden. There are so many different kinds of climbers, ramblers and tea roses that I wonder where the workers found them all. I can imagine having a little picnic out there with some good friends. Next was the very charming Italian garden. There I found the star pond that has 12 points to it and is quite large. This pond is connected to the Italian garden by some arches that lead to a statue of Mercury, a cross shaped fountain, and several colorful annuals that surround it. The sight of the sunken garden is equally captivating. This particular garden is filled with so many trees, plants and flowers. There must be a million different species of plant life and they fit together so perfectly. It’s not just the flora that make the Butchart Gar
dens special. There are also many whimsical touches throughout different parts of the garden. Things like the giant chess set near the entrance, gigantic fountains placed here and there, and romantic statues showing off their splendor.
After taking everything in, I thought it was a good idea to roam the gift shop. You never know what you might find. I found this lovely little multi-tool keychain wit
h my initial on it so I had to get it (especially when I needed a new one). Before I knew it, the garden was closing for the day and it was time to leave. But that was okay because my next adventure was at the Abigail Hotel in Victoria.
The Abigail Hotel is about 26 minutes away from the gardens. On the outside it seems like an ordinary house but inside it’s extraordinary. It’s like stepping back into time. To be greeted by some very kind and attentive staff, who helped with the bags and gave a short tour of the place, was a sign of a good place to rest for the night. Like the rest of the hotel, the rooms are filled with antiques that makes the hotel look like it came from the turn of the century. There is an old fashioned
wardrobe instead of a closet, a wood burning fireplace and lovely little lamps that brighten the place up. I drank a lovely bottle of white wine that was in my room (which was an added cost of $18 (Canadian)), snacked on the oatmeal cookies waiting on the bed, and sat in front of the fire place. I finished the evening off with a di
p in the REALLY big, luxurious bathtub with complementary bath salts and body wash. How could I not enjoy such an experience?
Upon reflection on this day, I can only conclude that the Butchart Gardens is a sacred garden despite the fact that there is nothing supernatural linked to it. It is a utopia built on dreams and love that I felt that all around me. Isn’t this how magic is made? Through dreams and love? And then there is the Abigail Hotel. There is nothing quite like this place. Nice people, beautiful room, good treats and a beautiful breakfast waiting in the morning. It was just gorgeous. This whole day was a magical dream.