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Published: February 16th 2016
Our plan to get to Whistler was simple... We'd just hop on the Greyhound and that would take us from Downtown Squamish to Downtown Whistler. It was going to be a nice relaxing day. That's not how it turned out.
We discovered as we tried to put this plan into action that the Greyhound doesn't stop in Downtown Squamish, rather it stops in the commercial centre. This is quite a long bus ride away. The bus comes only once an hour. We left the hotel with five minutes to spare but couldn't find the bus stop. As the bus drove past us we ran to catch it but the driver just kept going. At least we now knew the route it took and could find the stop. We waited in the rain for the next bus and found that there was a "special service" half an hour later. As far as I could see the only thing that made this special was the grumpiness of the driver, offended that I'd try to pay for over $5 of tickets with a $10 bill.
The bus took about forty minutes and then dropped us seemingly in the middle of a vast
industrial estate. The driver vaguely waved his arms and said the Greyhound terminal was a few buildings away. We passed a drive-through bank and then a drive-through Tim Horton's. Behind Tim's we came to a nondescript building, so bereft of any identifying features that it took us a few minutes to see the tiny sign proclaiming it to be a bus station. We waited about five minutes and then the bus pulled in. We drove up the highway, again seeing nothing at all out of the windows. We arrived in a small village and the driver refused to let people get off because their luggage had been packed in the wrong way. It was fascinating to watch the mild mannered acceptance of this from the inconvenienced Canadian teenagers. A few minutes later and we pulled into Whistler. From the bus stop there wasn't much to see, just some pine trees and a small round visitor's centre.
We emerged in the pouring rain, which would only get worse as the day progressed. Our first requirement was coffee... It had been an early morning and we were feeling cold. Starbucks obliged and we were soon tucking into a cake that had
somehow slipped into our order as well. After coffee we felt more equipped to explore the wet "Village".
Whistler is split into three sections, which meant that we always seemed to be in the wrong part to get to where we wanted to go. On the edge of the main section are the cable cars up to two mountains and the end of the ski-runs down. The day was so miserable that we could only just see the end of the ski-runs and the bottom cable car station. By the end of the day both mountains would be completely closed due to the weather. The rest of Whistler is basically a collection of shops, coffee shops and restaurants. Aside from the souvenir shops and the Starbucks these are all high-end venues and weren't of much interest to us. We spent some of our time wandering the streets to find out what was there and ducked inside for the worst of the weather.
Around lunchtime the weather eased a little, the rain was falling straight-down and hardly bouncing at all. We decided to use the brighter weather to take a walk down the Valley Trail. We crossed the highway
and took a path that meandered through the forests until it reached a lake which was completely covered in ice and snow. The path itself was slippery in parts but generally well maintained. It was nice to walk and get fresh air but we were soon tired by the weather. To recover we had pies from an Australian pie shop. I have to say they were infinitely better than any of the pies we actually had in Australia.
The weather deteriorated again in the afternoon and got worse as it got later. We tried to keep out of it by ducking into gift shops or coffee shops. As it got worse though our spirits dropped in step with it.
We did want to go to the First Nations Cultural Centre and we wandered over to it. We pushed our way through the rain, across the whole town and arrived dripping with water to find it had closed early and there was little for us to see.
Disappointed we decided to just go for dinner and then head back to the bus. We had seen a French restaurant earlier in the day which served raclette. This is something
Lindsey has always wanted to introduce me to so it was a no-brainer. On a cold wet evening melted chunks of gruyere cheese with slices of meat and potatoes was just the comfort food we needed. We spent as much time as we decently could in the restaurant which was becoming busier as the evening wore on. Then we headed back to the bus.
We didn't have long to wait and soon we set off in the dark and fog down the highway. We arrived in Squamish and then had the rigmarole of finding the bus. Using the Greyhound's wifi we had determined that we'd have to wait fifty-five minutes. We killed time in the warmth of Tim Horton's. Once we found the bus stop it was an easy trip back to the hotel. We tumbled in, completely exhausted and collapsed into bed, not at all ready to face packing and departing Canada the next day.
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