Tea with a tiger in the Bengal Lounge

Standing in the rain in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Standing in the rain in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, Vancouver Island.

We didn’t see much of our ferry ride from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, nor much of the drive to Victoria due to the thick fog blanketing everything.

That fog turned to rain once we arrived in British Columbia’s capital city. The shoddy weather and the colonial influence presenting itself in the fact every third shop was a tea house meant we felt relatively at home.

Big Al insisted on us going to the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, which proved rather disappointing to say the least (the waxwork of Prince Charles was so bad as to be arguably disrespectful).

Big Al displaying some patriotic flare in front of a very dodgy waxwork of Winston Churchill.

Big Al displaying some patriotic flare in front of a very dodgy waxwork of Winston Churchill.

Feeling somewhat tainted by the appalling and creepy waxworks, we decided to head to the Fairmont Empress Hotel where we felt they’d be more chance of some quality control, plus by this stage we were feeling pretty chilly and the thought of a cup of tea was very appealing.

My inner snob emerges when it comes to luxury hotels, I’m afraid, as I’ve always been a fan–not that I can ever afford to stay at one but I tend to make a point of popping in to have a drink at the bar or at least to check out the palatial rest rooms…though there was that night at the Shepheard Hotel in Cairo, but that’s another story…

We took our brews in the ornate Bengal Lounge, with a roaring fire flickering in the background and an unfortunate tiger spread eagled on the wall nearby.

Taking a sip of a cup of Earl Grey, the thought flashed across my mind that a week before I’d been drinking tea from my flask at 4 a.m. in the pitch-black darkness of the prairie.  I gave a little shiver and pushed the memory away.

Back in Vancouver the next morning we awoke to one of Doug’s stunning breakfasts and all was well.

The Old Man and the Sea.

The Old Man and the Sea.

 

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