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I must have been too busy celebrating my last Australia 2012 blog post that I let a month slip by without blogging.  Actually, most of my spare time in the last couple of months have been put towards my “new” (or renewed) hobby — knitting.  There was “homework” for my sock knitting class and I was also working on a knitting project (baby shower gift) at the same time.  Knitting is supposed to be therapeutic… until you give yourself tight deadlines.  However, that may be left for some future blog post … maybe.

Now to continue on with life/eating after my Australia trip…

I couldn’t avoid the jet-lag after my 14-hour Sydney to Vancouver flight.  I left Sydney around noon and returned to Vancouver at 7 in the morning.  I was hoping to stay awake until late afternoon.  Shouldn’t have been difficult as I used to only sleep an average of 4 hours a night during university.  Hmm… yup… except I was much younger then and could function on minimal sleep.  Now?  No, when I need sleep, I need it now.  I remember unpacking and sorting my luggage… but by 11 am, I was fast asleep.

I’m glad I had requested a few extra days off work.  I don’t know how I would have been able to get up in the mornings and then spend the entire day concentrating at work.  As it was, I was having difficulty trying to readjust my sleeping schedule and getting ready for my overnight trip to Victoria.

Yes, yes.. I am aware that I had *just* returned home after a fabulous 2-week vacation.  However, my friends were invited to a special event in Victoria and I was attending as one of their guests.    The night before my Victoria trip, I tried to sleep at a normal time.  I tossed and turned for hours but was still wide awake.  Finally, I decided that since sleep was eluding me, my next best option would be to find something productive to do.  I got up and blogged for a bit.  Luckily I fell asleep shortly after and managed to get a few hours of sleep before my alarm clock went off.

The ferry ride to Victoria was comfortable and filling .. literally. We took the early afternoon ferry and spent most of the time in the dining lounge enjoying a late but leisurely lunch.  It was raining so I had no desire to be outside wandering the decks.

a bit gloomy out

a bit gloomy out

serving #1

serving #1

serving #2...buffet...yum...

serving #2…buffet…yum…

ferry heading towards  Tsawwassen

ferry heading towards Tsawwassen

Soon after, we arrived in Swartz Bay and found our way to the hotel – The Magnolia Hotel & Spa.  This was my second stay at the Magnolia.  The first time was in 2008 when I was in Victoria for a course.  I quite like this boutique hotel with the friendly staff and cozy lobby.  The rooms are spacious and comfortable with the convenience of complimentary wi-fi.  We even had a view of the Parliament Buildings.

Room at the Magnolia Hotel

Room at the Magnolia Hotel

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view from the room

view from the 7th floor room

view from the room

view of Parliament Buildings from the 7th floor room

After taking a few photos around the room, it was time to get ready for the event.

The event was held at Government House.  I was attending as a guest of someone invited to the ceremony so I was truly able to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.  We were seated in the beautiful Ballroom for the ceremony and dinner reception.

It was too dark to see the exterior of the building so this miniature version is perfect....

It was too dark to see the exterior of the building so this miniature version is perfect….

warm and cozy fireplace... this was one of my favourite places for photos

warm and cozy fireplace… this was one of my favourite places for photos

According to their website.. Swiss crystal chandeliers hanging from the Ballroom ceiling.  This photo does not do it any justice.

According to their website.. Swiss crystal chandeliers hanging from the Ballroom ceiling. This photo does not do it any justice.

snacks on the table

snacks on the table

Hmm... options... I think I still prefer white wine...

Hmm… options… I think I still prefer white wine…

the table is set, dinner soon...

the table is set, dinner soon…

At the conclusion of the ceremony, we were invited by table to enter the Dining Room and select from a spread of delicious food.

Menu

Menu

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After a fine evening at Government House, we returned to the hotel to be greeted by this view:

Parliament Buildings at night

Parliament Buildings at night

I was a little worried about whether or not sleep would be an issue since my mind might still be functioning on Australian time.  As it turned out, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the comfy pillow.  Although I woke up several times in the wee hours of the morning, I have to say… waking up to the view of the Parliament Buildings is quite nice… even if it was raining.

Parliament Buildings at dawn... and in the rain

Parliament Buildings at dawn… and in the rain

Still sleepy at an early hour, I closed my eyes and drifted back to sleep again.  Maybe the rain will go away if I sleep some more…

It rained at night but by 8 am, the sun was coming out.

It rained at night but by 8 am, the sun came out

Fabulous… the sun did come out after going back to sleep.  Too bad this method doesn’t work in Vancouver.  With the sun out and shining, it was time to get up and find some breakfast.  Did I mention that the Magnolia offers complimentary breakfast?  Not only was it a continental breakfast but it was deluxe continental – pastries, cereal, waffle, cold cuts, juice.  Perhaps it was because we were at the tail end of breakfast or maybe it was the black tablecloths, the spread didn’t look as appetizing as I remembered it from 2008. But hey, it was complimentary.

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Prime Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

(Note – Prime Steakhouse is now permanently closed.  Happened sometime after our November 2012 visit– the new restaurant is called Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar.)

After a light breakfast, we went back to pack up our belongings and rest up before heading out for lunch.  Yes.. I know.. the tough life of someone on vacation.

I took advantage of the spare time we had between breakfast and lunch to meet up with my friend, C.  She picked me up from the hotel and we went to a cafe at Ogden Point.   Although we were only able to grab a coffee and do some quick catching up, it is always nice to spend time with her.

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beautiful blue skies at Ogden Point

beautiful blue skies at Ogden Point

I returned to the Magnolia to meet up with my friends, pick up our bags and check out of the hotel rooms.  We had reservations for lunch at White Heather Tea Room so my friends could try it out.  I enjoyed my previous visit (see here for previous post) and wanted to share the good eats.  This time, I ordered their most popular Mad Hatter tea, which is described as  “(a) whimsical black tea scented with vanilla, grenadine, passion fruit and papaya.”  Three of us opted for the afternoon tea while one ordered the lunch special.  Check out our lunch spread…

White Heather Tea Room.. busy at lunch time!

White Heather Tea Room.. busy at lunch time!

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making room for the food...

making room for the food…

Our afternoon tea treats

Our afternoon tea treats

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the lunch special....

the lunch special….

The food was fresh and delicious.  Just as good as I remembered it to be when V and I went in 2011…   :)

White Heather Tea Room on Urbanspoon