September 4-5, 2010

Vancouver is an amazingly beautiful seaside city full of fun things to do. As with every other place on this trip, we had to make the best of our limited time. We had one evening and one day in the city. Saturday night, we visited the hopping Gastown neighborhood, and Sunday, we took an amazing bike ride through beautiful Stanley Park, which Lonely Planet says is the largest urban park in North America. I have now been as far north as I have ever been so far in my life, although I hope to top that record next year. Our cycling day was a very good one indeed.

Drive Up

Saturday morning, we had brunch with a lovely group of Seattle friends before heading north. We had planned to travel a bit east to find a Project Ape cache, but had to abandon that plan when necessary but unexpected errands consumed too much of the afternoon.

On the way into Canada, we stopped to see an arch commemorating peace between the US and Canada.

They had a sign reminding you that Canadian speed limits are in metric. I wish everyone would "think metric" all the time; it makes so much more sense.

The border crossing wasn't too bad, except that the officer seemed to have a hard time believing that we went camping without any firearms. Maybe Canadians don't do that. But we reached Canada at last, our first time in British Columbia!

The Canadian sunset was beautiful.

About the time the sun was going down, Eric asked me if I'd brought any Canadian currency. For some crazy reason, I had somehow failed entirely to remember this key errand. This is particularly bizarre given that I had carefully packed the CA$1.07 in change that I had left over from our trip to Montreal last year for Anticipation after I unexpectedly found myself unable to use the change in the United States. When I was growing up in upstate NY, we thought that vending machines were too stupid to recognize Canadian coins as money, but that any human being would be smart enough to accept them. That seems to have changed. It is ironic that Canadian coins are no longer accepted in the US now that they are worth practically as much as American coins. In any case, due to my poor planning, we had to pay an ATM fee.

The courtyard of the Days Inn Vancouver Metro, with complimentary breakfast, parking, and wi-fi.


Of course we stopped to take a couple of pictures on the way to Gastown.

Science World.

We saw a tent for a Cirque du Soleil show. Given a lot more time and money, wouldn't that have been a fabulous way to spend our Saturday night?

Chinatown Arch.

Vancouver Tower.

A street in Gastown, where we had some falafel from a street cafe for dinner.

An antique Gastown clock.


We rented bicycles for the day and rode up the Seaside pathway to Stanley Park.

The bike shop gave us comfort bikes with extremely large tires. The tires made us feel invincible. Photo obviously by Eric.

Eric took a picture of me among Black-Eyed Susans. The landscaping was incredible.

This channel reminded me of Darling Harbour in Sydney, although Eric disagreed.

The Seaside path was lined with sculptures everywhere.

A sign indicated that this bird is supposed to be a Great Blue Heron. Zooming in, you can see the fish in his stomach.

Another sculpture.

A pretty marina.

The Granville Island Public Market, a major tourist destination that we rode by.

We went to the beach, although we didn't have time for swimming.

Imagine it -- Canada Geese in Canada! Photo by Eric.

Stanley Park

There are beautiful beaches all along the west side of the park.

The bicycle path is clearly signed for travel around the park in a counterclockwise direction, so we had to cross to the east side.

On the way through the interior of the park, we saw these swans at Raccoon Bridge.

And then, we saw the raccoons! About twenty of them, mostly juveniles. They were extremely aggressive about trying to get food from us. One of them reached up and touched the back of my leg! I guess maybe they're sort of cute if they're not living in a sewer.

The east side of the park has a peninsula that offers dramatic views of the water and the city skyline.

It seemed odd to see a gas station in the middle of the water, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

The park offers tours in horse-drawn carriages. While I'm sure that would be fun, I'm also sure riding a bike was more fun.

We couldn't visit Canada without taking a picture of a totem pole!

A lighthouse with flags at the tip of the peninsula.

The Lions Gate Bridge. Photo by Eric.

One of the more interesting things we saw was Siwash Rock. This is a place where wind and water erosion have left a space between the mainland and this giant rock.

Coming back down the west side, yet another beach.

We saw some pretty urban fountains on the way back to the bike shop.

This was an absolutely fantastic cycle trip, highly recommended for visitors to Vancouver.

We had a quick dinner at a counter-service place called Basil Pasta Cafe, where you could choose your own ingredients. Only CA$8.00, and probably the best meal we've had yet on this trip.

We took the ferry out to Victoria on Vancouver Island. This was an enormous car ferry with all the comforts one could ask for: a cafeteria, gift shop, and complimentary wi-fi. (Of course, the ferry cost CA$75, plus a CA$15 reservation fee.)

Eric enjoying the wi-fi.

The boat had a deck where you could go outside, but it was quite cold and windy, and you couldn't see anything but darkness.

Yesterday and today:

Distance driven: 203 mi (327 km)

Caches found: 6


Distance driven: 1,669 mi (2,686 km)

Caches found: 22

On to Vancouver Island.

Last updated: 09/05/2010 by Eric and Beth Zuckerman