07.09.2015 - 10.09.2015 22 °C
Ohmigawd!!! Am I BEHIND on keeping you up to date?!
It’s been just over 2 weeks since we left the ship in Vancouver and that’s 2 weeks of catching up to do.
Vancouver was a lovely place. It’s climate was like Melbourne’s, mainly temperate with a bit of this and that thrown in. It’s British Columbia, so it is British Canada not French. It is very multicultural, it is near the water, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. They seemed very comfortable with Aussies, like they ‘get’ us! That felt reassuring. It kinda felt like home a bit, which was just what we needed after the cruise.
Because we had decided by that point that cruising is not our scene! The only kind of cruising I would consider, at this stage, would be river cruising or perhaps Mediterranean cruising. However, it is the IDEAL way to see the vast expanses of Alaska and the beauty that everyone raves about. So we’re glad we did it. But we were also glad not to be herded anywhere!
We stayed in a hotel in the city, which allowed us to walk around a lot and we all know that’s the best way to get a sense of a place. We were high up on the 16th floor which gave us some nice views of the city, but the separate lounge was an internal room with low ceilings and gave me claustrophobia. I HATED sitting there! So we were out a lot!
One of the most delightful times was a walk through Stanley Park and around the sea wall on the perimeter of the park. It was a gorgeous warm sunny day. Just bliss after glaciers, snow and jackets! It was a long weekend Monday and lots of people were out walking their dogs or kids, inline skating or riding bikes (really big in Vancouver!) We also walked through a more wooded and peaceful part of the park and enjoyed the solitude and the quiet immensely! Stanley Park sits at the end of Downtown Vancouver and its 1000 acres, bordered practically entirely by Vancouver Harbour and English Bay, has fabulous views over the bays and the city from various spots in it. They are very spoilt with that beautiful park. It’s a definite don’t miss spot in Vancouver!
Of course being in a hotel we had to eat out and get some relief from the tedium of the fairly repetitive and ordinary food on the cruise. Oh and what blessings we got! Trafalgars Bistro was a little place about 15 mins out of town that would hold its head very high amongst any good restaurant in Melbs for its use of good fresh produce, well prepared, and served by staff who know their product and like being skilled at their job. We got the last table on a Monday night. Does that tell you how popular it is with the locals?
We’d been told that Granville Island Public markets was a great little spot for foods and arty-farty stuff and so on a quieter day we headed out there on the bus. It was a pleasant meander and Phil got some good photos, so he was happy. And then we ate fish and chips on the dock and looked at the water and the city and chilled some more!
One adventure we took on in Vancouver was a day trip to Vancouver Island. While we would have preferred to stay there a few days and really explore, like so many options for this trip, we just couldn’t fit it in. So we took a ferry across to Victoria, or actually it only goes to to the eastern side of the Island at Swartz Bay and then took a cab to Butchart Gardens.
These gardens along with Stanley Park and Granville Island were the high-agenda items for Vancouver. In National Geographic’s Top 10 Gardens in the World, they are justifiably famous. While I think they could never hold a candle to Monet’s Garden in Giverny, I know I am biased. However they did remind me of the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens in Co Wicklow in Ireland. It has different spaces in its 50 acres with different styles eg a large Japanese garden, a typically ornate structured Italianate garden, a Sunken garden like a beautiful dell, and a Rose garden that would have sent my mother into spasms of delight.
It also reminded me a little of Wendy Whiteley’s garden in Lavendar Bay in Sydney. Butchart’s too was reclaimed, like Wendy’s magic garden, by the wife of the Pioneer Quarry’s owner who turned the scarred landscape into amazing beauty back in the early 20th century and while the family still own it, it has become a highlight for Canada.
Another fabulous meal at a great little spot called Lupo – an Italian place fully 50 metres from our hotel!
The next morning it was time to collect our car, a very cute little Fiat 500 with a bit more oomph than it looked like it might have, and we were ready to head towards the Rockies.
More on that next time!