Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Victoria - arts, markets and music (Throwback post)

Oaklands, Victoria
One of the lovely things about Victoria, is the number of local artisans, and correspondingly, the number of little shops, delicatessens and food and craft markets. It seems to be the kind of place that one might come to if you've retired early, or just decided to quit working, and want to spend your time on your hobby, and maybe sell some things to make a bit of cash.

The Moss Street market on a Saturday is small, but great for freshly grown vegetables, the James Bay on, also Saturdays, is a nice little one with some tasty food stalls and often live music too. More on that later.

Oaklands, Victoria
The Oaklands area is good for a walk round generally, with nice shops and delis, but also has a market on a Wednesday. This one is bigger, and has entertainment as well as lots of stalls.

Oaklands, Victoria
We loved finding great cheeses, breads, chocolates and other freshly grown or made foods, and we were staying in the perfect place, as there were good shops to visit in all directions.  In particular, there is Charelli's Cheese shop in the dodgily named Foul Bay Road, and a multitude of places in Cook Street. Unfortunately we had to walk almost directly past the bakery Tooks on Cook to get home, and one more than one occasion we succumbed to their very yummy Nanaimo bars.

I guess we have been a bit spoiled for good food in London, with fantastic places like Borough Market, and coming here, we realised how rare it is in the places we've been visiting.

O'Brien Family, Victoria
I mentioned music, and we rather enjoyed sitting at markets or outside bars listening to music, and our favourite was definitely the superb O'Brien Family. They are originally from the UK, but now in Victoria. They do covers, but also a few original ones, and are well worth catching if you're around.

Japanese Shinto shrine, Victoria

But this post isn't all about food and music, we checked out the local art gallery too. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria was opened in 1951, in a 1889 mansion house, which now houses the gift shop, while the art has expanded into a number of modern galleries. The main exhibits are Canadian and Asian art, and they are particularly proud of having the only authentic Japanese Shinto Shrine in North America.

Painting by Emily Carr
One of Victoria's most famous names is artist Emily Carr. She was born here in 1871, did her art education in London, and spent time honing her work in Cornwall, Canada and France. Unsurprisingly, her art features highly in the gallery.

She was heavily influenced by the First Nations People, and was one of the first Canadian modernist and post-impressionist painters.  Whilst not an official member of the Group of Seven, she was very closely linked with them.

I quite liked some of her paintings, and some of the other art on show too.

On the way out, we noticed that another woman leaving was attracting some interest. We didn't recognise her, but were told that it was one of The Bangles.

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