Saturday, 23rd July – Day 14 (Vancouver)

One of the best night’s sleeps I have had. Very comfortable room and bed, even if the room is showing its age a little. Nice to have some room and a decent WiFi connection, too.

On Saturdays and Sundays, this hotel offers a brunch menu from 10.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. How civilised is that?? Perfect for the likes of us not so early risers….. And it was very popular – the place was really buzzing.

Food picture alert!

Mine
Jean’s

As we had an hour or so to spare, we walked about 400 yards to a rather posh pharmacy to get essentials like, erm, shampoo (although the hotel provides something perfectly adequate), tissues (although the hotel provides plenty of those) and some other bits and pieces, including ginger tea! We’ve run out of lemon and ginger tea, one of our staples, so one hopes this will suffice. Will be reporting back on this important issue tomorrow…..

We extended our wander to the Gastown district, where we came across the famous (?) steam clock. Nowadays it’s driven by electricity as well.

No, this wasn’t the right time!

The weather was really quite warm (around 25 degrees), so we went back to the hotel to don shorts and sandals prior to our bus trip around Vancouver.

Our driver, Steve, 6’4″ and 20 stone of thoroughly extroverted tour guide, turned up early. After picking up about 30 other people from various hotels in the city, we set off on our tour.

Things were made difficult by a number of factors; the traffic, a rather poor PA system on the bus, and the incessant chatter of an Asian couple behind us. Even Steve got exasperated with them. It required an intense mental effort to hear what Steve was saying, although much of it was interesting.

We covered a lot of Vancouver in three and a half hours, with two stops. The first was in Stanley Park, which gave us some good views across the bay, and a spectacular set of totem poles:

Mount Seymour in the background

Stanley Park is huge and the traffic was horrendous. It was also a beautiful day, so lots of people were out and about.

Steve managed to fight his way out of this and took us through some upmarket and very downmarket areas. Even cosmopolitan Vancouver has its poor parts, and this was very poor indeed. It reminded me of our visit to Johannesburg in 2019 – appalling poverty.

Our next stop was Granville Island, which used to be very industrial, but is now full of artisan shops, markets and – tat. Very, very crowded. Didn’t enjoy this a lot, to be honest – and we were given an hour here!

I managed to book a table at an Italian restaurant that Steve had recommended, and he dropped us off there on the way back. As we had a little time, we walked up Burrard Street to find a nice little oasis.

Thence to our table at the Italian Kitchen. It was rammed, but the food was very good, as was the Chianti which accompanied it. I couldn’t finish my meal.

The reason that there was so much traffic was that there was a firework display scheduled for the evening, and by all accounts it was supposed to be magnificent. We decided to give this a go after returning to the hotel to change, as it was a half-hour walk to get there.

It was indeed popular! The crowds were the equal of a major football match in the U.K., but nowhere near as well organised. Tempers were fraying as people were trying to get in to the beach area, and there was much evidence of wacky baccy….

The whole shebang is organised by Honda, and is described as the Festival of Light. Post pandemic, it happens once every three years, and I have no idea what it’s all about.

Finally managed to force our way in and found a reasonably decent spot. The display was from a barge in the middle of English Bay.

And it was absolutely spectacular. The best live firework display I think I have ever seen.

Even though I think my phone camera made a decent fist of the video, it simply doesn’t do it justice. Worth the hassle to get in.

Mind you, it was a long walk back to the hotel through huge and very boisterous crowds, but we made it to the bar for a well deserved G&T after a long day.

Tomorrow should be a bit quieter. Planning to go up an observation tower for a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver and, who knows? Maybe even a long overdue gym session…..

See you tomorrow.

4 responses to “Saturday, 23rd July – Day 14 (Vancouver)”

  1. Very impressive fireworks!

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    1. They were truly fantastic. Serendipitous.

      Like

  2. Adele Gardner avatar
    Adele Gardner

    Vancouver looks amazing certainly cleaner than london
    i wish i had been at the firework display i love fireworks as i am a pyromaniac in the past burning down fences and trees etc by accident of course!
    You say you did not finish your italien but i bet you finished the chianti!
    found a big white stuffed dove at Geoffs are you interested?
    the food looks lovely in the hotel i bet Jean is enjoying it now she feels better i hope you are letting Jean have some victoria sponge!

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    1. We certainly finished the Chianti! I’ll ask Jean about the dove.

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