Of Plants and Seals and Rock (n Roll) and things

So, yesterday we talked about the rambles and the plants. Which were pretty and I didn’t know what they were, and forgot to post the photos I took, so here they are. If you know the name, could you please leave a comment?

P1010595  P1010596



When we got home – Victoria home, not ship home, I took a look at Google Maps to figure out just where we’d been. We walked through the North Beach area, almost to the Marina district, then along Beach Drive, up Columbus Avenue to Filbert Street, which is where St. Peter and Paul’s is located, right across from a lovely little park: Washington Square Park.

We walked along Filbert to Genoa Place and I waited at that corner while Al walked up to the T intersection at Green Street, which was the top of the hill. The neighbourhood was Telegraph Hill, which if I remember rightly, was a fairly high class neighbourhood back in the day. It still looked pretty high toned. So we didn’t actually “get” to the Coit Tower – we had rambled a bit beyond it.

Then we wandered back to the waterfront and around Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. The sea lions were fun to watch, and a little bit about their history can be read here. They apparently showed up one year and took over some of the wharfs at Fisherman’s Wharf. Between the Marine Mammal society and the Wharf officials, they set aside a number of platforms for the seals  and they now make this a regular stop on their migrations – they also show up at the islands just off our coast (and by our, I mean the small islands just off MacNeil Bay). Lovely to watch, but they stink to high heaven and when they’re visiting BC, they’re the noisiest set of animals you’d ever wish to meet. But they’re still gorgeous and worth spending time just watching.

The shops at Pier 39 were good – Al found Houdini’s Magic Shop to putter in and the proprietor was more than happy to chat with him and do tricks for him and a couple of other magic fans.

Photo from the internet, not taken by us.

Photo from the internet, not taken by us.

I found it too hot and humid in the store, even though it was interesting – he had ventriloquist dummies, which I’ve never seen for sale before. Not sure why they’d be in a magic shop (I guess it is a kind of magic, but . . .) so went and sat outside to wait for him, where there was a lovely cool breeze, a crepe take out cookery (which was decidedly interesting, since breakfast had been five hours before) and a pigeon who decided my foot was a safe haven since it didn’t move (the foot, not the pigeon). Poor thing was injured – missing two toes on his right foot and limping on the left. He started about 5 feet from me, but every time someone went by, he’d edge closer to my foot, until he was about twelve inches away from it.  I was aiming for him to cuddle right up to my ankle. Then Al came out with his purchases – a book on handkerchief magic – and scared him off.

Again, from the internet - pier 39 website. Photo is taken from just where I sat.

Again, from the internet – pier 39 website. Photo is taken from just where I sat.

Crepes just didn’t seem like they’d be enough (although we could have had a crepe appetizer, main course and dessert, which probably would have been more than sufficient), but for some reason just didn’t appeal. We went off in search of something more substantial and less elevated (the food on board is what we’d consider fine dining – hamburgers are not on the menu).  Hard Rock Café seemed to be the place to go.  One of those “we’re being tourists so let’s do something touristy” that we’d probably never do at home, even if there was one in Victoria (which I’m kind of glad there’s not, really.)

Great place – good atmosphere (hey, a Van Halen guitar, a portrait of Janis Joplin looking almost demure – that got two and three looks from me – JJ, demure?) and one of Beyonce’s performing costumes – gold fabric in a halter and short skirt among lots and lot of other memorabilia. Lots of great music, and a good mix of older and newer stuff. Too many video screens to suit me. An amazing waiter – he was supposed to go on break halfway through our lunch, he brought the replacement around and introduced us, but didn’t leave us until we were finished and had the bill. Never let our glasses get empty, even though it was only lemon water, and made sure we had everything we wanted – kept checking back unobtrusively for us. Matthew. Great guy. The food was okay. The place is definitely geared to service and atmosphere, not to quality of food. I had the basic burger with added bacon and cheese. Lots of fries, and good sized patty, fresh lettuce and tomato. The bacon was crispy (which isn’t my preference – at least not that crispy!) but their cheddar wasn’t Canadian – not a bad thing, but it wasn’t up to Canadian cheddar standards. The patty was medium well done, but blander than I’m used to, and the bun was definitely average, not a superior bread product. It was palatable, enjoyable and very middle of the road. It’s a great for a tourist, or for a funky atmosphere and fun, but not for a really nice hamburger.

After lunch we split up. Al visited a submarine (sorry Joe, you’ll have to talk to him about the sub) while I had vicarious adventures on the deck of our stateroom. More about that tomorrow.


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