Trip to Victoria BC – Day 3

Here is the final post about our Victoria trip. Here are the previous posts – day 1 and day 2. On day 3, we had planned to go whale watching. We checked out of the hotel in the morning, and left for the harbor. Our whale watching boat was in the afternoon.ย  Since we didn’t have anything specific to do in the morning, we just went around for a walk. The weather was awesome. We just took a stroll around the harbor aimlessly. It was fun. We ate some street food, I bought a couple of earrings and we took a few pics. We then headed to the Noodlebox for lunch. All of us loved that place and wanted to eat there one more time before we headed back to Seattle. We ate some yummy noodles and went for whale watching. We had to go and report to them before we could get on the boat. They talked to us about the different kinds of whales and what we could be seeing that day. The kids had so much fun listening to that talk.

Once we were in the boat, the kids wanted to get to top deck, but were not allowed. They were very disappointed initially, but soon we found out that bottom deck was the best. Once the boat gained speed, it was very very cold out on the deck. We wore our double layered jackets and caps and it was still cold. The bottom part of the boat had doors. So, we shut them and stayed inside. We had a pretty good view from the inside as well. When the boat came to a place where there was a possibility of whale sighting, they slowed down. Then we got on to the deck and waited for the whales to come to the surface. We saw a bunch of them going around in groups. A couple of the whales got very near to our boat. It was amazing to watch them so closely out in the sea. The kids were very excited.

Whale close to our boat
Two whales from a distance

Once we were back from the tour, we went back to the hotel to get our luggage, and got on the ferry. We were very happy with our 3 day trip and were ready to go back home (even if we would only call it home for one more day. We moved to California the next day). I was very worried about being nauseous again and had taken those tablets ahead of time. But, this time we had a better ferry and the ride was much better.ย  I was not nauseous at all. We reached home at midnight. We were tired and fell asleep very quickly.

I am very happy that we decided to go on that trip even if it was in between our moving and stuff. It was lots of fun.

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Trip to Victoria BC – Day 2

Okay, here I am writing about our Victoria trip in bits and pieces. We went for a three day trip. I wrote about Day 1 here.

On the second day, we had planned to go to Butterfly Gardens and Butchart Gardens. We booked this as a package along with the ferry. So, all we did was go to the ferry terminal and boarded a bus. We went to the butterfly gardens first. We had about 45 min to see this place. It was more than enough. It was a small but beautiful place with a tropical climate controlled area. There were many different kinds of butterflies freely flying all around us. They also had some ants and other insects on display. The kids were fascinated by that.

Butterfly Gardens

From there we went to Butchart Gardens. There are a vast number of plants and many different varieties of flowers. It is really beautiful. It is almost like a big maze. It would have been hard to navigate through without a map. It took us about two hours to see the entire place. The kids got bored after a while, but I loved it. I could have spent another hour in the rose garden itself. Oh my god… so many different kinds of roses. Here are some of the roses from the garden.

It was a nice warm and sunny day and after walking around the gardens we were tired. They had an ice cream shop at the end of the gardens. So, we ate ice cream and then I bought some seeds for me and my parents.

We then took the bus back to the ferry terminal and walked back to the hotel. S and the kids wanted to go to the pool, but they were tired. They just relaxed while I worked for a bit. We then went out to dinner. We wanted to go to a restaurant which had some interesting menu options. But, that place had a 30 min wait. We were hungry. So we went to a nearby mall which had a food court. There were some options in the food court including an Indian place. We took some roti and sabji which was okay. We then did a little bit of shopping for souvenirs in a local shop and headed to the hotel.

All of us were very tired. I did have some work stuff to finish. The kids read for a while and fell asleep. It was a wonderful day!!

Trip to Victoria, BC – Day 1

We have been in Seattle for more than 5 years, but we never made the trip to Canada. Vancouver is just 3 hours driving distance away. We had planned a trip multiple times, but always had to cancel it for some reason. So, as soon as we decided to move to CA, we were sad that we never visited Canada. Now that our stuff has gone and we have a week to wrap up stuff, we have some time off. We decided to go to Victoria, BC, Canada as we can go on a whale watching tour and there are some other interesting stuff to see in Victoria.

We took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria. The journey was nice except for me getting motion sickness in the middle. There was about an hour of the journey when the waters a bit rough and I was very nauseous and I almost threw up. Luckily they had medicine on board and they gave me ginger candy which kind of helped. My tummy was so shaken that I felt nauseous even two hours after getting off the ferry.ย The view from the deck was beautiful. It was very windy and a bit cold on the deck. We didn’t stay for long on the deck.

View from the ferry deck. Seattle downtown and Mt. Rainier(faintly) in the background.

We reached Victoria in the evening at about 6 pm. We checked into our hotel which was just a few blocks from the harbor. We then started searching for a place to eat. We found a noodle place called noodlebox. It was a very nice place. When we were in Madison, we used to go to a place called Noodles n Company. We loved it. Noodlebox was very similar to that. The food we ordered was good, but the quantity was way too much. We couldn’t eat even half of the quantity we ordered. We felt very bad to throw away food, but we just couldn’t eat it all. But, the food was awesome though!

Even though it is the end of June, the weather was a bit chilly when we went out to dinner. We needed light jackets. It was a nice small walk from our hotel to Noodlebox and it felt nice to take a walk back after eating.

Cayman Islands

Cayman-Islands

I found this picture from the our Amazon cloud drive. The cloud drive shows pictures from “This day” and shows all the pictures taken on a particular day in different years. So, today it showed me this pic and I couldn’t help but share it here ๐Ÿ™‚

This was 7 years ago when we went to Cayman Islands. Sarath was only an year old and we bravely took the 2 week trip to a new country. It was an amazing trip. Our hotel was just a couple of minutes walk from the beach. We went to the beach everyday and Sarath had loads of fun playing in the sand.

