Royalty Meets Realism

This week was spring break.  So. I did, in fact make a break for it and headed off to the West Coast for four days of decadence.  I didn’t even try to rough it.  I never looked for lunch specials or hotel deals.  I ran away from home and lived a pampered life…

The Fairmont Empress in Victoria.  Yes, I visited the Willow Stream Spa where I paid twice as much for a massage as I do at home.  The ambiance was almost worth it.  Access to the mineral pool, the steam room and the sauna.  Complimentary tea and fruit.  Aroma therapy fragrances to cure whatever ails you…if even for the afternoon.  The treatment room itself had bunches of lavender, a fire lit in the fire-place and a jet tub.  An hour of feeling like an empress.

The Bengal lounge.  Where I settled deeply in a leather cushioned armchair near a stone fireplace above which hung the pelt of a Bengal tiger hunted three generations before.  The signature drink of the Bengal martini and a basket of the naan bread with curry artichoke dip and humus please. An hour (or more) of feeling like a character out of a Hemingway novel.

The next day?  Afternoon Tea of course.  An Empress tradition.  Sparkling wine, signature black tea and sandwiches, pastries, fruit and scones.  Served by a woman who’s been at the Empress for thirty-seven years and had herself served the Queen…twice. An hour or so of feeling like a princess.

An afternoon carriage ride.  An open carriage through Beacon Park.  Covered with heavy fur blankets to protect from the biting harbour wind.  Listening to the clopping of hooves and convincing myself that I could make a horse and carriage a main mode of transportation.  An hour of feeling like a queen.

When I wasn’t playing a princess?  When the “real” me broke through the royal façade?  A visit to the wax museum where I wandered through the chamber of horrors.  Something I couldn’t bring myself to do the last time I visited when I was ten.  But rather paced back and forth the frightening entrance trying in vain to work up the courage.  An hour of feeling like a courageous ten-year old.

Also, an afternoon of resting in a sports lounge to watch curling and have a beer and nachos.  A visit to the largest ant farm in Canada at the Bug museum.  Very cool, even though I felt itchy for an hour afterwards.  A wander to fisherman’s wharf where young children were feeding the cute white and black spotted seals batting their big dark eyes for fish. Hours of feeling like a small town tourist.

Four days filled with a variety of experiences.  Bengalis Cocktails, Spa treatments, high tea and a carriage ride, balanced with beer, nachos and bugs.  A little bit of enchantment mixed with the comfort of reality.  What else would suit the queen of the universe posing as a teacher!

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