Woke at 9 a.m. and had breakfast in the coffee lounge.
When we'd finished we waited for our pick-up at 10 a.m. with West Coast City and
Nature Sightseeing. The driver was absolutely fantastic, a young
chap from Toronto. So laid back that he nearly fell off his seat!
We visited quite a few highlights around the city - Canada Place, Robson Street
(the main shopping area), Stanley Park. We stopped here for a wander
around, but we were a bit disappointed as the area of the totem poles was being
redone, and there was scaffolding all round it. However, the Park gave us
great views over to the city skyline. It drizzled a tiny bit but as the
guide gave us umbrellas from the bus to use, this wasn't a problem. Then we went
on to Prospect Point, with a great view of Lions Gate Bridge, English Bay,
Granville Island Markets, Shaughnessy Estates (with huge mansions).
The Granville Markets were very interesting and we bought food to have in our
room for dinner that night. There was food of all sorts here. It
reminded me of the Prahran Markets in Melbourne, which I've been to with Jamie.
I also spotted a Dragon Shop and after much deliberation bought a dragon brooch.
Our guide told us that Vancouver is struggling at present - timber is very cheap
and sawmills are closing right left and centre. We then went on to
Queen Elizabeth Park, which is named after the Queen Mum, following a
visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in the great old year of 1939 - a
very important year! The park was beautiful - lovely leaves, and a
magnificent garden set up in an old quarry. When we left
there, we drove on through China Town and Gas Town to the Lookout, where we went
up in a glass elevator with a young German guide. This gave us a
great view over the city and across to the snow-covered peak of Mount Baker in
Washington State. Then it was back to the hotel where we rested. A
very good tour - good value and entertaining. David was stuffed
We had an early morning call at 8.00 a.m. (early?!) and were
picked up by Grayline at 8.45. Just before we left the hotel there were a
few spots of rain, so I bought a Canadian umbrella and that must have been a
deterrent for rain, because we hardly saw any on the rest of our trip, including
that day. Our driver was French. He was okay but much
older than the one the day before and not so laid back. He tried to
be funny but our driver the day before was funny. We drove
quite a long way through suburbs to Tsawwassa to board the ferry. As it
pulled out, the ferry started off in seas of USA, but quickly turned into
Canadian waters. We had brunch/lunch on the ferry. The ferry was
extremely comfortable and the cafeteria served a good assortment of food.
It was very pretty, passing islands of all sizes. We passed several other
ferries doing crossings to different islands. The weather was fine
with the sun trying to come out - very relaxing. When we reached Vancouver
Island we drove through an Indian reservation - it surprised us when the driver
said that there's full employment in that area. We drove on to
Butchart Gradens, which would have to be the most beautiful gardens we've ever
seen. What a magnificent place! The autumn leaves were
wonderful - such a variety of colours. We first walked down into the
sunken garden and wandered through the area, then on through the different
gardens there. It really was beautiful. The colours in the
trees were unbelievable. Then it was time to visit the gift shop (of
course!) and then we boarded the bus for our trip on to Victoria. On
the way we drove through a magnificent area with HUGE homes. We were
dropped off at the Empress Hotel and it had been my plan to suggest that we have
afternoon tea there, but we couldn't even afford that, let alone stay there.
Afternoon tea was $35 Canadian each. We decided we didn't need it,
so we walked around the lovely streets of Victoria with its beautiful buildings.
We wished we had stayed out there for one night after all, as we'd originally
planned, but next time (?!) Grabbed a coffee and cookies in Grabbajabba.
Much less than $35. The weather was lovely. There were
beautiful old buildings all around a lovely harbour. A great
place. At our allotted time we were picked up and taken back to the
ferry on a lovely evening with a beautiful apricot sky. We had
dinner in the cafeteria of the ferry once again and then 'vegged out' to watch
other ferries pass us in the dark. It was then back through the suburbs to
Vancouver. On the return journey the lights of Vancouver were very pretty.
We arrived back at 9.30 p.m. - a really full day, but a good one.
Off to a good start with breakfast in the coffee shop.
We were once again picked up by West Coast Sightseeing, this time with a native
guide - the only native guide in Vancouver apparently. We found out you
are not supposed to call the native Americans Indians any more. He
was very interesting. He did a pick up around the city and then took
across Lions Gate Bridge. This is slowly being repaired/restored, bit by
bit at night and it was a bit scary crossing it after what our guide on the
Tuesday had told us about it. Nevertheless, we made it across.
We toured through British Properties - magnificent homes, absolutely huge and
worth millions. Then we visited the Capilano Fish Hatchery, which
was very interesting. With damming that has gone on, the salmon were
having trouble getting up the rivers to spawn so they are helping them out with
fish nets. Then to Cleveland Dam which holds 1/3 of Vancouver's
drinking water. UP we went to Grouse Mountain. We
had been watching this mountain from our hotel window ever since we arrived and
hoped it would be clear when we visited - and it was. It is 3,700 ft to
the chalet. We went up in gondolas holding quite a few people.
At the top we had delicious soup for lunch then walked around admiring carved
wooden statues of animals and humans. They were magnificent. We
decided that we had time to watch "Born to Fly", which was made by the
chap who carved the statues. This was in the Theatre in the Sky.
The film was very well done and took us on a ride with an eagle around the local
mountains and seashores. Fantastic - well we thought so, but an American
woman asked what was the point of it?! Coming down in the Skyride I
was chatting to a couple from W.A. and told them we were from S.A. and had a
daughter on exchange with the airforce, when a woman in front turned around and
said, "You're Tracy's parents aren't you?" It was Meredith
Frearson who did medicine with Tracy. The last time I saw her was in
England when both she and Tracy were working over there. Talk about
coincidence - "It's a Small World"! We then
travelled on to Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is unbelievable.
It is so long - and so wobbly. There were heaps and heaps of
Japanese school children on it and boy did they make it move!
Our guide then dropped us off at the Seabus, which we took across Vancouver
Harbour, where he met us and drove us back to the hotel. We
phoned Yas and Tracy, had dinner in the coffee shop and then bed. These
tours are very long, but jam packed with interesting places to visit and very
I was up early - 6.00. This was our day to
explore the city before leaving for 'greener pastures'. We set out and
walked to Robson Street where we had a delicious meal of breakfast bagels at a
Bagel Street Café. We were going to eat at McDonalds but a lass we
were chatting to told us about the café so we thought we'd try it out.
The bagels were delicious. After this we walked up Robson Street, which is
the main shopping area and through a big Shopping Centre. We bought David
a hat and gloves as well as gloves for me, as we thought there could be some
cold weather ahead of us! Oh, we were so tired. Our legs were
aching. We'd been on the go ever since we left home and it takes a while
for the old body to settle down after that long flight from Aus. We had
cappuccinos then walked along Robson Street to a Supermarket/Drug Store, where
we bought some crackers and bits and pieces for 'lunch' back in our hotel room.
It was then time to bomb out for a while before I did the washing, phoned Nick
and then went for a walk on my own. I needed to blow out some cobwebs so I
went back to Robson Street to get a few things. We dined on Sockeye
Salmon in our room as entrée and then pasta. Our room was really
good, with a microwave, sink etc. Very comfy. Watched the movie
"Hoosiers" with Gene Hackman. It was excellent.
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