Vancouver–2013 Alaska Cruise HAL Volendam

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Finally, I can write my blog. I am not sure what happened, but I didn’t have the program downloaded so that I could write offline, especially since the internet is extremely slow on the ship and insanely slow in Alaska.. But now I am up and running (I hope).

 

We were called last minute to host a back to back cruise to Alaska. (14 days)  We were offered the opportunity to stay a couple of days in Vancouver, which we agreed to (of course why not???)  but after checking out the prices of hotel rooms we decided find another way to enjoy Vancouver before the cruise.

DAY 1: On the way to the airport in Vegas we stopped at a really cool breakfast place downtown called EAT. The restaurant was spacious and the food was great, especially the coffee.

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We found a room for rent on a new site (maybe just new to us) called Airbnb. They have listings of rooms in people’s homes. There are photos of the room for let, plus the home it’s in, plus profiles of the owners, so we used airbnb for this trip. Would you believe I forgot to take pix of the place…

 

The condo we rented was lovely, it was spacious and very modern. The room had a memory foam mattress (king size) and the bathroom (which we shared) was ultra modern and the shower was great. It was located in Chinatown which we thought would be a cool place to stay in. Close enough to everything and we even had parking under the building. Jacky, the owner of the condo was a sweetheart, trying to stay out of our way whenever we were in.

Since we saved so much off the hotel rooms we rented a car to be able to travel as much as possible out of Vancouver proper since we have been here a number of times. Vancouver is a city of many cultures. There is a very large Asian section from when Hong Kong was turned back over to China. Many of the residents moved to Vancouver and made new lives there.  Chinatown is a bustling typical Chinatown as you would find all over the world but at night this particular Chinatown becomes a haven for the homeless and they are everywhere. I just couldn’t bring myself to take pictures of all of the people hanging out in the alleys lighting crack pipes. Smoozing with their compadres.. It was very depressing actually to think that there are so many, even if they are harmless and friendly. There are now homeless shelters and halfway houses all over Chinatown, including alleyways that you can hide in. It’s so very sad. 

That evening Jacky told us there was a Chili Festival and a Chinese Fair in the neighborhood. We  decided to walk around the neighborhoods near Chinatown check out the Chili and the Chinese and walk around Gastown with its pubs and fun shops. We actually found Vegetarian Chili which K loved. There were some very interesting characters hanging about.

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Some of the things they are selling in the shops. A prelude to what is coming in Alaska. Since Alaska and BC were pretty close they have very similar if not the same,  First Nation artworks and crafts.

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They had tons of knitwear.. Heavy and itchy as all “get-out!” and so expensive! A sweater that must have weighted 50 pounds was $350.. Not sure if it was actually made in Canada or Alaska or maybe CHINA???

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A typical wood carving. I personally love the designs. Each carving or painting tells a story. They are very into totem poles too. Each section of the totem says something from the bottom to the top and the story ends at the top.

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Gastown Street

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The Chinese Fair

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Wonder what the health department would have to say about this booth!

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Street Fair fries

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DAY 2: The next morning we headed out toward Whistler Mountain.. but got waylaid and saw a turn off for Lynn Canyon and a suspension bridge. But of course, the foodie in me had to stop in a quaint spot for breakfast.

Tommy’s, we literally bumped into it. It juts out into the main road toward Lynn Canyon so we stopped and had our usual breakfast. They had seriously delicious eggs, just look at the color of the yolks, no touch up here!!! And the coffee was ever flowing and good.

 

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My all time favorite breakfast! Avocado, tomato on English Muffin with poached eggs and homefries (add some smoked salmon and you have a feast!).. What could be better? Oh yes, FRESH EGGS! DSCN5637DSCN5638

I loved their little quotes around the café. Like the two following ones:

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Satisfied and ready for hiking we drove out to Lynn Canyon and the suspension bridge. Since it was Labor Day it was packed.. once we finished with the bridge we decided to take a hike in the canyon. It was lovely.. we meet 2 women hiking and stopped and chatted for about a half hour.. While there, some dumb kid decided to jump off a bridge into the water ignoring the sign posted there that said.. BEWARE, DO NOT JUMP MAY RESULT IN YOUR DEATH.. I guess he couldn’t read.. we heard screams from his buddies.. and he did survive but barely.. you could hear him screaming while he tumbled down the rapids… idiot yet lucky…

Surprisingly the bridge didn’t collapse under all these people!

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The beginning of the hike. Steps to take you into the canyon

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You can see how many steps we took to reach the lower (stationary) bridge. Also, the bridge the dumba** kid jumped from and the water he jumped into to. And the steps that bring you back up to the park entrance.

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This seems to be a very popular area for runners and we did run into quite a few running up and down the stairs.

This plaque was on a bench on the running trail.

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These signs were at the Ranger Station cautioning you to watch out for not only bears but also_______

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The kid was pooped!

