Vancouver – Granville Island and Grouse Mountain

Our last two days in Vancouver were a little more laid back than the first few, which is good news for the girls as they didn’t have to walk or scoot nearly as far!

On Friday it was difficult to get the girls to leave the hotel room until late morning, when we took a walk in the Heritage District.  We particularly liked the art deco Marine Building.  From there we headed to Robson Street to wander around the main shopping area before meeting my Lovely Husband at his office.  The girls were very pleased to be taken up to the offices, see Daddy’s desk and meet the other people he works with in Vancouver but even more exciting was the round hatch in the floor which I told them was an escape hatch for when work got too difficult!  The Little One hadn’t work out whether I was teasing or not before we left and was still tapping the floor with her feet to hear the hollow sound it made as we walked out of the office!

(Oh to have had an escape hatch when I worked in an office – it would have been so useful on occasion…)

After lunch together, we girls wandered back past the shops and stopped for a (large) treat at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate shop which sells amazing caramel apples.  The girls chose a basic one (luckily) and shared it without getting themselves (or any passers by) too sticky.

Sharing a caramel apple

Sharing a caramel apple

At this point in the day, the caramel apple was the only fruit or vegetable that had passed their lips…  Better than nothing I guess!

We got back to the hotel just as my Lovely Husband did and we then headed to Granville Island.  Granville Island used to be an industrial base, but has now been transformed into a vibrant area of shops, food markets and stalls, a kids market, theatre and art galleries, as well as a brewery.  We took the AquaBus to get to the island which was fun and then headed straight into the Kids Market.

The girls loved all the shops there – beautiful dresses, dressing up clothes, games and toys.  The Little One was particularly taken by a tent suitable for bears or Barbie dolls (I expect she would like Nanny to make her one…)  There was also an indoor climbing frame and slide.  We were more taken by the food market though and it was nice to buy some fresh fruit ( to make up for the lake of fruit and veg!), as well as see all sorts of amazing foods:

Lots of cakes...

The girls appreciating lots of cakes…

We also tried making our own Italian soda flavour (the girls chose apple and raspberry) and had some Italian and Indian food for dinner, before taking the boat back to Downtown Vancouver and walking back to the hotel.  Fortunately the girls have rediscovered their walking legs after not really walking anywhere during our 21 months in Houston!

We had a lie in on Saturday and a late breakfast, before heading to Canada Place to get the shuttle bus to Grouse Mountain.

Grouse Mountain is 15 miles from Downtown Vancouver and can be seen from all over the city.  It is covered with snow in Winter and in Summer it provides a venue for all sorts of exciting mountain persuits (paragliding, ziplines and standing at the top of a wind turbine).  You can hike to the top or take a gondola, which is what we did as I didn’t fancy carrying the Little One half way up a mountain!

Skyride at Grouse Mountain

Skyride at Grouse Mountain

We had lunch at the top, overlooking the bay and Vancouver which is beautiful.  We then headed to the Grizzly Bear Wildlife Refuge to hear the ranger talk.  The bears were both asleep (it was a hot and sunny afternoon!) so we learnt about the Grizzly bears and how they were orphaned and came to live on the top of Grouse mountain.  After the talk we walked around the corner of the pen to find one of the bears had woken up and was having a play in the pond.

Grizzly bear having a swim

Grizzly bear having a swim

After watching for a little while we decided the sun was too hot to stay much longer, so we headed down the mountain via the lumberjack show.

The girls were amazed at how high (and how quickly) the lumberjacks could climb up trees.  The show was funny as the two lumberjacks had a competition to see which one was the best at throwing axes, chopping down trees and climbing to the top of the trees – there was lots of silliness.

A lumberjack at the top of a tree

Lumberjack standing on top of a tree trunk

We caught the Skyride to the bottom of the mountain and just had time to see one of the wolves in the wolf refuge, one of the white ones from the arctic, before catching the bus back to Vancouver.

White wolf hiding in the grass

White wolf hiding in the grass

We had dinner in the lovely restaurant in our hotel (the Fairmont Pacific Rim) and the girls were delighted to find that caramel apples were on the menu for dessert:

More caramel apples

More caramel apples

This was our last night in Vancouver – next stop Galiano Island.

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