Visiting Vancouver B.C.

 

I’ve been in the wonderful city of Vancouver B.C. for the past few days visiting my oldest son Robin and his wife Nici. We’ve had a great time! On Sunday we drove up to Whistler, the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Rob’s Mitsubishi Delica and went to the top of Whistler Mountain on a small gondola.

Top of Whistler Mountain

Top of Whistler Mountain

There, we had a magnificent view of distant mountain tops, many with snow caps or glaciers. Across the deep gorge between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, was a larger gondola connecting the two mountain peaks together. THAT is why we were there! The sun was shining, the air was warm, and we were all pumped to take the gondola high about the valley below! I’m usually afraid of heights, but conquering that fear is on my ‘bucket list’.
Today was the day. The ‘Peak 2 Peak Gondola’ was fantastic!! It wasn’t scary at all. I was quite comfortable walking about the enclosed area taking pictures even though I expected to be hanging on to the seats and posts with a firm grip. lol

Peak 2 Peak Gondola view

Peak 2 Peak Gondola view

Whistler village was crazy busy with tourists and adventurers. Many of these folks came to bicycle down the mountain – yes, you heard me right. These people take their bikes up on the ski lift or gondola to various points up the mountain and bike down!! ……..ya, I know, isn’t that insane?! Okay, they have to wear helmets, but it’s optional to wear protective padding in vulnerable areas. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I witnessed them going at break-neck speed down the twists and turns of the dedicated pathways (Of course they have to buy tickets to use the facilities). And I was stunned to watch them leave the peak of the mountain. I saw two ambulances while I was there, making their way up the mountain to retrieve damaged bicyclists…… Crazy.

Bike trails down Whistler Mountain

Bike trails down Whistler Mountain

While Robin and Nici were at work on Monday, I went on an adventure. Now let me just say, that I have not been on public transit in my nearby city, ever. But I’ve enjoyed the transit system in British Columbia. The bus drivers are always helpful when I tell them I’m just visiting their wonderful city as I ask them if they can let me know that I’m getting off at the right stop. Of course, I researched my route extensively on the internet and printed out the directions. So my adventure was taking 4 buses and two trains to get to nearby Richmond to visit Nana Lil: a marvelous 93 year old lady who was my neighbour 45 years ago when I was a teenager. I was told that she has dementia but she certainly remembered me! We talked over and over again about the memories that she had. She was SO happy to have me visit for a few hours. I was SO happy to visit her for a few hours. She still lives in her little ‘seniors apartment’ with help from ‘Meals on Wheels’ and other assisted care. Even though I spent more time getting there and back than visiting, I’m really glad that I made the time to bring some happiness to her.
Nici had made a delicious soup for supper as well as apple pie! Oh it was SO good!! Afterwards, they took me to the University of British Columbia where they worked to show me their labs and offices. It was really great seeing all the gadgets they have to work with on a daily basis and now, when I think of them during the day, I can visualize exactly where they are!

Vancouver Island awaits

Vancouver Island awaits

I had such a successful transit trip to Nana Lil’s that I told Robin that he wouldn’t need to drive me all the way to the ferry terminal, fighting traffic there and back – I would take the bus! It was easy-peasy: I just hopped the bus 3 blocks from his place which took me downtown and then transferred to the Horseshoe Bay Express bus. I likely got there faster than a car would have. After a short wait for the ferry, I was on my way to Vancouver Island. So now I’m sitting here in the ferry terminal in Nanaimo B.C. waiting for the bus to take me up island where my sisters Betty and Faye are awaiting my arrival! Then its more adventures with the ‘clucking triplets’ as Robert calls us………… lol.

 

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Beautiful British Columbia

I am out on the west coast of Canada in beautiful British Columbia!  I arrived in Vancouver a few days ago to begin my visit with my 3 grown sons Robin, Taylor, and Marty and their “significant others”.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens

We started off the day with a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens that I’d dreamed of visiting ever since Marty went there 5 years ago while living in Vancouver   (http://vancouverchinesegarden.com/ ).   This amazing garden, surrounded by a stone wall similar to the Forbidden City I guess, is located in downtown Vancouver and takes up about a city block.  It’s absolutely free to get in and once inside, you are transported to another world of giant bamboos, stone bridges and pathways, trees, ponds and plenty of large Koi, turtles, frogs, and birds.  It was a great respite from the summer heat that finally invaded Vancouver.

Rob and Marty holding A Gunnera Manicata leaf

Next we went over to the Queen Elizabeth Park   http://vancouver.ca/parks/parks/queenelizabeth/  to walk about the quarry gardens – don’t my kids know just what I love!!  We ended up at the Bloedel Conservatory where we had a breathtaking view of the city.  You cannot believe the variety of plants there including the gigantic Gunnera Manicata or giant rhubarb and hundreds of trees and plants – again FREE.  We celebrated the day with a tasty barbeque and Greek salad, all lovingly made by Jeannette.

Shannon Falls

The next day, we set out on a road trip for Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  The ‘Sea-to-Sky Highway’ took us along the Howe Sound inlet up to Squamish.  This fiord-like waterway became a beautiful green from the glacial waters which drained into it from the mountains.  Of course, my kids knew just where all the awesome spots to stop were:  our first destination was the incredible ShannonFalls where a majestic waterfall poured out of a mountaintop and gracefully crashed into the rocks below where we were standing.  The cool mist felt really refreshing on the unusually hot 28 degree celsius day.  After a quick pit stop in Squamish for a caffeine boost (not me) at Starbucks, we went on up the highway towards Whistler.  I was quite disillusioned to see all the big city giant corporate ‘fast food’ places in this previously peaceful ‘out of the way’ town of Squamish.  One of the drawbacks of the Olympics I guess…..

Brandywine Falls River Gorge

Up the road a ways, we turned off to stop at BrandywineFalls.  This time, we walked along the mossy forest path to the top of the falls and walked abit further along to watch the water cascading down to the gorge and on towards the ocean in the distance through mountain valleys.  A B S O L U T E L Y     A M A Z I N G !!!

Whistler

Soon, we arrived in Whistler, the little town that morphed into a tourist attraction itself for the Winter Olympics in 2010.  After a pita lunch, my son pointed out the main ski hills of Blackcomb and Whistler, the ‘Head to Head’ gondola ride, and some pricy accommodations.  We headed back to Vancouver, a 2 hour drive, and stopped along the way at a few viewing areas and a mountain called “The Barrier  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Barrier ”   –  many millions of years ago, a volcano erupted, the lava flowed, formed a dam for a lake, then the glacier melted leaving this precipitous cliff of unstable rock debris which can landslide down at any time with catastrophic consequences.  We watched some rock land-sliding as we stood there watching, so our visit was short!!

After arriving back in Vancouver, Robin cooked a delicious roast chicken supper with a side of potatoes, carrots, and onions topped with Mom’s gravy.  Then we took this supper to the beach to enjoy while we watched the kayakers, sailboats, swimmers, and paddle-surfers as the sun set over the ocean.   AAAHHHH……. What a life – it was pretty sweet.

Supper on the Beach

So now I’m waiting for the BC Ferry at HorseshoeBay, Vancouver to go to Vancouver Island to see my sisters for more adventures!

To be continued………

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