Once we cleared customs into Canada, we headed up the street to do the tourist thing. Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. Lennie, Molly and Bear posed in front of the Inner Harbour.
One of the prominent landmarks along the Inner Harbour is the Parliment Building. The Parliament Buildings were designed by a 25 year old creative architect named of Francis Rattenbury in honor of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Construction began on 1893. Construction of the Parliament Buildings utilized, as much as possible, local materials, resources, and expertise. Granite rock foundations were brought in from nearby Nelson Island, the facades were imported from Haddington Island, and much of the brick, lime and Douglas Fir were from Vancouver Island. The Parliament Buildings were completed in 1915.Equally impressive is another Inner Harbour landmark, the Fairmont Empress Hotel. This 460-room hotel was built in the Edwardian style and was recently restored to its original grandeur, complete with antique furniture and luxurious décor. Considered to be the most photographed attraction on Vancouver Island, The Empress was also designed by Francis Rattenbury. It opened in 1908. This year it celebrates it 100th anniversary.
Molly takes a pictures of the Empress Hotel while Bear and Lennie look on.
We next headed to the Royal BC Museum. The first thing we saw in the lobby was John Lennon's "Yellow Submarine". This car was manufactured in 1965 by the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, Crewe, Cheshire. The car was fitted with a limousine body by Mulltner Park Ward and finished in Valentines Black. When completed, the Phantom V was then delivered to John Lennon on June 3, 1965. The car measured 19 feet long and weighed three tons. It was originally painted black with chrome trim.
John eventually became restless with the "matt black overall" and decided to paint the car "psychedelic". A Dutch team of gypsy artists did the work. They designed and painted a pattern of scroll and flowers. The newly painted psychedelic car drew public outrage. In fact, an old woman, in London’s downtown, attacked the car using her umbrella and yelling: "You swine, you swine! How dare you do this to a Rolls-Royce." Obviously, the Rolls-Royce is passionately regarded in England as one of the many symbols of British dignity!
The Beatles used the Rolls exclusively in their heyday from 1966 to 1969. After the band broke up, it was donated to a museum.
The Royal BC Museum is one of my favorite museums so we headed there as our next stop. It houses one of the finest collections of totem poles in North America and a wonderful collection of spindles and woven articles.
After the museum, we all decided it was time to eat. Lennie didn't want anyone to know it was her birthday, so, of course, we immediately let the waitress know. Lennies was surprised with a huge piece of choclate cake.
After lunch we headed for the souvenior shops. Bear poses with a Canadian Bear.
The couple who own the car, Candelaria and Herman Zapp set out from Buenos Aires in January 2000 to fulfill a long-held dream: a road trip through the Americas. They figured it would take them six or eight months to reach Alaska--(the car has a top speed of 35 miles per hour) but instead, have been on the road eight years and have covered an incredible 50,000+ miles.
A poster inside describes the car's snaking route up South America, across Central America and into North America, past New York to Nova Scotia and Quebec, then across the continent to California, most of it traveled on back roads. "America has a lot of dead ends," comments Herman.
The car has no radio, no tape player, no GPS, no compass. "We have only the map of the next place we're going to be," he says. "If we get lost, so what?"
Even more amazing is the fact that they have three young children --- the youngest was just 6 weeks old!Planning next to cross Asia for three years, they're financing their travels in part with a book, Spark Your Dream, which they sell from the truck of the car. Here Bear and Molly get their books and pose for a picture.
And you know what? Lennie and I couldn't resist the books either!