Victoria, British Columbia
Friday, June 15, 2018 - Our last night on board. We originally had not planned to do an excursion while in Victoria, we have been here before and what we really wanted to see was the Butchart Gardens. This was the highlight of our previous visit to Victoria, really unbelievable. But we were arriving at 6:00 pm and leaving at 11:00 and between not wanting to miss our evening meal and knowing that the trip to and from the gardens ran about an hour each way and we would be seeing it at night, we decided to forego the gardens this trip. Sort of at the last minute, we decided to do a carriage tour and we were glad we did.
The house drawn carriages were stationed not far from our ship so getting to them was easy. Our driver was a hoot. Imagine a California Valley girl stereotype and you will have an idea of our driver. We sat on the second row of the carriage and had a bird's eye view (actually more of a tail's eye view. They say unless you're lead horse all you get to see is...) of the two horses that pulled our carriage. The horses were great, as was our tour guide. Really glad we made this last minute choice.
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia and when we were here before were lucky enough to be here on British Columbia Day when the Victoria Symphony performed on a barge in the harbor. We were able to enjoy both the music and the fire works from our hotel. No such luck this time but someday we might go back (thinking of a rail trip through Canada someday soon).
Horse Drawn Carriage Tour
The tour was mostly about the architecture and history of Victoria and our guide was very informative, even though her presentation was definitely not a lecture. She also spent a lot of time talking about the two horses pulling the carriage, how much they worked, their working conditions, etc. I never really thought about the working conditions of the animals or their off-season care and it was nice to know that if I ever come back as a Victoria carriage horse in a later life, it won't be all that unpleasant.
One of the things I found very interesting about the tour was the relationship between the driver and the horses. She did not use the reins much, mostly she drove using verbal commands and she did not use commands like stop, go, left. right, etc. She used terms not ordinarily found in normal conversation or tour guide talk, which actually makes sense because I'm guessing this would keep the horses from being confused about whether she was talking to us and giving commands to them.