Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Around Vancouver in a day

Coming from a day spent with our relatives all over Seattle yesterday, my mom and I asked them to drop us of late afternoon at Best Western Executive Inn located at Taylor Avenue North. The place is the pickup point for our bus trip up north to Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Fares paid were USD40.85 for adults and USD38.95 for seniors (60+). The fares were pre-booked 2 weeks prior to avoid hassle and paid via credit card.
 
I've been to Vancouver a couple of times (the last one was just a quick transit time) but I'm still excited for this trip. The whole journey took us around 4 hours, including the 30 or so minutes clearing time at the US-Canada border (Peace Arch). We were dropped off last night directly at the lobby of Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel where we are staying for 3 nights.

I booked for a 2 Double Bed Guest Room, City View using our corporate rate of CAD118++ as we are allowed to do so by our company provided we pay for it as a personal expense. Due to my Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status however, they upgraded us to a 2 Double Bed Club Level Room, Harbor View! Thanks to the staff for the nice gesture as it is my mom's first time here in the city.

Each room has its own small balcony and since we got a harbor view room, ours has a good view of the harbor.

It was already late at night when we arrived so we immediately snoozed off after settling in. The next morning was surprising, as I wasn't aware that the view we had out the window is magnificent, overviewing some mountains too from afar.
 
view from inside, before the balcony
 
view from the sides as I stepped out of the balcony
 
sea planes landing and taking off from the harbor. I could have stayed the whole day in our room!

We had our quick breakfast at the Executive Lounge. Eggs, a few meat, and mostly pastries were served, but they were enough to keep us energetic throughout the day.

We went to the lobby after eating our breakfast as we wait for our tour guide to pick us up. The lobby had a lot of open space although not a lot of areas to sit down.

Big Bus provided our city tour today (CAD59 each). They guided us (shared group) around the city for we cannot afford to do hop-on hop-off due to time constraint. Here are some photos taken during the tour.

Laughing Statues (A-maze-ing Laughter) in Morton Park

shops 

Davie Village Community Garden
 

Rogers Arena
 
Chinatown

Chinatown arch 

Our first stop was at Gastown, the Old Granville Townsite.

There stands the famous Gastown Steam Clock, the worlds first steam powered clock.
 
me 

Harbour Center. On top is the Vancouver Lookout and a revolving restaurant
 
Next, we went to the Stanley Park. The park is a 400+ hectares of space open to public. There are different attractions inside and because of its size, it will be hard to go one after another without a vehicle.
 
Our first stop was at the totem poles located inside the park.

me
 
 
 totem poles
 
our tour van

Vancouver skyline as viewed from Stanley Park
 
We also passed by Brockton Point lighthouse, still inside Stanley Park built in 1914.

Nearby is a statue named "Girl in a Wetsuit". Apparently they tried to commission "The Little Mermaid" for it to be placed there but had issues so they used a modern one.

at the park

The park has an abundant inventory of old trees like this. There has been issues recently however of cutting them off (and some being uprooted due to storm).
 
Then we stopped at Prospect Point, a good vantage point for photos and a nice place to relax too inside the park.

Lions Gate Bridge, or officially First Narrows Bridge can be viewed nicely from this area.
 
The bridge, opened in 1898, is a suspension bridge that crosses over Burrard Inlet. There are lion statues placed at the end of the bridges as well, in consistency with its name.
 
 the bridge
 
the hollow tree
 
We continued to drove around some sites in Vancouver.

BC Place

Science World

other statues we drove by 
 
Then we went to Granville Island, specifically at the public (farmers market). This is also the place where we were asked to take our lunch (on own).

There were goods and produce of all sorts inside the covered market. The colorful scene inside was a feast my eyes as they look good (and fresh).
 
There were also stalls selling food items and some bake products inside. A feast for the tummies!

From the stalls of the market, we finally had our lunch as the items around us makes us starve. We had fish and chips (fries), clam chowder and sir-fried Chinese beef with fried rice.

the dining area

food stalls

outside

Granville bridge

We explored the area outside before our pickup time. Apparently there were other items for sale around and not just local produce. 

We even peaked at a glass-blowing shop. A staff was currently molding a glass décor at that time.
 
It was almost time for our van pickup who will bring us back to the hotel at that time so we went to our meeting place and just after a few minutes of waiting, we were shuttled back at the hotel. After a couple of hours rest in our room, we just spent our remaining time today near our hotel before we dozed off.
 

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