Chris on the right, Nena middle and some random dude on the left. Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.
One of the places we had wanted to visit in Vancouver was Capilano Suspension Bridge (having seen a photo on a website nine months ago). When we got here we found it was around $35 each to get entry, and some people said it wasn't really worthwhile since there was a free suspension bridge nearby at Lynn Canyon. So, when we finally got through the worst of the traffic heading back into Vancouver we went straight over into North Vancouver to Lynn Canyon Park to take a look around. It was pretty beautiful and the suspension bridge was around 50m high and 50m long. We spent a fair bit of time just sitting on rocks in the sun next to a stream. It was really peaceful and gave us time to chat about how we felt about the trip coming to a close. Eventually though, our stomachs reminded us that it had been a while since breakfast, so it was time to go get some grub.
We drove back over to Chinatown and parked in a dodgey looking area while we wandered around trying to find some food. After wandering around for ages, we eventually chose a pretty busy looking
Looks like a fun water slide down there...
place which gave us two huge plates of food to eat (we had to get a take-away container - too much). Next we went to a popular area for looking around which was on Main St, just south of Broadway. We found a couple of pawn shops with some good stuff (Chris was eyeing off a really nice bike with high-end components on it, but decided against dealing with the luggage hassle), and a few other places worth looking at. For dinner we went to a vego mexican place and had a tasty but slightly odd soup (tomato, coriander, beans, avocado) and a yummy bean wrap.
Around 9pm we headed over to our host's place. We were spending the next two nights at David's place. David stayed on our verandah for a couple of nights back in Tassie earlier in the year. He's an extremely keen alpine mountaineer with lots of great stories, photos and advice regarding surviving in the mountains. When he was in Tasmania he did a heap of the big walks including the South West track (carrying all his food for 17 days in a 35kg backpack! Most people get a plane to drop off food
supplies halfway along the walk to make the load lighter). We chatted about our avalanche experiences and he told us of the fun he had getting stuck on a mountain with a group of kids new to mountaineering while avalanches crashed around them. They had to wait until it started to get dark so the snow was more frozen and less likely to come down.
The following morning we were meant to return our car to where we picked it up. Instead we called Hertz and extended the rental by a couple of days, and also arranged to drop it off at the Airport instead. It wasn't much more expensive and would make things a lot easier. One thing we had noticed with the three Nissan Versas we had now rented was that when you filled them up at the gas station the needle went way over the F mark and then sat above full for around 80km. We figured that if we filled the car today and drove economically for the next two days we shouldn't have to fill it again... hopefully.
We then drove over to an area on the North shore called Deep Cove. After
Pontificating on a Rock
hmmmm how do I get down without getting wet feet?
munching down a coffee and muffin each we hired a two person kayak and went out into the bay for a few hours. The kayak was a really nice one with splash suits (so water coming over the top doesn't end up in your lap), and a rudder. Chris was at the back doing the steering and found it tricky at first - trying to push against the foot pedals while paddling, but not accidentally start moving the rudder around (which is controlled by the feet). We saw some amazing houses on the water front. Most were huge, some were beautiful and some garish to the extreme. One thing we were noticed is some of the islands which are appear to be empty have large signs saying "Private Property! Keep Off!". It seems odd seeing this unused land so loudly declaring that noone can go there. Sad in some ways. It was a fun kayak though with some beautiful areas of forest and lotsa bird life around. To get back to the rental place we had to battle against the wind and current which made for a pretty tough paddle (especially thinking we didn't have much time to do it).
Maple leaf submerged in superclear water
We got back around 3pm, feeling pretty tired, a bit hungry and slightly damp. We had a pile of dirty clothes to wash so we dropped them into a laundromat and went to a diner next door which had an amazing vegie burger with yummy handcut garlic fries and a chocolate oreo smoothie. ahhh livin the good life! We chatted to the girl working there for a while as she was heading over to Australia later and she also gave us a few suggestions for things to do on our last day in Vancouver. For dinner we cooked up a pasta back at David's place and then just hung out for the evening.
