Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alaska - Victoria, BC - Day 7

Friday, September 7, 2012: The ship's last stop was Victoria, British Columbia, but we weren't scheduled to arrive until 5:00 pm.

While on my way to breakfast, I saw the Captain - now was my chance to meet a fellow Ashevillian to say hello! He was very approachable and friendly. I told him that I was also from Asheville, and he confessed that he didn't really live in Asheville proper, but people didn't usually know the little town outside of Asheville where he lives. Nice..the Captain was from Barnardsville. Which for anyone that has been to my house/property in Jupiter knows that it shares the same interstate exit as Barnardsville. So in reality, I traveled 3,300 miles to meet someone that lives 6 miles from me. Impressive! He asked for my cabin number a couple times which led me to think that maybe I would get a seat at the Captain's table for dinner, or room upgrade? A girl can dream, can't she? I mean..I had connections now! (hindsight - I have to laugh at myself.)

Beaming with the fantasy of what I would wear to dinner with the Captain - I made my way to breakfast.  The open seating on Norweigian was nice for the single traveler.  As I made my way to a table with only one other person, I asked the gentleman if he minded if I joined him.  Low and behold, it was the little drunk man from the elevator that I had met a few nights before.  He welcomed me to his table and confessed that he was glad to get food in his belly because he had accidentally gotten a little drunk the night before.  I was like..what?...that's the same story he told me three days ago at the elevator!  I wondered if he had drank his way through the whole trip?  Turns out, yes.  He had been schnookered the entire trip, and he hadn't even been off the ship for any excursions.  Personally, I thought this was such a waste of his money and time.  I admit - I judged him.  He was a perplexing man, and he seemed really kind so I engaged him further.  Turns out that he had experienced the death of his wife earlier in the year.  They had planned the trip together, and his family talked him into continuing with the vacation without her.  My heart broke for him!  He was so sad and miserable.  Wow..what a compelling story, and I would have probably stayed smashed myself given his position in life.  Even through the hangover and the gut-wrenching story - this little man still managed a bright smile.  He said I was the first person to stop and talk to him the whole week.  I asked him if he remembered meeting me on the elevator, and he said that he was a little drunk that night.  Ha - a little drunk was an understatement, but instead of judging again - I smiled back and told him not to worry about that.  I gave him a warm hug and went on about my day.  It's amazing how we just never know what other people are going through at any given time.

The arrival to Victoria was very scenic and beautiful.  Our ship docked alongside a lighthouse.  With no planned excursions, I picked up a walking map of the city and struck out on foot.  There were only a few hours to take in Victoria, so I headed towards the Parliament House.  On the way, I took a stroll throught the Wharf area.  It was lined with shrimping/fishing boats, floating houses, and several food stands offering freshly caught salmon and shrimp.  The skies were a rich blue with warm sunshine!  Ahh...bliss again.

After enjoying a finger-licking salmon taco - I watched a young boy feed mackerel fish to a seal.  The little boy had his face painted like a tiger and seemed to be adequately brave enough to handle the slimy fish and dangle it over the water with his grandpa holding his other hand.  The seal finally decided it was safe to come up to feed, and the young child received cheers from the dozens of onlookers watching the experience.
Needing to move on about my day, I utilized a water taxi to get to the heart of downtown.  There was an old building covered in ivy that intrigued me, but I didn't have time to explore in that direction.  Since I only had a couple hours left in Victoria, I headed towards the Parliament House of the Queen.  I had read that the Parliament House was a must-see, and especially at night when it was lit up. (All helpful excursion tips were found on  Stopping to photograph the grounds, I missed the open hours by 5 minutes.  Not to worry, I will just have to go back one day!

With my map in hand and dusk fast approaching, I made my way back towards the ship.  I'm glad I left when I did because it was a long walk with several zig-zags to the ship.  Not knowing the area and walking by myself, this was the only time I was nervous.  Finally, the ship came into view - and what a view it was!  Sunset at the lighthouse with the Pugent Sound for a backdrop.
I'm really glad I had the sunset to keep me busy for a while as it took my mind off the disappointment of not having a dinner invite from the Captain or a room upgrade.  I know..another ego lesson for this ol' gal. 

I awoke at 2:00 am with a horrible sewer smell in my room. Yuck! It was awful. I called Guest Services and they sent someone up right away. Not finding the cause, they agreed to move me to another room. Since we were asked to pack our bags the night before arriving to Seattle for an early (7:00 am) disembarkment - I was already packed.   So, at 2:00 am, I followed the man down the hall to my new room. He put me in a Balcony Suite.  Ha.  I got a room upgrade afterall!  Yippee - too bad it only lasted 5 hours. 

That's the end of the cruise, and the end of week #1 of vacation.  I was sad that it was over, but I know in my heart I will be back again one day.  It was beautiful and an amazing experience - even traveling hans solo.

Now on to the rest of my vacation!

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