The boat in the picture is the one we took to go a few miles into the ocean where the depth of the ocean was only about 5 feet. ย There we could see a lot of Sting Rays swimming around. The tour guide actually let us touch and feel the sting rays under the water. It was a unique experience.

 

Feels Good to be back home

We just got back from a week long vacation to Orlando. We have been planning this trip for a while now and finally, we got good tickets using airline miles. We originally planned on leaving on Saturday and coming back on Saturday. But, the tickets were expensive due to Spring break. So, we left last Tuesday and came back this Tuesday. It was a really good vacation and I did not even remember which day it was most of the time. More than a couple of times, S had to remind me the day of the week ๐Ÿ™‚ It was hot in Orlando, which was a nice change from all the rain we have been having here. The weather reminded me of Hyderabad and it felt nice to wear summer clothes, sandals and not having to worry about carrying jackets everywhere.

Now, it feels good to be back to the daily routine. The one main part of the trip that I did not like was food. The kids – especially Sanjay did not eat well on the entire trip. Given the fact that there was a 3 hour time difference and we ate at different times each day, he was not at all hungry most of the times. The kids refused to eat snacks as well. I let them eat how much they wanted and they did fine. So, I did not fret too much about it. On the other hand, I indulged in food and ate more than what I should have been eating at each meal. Although, sometimes I made some good healthy choices while eating at restaurants, most of the time I was eating junk food. I think I ate fries enough for a month or two in the past one week ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyway, it is time to go back to gym and healthy salads for a while I guess.

The best part of the trip was knowing that the kids would eat anything and also the fact that we did not have to worry about nap times or lunch/dinner times. These are the perks of the kids growing up. We also went prepared for hunger and melt down emergencies. We packed a couple of snacks and juices everyday with us and we ordered milk with kids meals most of the times. That kept them happy ๐Ÿ™‚ We also made sure that the kids got enough rest at night. The only thing we missed were the fire works but, the kids were so tired by 6:00 in the evening that we did not dare stay longer at any of the parks.

I had lots of fun with the camera on this trip and I am really happy with some of the pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a really good trip and a much needed vacation. I will put up some more details about the trip soon.

London Trip Day 1

Last summer, we took a stop over in London on our way back from India. We spent 4 days in London. It was very tiring but, we enjoyed a lot. The kids had so much fun riding the underground train (tube), the open top buses and taking a ferry ride on the Thames river.

When we were planning our trip to London, I really wanted to go on the Harry Potter tour and there were many tours available and I was not sure which one we would like. With two kids, I did not want to take long tours. But then I saw the Warner Brother’s studio tour. By the time I read about it and finally decided to buy the tickets, everything was sold ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I was very sad that day. Then, just because I was mad at myself for not purchasing the tickets earlier, and also because I was bored in India, I went to the Warner Brother’s studio tour site again. This time I saw there were tickets on some days which were not available previously. That gave me a faint hope that maybe something might open up on the days we would be in London. I checked it every morning and finally, I was able to get the tickets ๐Ÿ™‚

On the day of the tour, we went to Watford station by tube (London’s underground trains). Then we got on the studio tour bus to get to the studio. It was a 10 – 15 min ride. We were much earlier than we needed to be. But, that was good because the kids were hungry and we had some time to go to the cafe. After the kids had some snack and juice, we finally went inside. I was just like a happy kid who got her ice cream ๐Ÿ™‚ ย I loved everything and we took tons of pictures. The kids of course were not interested in anything there initially. They saw the flying car from the Chamber of Secrets and Sanjay was disappointed that he could not ride in the car.

HP-Studio-Tour-2014-07-(16)

Sarath was bored initially and kept whining about going back to the hotel. After the initial video and some intoduction, we were on our own inside the great hall of Hogwarts ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a small hall. Much smaller than what it appears to be in the movie. I started explaining to Sarath what everything was, the different houses of Hogwarts etc and slowly he got interested. We saw the sets of Gryffindor common room, the mirror or Erised, Dumbledore’s office, potions classroom (where there were a couple of potions stirring themselves), Hagrid’s hut, the flying motorbike, Diagon alley, Privet drive, Harry’s house at Godrics Hollow, The Burrow (where they had displayed the self washing pans, self knitting sweater etc) and a lot of other items as well. It was wonderful. Sarath was so excited to see pans washing themselves, iron box ironing by itself, potions stirring themselves etc. He actually thought that was all actual magic and I did not have the heart to tell him otherwise.

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They had a display of how they filmed all the flying on broomsticks and the flying car. We can go and get a picture and video of ourselves flying on a broomstick. We just sit on a broomstick which actually has a seat on which we can sit. it is stationary and we just move to the side as if we are riding. The actual video will have all the background and when put together it will be as if we are flying on a broomstick all over London ๐Ÿ™‚ Myself and Sarath did that. My video did not come out nicely but Sarath’s did. So, we purchased some pics of me and Sarath on a broomstick and also Sarath’s video on the broomstick.

After this, Sarath started liking the tour and got very excited. We even saw the Knight bus and Sarath was just so excited to see a triple decker bus in a purple color ๐Ÿ™‚ At the end I was very happy that we got a chance to go to the tour and Sarath got so interested that he asked me “When can I read the first Harry Potter”? I told him he can read it when he is 7. But, I think I am going to wait for another year to let him read the books. I just hope he has as much fun as I had while reading it.