What a welcome. James and Lauren waited over an hour for us to land. (Bad storms lead to the announcement as we landed that we may have to wait up to an hour before alighting. Because of the storms there was a back log of 25 planes to cope with!). It was so worth the wait to see these beautiful, smiling faces, complete with sign, step out of the sea of expectant faces. Much hugging etc. and we were away, to firstly eat! At 11.00pm at night a tricky business, however the locals found us a hippie place that was in full action, to satisfy our hunger. Talking long into the night after not seeing them for so long was going to have to wait until the next day. We were exhausted! Accommodation located. Entry gained after some trouble with keys in locks. A celebratory drink. We settled into our apartment, a couple of blocks from J&L, that had a fabulous view over the city of Vancouver. Next day we met for breakfast and an 8 km walk around Stanley Park. A fabulous natural oasis in the city. Yes, Emma there are mountains in the horizon all around the city. The walk offered views over the sea, a mother sea otter with two cubs cavorting and catching fish. A seal, swimming along with us and Canadian geese (see below) who were too friendly. After such exertion, we had to be revived with drinks at a bar with fabulous views over the sea. Margheritas! Delicious.
There was a little bit of cloud covering the mountains. The "kids" wouldn't run through the fountain. (Lauren did have a go, but failed to get wet!!)
Cute little guys.
Found this steam driven clock in the city. No real reason for it except to attract tourist.
Our chauffeurs took us to Whistler. An hours drive from the city, with so many spectacular views along the way. We stopped to view Shannon Falls twenty mins. from town. Spectacular.
And to checkout eagles. Unfortunately we only saw the view today, which wasn't bad.
Took the chairlift to almost the top. Elected to take the gondola over the valley before going to the summit behind the rings. Unfortunately we got back too late in the day to do that trip too, however the views from the other peak were fabulous enough.
Father and son duo!
We had been warned of bear sightings at pylon 18, on the chairlift up. Lauren had us looking but no luck, however success on way down. Very exciting. Missed the photo shot though. One overriding image of this journey were the no. of bike riders toiling up the steep climbs. Apparently they ride the leg from Whistler to Vancouver as a training session. Karri, you'd love it. Lots of long steep hills. Whistler in summer is a haven for mountain bikers who were in abundance doing tricks over the snowless moguls.
Spent some time at the artistic community on Granville island. A fabulous market selling all sorts of fresh fruit, veg & seafood. Prawns for dinner were too tempting one night. Vancouver Fringe festival was on while we were there so we took in a show called "Kuwaiti Moohshine". Interesting comment on the Muslim religion and the expat community in Kuwait.
Having missed out on seeing some Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre in London, we were stoked to line up for tickets for "Bard on the Beach" festival and take in "Hamlet". A fabulous show, despite it being a school students matinee. In summer they put up these tents and have performances of Shakespeare's plays. Hamlet was amazing made more so because the students really knew the story.
Robert's cousin Lyn Biart, lives on Vancouver Island, so we caught the ferry (all the while on killer whale watch. to no avail) over to the island and spent a lovely day walking Victoria (the city, not the state). The architecture is very English in style and like Melbourne, there was a significant old world Chinatown. We spent a sunny afternoon wandering through the Butchart Gardens. A beautifully manicured area, in a former quarry. Robert Butchart had a cement quarry back in the late 1800's, and his wife, Jennie, a chemist in the business with a passion for gardening convinced him to allow her to turn the disused quarry into a botanical garden. It was stunningly beautiful.
This fountain in the sunken garden area, rivalled the Bellagia hotel fountain in Las Vegas. We took so many pictures it was impossible to choose. The display of dahlias was gorgeous but wherever you went there were striking colours like this below.
A delicious dining experience was had by us all and we were intrigued by the variety of colours in the wines we chose. Colour was the focus throughout the gardens as well.
On this lovely note, we'll sign off and send the rest of the Canadian tour (including our time with Lyn & Brian) in the next blog.
Robyn & Robert