Grouse Mountain, English Tea, Otters and Zambukas

Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
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Trip End Aug 18, 2010


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Where I stayed
Guy and Ann Woods, North Vancouver

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We did not think that in a short space of time we could find somewhere to match Seattle. We did, Vancouver. As soon as we disembarked at Horseshoe Bay we took a breathtaking route around the coastline to Vancouver. We were off to find Guy and Ann Woods and their son Jack. We found the house and spotted the Chelsea flag flapping. Home. Inside for a cup of tea and a long chat. Brendon, Ann's nephew was over for a year from Belfast and was helping Guy with his antique restoration business. Guy had renovated his house (with lots of support and help from Ann) and it is a pure gem. It is filled with some lovely pieces of furniture and is warm and bright we all immediately felt at home. Along with Guy, Ann, Jack and Brendon there was two massive dogs by the names of Charlie and Porter. The kids were in heaven.

The day was warm and sunny and as the next day forecast wet weather Guy recommended we took the gondola up Grouse Mountain. At the top of the mountain you had a breathtaking clear view of Vancouver and ocean. We visited the bears, which had been brought here to live in a natural environment – the only thing between you is an electric fence and chain fence. We watched an amazing and entertaining lumberjack demonstration. We could have trekked further into the mountain and also zip lines if you booked early enough.

The next day we were treated by our Canadian travel agents to an Animal Encounter at Vancouver Aquarium. We took the ferry across from North Vancouver and then a bus to Stanley Park. Unfortunately it was wet so we had to take the bus whereas we had planned to rent bikes and explore the park. The Aquarium was packed, thankfully we had express tickets and bypassed the long queue of people were waiting. Our experience was to feed the sea otters but first we went with a trainer to a room for a talk on sea otters. After here we went to the kitchen to see the food (fish, fish and more fish) prepared for the sea animals here and shown where is weighed and frozen for the next day. We then went to meet the sea otter trainer who walked us the sea otter pool and then Lily, Fynn and Edie had to throw the squid onto the sea otter’s tummies. They were curious animals and once they were fed they tried to stick their noses in between the glass to smell us all. Afterwards we were taken to the education centre and the children were introduced to and allowed to stroke the Californian Sea Cucumber, starfish, shrimps etc. After visiting the Amazon exhibition we had to see the Beluga whale’s calf, which was born a couple of days earlier – beautiful creatures.

In the evening we joined forces with Guy, Ann, Brendon and Jack and went to Steve Vranakis’ (colleague of Ian’s at VCCP] brother’s restaurant in Vancouver. John Vranakis had just opened his Mediterranean restaurant called Branas, which is situated, just by the marina at False Creek. What a night ending in Zambuka slammers (John is Greek). The kids feel in love with the chef and all the dogs that ambled by. The food was great and highly recommended if you are in Vancouver – many thanks John and crew once again and big thanks to Steve who picked up the tab.

Three days is certainly not long enough to uncover the delights of Vancouver we really wished we had spent a week here minimum. We did not even touch what we had planned to do. We know that we need to return and soon.
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