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Published: November 7th 2015
Cate on Wheels
C: Well we're nearing the end of our time in Vancouver and we've really enjoyed it despite the sometimes hostile weather. Yesterday, we decided some exercise was in order so we hired bikes (thanks Abbie Davis for the tip) and headed off to do the Seawall loop round the edge of the city centre and around Stanley Park, a beautiful protected peninsula to the northwest of the city. Vancouver is well set up for cycling and so after just 5 mins of slightly scary city roads we were on a great dedicated cycle track running along the water's edge for the rest of the day. The park was lovely and in most of it you would have no idea you were in the middle of huge metropolis. It's almost entirely natural and very underdeveloped with just a few attractions at one end. There is, however, an interesting exhibition of totem poles (they seem to be a theme around Vancouver) and we stopped several times in the route to take the obligatory photos of us on bikes! The absolute highlight though had to be spotting raccoons in the park. We were gaily cycling along when we noticed a woman had stopped and
was staring at a grassy bank. We followed suit and saw a gorgeous family of 4 raccoons. Unfortunately we didn't see them for very long and had no time to take a photo as they took one look at us and scarpered. I don't think it helped that Roger shouted, "Look badgers, no, raccoons!" just as they came into view. Having never seen a real raccoon before I was very excited and continued to look out for them. About an hour later we decided to take a detour to look at a lagoon and suddenly I spotted another one. Having learnt from our previous experience, I very quietly got off the bike, beckoned to Rog and we were able to watch this one for a good few minutes in the undergrowth. Roger started going to extreme David Attenborough worthy lengths to get a good photo but didn't succeed until an elderly man turned up and offered the raccoon some Whiskers cat biscuits. The raccoon was very happy about this and proceeded to pose nicely for photos whilst having his meal. The man muttered something in French and then wandered on, moments later attracting a group of three more raccoon. Clearly
the cat food was very appealing as these too were also happy to stand on the path and be ooohed and ahhed at by me. The rest of the day's cycling was fun but raccoon spotting was definitely the highlight!
Yesterday evening, feeling somewhat saddle sore, we headed down to Yaletown, the apparently trendy restauranty area for dinner. We also went up the Vancouver lookout tower getting nice views of the city at night.
Today (Friday) was our last day here and in very soggy conditions we decided to head away from the city centre to visit the Capilano suspension bridge park. There is quite alot of temperate rainforest in this part of Canada and in this particular section they have created a huge suspension bridge across a canyon and lots of tree top walkways. Vertigo-inducing but stunning and definitely a very different side to the city.
So on to Banff tomorrow...
R: I also bought some maple and bacon kettle chips, being in Canada and all. They didn't go down particularly well with Cate, but I thought they were pretty delicious. Also, today I went to the Anthropology museum to get a feel for the
Totem poles of Stanley park
local "First Nations" culture. Despite the 40 min bus journey packed on a bus with a bunch of students (the museum is in the department of anthropology at University of British Columbia) it was well worth it, with plenty of totem poles, masks and information about land grabs by the British and Canadian governments.
We also visited the Granville Island brewing company - just one of several new microbreweries in town. It seems like real beer is on the up here too!
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