It’s like coming home…….
When I first came to Vancouver 18 years ago it was my very first visit to the North American Continent, I remember saying way back then “I could live here”. I have been back to both Canada and the U.S.A on numerous occasions since that time, but returning to Vancouver still feels like coming home and I could most definitely make a home here.
Autumn is always my favourite time of year and arriving here at the end of September is the perfect time of year as fall is just beginning and we will now have all of October to cross West to East and down into New York City, we will watch the Autumn colours deepen and the leaves fall.
Vancouver is already showing the early stages of fall with the trees around the city showing hints of rich autumn colours, to be honest I would be happy to spend the whole month here, but I am also excited about the journey which lays ahead.
Since we arrived here 3 days ago it pretty much hasn’t stopped raining, but we haven’t let that damped our spirits.
We have been staying at the Rosellen Suites which is literally steps away from Stanley Park, I would highly recommend this accommodation if you are happy to self cater and be independent. The suite is large and spacious and as well as our double bedroom with a living/dining area and well equipped kitchen. It’s not quite as centrally located as some of the bigger (and more expensive) hotels, but I actually really like the feel of being in a more residential area and a few minutes walk will get you to shops, restaurants and transport links. There is only one small reception office which seems to just be manned by 1 person at a time but the staff there could not be welcoming, friendly & helpful.
So what does Vancouver have to offer in the rain?
Well day one after arrived we took a rather wet walk from our apartment through Stanley Park to the Vancouver aquarium which took around 15 minutes. It was a Sunday afternoon and it appeared that half the population of Vancouver had had the same idea as it was pretty busy there, but why not, if I lived locally it would be the perfect way to entertain the family on a rainy day.
This was our little video of our time there:
Hop on, hop off buses are always a great way of getting around, seeing a city and getting a good feel of where things are located (though they are not the cheapest. We paid $44 Canadian, £26 for 1 adult and 1 child). Despite getting soaked just walking to the bus stop and waiting around 20 mina for said bus it was an enjoyable time to sit and see the sights in the dry. We initially jumped off at Canada Place and Cameron was keen to do the ‘Fly over Canada’ which was an amazing ariel air simulation ride which took us soaring across Canada from Niagara back to Vancouver, over mountains, rivers, fields and water falls. We weren’t sure if Cameron was going to be tall enough to ride but thankfully he was and thoroughly enjoyed himself, as did I. I would highly recommend a visit here if you are visiting Vancouver.
Just a few minutes walk back from the Port area of Canada place brought us back to the old streets of Gastown where we enjoyed lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory (a hit with a child who lives on pasta!). Gastown is great for souvenir shopping and of course the famous steam clock.
After a couple of hours in Gastown we hopped back on the bus and made our way back up to Stanley Park to see the Totem Poles, from here we strolled around the sea wall as the clouds began to lift for the first time. Cameron walked, ran, jumped, skipped and climbed. I must admit my heart fluttered a bit as I watched my child living his childhood to the max without a single care in the world.
Day 3 saw is is venture down English Bay and catch the bus down to Granville Island, Cameron was in his element discovering the Kids Market, it’s very rare that he ever has a meltdown but he did when it was time to leave there and he certainly didn’t want to indulge me then in any grown up retail therapy (which in hindsight was probably a blessing as I would have probably just spent money on things I really didn’t need!). We did find a nice restaurant there for lunch however and once Cam had food in his belly he was happy again!)
The evening was wonderful, I caught up with my cousin and his family whom I had not seen for 18 years, and with younger generations subsequently arrived on both sides the kids were in their element discovering they had new cousins and played pretty much until they were ready to drop!
The following day we got a taxi downtown to the Science World, several people has recommended this to us and it didn’t disappoint. From hydro-power, through natural history, the human body and energy to name just a few exhibits, everything was very hands on for kids and Cameron absolutely in his element, soaking up knowledge and information every step of the way without even thinking about it. The highlight for him however appear to be the discovery of ‘Keva blocks’, dozens of small pieces of wood all of identical sides which do not connect together but encourage children to build sculptures of all shapes and sides buy basically balancing the said blocks together. Cameron ‘of course’ built a train but I admit I was very impressed with this budding engineers creativity and design flare. I think he would have spent the entire afternoon in that section given the chance!
I know we are going to have good days and bad during our travels and it’s realistically still early days but this last week seeing Cameron so engaged & happy has definitely reinforced that the decision to world school him for the year was the right one ….whether I will still be saying that in 6 months time is yet to be seen!!!
Our final day in Vancouver was spent with family and friends. We met up with a friends daughter for lunch and from there headed over to the Seabus and across to North Vancouver where we met with my cousins and their young children, going with them to a local petty farm and on for a take out supper at a local park set on the edge a a beautiful bay. Cam has loved spending time with his little cousins and seeing how much they loved each other makes it even harder to leave this incredible city, but alas we have to, and an exciting onward journey awaits us as be board to Rocky Mountaineer tomorrow to Kamloops and Banff.
Goodbye Vancouver – It has been an pleasure.