I'm usually quite meticulous when planning a vacation. Spontaneous, I am not. But a couple of years ago I set a goal for myself: take a trip with minimal planning and obsessing over details.
Since my husband and I had never been to Seattle, we decided to spend a few days there and then take a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I allowed myself to book our flight/hotels and get ferry information online, but everything else would be done off-the-cuff. We were even planning to take advantage of public transportation instead of renting a car. This was a huge accomplishment for me!
|Gorgeous bay in Victoria|
We arrived in Victoria just before noon. Disembarking from the ferry and getting through immigration and customs took almost two hours, definitely not the Canadian efficiency we were used to! We admired the bay and some of the beautiful architecture surrounding it, then decided to walk to our hotel to continue enjoying the sights. A small cafe caught our eye, so we stopped in for a quick bowl of clam chowder to tide us over before dinner.
The streets seemed quite empty, but we thought nothing of it as we continued our stroll. We checked into our hotel, took a quick nap, and freshened up to go out for dinner.
|View of The Fairmont Empress Hotel and promenade around the bay|
We'd seen a number of eateries on our earlier walk, so after some debate we headed for one that had looked interesting. Hmm, it was closed. So we walked to another, and still another, but all doors were locked. This was weird. Every shop and restaurant, closed at 6pm on a Monday?
By this time, we were absolutely famished, and finally! we found a convenience store that was open and ducked inside. Fearing that we wouldn't find any open restaurants in town, we gathered up the makings of a (very sad) little meal--some noodle cups, chocolate milk, cheese sticks, and a bag of chips. While she was ringing us up, we made a comment to the cashier about all the early restaurant closures.
Laughing, she said, "Um, it's Thanksgiving. That's why everything is closed."
The lesson: Even when traveling (somewhat) spontaneously to another country, at LEAST check the calendar to plan around national holidays :-)
For many awesome travel photos and stories, please check out Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler's Sandbox.