Earlier in the year, I went to Victoria for project work. It was an overnight trip – arriving in the morning of the first day and returning late afternoon of the next. I had a full slate of tasks to complete while in the office and timing was tight.
I was travelling to Victoria by float plane and as chance would have it, I arrived at the terminal in downtown Vancouver to be greeted by thick fog. I had that sinking feeling my flight would be delayed or cancelled. Luckily they were able to shuttle us to the Richmond terminal for departure. With all the road construction and traffic, the ride from downtown float plane terminal to the airport terminal was well over half an hour. The ride was best described by the person seated beside me. He was on the phone explaining that he would be late for the meeting because of the location change. Riding in the shuttle, he felt like he was “going on a school field trip.”
Eventually, we arrived in Victoria with luggage in tow. I decided to drop off my luggage first. My original plan was to stay at The Magnolia but unfortunately when I called to make a reservation, they were already fully booked. 😦 That’s okay, I looked at the list of approved hotel options and booked The Inn at the Union Club. So here I was at the float plane terminal, no sense of direction, and not sure where to go. I printed a map but did not zoom in enough to see street names of the smaller streets. Oops!
I arrived at The Union Club without too much trouble (thankfully!), checked in and dropped off my luggage in my room.
Of course, with my sense of direction (no sense of direction), trying to get to the Victoria office was quite the adventure. It was supposed to be a quick walk. After many mishaps and misdirection, I finally arrived at the office… 45 minutes later! When it was time to pack up and leave, I asked my colleagues for directions back to The Union Club. A brisk 10 minute walk later, I was back at The Union Club. Sigh… So much time wasted in the morning!
I was only staying for one night in Victoria and was very fortunate that my friend C had time to meet. We decided to go to Pagliacci’s for dinner. There was a line-up but we didn’t have to wait too long. At least we fit inside to the small waiting area and didn’t have to line-up outside in the cold.
We updated each other over Pagliacci’s pasta. It was good to catch up with C and hear the latest about her and her family. I also talked about the fun experience of my project work. We ate as much as we could until we could eat no more. We were stuffed… and the best way to work that off was by walking. Although it was dark and chilly out, we were glad that it was not raining. What a nice evening …
The next morning, I got up bright and early to get ready for the office and pack my belongings. Complimentary breakfast was part of the reservation so after collecting all my things together, I went downstairs for breakfast at the McGregor Lounge. I wandered in and realized that I could just seat myself. My usual action would be to find a corner table or at least a side table to sit down and try to blend in with the wall colour. Instead, I picked a table right in the middle of the lounge — no corners, no walls. I took a few minutes to study the menu and took a quick look at what other people were eating. I decided on an order of the French Toast. I didn’t have any one to talk to or any reading material with me so I resorted to looking around the room without being too nosy. I noticed a group of people having a team breakfast meeting, some seniors (regulars) were who reading the morning paper and sipping coffee. I also noticed some other people wander in, eat breakfast and leave. Regardless of who they were dealing with, service was impeccable. I was quite excited when my food arrived. The French Toast looked very appetizing and it was soooo delicious. I’m not sure if I’d go back for the accommodation … but I would love to go back for breakfast again!!
Finishing up my breakfast, I looked at the time and realized I still had to go back upstairs, collect up my luggage and check-out before walking over to the office. I needed to pick up my slow morning pace a bit if I didn’t want to be late for the office. I tried to rush but the elevator was so old-school that patience was the key word. I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity… and the elevator was going quite slow anyways….
My morning flew by at the office. So many meetings and so many people to talk to before leaving in the afternoon! Soon enough, it was time to meet with a colleague for lunch. Although she and I had many phone conversations over the past few years, the first time I met her in person was at the event in Victoria in 2012. Knowing that I was in Victoria for work, we made plans to have lunch. I let her choose the place as I didn’t even know my sense of direction in Victoria, let alone where to eat. She suggested The Sticky Wicket.
We were a little late in leaving for lunch. By the time we arrived, the lunch rush was over. There were a couple of tables finishing up but soon, it was my colleague and myself in our section of the dining area. I ate a big plate of pasta at Pagliacci’s the previous night so anything remotely similar to pasta was not being considered. I felt the craving of a soup and sandwich so I ordered a Grilled Ham & Brie Sandwich with a side of soup.
The soup and sandwich were perfect for my day. According to the menu, the sandwich had honey roasted ham, brie cheese, chimichurri sauce, roasted tomatoes on an artisan sourdough bread. This was the perfect comfort food for my whirlwind morning. Not too heavy after my pasta dinner from the night before and not too light that I would feel hungry on my way home.
Our lunch discussion was filled with conversation about bits of this and bits of that. When you add up all the bits of this and that, I learned so much about my colleague and about the various aspects of our work. That one hour lunch break was too short!! Time flies by when you’re having a great time but even faster when learning and absorbing from someone who is a wealth of knowledge.
Much as we enjoyed our lunch break, we eventually had to go back to work. I hope that the next time I’m in Victoria on a weekday, she will have time to meet up for lunch again!