Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 2 - Horseshoe Bay to Granville Island to Gastown

After my 12 hours of sleep I got woken up by my wonderful Facebook friend Alison ..  Somehow slept through my alarm..  set it on aussie time not Vancouver time.  So she went off to the obligatory hot chocolate starbucks which are EVERYWHERE!!!!  And I got ready.  When I met her in the lobby she had it in her hand my very warm and tasty hot chocolate and ready to tackle the very wet and cold day in Vancouver. 

She took me to the northshore..  through the city fringes which I hadn’t come in that way yet. I learnt that Vancouver has pedestrian controlled cross walks because some of them flash on the green ..  Which I thought was great…  then we headed out past the entrance to Stanley Park .. which looked soo pretty and couldn’t wait to see it on Tuesday.  The we headed out along the Lions Gate bridge which was beautiful – almost a mini golden gate bridge. It was very beautiful even shrouded in the mist.  She explained to me that this side of town is partly owned by the first nations with them building homes on the north shore as you cross the bridge.  Then we passed into the north shore which is very similar to the Sydney north shore. She also said the homes were worth million and millions of dollars and they are Asset rich and cash poor.  But the housing was amazing..  even through the drizzle it was so pretty. 
Loins gate bridge
So amazingly lush and green compared with Australia even in our rainforests.  As Alison said it is so lush and green because it rains so much.  They have had a lot of rain this year. But soooo pretty amazingly pretty I loved it.  I wanted to move there. We headed to horseshoe but got confused at the roundabout due to the signage… apparently Canadians aren’t used to roundabouts the way we are.  We ended up at this little cute park called Whytecliff Park on this bluff that overlooked the Vancouver islands.  We wandered down to this little beach where some scuba divers were learning how to dive.  The dreariness and the darkness of the pebbles just made it a stunning contrast. I loved it even though I was getting soaked from the rain. Don’t worry Carmel…  the camera was being protected very well by the jacket and the jacket was doing a great job of protecting me.  The jacket I almost didn’t take because I felt like it was too heavy and too bulky but it has kept me dry and warm.  A couple of things that I discovered while were at that park is that it is really hard to take photos in the rain and that Canadian love to put plaques on everything and they are very poignant in some cases.  

I loved the moodiness of this shot

for carmel
for carmel
Another one for carmel
the cute beach

the plaques 
across the bay
the yacht 

We dragged our wet selves back to the truck and headed back to horseshoe bay.  Horseshoe Bay has the ferry arriving from Naminio and it quite a stunning spot. With a cute wharf and boathouse restaurant which apparently is amazing and famous to vancouverians. Alison was educating me on the sea life which is in the area.  It was a such a cute little spot and we stopped for our obligatory starbucks.. even this cute tiny tiny town there is a starbucks!!! They are everywhere…  
the jetty at horseshoe bay 

we headed off to Granville..  I had my first experience on the trans Canada highway which was cool but choked with traffic even on a Sunday …  the Vancouver is probably as big Melbourne with majority of residents living close to the city so the traffic was understandable but we also caught the ferry traffic.  She showed me where I would be going if I went to capilano canyon the following day.  It was such a pretty drive into the city. We decided to drive to Granville… due to the awful weather.  Granville was so cute.. And pretty and very funky. We enjoyed some lunch/breakfast overlooking the rain sodden city which believe or not was very pretty.  I ventured out along the little wharf and got some photos of the city with iron Workers Bridge which looked stunning. We wandered through the little shops and markets and I got some great shots of the fruit and how they display them. The shops were fantastic.. some stuff like any market overpriced for what they were but we found this very cute paper shop and it was fantastic and such unique things and very reasonably priced.  I picked up some postcards so I can remind myself of it in years to come. But I really do hope I will be back one day.  It is a beautiful country with such contrasts from the city to the mountains.  They do tourism really well here.

the beautiful arranged fruit

the shalacked veggies ready for halloween
the cute sunflowers 
Iron workers bridge
the toy company
i loved the colours in this one 
i loved the name of this ...  their fun run 
can you guess what this is made from 

I really loved Granville we wandered I think for about 4-5 hours..  saw the amazing toy company with their very own entry for the kids.. which was so cute..  I almost brought some strawberry shortcake stuff but decided to wait for the USA for those sorts of purchases.  Vancouver is priced around the same price for Brisbane and Australia for the souvenirs and the foods.  Some things are cheaper but it is a enjoyable city and easy to navigate.  I have kept on losing my sense of direction whenever we crossed the river I am not sure why because I am usually pretty good with those sort of things.  We went to Gastown for dinner and of course it was raining but it was showing the steam.  We wandered through the few tourist shops and found some cute stuff. It is really geared for the tourists.  It is an area that was originally first settled when Vancouver was built. You can see patches on bitumen that have the original cobblestones showing through.  Which look very cool but annoying to drive on. There was a monument just near the streets of Gastown which was a memorial to World War 2 soldiers and they used helmets as covers for the lights.  The area backs onto to the port so it is a working area with the massive cranes and railway lines.  We decided to go eat at the old spaghetti factory which was really yummy and the ambience was so cool. It was so amazing with a old tram in the middle of the restaurant and the lights were leadlight and beautiful colours. I loved it and didn’t want to leave. The food was cheap and yummy and I had the spaghetti and meatballs with salad for starter and then authentic ice cream which was like our neopolatian but it was pistachio, chocolate and vanilla. I really loved it. When we walked out the street which is a tiny and short was lit up with fairy lights and looked so beautiful.  We ended up catching the train back to the near the hotel.  it was a big day.  

the beautiful lights and hanging baskets 
the steam clock
what is is all about 
so pretty 
such a funky sign
the old spaghetti factory tram
penny farthing at the entrance
the amazing lead light 

We had our first real introduction to the pan handlers and druggies that frequent the area.  They are everywhere.  Some are genuine some not. The security handles them pretty well and moves them on. They have signs everywhere that tells you to not to sell your ticket to them and to throw your ticket away and that it is a offence. However, they don’t have anyone checking your tickets … it really feels like a honour system. 
Finally back at the hotel around 9.30pm and said goodbye to the wonderful Alison. I was so grateful for her time and her knowledge!  Thank you again I so loved the day and it just made my day which would have been so dreary.  J


  1. Love the pic of the tree at Whytecliff park.

    And it wasn't the roundabout that confused me it was the dreadful signage! You should have see one of the other drivers, he was really confused! He went the wrong way, must have been an Aussie or a Brit.

    And for the record, it's more fun to have an "adventure". You never know what you're going to find. We would have never seen the park if I hadn't taken the wrong exit off the roundabout.


  2. thanks Alison... That was the last one too... The signage was dreadful and that idiot driver who went the wrong way was who i was referring too.. Not you... you rocked We had a great adventure but kept it simple for everyone.. but i will change the context for you

  3. Gorgeous photos. Seems like a lovely place. Does your friend live there? Love that plague "Share the beauty of this present moment" reminds me a bit of Ronan Keating singing When you Say Nothing At All. That jetty looks so adorable. So cute how they have so many Starbucks over there.

  4. Actually yes she does... But not Horseshoe Bay... Very expensive part of Vancouver. I met her on Facebook believe or not and she was so wonderful to me and looked after me so well.. I know that is what plaques reminded me of as well from Notting hill hehe. It is amazing... wait until you read the one about the city tour... then you get a idea of how many there really are. Not that I am complaining - Free wifi for the Iphone when needed