20181015

Exploring Vancouver

I know it seems like this has been an endlessly long series of vacation posts.. this is the last post.. our last stop on an unforgettable trip, Vancouver. This blog is like a journal.. as much as the posts are for you.. they are even more for us.. A way to look back and reminisce on the moments of our life.. especially the travelling parts.. when the details start to get blurry, where I hope the boys can one day scroll through and be reminded of all our adventures.

We drove to Vancouver from Seattle.. an approximately 3 hour drive immigration included. We checked into our hotel.. which was like a modern take on a motel.. had a cool vibe and included free parking.. 

After a quick freshening up we got back into our car and headed to Stanley Park. Stanley Park is a 1000 acre public park created in 1888. We arrived close to lunch time and quickly made our way to Stanley's Park and Grill.. the entrance to the park is free.. you need to pay for parking.. and once you pay at one station all parking for the rest of the day is free.. and yes the park is soooo big that you need the car. No food pictures :( but the food at the grill was very good.. that was our last amazing meal of the trip.. the rest of our Vancouver meals were seriously lacking.. it could have been because it was the tail end of the trip and we didn't make a great enough effort to find the best places.. oh well.

After we ate we sat on a miniature train.. it was 15 minute ride through the forest that was informative and cute.


The park was crazy busy and the parking was insane.. we had to loop around twice before we could find a spot near the splash pad.. the boys loved it!



From there we walked to the Totem Poles. 


We were intrigued by the stories each told.. the boys made us read every plaque and every story behind all the 9 totem poles. We visited the Brockton Point Lighthouse and walked along the sea wall and watched sea planes take off and land. Stumbled upon a playground or two and the kids played..




The Lions Gate Bridge behind me. We called it a night.. had an average meal and went back to the hotel. The next morning we had a quick breakfast at Elysian Coffee.. 




It was not bad just a not really us. : / and the kids ate nothing! Afterwards we headed to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. We didn't get there as early as I had hoped.. we had lost our edge.. lol. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a simple suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver. The current bridge is 460 ft long and 230 ft above the river. 








It was such a cool place.. if only there were less tourists!!! We started with the cliff walk.. then took the suspension bridge to the other side were there was a Treetop Adventure. Treetops Adventures was opened in 2004, consisting of seven footbridges suspended between old-growth Douglas Fir trees on the west side of the canyon, forming a walkway up to 98 ft above the forest floor.

The boys received a little booklet to fill out so they could be Junior Explorers. We ran all over the place figuring out the answers to the questions.. 


Spread your arms at the wingspan display, which bird would you be? 


Stand against the growth chart and record how long it would take each species to grow as tall as you!




Badges received :D

Next we headed Granville Island. 



 We strolled.. window shopped.. ate.. nothing great



This particular contraption captured the boys attention.. especially D.. we couldn't pry them away from it.. it is called the Ocean Commotion made in 2006. It was designed to amuse and delight the audience while also providing an educational entry point for those interested in the functioning of the Ocean Construction Supplies concrete plant in which it is located.


and so it ends.. our amazing trip to the Pacific Northwest.. 
      
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20181012

Friday Photography





Dipped Purple - A brilliant purple wild prairie blazing star found in the Montreal Botanical Gardens.
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20181008

A Day in Victoria, British Columbia

One very early Seattle morning we drove down to the Clipper terminal.. went through immigration, grabbed some breakfast and found ourselves comfortably seated on the Clipper ferry ready for our two hour ride. Via Clipper we had booked a round trip plus a trip to the Butchart Gardens, We arrived in Victoria around 10 am.. disembarked, went through immigration again and got on our tour bus. We are not usually ones to take a tour.. but we found our tour guide funny and informative and it was the perfect way to get to see a bit of the city knowing we had to be back on the ferry in just a few hours. 


The Butchart Gardens are just outside of Victoria in Brentwood Bay. Robert Butchart had the dream of making the best cement.. (seriously) so he and his wife Jennie Butchart moved to the West coast of Canada because of its rich limestone deposits. They established their home in the Todd Inlet in 1904 and when Jennie heard of a Japanese Garden designer visiting Victoria she commissioned a Japanese Garden for their estate.. She very soon discovered her love for gardening.. when the limestone quarry was exhausted she turned it into a sunken garden.. then the tennis courts were replaced with an Italian garden. In the 1920's people started to visit the Butchart Gardens.. Jennie herself giving tours and serving the tea.. today over a million people visit each year.



They don't look too happy.. it turned out to be a very very hot day.. our smiles aren't exactly genuine either.. plus as beautiful as it was it wasn't amazing.. I heard people commenting that the gardens are a lot more beautiful in the spring.. so maybe it was the wrong season.. but we weren't so impressed.. We rushed through some of the last few areas so that we can make it back to the bus which left hourly.. and back to Victoria.


We got off the bus and started strolling through the streets.. Victoria is such a charming little city.. 


We found Chinatown.. did you know that the Victoria Chinatown is the second oldest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco? 



We found the Fan Tan Alley.. and after walking through it on the other side we found Fan Tan Cafe where we had the most delicious lunch.. 



We strolled through the Bastion Square where so many wonderful artists were selling their goods.. one particular booth attracted us the most.. 


These are what my nightmares are made of... I have a major entomophobia.. I don't even like butterflies getting too close. But the boys were extremely fascinated. 


