Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 8, 2011 - Alaska Cruise on the Wonder - Vancouver - Day 2

Inukshuk - The symbol that Canada used for the
2010 Winter Olympics

Today we went out to see the city and then some.  It’s been about 55 degrees everyday, so definitely manageable.  It’s just like being in the winter I came out of at home.  After waking up, we had some breakfast, got ready, and hit the road.  We had a couple things on our list.  First up was seeing the Inukshuk (the symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympics that was here in Vancouver).  We arrived there in about 10 minutes or less from our hotel.  Then we walked on the beach from where the Inukshuk was and got some pictures of the scenery.  Have I mentioned the air is clean?  The area was peaceful.  It was at that point I thought about living here.  Well there is that and free tuition for a University!  Oh, and Vancouver is trying to be the cleanest city in the world, and they are big gay community supporters, and their taxes are not outrageous, and all the people I met so far are friendly.  Now, if the medical coverage is good, the housing market is reasonable, and the job market pays well, you may have a new family in your country! 

Okay, got off on a rant there, continuing where I left off, after the beach walk, we headed to Stanley Park (the park named after the same guy that they named the Stanley Cup after.)  This park is huge!  I was told, bigger than Central Park in New York.  This was again, only 10 minutes or less from the hotel and the beach where we came from.  We parked in a parking lot and started walking along the trail around the perimeter.  This park is a rainforest with huge redwood, cedar, and Douglas fur trees in it.  Around the outside trail is the bay.  We started walking around the outside to see all the different landmarks all of which we have pictures of.  First we started on the shipyard side.  There were a lot of cargo ships in the area.  My guess is fish amongst typical import/export products.  In the same area they have a bridge that looks very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  It’s very high up, but not as long, going from the park and connecting to North Vancouver.  The next landmark was the lighthouse.  As we rounded the bend we can see seaplanes taking off from the water and giving tours of the area.  We can also see the cruise terminal where we will be leaving out of on May 10, 2011.  To sum it up, I think we walked at least 5 miles around the perimeter and through the middle of the park.  We saw some local wildlife like Canadian Geese with their chicks, Brown Squirrels, we even saw Raccoons we were able to get really close to.  After we finished our trek, we got back to the car and ate the lunch we packed. 
Here's some pictures from Stanley Park:
The Light House at Stanley Park

Great Blue Heron at Stanley Park

Raccoon at Stanley Park

One of the many trails through Stanley Park
After lunch was done, we were not.  We were off to the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  It’s a walking bridge that is not too wide and is about 200 feet above the river below.  This was on the way up to Grouse Mountain where we were headed.  I am afraid of heights, but I always seem to push myself to the limit of conquering that.  This was a very cool place.  It’s a suspension bridge that has been there since the 1800’s.  It has been reinforced and safe, etcetera, etcetera!  It’s something like 150 feet across.  So it’s no small thing.  After getting to the other side, there was more walking areas were you can hover over the cliff and look straight down.  Also, in this particular forest area there are a lot of old trees and it was cool just to be there.  They have a Douglas Fur tree that was aged at 1300 years old, it was 205 feet high, and 20 feet around.  That’s a big Christmas tree!  We also walked around up in the trees through a series of small suspension bridges before heading back across the main bridge and to the car.

We certainly were still not done with the day and headed up the street from here to Grouse Mountain.  Sounds far right?  Before you read more, I want you to understand that we are staying in downtown Vancouver.  It’s pretty much at sea level.  For those of you who have been here, you will understand.  Okay, we headed to Grouse Mountain, it was only 15 minutes away from downtown Vancouver and it’s a ski resort!  There is no snow in Vancouver at the time we are here, but once we got up to the top of Grouse Mountain via a tram ride (1 mile up) they had runs open and a lot of snow still.  We just went there to check out the scenery.  I wish I brought my snowboard!  Unfortunately, it was pretty foggy up at the top today, but if it wasn’t, we could see Stanley Park and all of Vancouver!  Just 15 minutes from downtown!  Everything is here and so close!  I love Vancouver so far!

Once we got down off the mountain, we got back in the car and drove back to the hotel.  It literally took us about 20 minutes to get from the parking lot at Grouse Mountain to the front door of our hotel!  That’s crazy knowing that it’s two totally different climates and terrains from downtown to 4,500 feet up and that close.

After getting back to our hotel room, we weren’t really exhausted, but we were done for the night.  We took a shower, made some food, and watched some TV.

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