Canada and Alaska – Part 1, Day 4: Thursday in Vancouver

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What a deterioration in the weather compared to all the other days we’ve been here! ‘Chucking it down’ doesn’t begin to describe the amount of rain falling! So, the perfect cue for a ‘Plan B’ of some sort! – somewhere that’s going to put us INSIDE, in the dry, rather than outside! As it’s our last full day here in Vancouver, we want to make sure we do something that’s memorable.

Plan B turned out to be a good one – a visit to British Columbia’s Science World, just a shortish train journey away. We arrived around 9.45 and queued up with the rest of Canada (who obviously had the same idea) ready for the 10am opening.

We were one of the first through the door and were quickly impressed. What a great place, with plenty of variety from dinosaur bones to dynamic live presentations of scientific principles – definitely worth a visit! Plenty of ‘stuff’ to engage young kids…

…and old(er) kids too!

The Museum even had an iMax too! A stunning film about Engineers ‘Dreaming Big’.

As our visit came to an end, we looked out the window to see that it was raining just as hard as when we arrived, so there was no hurry to leave! We had lunch at the in-house burger joint – “Triple O’s” – Yummy!!

Having munched our way through our burgers, a quick look out the window revealed that it was still bucketing down. We decided to battle the rain and so we headed back to station and back to town for a wander round the shops – specifically The Pacific Centre. It had a good range of shops, all very upmarket and also the first Windows Store I’ve ever seen. After a good look round, we finished the day with a coffee in Nordstrom department store watching the BBC Election results on my phone!

Tomorrow, we leave Vancouver behind and join the Celebrity Millennium for the second leg of our holiday (a five-day cruise heading for Alaska).

Expect a short period of “radio silence” whilst I get my head round the best way to connect to the interweb whilst on-board (it’s normally very patchy, with speeds slower than Tynan Close in the 90s!)
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Bye-bye Vancouver! We loved your shops, your people and (mostly) your weather. We’ll be back again before too long!

Canada and Alaska – Part 1, Day 3: Wednesday in Vancouver

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Neither of us slept too well and consequently, we were awake early – drinking tea at 5.30am! On the positive side though, it meant we were one of the first down to breakfast at 7am which meant we got first pick of the pastries!
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Today’s weather forecast…


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Given this rather excellent forecast for today (and tomorrow’s forecast is saying ‘wet’) we thought we’d make the most of the outdoors. We had two destinations in mind: Lonsdale Quay and its Market and then Stanley Park.

Wow! This is early! We were out walking towards town by 8.30, but it was simply a perfect day for it, and 30 minutes later we were getting our tickets for the regular catamaran service across the water – the SeaBus.

The SeaBus was a slick affair with its multiple automatic gang-planks, we were soon on-board and less than 15 minutes later, we were at our first destination.

Comparisons with yesterday’s visit to Granville Island were inevitable, but today’s visit did feel very different in character. Lonsdale Quay was certainly a lot quieter (but we were earlier than yesterday) and whereas Granville Island was food-based, this was more ‘a bit of everything’.

…including a few ice-cream vendors. Well, it would have been rude not to try the local wares, so Ann settled for ‘double-chocolate fudge-cake’ together with ‘chocolate caramel chip’, whilst I forced myself to sample ‘cookies & cream’ (supported underneath) with ‘black-cherry’.

We were as happy as a seagull with a starfish!

We then took a short walk around the immediate area (there wasn’t that much to see) to begin to work-off the calories…

…before heading back to the SeaBus.

Our second and final stop of the day was to make our way to Stanley Park. After some initial confusion as to where to catch the bus, we finally found the bus-stop – a couple of blocks away.

…and we waited… and waited… and waited! Generally speaking, the transport links have been nothing short of superb, but this turned out to be an exception. And then, just when we thought we might have to walk, in true bus-like tradition TWO number 19s came along at once!
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Both buses looked busy, so we picked the second one thinking that it would be less packed. It was, but not by much, and I stood most of the way. Some twenty-minutes later we arrived at Stanley Park, where the bus dropped us right inside the Park.

This was an impressive place! Some 400 hectares of unspoilt greenery. Opened in 1888 by the the then Governor, err, Lord Stanley, this very popular attraction sees 8 million visitors a year, and is bigger than new York’s Central Park.

..and it certainly felt it too! It seemed to go on in all directions… and even today, a weekday, was very popular – especially  for cyclists!

After a quick lunch (sampling the local burger) at ‘Stanley’s’ (where else?), we decided to take a walk round part of the eastern perimeter

…taking in Hallelujah Point, The 9 o’clock Gun and finally Brockton Point Lighthouse before our feet reminded us of the enormity of the place!

We realised we only really scratched the surface, but our feet were telling us to call it a day!

We re-traced our steps back (sort-of) and thanks to Ann’s great map-reading skills, ended up exiting the Park just a few minutes walk from our Apartment.

Our feet were grateful for the map-reading and we were soon indoors reflecting on the today’s experiences. It’s been another great day out and having re-checked the weather forecast for tomorrow (rain, rain and more rain) we’re really glad we did at least some of Stanley Park today!
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