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The Canadian adventures begin: Express stop in Vancouver

It’s September, seemingly our month of choice for offshore excursions and that would be true again this year with Mike and I currently in Canada. After a gnarly build-up juggling work and health issues we nevertheless arrived in Vancouver (bless those 13 hour flights) to kick off our almost three week adventure.

Feeling groggy from the overnight flight we were plunged straight into a sunny afternoon and opted to get to our downtown hotel the simplest way possible. We’ve been here separately before, me in 2004 when I stayed in a hostel. Happy to be somewhere more comfortable and private this time!

We had a short outing in what was left of the day, to Gastown via a large sports store which, with Mike navigating, was no accident. Combined with the souvenir stores in Gastown, it would have been all too easy to max out luggage space on day one.

First moose sighting

First moose sighting

Came across no street art save for this mishmash of pieces along an alley in Gastown

Saw no street art during our stay save for a mishmash of stuff in this Gastown alley

Gastown is firmly on the tourist route as might be difficult to tell around the musical steam clock which regularly emits guess-what

Gastown is firmly on the tourist route as may be difficult to tell around the musical steam clock which regularly emits guess-what

After dinner we trudged across to the western side of the peninsula. Weary though I was by this stage, I was instantly (if fleetingly) energised by the awesome skies!

Sunset Beach. Good name.

Sunset Beach. Good name.

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The beautiful weather continued the next day and we took advantage of the hotel’s complimentary retro bikes. Vancouver is quite the eco city with a big focus on recycling (three different sorting bins in our room) and a large network of dedicated cycle lanes. It’s the existence of the latter that made me not scream ‘noooooo’ to Mike’s suggestion that we in fact do a cycle tour. And I’m so glad we did, it was brilliant. Starting with the Canada Place and Coal Harbour areas we carried on to and around Stanley Park.

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Parked below the city highrises is the cauldron from the 2010 Winter Olympics

Parked below the city highrises is the cauldron from the 2010 Winter Olympics

Wheeeeeee

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Detour to Beaver Lake. False advertising.

Detour to Beaver Lake. False advertising.

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The Lions Gate Bridge over to North Vancouver

I walked around the park on my previous visit on a dreary grey sort of day. Got round it a bit quicker this time.

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The route was flat, save for a mild hill on the home stretch to the hotel. Low energy levels courtesy of anemia rendered this well beyond me and there may have been a minor meltdown; I hope this improves by the time alpine hikes roll into our itinerary!

Bikes returned, we transited a short distance to Rogers Arena, home venue of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. We were here too early to coincide with any games so we booked onto an arena tour.

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At basically the highest viewing spot inside the stadium which can be yours for a massive price tag. Kinda wasted on me as I couldn't really handle looking down to the rink.

At basically the highest viewing spot inside the stadium which can be yours for a massive price tag. Kinda wasted on me as I couldn’t really handle looking down to the rink.

...Cue massive feet tingles!

…Cue massive feet tingles!

One of the few rinks that have a genuine organ for 'those' game tunes. Among other things in this happening wee box is the 'goal buzzer' which Mike was fixated on getting a close up look at!

One of the few rinks that have a genuine organ for ‘those’ game tunes. Among other things in this happening wee box is the ‘goal buzzer’ which Mike was fixated on getting a close up look at.

Down in the player benches.

Down in the player benches.

Really interesting and great value at $12. As consolation for not being able to get to the locker rooms, Mike won one of the pucks used that morning in a Canucks practice session.

We took a water taxi up to Granville Island to browse the excellent market and dinky shops. Great opportunity too for food and drink. Mike’s only culinary goal of the trip is poutine but he would strike out here.

So cute!

Also dinky!

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A water taxi back across False Creek propelled us toward the downtown shops. Of particular interest to me (space constraints be damned) was a tall clothing shop, essentially non-existent in NZ. What time did I get there? 5.30pm. What time did it close? Sigh.

The fall colours haven't quite turned but it's here and there

The fall colours haven’t quite turned but it’s here and there

Wellington readers: Trolley buses!

Wellington readers: Trolley buses!

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Granville Street entertainment district had a gritty feel, not helped by closed-down premises attracting throngs of homeless out front (big homeless problem here from what we saw), but the striking neon signs are from a couple of remaining historic theatre venues.

Granville Street entertainment district had a gritty feel, not helped by closed-down premises attracting throngs of homeless out front (big homeless problem here from what we saw). The striking neon signs are from a couple of remaining historic theatre venues.

We carried on to Yaletown, the regenerated ex-warehouse district where Mike had plotted a course to a brewery restaurant. Great spot and a perfect way to round out our short stay. Tomorrow we were heading north for the main reason of our trip: bears!

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Janice Strong #

    Thanks Hayley I learn heaps from your travelling and blogs. This is so interesting and different to other places you have visited. Great photos you really do depict the atmosphere well done and loved the look of those yummy cakes. Looking forward to the Bears.

    17 September 2016
    • I always appreciate you taking the time to read and comment Janice. You would love the bears, they’re such characters, my photos won’t do them justice! x

      20 September 2016
  2. Hey, now you are n North America. BC is a quite a beautiful place Never been there but I look at photos and read and revel in the beauty and the sites. Looking forward to the pics of the bears and I hope that you do not take any chances by getting too near them. They are astonishing fleet of feet so stay inside you vehicle. It is not worth your life trying to get a close up.

    17 September 2016
    • Hi Yvonne, yes we’re in your continent! Apart from the scare on our first day we played things pretty safe. It’s hard to imagine constantly living in an environment with wildlife that could potentially harm you – we’re so sheltered in NZ! The environment and wildlife have been outstanding so far, we’re heading toward the Rockies tomorrow.

      20 September 2016
      • Great. Just be sure to carry a repellant just in case a bear or cougar comes after you. Look on line for what to use to scare these animals away and don’t get off the beaten track and stay in pairs or in a group. Your life is more important than getting a photo.

        21 September 2016

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