We have left yesterday, another one of our last minute leave, not organized and still with a not so clear plan in our head for the road to take and what to do.
It has been our first night sleeping in the car, with pads too big, impossible to fit in the trunk and a really bad place to stay, in a pull out of the higway, right next to a big refrigerated truck which has left the engine on all night long. Not such one of the best start we have had. But, as always, we don’t get disheartened. A good breakfast on the lake shore, at the bottom of the mountains and we are ready for our long day. We have the second breakfast at a Tim Hortons in Kamloops, a few kilometers from where we have slept. We realise we have forgotten our purse – with everything inside, passports, credit cards, mobile – which is given back to us with a smile and after an heart attack. We have driven on the highway, more or less 30 km further, when we discover it and we immediately make an U turn right on the highway!
Once we arrive near Vancouver, many kilometers after, we are in line for a long time before really entering the city area. We decide to stop in the Surrey neighborhood, which we understand is kind of a Chinatown, but which has the big privilege of avoiding the Highway 1 tool over the Fraser River Bridge and the incredibly-hard-to-find-and-super-expensive park in the city center. So we leave the car here, right nexto to the Skytrain – Vancouver metropolitan system – stop. For a cheap – let’s say so – 7$ we park for the whole day and we decide to buy the daily metro ticket for another not so cheap – but cheaper than everything else – 9,75$ each.
Vancouver, we are finally coming!
We get off of the Skytrain at the Waterfront stop, the closest to what we really want to see in Vancouver, in other words, Stanley Park. The stop is not really close tho and the Stanley Park is too big to be walked around in the half day we have, so we have this great idea of renting a bike, or better, a tandem-bike. Here it comes the madness!
We just stop for a quick hot-dog at the famous Japadog, these typical carts that you can find in Vancouver, which sell oriental style hot-dogs. And our calories intake is done, it’s time to go.
I can guess not so many of you have ever tried a tandem-bike. Well, even if we have some good athletich skills and ability to adapt, gaining some stability is really tricky. Starting is quite hard, stopping and turing is at list hilarious. After trying to kill some pedestrians along the way and almost being hit by cars more than one time, we finally get to the Stanley Park. It is the green lung of the city, with 400 hectars of rainforest so close to downtown and kilometers and kilometers of paths and roads to walk and bike.
We wander for a while in the park without a really defined plan, just knowing we want to avoid going uphill, totally beyond our beginner tandem-bike skills. We have time to enjoy Vancouver skyline from a different point of view, some seals playing hide and seek in the bay and eating salmon, the Native American totem poles – or at least what we are told they are from the signs – the view over North Vancouver and its eerie factories of what seems to be sulfur, judging from its colour, so close to the sea – we hope it is just an italian prejudice – the woods and all its nice paths, all of them so perfect, and the Lions Gate Bridge, always packed from what we can see.
Then it’s time to go back, not without having a hard time cycling this wicked thing called tandem-bike. But before, we still have to see the 9 O’Clock Gun, the cannon which shoot a ball, every night at 9 o’clock, in the bay waters. At the beginning it was to signal the sunday closure of the harbour to the fishermen, at 6, then it was changed at 9, to set the standard of the harbour clocks. Very interesting.
Back at Waterfront again and once left the devilish tandem-bike – from now on, only single, comfy bikes! – we enjoy the city: a short break at Canada Place with its building that somebody say is copied by the notorious Sydney Opera House – for its “sails” – and a last walk in Gastown neighborhood, last but not least, to visit the Steam Clock, the old clock which characterize Vancouver historic area.
Sadly, we don’t have a lot of time to visit the city thoroughly, but let’s say we are not too interested in that, as in any big city actually. We are more fascinated by what is due tomorrow, just a couple hours of ferry from here: Vancouver Island.
Tired and on our way back to the Skytrain station, we chance upon nothing less than the Fellowship of the Ring, straight from the Lord of the Rings. It is quite impressive to watch Frodo, Sam, Merry and Legolas cross the road in front of you!
It takes us a little while to understand what is happening, at least until we get over the corner and found ourselves into one of the biggest cosplay reunions in the world – as we will discover later, we have stumbled upon AniRevo, an international competition of anime and japan culture.
Vancouver cheers us with a whole lot of peculiar characters, right before jumping on the Skytrain which will bring us back to the car.
Obviously, our night is not finished yet. We still have some 40 minutes of train and another hour by car, a Vietnamese dinner and a night in the trunk of our car, somewhere on the ferry dock, to be the first one in line for the first ferry to Victoria, tomorrow morning.
We don’t skip anything at all, you already know that!
Goodnight and see you tomorrow
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