Friday, June 22, 2012

Last days in Vancouver

Ok, time to get this blog up and running again! May 25th was my last day at RC ... although I'm excited to travel and eventually head back to Oz, I was quite surprised at just how difficult it was to leave the friends I made as well as the city itself. I really do love this place!! I'm sure I'll visit again some day :)
After saying goodbye to my work mates I headed out to the airport to meet with Jemma. I was so happy that it was such a warm and sunny day ... I've been bragging to Jemma about Vancouver and I would hate for her first day here to be pouring with rain (note: her flight arrived early and I arrived late - what a bad start for this tour guide!!). After a quick stop at my place we headed downtown for photos with the steam clock in Gastown, followed by dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Being that we're nearing summer it was still very light, so after dinner we headed down to Canada Place to watch the sea planes take off. I don't know what it is but I think it's pretty cool to watch planes take off and land on the water!! After that I took Jemma to one of the BEST places to get views of downtown Vancouver - the Empire Landmark's revolving restaurant, Cloud 9. Plenty of photos were taken and plenty of cocktails were had ... it was a great start to a month and a half long adventure.

Like any good tour guide in Vancouver would know, you cannot miss out on showing a visitor the SPECTACULAR parks this city has to offer. Our first stop ... the Queen Elizabeth Park! I really enjoy coming here - the gardens are well maintained, and from the highest point you get some great views of downtown Vancouver. To top it all off, it's FREE! Jemma and I spent the morning here and then took the bus downtown to explore Vancouver's #1 park (#1 attraction for that matter), Stanley Park. The seawall, the walking trails, the aquarium, the totem poles, the beaches, the lost lagoon, the wildlife ... I LOVE Stanley Park!! I think one of the best things to do here is hire a bike and ride the seawall (takes about 1hr without stops). It was such a nice day so Jemma and I did just that. I think the rest of Vancouver felt the same because there were so many cyclists and rollerbladers out and about (or as the Canadians would say, "aboot"). We managed to bike the seawall twice :)

Although a little sore from yesterday's bike ride, Jemma and I put on our trackies and walking shoes and headed to the north shore to tackle "Nature's Stairmaster"... the Grouse Grind!! The weather had turned a little cooler and the sun was nowhere in sight - this actually made for a perfect day beacause, as anyone who has ever tackled the Grouse Grind knows, it doesn't take long before you're huffing and puffing and sweating in places you didn't know you could sweat. You really don't want the sun to be out!! Fortunately for us it wasn't too busy so it was easy to stop and rest ... we did exactly that before finally making it to the top!! It was great to still see some snow on top of the mountain. After a quick bite to eat we went exploring and headed up on the ski lift to the most northern point on Grouse that you can get. We got some spectacular views of Vancouver and we could could see as far as the airport at Richmond. After that we headed back downtown and met up with Sarah (my housemate) for a delicious dinner at Rouge.

Monday was my last full day in Vancouver. After getting some fantastic weather over the past few days, Vancouver did what it does best ... it rained!! It rained hard. Perhaps it was crying for me?? Haha. Regardless of how the weather was, it didn't stop Jemma and I from making the most of our last day here. We headed downtown (as usual) and spent the morning shopping on Robson St. We both picked up some great tops from Roots (so Canadian!) then headed across the bridge to Granville Island. Our first stop was the Granville Island brewery. We were lucky enough to pick up some cheap tickets and enjoy the Granville Island brewery tour followed by beer tastings (the best part!). For someone who doesn't drink beer that often, I actually enjoyed what the brewery had to offer. After the tour we visited a few more shops and then left to go back to my place for dinner across the road with my landlords, Rita and Sam (and Carolyn and Sarah too). Rita and Sam are both Italian, so as you can imagine the food and wine was plentyful that night!! It was a fantastic way to end my time in Vancouver, and I'll miss them very much.

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