Saturday, July 23 was a really full day! In order to orient ourselves better to Vancouver, we bought a day pass for the public transport system which includes a subway, “Sky Train” and ferry service to North Vancouver. Jim totally had his transportation geek on! So we started by riding the subway up to Gastown, the old historical center of Vancouver. We paid the obligatory visit to the steam-powered clock, and wandered about, but you’ve pretty much seen it all by the time you’ve walked three blocks. However, Vancouver is an insanely gorgeous city! There are flowers hanging in baskets everywhere, and the streets are really clean.
Then we walked over to the ferry to North Vancouver (called the Seabus) and it seemed like everyone else had had the same idea on this bright beautiful Saturday. The ferry ride only takes about 15 minutes, and we have been told that trying to drive over either of the two bridges serving this area can easily take an hour, so we can see why the ferry is so popular.
The views back and forth across the harbor are lovely, and from the ferry, we can see the cruise ship terminal we will leave from tomorrow. Upon arrival, there were a bunch of tents set up along the waterfront, and we can hear a reggae band playing. Lo and behold, we have stumbled onto the Trinidad and Tobago Festival! We wandered around for awhile, and then took the ferry back to town.
Next on the agenda: Ride on one of the Sky Trains. I had visions of people movers or monorails, but in reality, this just turned out to be an elevated subway system. Chalk that one up to experience! We rode out a few stops and turned around and came back. However, we hadn’t “experienced” enough of Vancouver’s trust system yet, so Jim figured out how to get us to Stanley Park on the bus. Stanley Park is the third largest urban park in North America, and it is an amazing place! It occupies a headland on the northwest end of Vancouver with views out on the waterways surrounding it on three sides. The interior of the park is like an urban forest populated with redwoods and giant spruce trees.
Jim and I walked around a bit, and by then were starving so we ate a a darling bar and grill in the middle of the park. By this time, we had to rush to get back to hotel, because SURPRISE: our friends Mark and Shelly Kaplan happened to be in town the at the same time. We haven’t seen Mark and Shelly since our Patagonia trip last year, but it was great to share a glass of wine with them!
By this time it was 6:30 and Jim and I had to walk over to English Bay to have dinner and view the fireworks competition known as the Celebration of Light. This is a huge deal every year in Vancouver, and runs on three different nights.
Jim and I had found out about this before our trip (thanks, TripAdvisor!), and had bought reserved seats to a private viewing area on the top of the Bathhouse. The private viewing area was sponsored by a restaurant called the Keg, but their actual restaurant is located in another part of town. They provided drinks and heavy appetizers along with three different bands, and you had a elevated space from which to view the fireworks show. This night, the competitor team was from the Netherlands, and they put on quite the show!