We grabbed some coffee from BruBike.. its was a cute coffee cart attached to a bike.  It moves daily to a different location... 

We started to head back to the ferry terminal.. where we learned the ferry was delayed.. then more delayed.. we went through immigration.. and waited some more.. instead of arriving in Seattle around 9pm we got back closer to midnight.. forgot which floor we parked our car on and had to carry/drag half asleep children up and down the car park.. 

All in all we found Victoria lovely.. in hindsight we may have skipped the gardens and explored the area and the streets some more.. and after the long delays with the ferry we thought spending a night may have been nice too.. 
     
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20181005

Friday Photography


       
View Finder - A tourist binocular standing at the corner on the Delaware to New Jersey Ferry. Allowing the passengers to take a closer look at the stunning blue sea and coastline.

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Prints also available in larger sizes. Contact for more information and special requests.

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20181001

Sightseeing in Seattle

From Rainier we drove to Seattle and checked in to our hotel in the Queen Anne district. We woke up the next morning ready to start exploring.. and eating!

We grabbed a bite to eat at Sugar Bakery and Coffeehouse and walked over to the International Fountain coffee's in hand. The fountain wasn't fully turned on but the boys enjoyed running around it.. and around it and around it.. 



and we watched.. and sipped.. Space Needle in the background. On our way to the Space Needle we came across a park and of course the kids had to play in it.. it was an amazing play ground.. really taking the basic slide and swings to the next level.


Afterwards we strolled through the area passing the Space Needle.. Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden.. we had seen some of Chihuly's work when there had been an exhibition in New York last year but didn't have the time to venture into any of the museum's on this visit. We walked towards the water to the Olympic Sculpture Park. 



Not really all that impressive.. but it was free.. so I won't be too harsh. We continued our walk down by the water till we got to Pike Place Market.. and then the eating began!


This stern crossing guard pose was H's pose of choice for the day


We started the boys off with Beechers famous mac and cheese.. and the boys gave it a big old F. They couldn't even finish this little bowl.. H refused to take a second bite.. I tired some too and it was so salty.


There was a long line outside of Piroshky Piroshky


We got one sweet apple and one savory beef and onion Russian pastry.. both good..


Next were macaroons at Le Panier.. there was a long line here too.. and rightfully so.. these were little heavenly bites.. as you can see the boys could hardly wait to take a bite.. I got the lemon, H the strawberry, M got the pistachio and D the chocolate.. all were very very good.



We roamed the market.. stopped by the artisans selling their wares, witnessed some fish throwing and catching.. then when we felt a bit peckish again we stopped at Los Agaves for some tacos. 

We left the market to visit the infamous gum wall.. and it is exactly as gross as it sounds.. and it is not a wall.. it has grown into an alley of sickly sweet smelling old gum.



Just a few minutes away we stopped at the Bottega Italia for some gelato.. I skipped.. the boys shared a lemon which was so so tart.. and M had his favorite.. pistachio.

We strolled the streets heading towards the Public Library.. then Pioneer Square.. grabbed some coffee at some point.. and then found ourselves in Occidental Square.. it was a little rough around the edges.. but they had some games set up in a corner.. so D and M played some ping pong while H and I played Connect 4


Afterwards we got an Uber and headed to Kerry Park..


It was a very small sliver of a park.. but it provided a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline.. and way off in the distance you could even catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier. By taking a staircase the park had a lower lever with a small playground for kids..the boys played and we rested our legs.. afterwards we headed back towards the hotel.. we stopped at the Atlas Lounge for dinner.

The next day we took a Clipper to Vancouver Island but I'll get into that in next weeks post. 

The day after that we had another day in Seattle.. we met up with M's colleague and her husband for breakfast at the Portage Bay.. we had made reservations.. there was a huge wait.. we had a lovely time.. the breakfast was good.. 



M and I split a sweet and savory.. H accidentally knocked over a cup of maple syrup all over himself, me and inside my purse!!! So we had to make a trip back to the hotel before heading to Discovery Park. I don't think we have ever visited this many playgrounds while on vacation.. we usually stay at a safe distance away from them.. but I gotta say Seattle has some great playgrounds. They had a little zip line too.. 


Then we went over to the Ballard Locks.. the locks were open and the boats were parking.. we learned about the life cycle of salmon as well as saw some... and we even spotted baby seals!!


Next stop Freemont.. we visited the Troll Under the Bridge.



Then stopped at Cafe Turko for lunch. It looked like a really cool area with fun shops but the kiddo's are not very cooperative when it comes to window shopping.. :( So we headed to GasWorks Park. This is were they shot the paintball scene in 10 Things I Hate About You.. I felt so nostaligic afterwards I re-watched the movie as soon as we got back home.. oh Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon Levitt.. 

There was a wedding going on at the park.. the park had a great view.. though the kids were upset the playground was under construction.. 



This is what happens when you tell the boys to get in the picture.. they refuse so you pretend to be happy about them not being in the picture.. and then they run to get in the picture.. sigh.. thank you to the person who came up with reverse psychology.. it's a parents best friend.


It was still early.. but we were tired.. we stopped to get some gelato at the Fainting Goat.. good stuff.. and then headed back to the hotel.. got take out from the Korean place across the street and relaxed.
     
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