We may have seen our last roadside wildlife for a while. These goats seemed to be bidding us farewell from the mountains on our drive to Vancouver.
The land west of the Rockies was brown and dry until we came to glacial reservoirs in British Columbia.
This is fittingly called the Sea to Sky Drive, only we’re going in reverse, and we have fantastic views of the inland bays of the Pacific.
Finally we arrived in the city and found that Vancouverites are very nice. How nice are they?
- We hoped to use a credit card to board a bus since we didn’t have any Canadian money. Nope, they don’t take credit. BUT the bus driver said, “Get on.” Then he gave us advice about things to see in Vancouver. And then he punched out transfer passes so that we could get around the city. Where else does that happen? Thank you! What a pleasant welcome.
- There is a pleasant welcome for nudists too. The world-famous clothing-optional Wreck Beach is a mere 502 steps below the parking lot. The elevation keeps the riff-raff away; only serious nudists or peepers make the effort. This beach is next to the Museum of Anthropology on the UBC campus. Maybe it’s a field study location for budding anthropologists.
- Vancouver has some high rises, but developers want to “soutenir un avenir vert” (keep the future green) so they put trees on top of their buildings to add a bit of chlorophyll to the sky.
- The oceanside has been preserved for public use in beautiful Stanley Park with 13.7 miles of walkway, with separate paths for walkers/strollers and bikers/roller bladers.
- The sunset over English Bay is just beautiful. The city has laid out large logs as benches with room for hundreds of people to watch as the sun sets. And it’s mirrored on the other side of the sound for watching the sunrise.
- At intersections, the green light starts to blink before the yellow comes on, giving an extra warning that it’s time to slow down…please.
- Tour maps tell you to go north, east, etc. Then they remind you that if you have the mountains at your back, you’re facing south…and west is on your right, east on your left. Just in case you have to do some old-time navigating.
- A public bathroom required a code for entry. Just so no one is inconvenienced, the code is taped to the door.
- When the city installed sidewalks, the busy work crew put imprints of leaves in the wet cement. But these are only around the trees next to the sidewalk. And the leaves are matched to the type of tree. How neat is that!
- Vancouverites have so much national pride that they supersize their maple trees.
- The city hosted the 2010 winter Olympics. You might remember the Inukshuk, the welcoming mascot.
We were told by one shopkeeper that it is now winter, which means four months of rain. Not very cold, but not sunny. (He remarked that they did have a record 40-day period of sun this past summer. Probably lots of people at Wreck Beach then.)
So in the rain we went to Granville Island with a fantastic public market.
Michael found a few dry moments to run along the Seawall Trail.
English Bay is also a major container port. Ships leave from here with raw materials and return from China with inexpensive imports.
And that’s our view of Vancouver, very short, not doing justice to its beauty and cultural offerings. We’ll have to come back someday.
For now, we’re back in the USA!