It has been a quiet week in Victoria. We have read, played ukulele, watched some movies, and walked in the city each day. Yesterday we were joined by friends David and Marlene who arrived by the Clipper in the morning. They arrived a bit late to our snow dusted city due to a stop for a pod of orcas and a sighting of a submarine! After a brief stop in our condo we went out on foot to explore the city.
Our first stop was The Empress Hotel. One feature here each Christmas season is a display of Christmas trees, each designed and sponsored by a local business. The decorations usually have something to do with the business. Imagine a tree from a construction company decorated with toy bulldozers and traffic cones! How about a medical supply tree decorated with vials and such? Of course there also are shops to explore and art everywhere.
Then we were off to visit as many Native art galleries as we could fit in before dinner. Our first stop was Out of The Mist Gallery and we felt we had hit the jackpot. Owner, Tom Stark, kept us enthralled for over an hour with his knowledge of native art and culture. His collections span several centuries, but there is a great deal of mid-20th century work. Beautiful baskets, a collection of india ink sketches by an unknown artist, and much much more. David and Marlene came away with a bent wood drinking cup. We highly recommend this as a stop for anyone visiting Victoria.
Eagle Feather Gallery features contemporary decorative native art. This is art made for the market place. We enjoyed the colorful and bold works on display. Alcheringa Gallery blends aboriginal art from Canada, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. It is very interesting to see these cultures’ art side by side and compare similarities and differences.
We were on time for our dinner reservation at Ithaca Restaurant, one of the top rated dining spots in Victoria. This family restaurant features a Greek menu created by Mama Marie and managed by her two sons. The food was outstanding, the sons danced for us and Mama personally greeted us, allowing David and Marlene to practice the Greek they learned on their honeymoon. There’s a good reason Ithaca has won so much acclaim in a city with many good restaurants. This is exceptional!
We walked the two miles back home through the downtown area where Christmas lights adorn everything.
A superb bottle of 2011 Syrah from Kerloo Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington complimented chocolates for dessert in front of the fireplace. A wonderful day.