Published: September 7th 2011September 5th 2011
Continuing from the last blog:
Sat 3rd Sept - well, the Amtrak train had an internet connection alright but it didn't allow me to upload all the photos, so I finally got that finished by going to McDonalds (boo!) near Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, as we had an hour or so to kill before getting the Greyhound bus to Whistler.
The journey was only 2.5 hours long and we arrived in Whistler at 5.30 p.m. The hotel (Whistler Pinnacle International) was just around the corner from the bus stop so we were soon in the room. Very nice, great views out to the mountains and an open chair lift, jacuzzi tub, fake log gas fire (totally unneccessary right now as it's still so hot hot hot!), huge cable TV, fully equipped kitchen (actually including crockery, utensils and a dishwasher no less) and plenty of space.
So first things first - off to the liquor store in the marketplace where we purchased a Whistler Brewery Sampler pack - 12 bottles, 3 each of 4 types of beer. Then straight back to the room to get them chilled as in Canada it's more expensive to sell cold beer in
a liquor store, so some stores don't even have a chiller room (and they think it's the Brits who drink warm beer? A common misconception)!
Ate dinner at Black's pub, everywhere was so crowded (long holiday weekend plus jazz festival in Whistler, which could be heard pretty much eberywhere). Blacks had plenty room - the wild mushroom pasta was exceptional but even better was a Russell Brewing Company beer called "A wee angry Scotch ale" - seriously!
Went back to the room quite early and tried some of the other beer - a long day travelling up from Seattle.
Sun 4 Sept - wicked day! Got tickets for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola which actually includes tickets to ride 4 open chair lifts and 2 gondolas across and up/down Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Again it was a gloriously hot day and we still managed to catch the sun despite being over 6000 feet up. In around 6 hours we did the Whistler Village Gondola, the Peak Express Open Chair lift, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola across the two mountains, the Solar Coaster Express Open Chair Lift and the Wizard Express Chair Lift. In between we did some
of the alpine walks on each mountain - it was stunningly picturesque. There were plenty people around but the gondolas and chair lifts can move a large number very quickly and luckily not everyone was following the same trail. The views extended for miles - alpine meadows, snowy peaks and several lakes. It must be superb in winter. We passed the olympic sites, several mountain bikers, ATVs - you name it.
According to the literature, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola breaks 3 world records: longest unsupported span of 1.88 miles; highest lift of its kind at over 1430 feet above the valley floor; and it completes the longest continuous lift system in the world. It was awesome.
There were also places to eat/drink that far up, we just opted for a snack as it was too nice to be sitting down - despite the amazing views.
Ate dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and popped into Blacks for another wee angry Scotch ale before heading back to try out the other well-chilled by now Whistler beers.
Mon 5 Sept - so now it's 6pm and we'll probably head off to eat soon. Today we walked around
all of Whistler village - still busy but not as much as yesterday - the jazz festival has finished and so has the weekend. Then we caught then free shuttle bus to the Lost Lake and did the trail there, which didn't take very long so we strolled along the 'river' in the village when we got back. Also managed to squeeze in some extra reading time!
It's our last night in Whistler, tomorrow we head back to Vancouver for the final 3 nights. This has been a very pleasant stop, I'm glad we did it but it's very touristy and commercial. A good contrast with Vancouver though.
There are more photos below