Going away for the weekend couldn’t get any easier these days – no need to check that all the windows are closed and the back door locked, nor organize a dog sitter and someone to feed the cat. That’s not to say I don’t miss our dog and cat because actually, I do. I have stunned my family with this admission because it was always me complaining about tripping over them at home in the same breath as telling everyone within earshot that they were good for nothing! What I wouldn’t give now to have our Staffy, Millie give me her funny wee look that says ‘Who….me?’, or to be able to grab our independent, half wild cat and give him a big cuddle – knowing he is hating every minute of it and just humoring me with his tolerance! Still, I know they are being well looked after at home – and are driving everyone there mad instead.
So it was that we walked out of the apartment locking the one door behind us at 5.20am Saturday morning bouncing downstairs to Uber it to 5th Street S, and S King Street, Seattle in time to catch the 6.30 am BoltBus to Vancouver. This weekend trip away to spend with Lovely Niece, her partner and their adorable wee 14 month old son was well overdue and had been organized (and cancelled) a few times before! It was a really comfortable bus trip, and crossing into Canada the easiest border crossing I had ever had!
Arriving in Vancouver at Central Station we managed to follow LN’s instructions on how to get to her apartment in Westside Vancouver with only one hitch! It was pouring with rain and cold when we arrived and although we didn’t have to wait long for a bus, I had managed to get myself freezing. For some really bizarre reason I have been having trouble packing lately and I had only my denim jacket for warmth. I did the same for our Portland trip – just didn’t take enough warm clothes. I’m wondering if it’s a subconscious thing – you know ……….. ‘flip I’m cold, I just had to buy this new jumper HG!’? Anyway, we didn’t realize the bus to LN’s only accepted coins, not notes for the fare. Standing there cold and trying to hand over the CAD notes, the lovely bus driver just said ‘Sorry I can’t take the notes, but get in’, and then chatted away explaining the best bus pass for us to buy later. What a friendly start to our weekend in Vancouver!
The day cleared up beautifully to reveal an awesome city. Vancouver’s got it all – harbor, mountains, ski fields close by, the amazing Stanley Park, great coffee and more! LN has lived in Vancouver for 10 years now and lives in just the most beautiful area near Stanley Park. Old ornate houses with beautiful old trees and hydrangea’s in abundance line he streets so just walking to her local coffee shop a few blocks away is a treat in itself. It reminded HG and me of Savannah, Georgia, the houses with their covered verandas and leafy green gardens. Also lovely was the local Aritzia store – huge, and with a sale on. I happened to buy a jacket (just in case I got cold again).
HG and little Great Nephew got on like a house on fire – pun not intended – but perfect because neither of them can keep their eyes off a fire engine. Fortuitously there was a Fire Station just around the corner, and we unintentionally timed a walk at one stage just as they were washing the truck. We wandered through and around Stanley Park trying to keep off the Bike lane – the cyclists are fast and don’t easily put up with wandering and forgetful pedestrians! The bicycle bells ringing help remind you, if like me, you strayed into their lane.
Granville Island Public Market we walked to from LN’s apartment. It was about a 45-minute walk which was not a problem until we came to Granville Bridge. I had chosen to walk the bridge as opposed to catching a bus over to Granville Island because I like to do something every now and then challenges my mental strength. I am constantly amazed at the power of the brain – it can talk you into and out of all sorts of situations and once again it was the height of the rail over the bridge that did my head in. I spent the 20-minute walk over the bridge trying to maintain a normal conversation with LN, HG and Great Nephew while navigating the footpath to ensure I wasn’t close to the outside rail on one side, nor close to the cars on the other side, not looking down to the river and city (it spans both) way below, but trying to enjoy the view (it was stunning – thankfully HG took some photos of it), and breathing! Of course, when we got to the other side I wondered what all the fuss was about.
Granville Island Market I will be coming back to spend more time at before we leave to return to New Zealand. I suspect when my sister (LN’s mum) arrives to stay later in August this is something we will do together, and quite happily. It is full of lovely craft, produce, and special clothing shops. I loved it. We discovered that HG was very good at staying with wee Great Nephew who was in his pram pointing things out to him, while LN and I explored a few special shops – in particular Granville Island Hat Shop with its vast range of beautiful hats, and a store with gorgeous linen clothing and leather bags, and more called Maiwa Handprints Ltd.
Getting the water taxi back meant I couldn’t double dose on my Mental Strength Challenge by walking back over on the bridge. I’m sure another challenge will present itself before too long. It’s a shame we had to leave Vancouver Sunday afternoon because it is such a vibrant city and there’s so much more to see. Lucky we have another visit booked in for August!!