Victoria, British Columbia...Butchart Gardens...A memorable tour and exquisite place to visit...At Sea-Tac Airport awaiting flight....


The popular Butchart Gardens sign where visitors often take their photos.
It's 11:00 am Seattle time.  We're seated in a food court at Sea-Tac Airport while waiting to board our flight to Minneapolis in two hours.  Rather than wait on the ship we decided it made more sense to get to the airport, after a $60 taxi fare, $20 in tips for a porter and a skycap.
Darwin, our tour guide with Surfside Adventure Tours friendly and ultra knowledgeable about the amazing Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Our luggage was overweight, by 10 pounds each.  The cost for overweight checked bags is $100 per bag.  The skycap had a box into which we loaded the extra 20 pounds (6 kg) to avoid paying the excess weight fees.  Instead, we paid an extra $35 for the box which we checked, saving $165. 
Based on time constraints we won't be able to identify flowers from the Butchart Gardens tour.
We were stopped at security for the computer backpack, taken aside for inspection.  The agent took everything out of the bag to inspect each pocket, the laptops and other electronics for suspicious chemicals. 
A water wheel near the entrance to the Butchart Gardens.
Of course, we passed inspection and didn't complain about the time lost, not to the agent nor to one another.  We'd rather they were diligent than careless.  Lines were long.  From the time we arrived at the airport until seated here now, 90 minutes had passed.  At least now our wait isn't too long.
Tom standing by the king on the giant hand carved chess set.

Of course, I then stood by the queen.
Based on the delays in getting to the airport (35 minutes in traffic), baggage and security check in, the idea of leaving the ship early served us well.  Now, we can relax and wait for our flight.

It was a good time of year to see the gardens but we were a little late to see all of the tulips blooming which occurred a few weeks ago.
The last full day on the ship proved to be absolutely fabulous.  The tour we participated in with the other 10 Cruise Critic members was over-the-top.  The tour company, Surfside Adventure Tours with Darwin as our tour guide, couldn't have been a better experience at the US $57.22 per person, plus the US $48.45 entrance fee (for two) into Butchart Gardens. 
Many tourists wandered through the huge grounds, bumping into another in the process.  We did our best to scurry along after taking photos.
Without the Canadian dollar exchange rate handy, Tom gave the driver a US $100 bill which.  In his mind, he was thinking US $77, not Canadian $57.22.  Subsequently, that resulted in his paying the driver Canadian $134.50 when he handed him the US $100 bill telling him to keep the change.  This resulted in a tip of $43.78, more than we'd usually tip. 
Many unfamiliar flower species enhanced the gardens but many we'd seen in other botanical gardens all over the world.
Here's the info for Surfside Adventure Tours:  250-891-7792 and please ask for Darwin.  Their website is:  www.surfsidetours.com
It was easy to wander about following the clearly marked paths.
When all was said and done the tour cost less than half as much as such a tour through the ship and we had little room to fuss over the cost.  An entire afternoon was well spent (literally and figuratively) touring the stunning Vancouver Island city of Victoria, one of the most beautiful cities we're seen in our world travels.
Sun filtering through the tall trees.
As a matter of fact, we feel determined that at some point down the road we'll return for a summer stay in Victoria perhaps around the time of our next visit to family in the US, whenever that may be in the future.
Interesting shapes and designs are the highlights of many specific areas.
There's much more to share about Victoria and we'll do so during these next six weeks in Minneapolis when we have occasional quiet days with less content rich information and photos to share.
These tulips remained later in the season, allow they were beginning to wither away.
Enjoy today's photos as we realize we need to wrap this up.  Tomorrow, we'll be back with photos of our new home for the next six weeks, our response to being back in Minnesota after being gone for the past 4.5 years and any updates that may occur over the next 24 hours. 
There are numerous shops and restaurants on the grounds of Butchart Gardens.

Entrance into Canada after disembarking the ship to head out on our tour to Victoria.
For our US readers...have a safe and meaningful Memorial Day Weekend.  For our friends outside the US, have a fabulous weekend as well!
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Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2016:


We made a visit to a turtle hatchery in Bali on our way to Lovina to renew our vises.  There were over 100 baby turtles maturing for future release attracting tourists to the site.  For more details, please click here.

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