Thursday, September 26, 2013

Victoria, British Columbia

The last port we visited on our Alaskan cruise was Victoria, British Columbia.  We arrived after dinner and only had a few hours here, so we decided to tour the Butchart Gardens.  I remember as a child going on a Hill Family road trip up the northern Pacific Coast and into Vancouver Island.  I was in the motor home with Grandma Hill and my cousins, Tracy Jeffers and Karen Page.  I have so many wonderful memories of that trip, from the unbelievable color of Crater Lake to the grandeur of the Redwood Forest!  I remember the "seaweed whips" we played with on the island beach and digging for clams.  In Provo, I used to walk down the road to a little "Fish and Chips" restaurant where I fell in love with "clam chowder".  One night while vacationing on Vancouver Island, we took all the clams we had collected and made our own chowder.  I was so disgusted with what a clam looked like and the process involved in chopping up the clams, that I could hardly bring myself to eat it!  Clam chowder has never tasted as good as when I was a child after that experience.  But I do still crave a sour dough bread bowl filled with the yummy porridge.  (I'm thinking San Francisco . . . !)  The point of this story was to mention that there were two highlights I was so looking forward to on that road trip.  The first was to go up to the top of the Seattle Space Needle, and the second was to visit Butchart Gardens.  The disappointment was almost more than I could bear when Grandma got lost and somehow we missed visiting those much anticipated sights!  So now you can imagine my joy at finally being able to see both of these sights, many many years later, on another Hill Family vacation!

Butchart Gardens lived up to my expectations and more!  The landscaping and color of the gardens was impeccable and the combination of flowers, shrubbery, and trees was inspiring.  I've never felt confident putting together colors and textures of flowers to create the gardens I'd love to have in my own yard.  But being there instilled in me a desire to try . . . to just copy of few of those artistic combinations at home!  (Someday when we have a yard again.)  Perhaps some of these photos will be the inspiration you need as well.

The surprisingly long and unique fireworks show held around a pond in Butchart Gardens after dark was a wonderful way to bring a fabulous week to it's conclusion.  The fireworks were set to music and portrayed a story of the marvels of nature.  The sky lite up with scenes of flowers and bees buzzing around the garden.  The show was an amazing synchronized performance of fountains, fire, and colors that dazzled the senses.  My amateur photography attempts could not adequately record the spectacular displays, but perhaps they will get your imagination rolling and your curiosity peaked.

Our Hill Family Alaskan cruise will always hold a special place in our hearts.  I am awed by the magnificence and beauty of God's creations, and no matter how impressive the works of man, nothing can compare in glory to the handwork of God.  Like my dad used to express when hiking in the lush green Uinta mountains to the north, or the stunning red rock canyons of the National Parks down south, "I can't imagine a heaven more beautiful than this glorious earth"!

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