Visiting Victoria – Bowling and Travel

I’ve been lucky enough to head to Vancouver Island the past two springs with school (I missed out this year since I was pregnant with the little guy) but Jon and I haven’t been out for a real visit in several years. In fact, we both had a hard time remembering exactly what we did last time we went out to Victoria just to visit (which was either 2003, or 2004 – we’re both a little fuzzy on the details).  So when we found out we would get a chance to travel to Victoria for the Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships we decided to tack on a few extra days and do some sight seeing as well as bowling (and of course Baby E came along for another family trip).

We were lucky to have some free accommodations in Oak Bay for a few days before competition started so we based ourselves out of there for our fun days. We had an early morning flight from Calgary that was delayed by over an hour and a baby who hadn’t slept since 4 am so we decided to spent what was left of our first day just exploring the beaches in Oak Bay.

Hanging out on the beach – E even dipped his toes in the ocean
Just like Dad

Feeling slightly less tired on day 2 we started off with an early(ish) visit to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Victoria waterfront. We parked at the wharf ($3 for two hours) and then walked the seaside path as far as Munro’s Books. We have started a tradition of purchasing Baby E a book about each place we visit when we travel so we spent some time picking out the perfect West Coast book for his collection before walking back.

Colourful floating houses at Fisherman’s Wharf
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A quick stop to the parliament buildings
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We had a picnic lunch near the wharf before heading out of the city to visit Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. We’ve actually been avoiding visiting parks and historic sites this year (with free entry everything is really busy) but the site was really quiet and we spent an hour or so wandering around. The site is only a few minutes from the lawn bowling greens so we stopped in to check things out and roll a few bowls.

We had the lighthouse all to ourselves

On our final day of just vacation we tidied up our condo (and did a quick load of laundry) before doing some practice at the lawn bowling greens. Then we headed north out of the city to sample ciders at Sea Cider. It was chilly so we sampled in the tasting room but they also have a patio that looks out over the orchard.

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Since we had to pick up Gramps at the airport we decided to spend what was left of our afternoon walking in Sidney. There is a nice waterfront trail so we loaded baby E into his stroller and enjoyed just being by the ocean.

We grabbed Gramps from the airport and after a quick dinner in Sidney headed to our hotel to meet up with our team. We had practice and check in the next day and then it was on to six day of competition. Some people manage to do other things while competing but with the baby we found it busy enough to manage him and get ourselves ready to play.

Even E had a team Alberta uniform
Jon out on the greens

This was our first trip to nationals as players (I umped last year when it was hosted in Edmonton) and it was quite the experience. Things wrapped up with finals on Saturday (my team won a bronze!) and then it was back home to Calgary.

The whole family – we were the only competitors there with a baby

We still have a bit more lawn bowling left this summer/fall (Jon is off to Winnipeg in week for more competition) but Victoria was likely our last longer trip for a while since I’m heading back to work soon. I’m glad we got to spend the time together and squeeze in another family trip in what has already been a busy summer!

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