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Monday, 19 October 2009

Last day on the island and on to Vancouver

In the morning, as Nancy was babysitting one of the grandies, Don took me out to Goldstream for a walk in the forest.  It was a type of rain forest with huge trees towering above us.  canada 076There were red cedars in particular but lots of maples and the occasional redwood.  Lots of fallen trees had just had sections cut out to clear the path and you can see one of the smaller ones in the photo here. canada 083

The colours were very pretty and the wind blew gently, rustling the leaves but not enough to make them fall!  This time last year I was in France and one day Ian and I were chasing falling leaves to catch one before it touched the ground…


  …in order to make a wish.  I can’t remember what I wished for! 




At the visitor centre there is usually an exhibition on some aspect canada 098of the forest, but this time it was more an art gallery of paintings and sculptures to do with the forest.  Pretty  spectacular pieces of art!  I loved this paintng of an otter!

There were some lovely sculptures too.  canada 108

I rather liked this “knot of toads”


On the way back from the visitor centre we took a detour through

canada 087


a tunnel which in spring must roar with water, but just now is empty, to walk up the riverbed to see a waterfall.


   niagra falls

How pretty it was, a real hidden gem!   They called it Niagra Falls!   Maybe  when there’s more water it looks more like the real Niagara!




canada 040 

Later, after lunch, once again Don and I went out, this time having the company of Phoenix, another of the grandies who was out of school early.  We walked along  the long beach with Phoenix collecting bits of shell and pretty stones to take home to Nanna. 

canada 043  It  was really strange to see all the logs and tree stumps washed ashore and shifted to the top of the beach away from the shoreline.  No-one is allowed to touch them, well, by that I mean remove them from the beach.  They wouldn’t burn well anyway having been exposed to the salty sea water, so they pile up.

So it came to the last morning.  Saying goodbye to everyone was hard, but I hope we’ll all see each other again before long.  3.10 024Don took me to the bus terminus and I was off to the ferry crossing to Vancouver.  It was a smooth crossing winding through the little islands into the port for Vancouver.

So that was another day, with the prospect of a few days exploring to come.  I got a taxi to the hotel and pulled out the leaflets I had acquired, to plan the next few days.

BC place stadiumBC Place stadium

The first day I took a city tour, which I think is great to get orientated.   It was really good, and I  decided I liked the city a lot. science world dome

 Science World 



I knew I wanted to have more time at Granville Island market  and Stanley Park,  so the next day I organised myself with a day pass bus ticket and set off to find my way around.  granville stanley whistlers 041 First stop Granville Island where I spent several hours wandering through the market.  It comprises of a good number of restored industrial metal sheds, which are full of different stalls:


granville stanley whistlers 024 

fruit and veggies, bread, cakes, meats, cheeses……



 halloween grnvl island crafts




of various kinds with everywhere decorated for Halloween coming up, and Thanksgiving, which in Canada is sooner than in the United States,granville island market being the second Monday in October.  There were pumpkins everywhere! 








street entertainers grnvl islOutside there were entertainers on the quayside, singers, jugglers, a balancing act…. all of which were very enjoyable – I specially enjoyed these two singing beautifully in harmony.  Their voices went so well together.



and a small ferry boat like those in Victoria harbour zoomed passengersgranville stanley whistlers 005

across from the main city to the island, and back..  The sun shone and the morning flew by. 

  However, by the time I tore myself away from there, crossed back on the wee ferry, and found my way by bus to Stanley Park it was well on into the afternoon. totem poles stanley park I had decided to be a real tourist and see the park – a huge area - by horse and carriage. but by the time I found the right place, the last ride of the day had gone!  Instead I wandered along the path that follows the coast right round the promontory occupied by the park, till I came to the totem poles I had seen before on the city tour.

granville stanley whistlers 126 A bit further on I came upon Vancouver’s answer to Copenhagen’s “Little Mermaid” only this was the “girl in a wetsuit” – and goggles!  Apparently on her “birthday”  someone hands out birthday cake to passers by!  By this time I had walked a good distance so found a path that crossed the park back to where I could catch a bus back to the hotel.  However I did a bit of a detour to Gastown to take a closer look at the Steam Clvancouver 085ock!  Every 15 minutes it toots out gently the notes of the Westminster Chimes – Ding dong Ding dong, and on the hour it also toots the hours, always releasing some steam from the valves, more than it usually does between times.  That evening I ate in an Italian restaurant just across from the clock so was able to watch it and listen to it all through my meal.  Back at the hotel it was bedtime, but I have to say I didn’t sleep well because the heating was going full belt and the only fan made too much of  racket to make for a peaceful night!

 whistler On the third day I caught another bus tour up to Whistler, an alpine ski-ing village built only in the last 10 or 12 years!  This is where some of Vancvouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic events are to be held, so it will be interesting to watch TV coverage next year and can say “I was there!!”  float plane There was the opportunity to have a 30 minute flight on one of the small floatplanes that were zooming around overhead, so along with three others I signed up!  I got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat, which was interesting as I could see how the instruments worked!  We took off from the nearby lake and began our climb up over the mountains and ski lifts to fly over Whistler and the high glaciers. the tusk, whistler It was quite a sight and made up for me missing out on a flight over Mount Cook and the glaciers of South Island, NZ, last year!

Next morning was another early start and it wasn’t even the crack of dawn when I caught a  taxi to the station for a remarkable train journey, which I’ll tell you about next time.

Talk again soon.

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