I know Victoria is not part of Alaska, but it was the final port we visited on our cruise. This is a charming island city, both beautiful and historic. Our original excursion choice got cancelled, so we signed up for the Grand city tour and high tea at the Empress Hotel.
The bus took us all around and the driver gave us an excellent narration explaining the history and customs of Victoria. These days its home to a lot of retirement condos and government offices, in addition to tourism, of course. The houses all over the island are beautiful with gardens that burst with colors, showing the pride of their homeowners. The Empress is a large, lovely older hotel situated looking out over the city harbor. High tea is a popular custom -- whether enjoyed at 2 p.m. or, like us, 9 p.m. Traditional tea sandwiches, scones, and small, tasty confections arrived on a tiered china stand. The wait staff served our tea the "proper" way, placing our requested lumps of sugar and cream in our cups before adding the tea. I'm a confirmed tea drinker, so I loved both the taste as well as the ceremony. I also liked the gift of their special Centennial blend that they presented each of us with before we left.
The evening was a little bittersweet. We knew that it was the last night of a fantastic vacation.
Tomorrow: Some general observations and pictures onboard the Norwegian Pearl.