Friday, 1 April 2016

The Big Adventure – part 8: Continuing to Explore Vancouver

Blog 14

Vancouver had so much to offer, but we had to plan our trip with our small budget in mind. Instead of taking the skyride to Grouse Mountain, the famous Vancouver mountain with a fantastic view over the city, we decided to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cleveland Dam with its impressive waterfall.

I saw my very first IMAX movie in Vancouver, a double feature of “Antarctica” and “Into the Deep”. I could hardly believe how real everything looked, like we were right in the movie, able to touch everything. I was impressed with the five story high screen and the digital sound system. What filled me with wonder and excitement is taken for granted today.

At one point, we switched from the motel to a bed and breakfast establishment because we found out that they did not charge the hotel tax. Plus we even had a fridge and microwave oven in our room which was handy, as the constant restaurant visits made a big hole in our wallet.

Stanley Park was one of the area we visited regularly during our stay. We found the place of the “Seven Sisters”, six gigantic Douglas Firs and one Red Cedar, that were a big tourist attraction. After those seven giants had died and had to be chopped off, their stomps were left as reminders.

We visited the Vancouver Aquarium which is also located in Stanley Park. I love the aquatic life and was fascinated by the species we saw, especially the whales, dolphins, sea lions, turtles, fish and plants. I have had both fish and water turtles for most of my life. I was quite devastated when I had to leave my three water turtles behind in Germany, and very delighted when we finally found a new pair that entertain us in our living room.

We also had a first look at the new swimming pool at Stanley Park that had created a lot of headlines because one of the slides designed in the shape of a seal had a ball balanced on its head. The opponents argued that the ball had to be removed because animals should not be depicted in a way that was not appropriate for their species. This would be just for the amusement of humans. At the end the ball was removed. However, no-one complained about the other slide, a multicoloured turtle with a silly yellow hat.

As I have a sweet tooth, we also could not miss a visit to the “Sirloiner and Cheesecake Factory”. The atmosphere and the food were great. After I had one of their big salads, we had to take the $4/piece cheesecake with white chocolate to go. I am not surprised the cheesecake was so expensive considering the prices of dairy. I was wondering how people could even afford to dine out. With taxes and tip, the meals, and especially the drinks, were very expensive.

Another day, we went to a muffin cafe and I tried a cherry muffin with almonds. Delicious! Muffins were totally unknown in Germany at that time. However, within the last couple of years, these personal cakes have also been introduced to Germany as I can see from the many recipes in my mother's magazines.

We also visited Mount Seymour Provincial Park that is located approximately 15 kilometres north of Downtown Vancouver. We went on a long, partially challenging, hike and enjoyed the fantastic view over the city.

Another interesting sight was the Burnaby Village Museum, where we could study the life in the Burnaby Region at the turn of the century. Burnaby is east of Vancouver, about a 20 minute drive. The museum is located at Deer Lake Park. It is a reconstructed village that contains historical buildings. Costumed staff demonstrated the traditional trades.

Another highlight was the Van Dusen Botanical Garden. I could hardly get enough of the rhododendrons and poppies as well as the wild flowers which were in full bloom. While I sketched a little bit, Ingo had a nap on the grass. I could have stayed for hours to soak it all up.

On the final evening of our stay, we had dinner at “The Only Other Fish and Oyster Cafe”, a small restaurant on Granville Island. You could order any kind of fish dish. The chefs were just separated by a bar and were joking with the customers. I really enjoyed myself and the delicious meal of salmon, rice, and Caesar salad.

The next day, we took the ferry to Vancouver Island. We really like what Vancouver had to offer, and cherished everything we saw. We also knew that it would not be the right place for us to live. Job opportunities were not too great and the cost of living seemed very high, not even considering the cost of apartments or houses. A move to Vancouver would also have meant that we would not even be able to see Ingo's family on a regular basis, and it was even further from Germany.

Today, on the release of this blog, I will be in Villegia Chéribourg in the Magog-Orford region where the Plein Air Ensemble will spent the spring painting trip. For the next two weeks, I will take a break from my view into the “rear view mirror”. Instead, I will write about the painting trip, hopefully with photos from new paintings.

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