We arrived in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon. It’s a beautiful city that my Lovely Husband and me visited 10 years ago (almost exactly) for 3 days and loved it. We felt so at home in that short time that we semi-seriously considered buying a brand new apartment overlooking the sea and moving here. A the time, we could have sold my tiny house in the UK and brought a 3 bedroom apartment overlooking the sea outright and still had some change… (If only we’d done that we would be very comfortably off now!)
So you can tell that we like it and my Lovely Husband has been visiting regularly this year so when the opportunity to tag along with the girls came up, we were keen to come along.
We had a little explore on Sunday afternoon but yesterday my Lovely Husband had to work and so we had a girls only excursion. We wandered down to Gas Town, the oldest part of Vancouver and famous for the steam powered clock which we sat and watched for a bit. Then we took the underground transit train to the main shopping area to find a sweet shop (the Candy Aisle) the girls had read about in the children’s guide they had been given. It was most exciting to see lots of British sweets and chocolates (although very expensive…) and the girls were very happy to choose some sweets for after lunch.
We headed back to meet my Lovely Husband at the hotel, feeling like true explorers. I don’t think I’ve taken the girls on the tube in London, so to do so in a foreign city felt like an achievement! Then we walked along the front to have lunch at Cardero’s in Coal Harbour. The food was delicious – I’d go again just for the hummus and carrot sticks alone!
We got the SeaBus across the harbour to North Vancouver to meet a friend and her children for an afternoon of playing in fountains, eating ice cream and watching harbour seals from the end of the pier. The girls had a lovely time playing with their new friends and it was so nice to catch up with someone who has moved abroad with family and swap stories. It was also a good chance for us to get the inside story on living and working in Vancouver, just in case the opportunity ever presents itself.
This morning my Lovely Husband had to spend the day working at the office, so we had a girls day out planned. We left the hotel before 9am with the girls’ scooters and the plan was to scoot from the hotel to the expansive Stanley Park – the third biggest park in the world and the most beautiful one we’ve been to.
Bringing the scooters along was my Lovely Husband’s genius idea – Vancouver is very bicycle friendly so it’s an easy place to take scooters and meant we saw a lot more than we would have done otherwise. It only took us 25 minutes to scoot to the park (with me jogging alongside the Little One to avoid any crashes with bikes, pedestrians or curbs!) and then we spent the rest of the day exploring.
First stop was the Lost Lagoon which has a very large fountain (ably demonstrated by the Big One below):
It isn’t really lost, but a poet in the early 1900s described it as that due to the water disappearing at low tide and the name stuck. The water no longer disappears as it is entirely cut off from the sea now but it is still alive with wildlife and seems very secluded in places, despite being only steps from the centre of a very busy Vancouver.
Our next stop was the the rose garden which didn’t smell of roses, as the Little One pointed out quite loudly with “Mummy, these roses smell of cow poo!” From there we wandered through Klahowya Village, with craft and music displays by First Nation groups and onto the great playground just beyond. Around the corner from there we saw some raccoons strolling through the park in broad daylight!
Houston raccoons are not anywhere near as brave as this!
We met my Lovely Husband for a quick lunch at The Fish House near to the park entrance for a delicious re-fuelling stop, including kids fish and chips for the girls (with a real beer batter). There was just time for a cuddle:
and then we had to be off for more exploring. This time we headed to the other side of the park and English Bay where there is a lido (open air swimming pool) which I’d promised the girls we’d visit. It was a very warm day and we were very hot from all the scooting (and jogging pulling the Little One on her scooter up all the hills!) so a quick swim seemed like a good idea.
The girls were relieved to know that the pool was heated but when they got in it was not as heated as they would have liked! When we left Houston the pool in our garden was regularly getting up to 34c, so rather bath like. This pool was at the very respectable temperature of 27c but for the Big One, who perhaps needs a little more body fat, it was far too cold! She was actually shivering and covered with goose bumps after 10 minutes and even the excitement of 3 different water slides could not keep her in the pool any longer! Once dried and back in her clothes she was much happier and entertained herself by reading the leaflet on all the things we could do in Vancouver, running over to the side of the pool with the latest bit of information every 2 minutes. The Little One was very happy to have 30 minutes in the pool with me, whilst I tried to keep warm by chucking her around in the water!
It was time to head back to the hotel, via another play park, and with both girls being tired I spent a good deal of the journey back towing one, if not both, of them on their scooters up hill (and sometimes down too!) By the time we got back to the hotel it was 5pm and I had jogged (and pulled scooters) for over 9 miles. Phew – it’s been a very long time since I’ve covered that kind of distance in a day (probably not since completing a half marathon about 15 years ago). I expect to ache a lot tomorrow, if I can actually get out of bed that is!
I thought the girls would be tired, but after dinner out and watching the last of the sunset, as well as hearing the 9 O’Clock cannon go off from Stanley Park, they are still wide awake. I might just have to go to sleep before them tonight…