Saturday and the final day of our holiday was upon us. David again had to leave early to go to work and then to head over to Vancouver Island to run a marathon the following day (the man is keen!). We started by driving to a nearby cafe for a breakfast coffee and scone (not called biscuits in Canadia - must be the monarchic influence). Nena had a look in a couple of places to get a haircut, but they were either booked out or looked
Still at Lynn Canyon. Beautiful clear water.
a bit dodgey so we didn't bother. Next we drove over to an area called "The Drive" which is a long section of Commercial Drive which contains lots of cafes, clothes shops, organic markets and so on. Nena managed to find another pair of shoes to buy and some cool red plaid pants. It was a nice day and quite pleasant just strolling around, though after a while we realised we needed more food and/or more coffee so we found a vego cafe to grab a cheap curry and a tasty smoothie. Further up the road we dropped into another cool looking hairdressers, but found that the cost of a cut and colour was going to be somewhere north of $150, so decided to skip that for now. It appears there are polar extremes in hairdressing in Vancouver. There are the bright fluro lit (often Asian) places which charge between $8 and $20 for a cut, and then there are the ones that have subdued lighting, and look like either an art gallery or someone's bedroom, or a cafe and charge well over $70 for a cut. We knew we were going to be up very late tonight, so it
Loved how the water was so clear you could see the ledge in the rock formation underwater.
was time for a tasty mocha before popping over to a shop called "London Drugs" which is like a K-Mart or something but smaller, and cheap, and has a crazy range of things. Chris found a pair of Sennheiser xbox headphones for only $80 (usually over $150) so that was a good purchase (no idea how we are going to pack all these things though!).
When we got back to the house we started the mammoth task (tusk?) of sorting everything properly and attempting to cram it all into our backpacks. Thankfully Nena had bought an extra backpack along the way (back in Las Vegas) which she could chuck a pile of things in and (just) get away with calling it "carry on luggage". Chris was reluctant to leave behind the extra heavy duty tent pegs we had bought just for Burning Man so they got stuck in his pack along with a few books that he had bought - getting pretty heavy now! When we were good to go we drove (very slowly and economically) over to a nearby vego restaurant which had got some rave reviews. Unfortunately it was clearly a well known institution as there was
quite a queue outside and knowing that we had to leave to get to the airport by around 8:45pm we decided to wander nearby and see what we found. Thankfully we came across a really nice small Indian restaurant called Spiced Up. The prices seemed a bit high, but then the serves came out and they were pretty large. We both had a little bit of nervous belly going on which kinda kills your appetite a bit so we couldn't finish it. The super friendly girl who was serving us was happy to put the rest in a takeout container and we jumped in the car to drive to the airport.
We had no problems at the airport (the car was still over full), but ended up in the worst seats on the plane. They were the two right at the back and it meant you couldn't put your seat back, but since the people in front of you would put theirs back you ended up with their seats just about up your nose and your eyes crossed trying to view the screen in front of you. Not a great way to spend the next fifteen hours. Oh well.
The entertainment system was working fine though so we watched a few different movies and some TV docos. Air Canada has to win the award for The Worst food though. Unpleasant curry, frozen food, tasteless salad, bland wrap. Yuck.
The change at Sydney was pretty fast - we didn't have much time to spare and we were on our way to Melbourne via Qantas. We were reminded we were back in Melbourne by being asked to pay $4 to use a luggage trolley (free everywhere else we looked), and pay $11 an hour for Internet access (which was often free - even in Sydney!). At least we got a tasty coffee at the airport. The flight went ok, and before long we were back home in sunny and chilly Hobart where Toby met us and drove us down to Salamanca for a pizza and a cold bevvie!
This is probably the last blog unless some thoughts come to our minds in the next week or so that we want to put in here. Early on in the trip we thought of starting a list of all the people to say thankyou to, but we ran out of time
Nice place for a little holiday house
and room. So many hosts, guides, friends, cooks, housemates, and so on helped us on our journey that it all became too much. We might still get the list done properly, but in the meantime, thanks to EVERYONE who helped us out along the way in whatever form, and thanks to anyone who read through this. Hopefully you got some amusement, inspiration, or at least got to avoid doing any real work for 15 minutes or so.
Nena and Chris
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