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The weather started to turn and the fog and rain began. We realized it wasn’t a good day to drive up to Whistler and so decided to head back in the other direction toward the seaside and see what Stevenson , a little fishing village on the sea south of Vancouver was like. Many people recommended the place and the two women who we met on the trail suggested an eating spot for fish and chips… I wonder if they eat anything else besides fish and chips since wherever we went that was on the menu..  Some ladies from KnittingParadise suggested the place too but talked about a yarn shop there. In truth, I knew that K wouldn’t really enjoy spending time in a yarn shop so I didn’t mention it.. but wouldn’t you know it.. we found a parking space right in front of it!!!! Faith!!! Had to go in now!!!  We spent about an hour there and K couldn’t stop talking to the saleslady about a sweater in the shop that the owner made for her daughter that took about 4 years to make and by the time it was finished the kid didn’t want it anymore!!!! It was selling for $1000.. seriously! I did buy some beautiful purple sock yarn made in Vancouver.

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From there we were just a few blocks from the pier. The weather totally cleared up by the time we got to Stevenson so it was perfect walking weather and eating al fresco!  The docks had lots of boats selling fish straight from the morning catch and of course we just had to have the fish and chips the ladies on the hike suggested!

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After the pier and lunch we drove around the town, which was lovely full of hydrangeas and sweet painted houses, many were for sale.

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As if we weren’t exhausted enough, Jacky told us about another weekend summer market that was open in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver. It was on the way back to the city and since it is only open on weekends during the summer we probably would never get a chance to check it out so as tired and we were we drove to it.. The fair was a cross between a swap meet, midway and an Asian street food market. It was the usual Chinese stuff. There was even a “Doctor” who offered reflexology and massages.  For some reason known only to them, I guess, the place was full of rubber Duckies!

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Even the cops were getting into it and having fun!

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They had a stage where people preformed.

The father tried to help the kid sleep by putting his finger in her ear so that it would muffle the sounds from the stage and not wake her up.

They had some awful performers. Like a Michael Jackson wannabe, quite pathetic, but you have to give him credit for getting up on stage and preforming! And a young kid who wasn’t too bad but was trying too hard to be Michael Buble singing Frankie and crooner music.

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As darkness fell more people showed up and the food court started to really get busy. Again, since this is a very big Asian area that was the food that was offered.

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DAY 3:    The next day we started driving up to Whistler Mountain again and got waylaid yet again.. It was pouring and foggy, of course there was another turn off into a park that wound its way up a mountain to show us some beautiful views of the city, if the weather would have cooperated, which it did not!

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Must be a ski resort and these are the ski runs during the summer once the snow has melted!

And again we hadn’t had breakfast (what’s up with us and breakfast?????)  and found our way to another lovely little village, even though it was pouring cats and dogs we found a great little bake shop (Called The Bake House) in Dundarave. They have a Main Street with lots of cute shops, markets and cafes.We should have stuck with the pastries instead of trying to have a decent breakfast, the breakfast was so very nondescript but the bread was great and so were the lovely scones, muffins and cakes.. They make fantastic breads and even have this great rainbow bread they use for the kids grilled cheese sandwiches. They sell the loaves by the pound. The scones were great but not TRACY’s award winning scones and they didn’t have clotted cream, either!  Across the street was a yarn shop but it was raining so badly we just wanted to get back to the car. Will have to wait till next time.

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Then we heard about these Gardens called the Elizabeth Gardens that are suppose to be beautiful. They were ok if you hadn’t already gone to Buchardt Gardens over on Vancouver Island in the city of Victoria. NOW THOSE ARE MAGNIFICENT! I know I’m spoiled!!!   There was an interesting plaque in the Garden that lead us to believe that someone  had something to do with the Holocaust. Driving the neighborhood around the Gardens showed us that we were in a pretty dominant Jewish neighborhood with Chabad occupying a large building in the area, kosher groceries the JCC and Jewish Hebrew Schools.  We went to check out the grocery store to see what they had in stock and they were pretty well stocked, even had honey cake and round raisin challahs. Plus, a decent meat department and we purchased some beef jerky would you believe?

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From there (since it was raining and foggy) we decided to go to Granville Island with it’s interesting artisan food and art market. 

A broom maker, I wonder if her name is Broomhilda!

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Cherries piled high!

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My new life motto!!!!!!!!!!!!

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First Nation artwork and cloak see all those little white buttons sewn on it? I think they are from whale bone.

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Yarn bombing!

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Under the Granville Bridge

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Before and After! Fish and Sweet Potato Fries.. Salmon, Cod and Halibut!! YUM!

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Back to Chinatown and packing!

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Off to Alaska we go!

8 responses »

  1. Wonderful pics Nina! I was so hungry after viewing all the food, fish and chips! I love good fish and this all looked moist and succulent~YUM! would love to see you and Kal in some of the pictures! Get one of the locals to take your pictures as well…don’t be shy…lol. Have a fantastic cruise and can’t wait to see more pics and read your blog! Miss and love you! ~Sharon

  2. Hi Nina and Kal If we get to Vancouver again I want to follow your itinerary. Looks like you had a great time and saw some very interesting sights. Now I want to see your Alaska cruise.

    • There you go Nancy.. here it is, just for you!.. We were everywhere in Vancouver.. mainly because of the rain. If it hadn’t rained so much we definitely would have made it to Whisler.

  3. Nina- I can’t believe you didn’t take me along! It sounds like you are having quite the adventure. Is Kal behaving? Love ya. Wools

  4. Just a small comment…while you were in Vancouver you mentioned you were in Stevenson but you were actually in Steveston and I know because that’s where my brother-in -law has his practice ( doctor) and isn’t it a great, quaint little place?? Love your blog and looking forward to living the Asian cruise through your eyes!! Have Fun!

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