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Report 1953: Vancouver/Vancouver Island/Seattle July/August 2011

By Panda from UK, Summer 2011

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Page 2 of 12: Day 2 Vancouver

photo by Panda

Raccoons in Stanley Park

The next morning, seeing a bright sunny day rather than the rainy weather that had been forecast, we asked the very helpful reception staff how best to go to Stanley Park. A quick call and the hotel shuttle was available to take us up to W. George Street, a road of bike rental shops near the entrance to the park. We went to ‘Spokes’ on the corner of Denman and Georgia, and they efficiently fitted us out with sturdy bikes: mine had the addition of a basket for my small handbag and water bottles for everyone.

The cycle route around the sea wall is a beautiful introduction to the scenery of the area – an easy, flat 8.8 kilometres miles around, although we took a few diversions off into the interior, involving a few light gradients and some road sharing with minimal traffic. Our early start, due to being still in the wrong time zone, worked in our favour as when we completed the circuit and returned to the start, the route looked much more crowded.

One of our diversions was via the Lost Lagoon, an artificial lake formed when part of the Burrard Inlet was cut off by the construction of the Stanley Park causeway early in the last century. Following my husband off the main track through the trees we came upon a man leaving food for a group of animals, which turned out to be a family of racoons (two adults and two cubs). This was fascinating for us, since they are not native to the UK. My daughter and I got off our bikes and I went to hand her the camera, catching my foot in the undergrowth as I did so. I kept my arm up and she did a valiant save of the camera but I went flying backwards, landing very uncomfortably on the fallen bike. I jumped straight back up, conscious that I didn’t know what could be lurking in the undergrowth but also to minimise my lost dignity. I didn’t notice at the time that I had grazed my back in a long arc – a wound that took most of the holiday to heal.

At 11:30 we were ready for an early lunch and found a café in the park with a wide sunny terrace. We had salads and the first of many tasty salmon dishes and a sampling of the beer from the Granville Island Brewing Company. It then struck us just how many British voices we could hear around us on the terrace – including one of the waiters!

After returning the bikes, we walked back down hill through the city to our hotel, stopping off on the way for some window shopping and a sale rail bargain pair of denim shorts for my daughter in American Eagle. After a restorative nap, we went out to buy some fruit and cakes for a light supper and tried out the spacious but minimally equipped gym on the top floor (it had with a nice Jacuzzi, though). The terrace caught the afternoon sun and we sat and watched the workers swinging high on the cables, assembling the new roof for the BC Place Stadium.

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