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Flowers in Denali National Park.
Flowers in Denali National Park.

I am, at last, home from my long, long vacation to Alaska and British Columbia. I made it back to my place early this afternoon, after spending the night at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Virginia. My brother – who lives about 15 minutes away – picked us up at Dulles at 1:30 in the morning, a time at which there is no way I would expect (or request) a ride all the way to my place.

After I spent about an hour sitting on my couch and staring at the walls, I did something I have never, ever done immediately upon arriving home: I unpacked and started on my laundry. Now, I realize most people do this as a matter of course, but I have always had the terrible habit of letting my suitcase sit for days or even weeks before I emptied it completely. My last load of vacation wash will hit the drying rack before I go to bed (translation: momentarily) and I gotta say – it’s nice having it done. I might need to make this a habit.

Tomorrow: back to work, where I expect I will die of exhaustion at some point in the early afternoon.

Alaskan/Canadian Adventure, Day 13: Butchart Gardens and Victoria

After yesterday’s collapse, I’m happy to announce that we all rallied admirably for our final day of touring, and I’m so glad we did.

Our destinations today were Butchart Gardens and the city of Victoria, both of which are well south of Vancouver and require a 90-minute ferry ride. The ride over provided ample entertainment, from people watching… 20120707-190611.jpg

…to a pod of killer whales passing by the boat. (I did get one photo of the whales, but it’s on my other camera, so that’ll have to be in a post when I get home.)

Butchart Gardens was well worth the trip. We only had two hours, and I could easily have spent twice that, or more – the flowers were just outstanding:

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We then headed down the road to Victoria for a quick bus tour and an hour or so of free time. Mom, JoAnn, Nick, and I opted to skip shopping for an early dinner and a beer. I’ll need to google Deadwood, the local brew I tried, when I get back:

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The Empress Hotel (of interest to me because of my Historic Hotels of America background) and the provincial capitol building were right near where we parked the bus, so those photos will have to pass for my sightseeing snapshots for Victoria:

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And since I didn’t get a picture of the real orcas on my phone camera, Victoria kindly provided a floral (or topiary?) one on a street corner:

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Tomorrow, the long airport odyssey awaits, getting us back to Dulles late Sunday night – so late, in fact, that it will technically be the wee hours of Monday morning. If all goes as planned, that is. Wish us luck!

(The wifi is very slow here on the ferry, so I am just going to assume the photos are all loaded in the proper order, so as to not miss too much more time watching the sea from the upper deck. Apologies if anything is wonky.)