Thursday 20th August 2015
Today the weather looked overcast but was still reasonably warm.
We are feeling very pleased with our choice of hotel as it is proving so handy being so central. It is really close to Stanley park and also very handy for shopping. The beds are also comfy - firm and good quality - which is essential for my bad back. The hotel is Riviera on Robson and we booked it through Expedia. We're really pleased with how it all worked out - It's like a self-catering suite we've got - Just one room but it's big enough for us all.
Funny how priorities change over the years. 13 years ago the highlight of our trip to Vancouver was the shopping...buying clothes at bargain prices relative to the UK. This time we've been largely avoiding shopping and the highlights have been places where we've been able to get closer to nature.
Daddy took J across a natural causeway where they spotted something awesome just an arms reach away. A mummy seal nursing a seal pup. Then D went across with daddy.
Just look how close they got to these beautiful wild seals.
The rocks would have proved too tricky for Miss T and me with our arthritic joints so we gave that a miss.
Trying to get home proved to be disastrous in slow moving traffic. We missed the Lions Gate bridge so decided to head to the other bridge which is miles and miles away but the traffic came to a total standstill.
In the end we were stuck in traffic for so long that the kids got hungry for dinner so we turned around and headed back towards West Vancouver. We tracked down the Iranian restaurant we had been to on Monday - Gilaneh on Pemberton avenue. The restaurant itself doesn't look very special from the outside but like most Persian food, the dishes tasted super!
Tummies filled and rush hour over we decided to head back. As Miss T had fallen asleep earlier when we had been stuck in traffic before, we thought it was the perfect opportunity for a late night so we headed across town and kept going until we got to Venables Street where La Casa Gelato can be found.
This place is world famous and boasts hundreds of flavours. You can even try out some of the flavours before you decide what to buy.
Miss T and D chose Cotton Candy as one of their choices as their blue tongues bear witness to.
This is just such a fun place to visit and although it is a little way out from the main city centre it is well worth visiting.
Highlights for today are the seals, La casa gelato and seeing a skunk just outside our hotel when we got home.
Low point was realising just how bad the traffic can be. Four lanes of traffic merging into one was always going to be tough but traffic at a complete standstill for so long today was just ridiculous.
Friday 21st August 2015
After getting caught in all that traffic yesterday, we decided to stay this side of the bridge today.
We headed to Stanley park; this time heading to the totem pole side (or "toto pom" as Miss T called them).
We stopped for coffee at the gift shop there where we experienced our first nanaimo bar.
I had tried to make them once before but the experience was added to my huge list of cooking disasters as I could not figure out how the custard powder layer worked. These ones seemed to have dessicated coconut in which I don't remember adding to the recipe I tried. Nothing amazing but the kids enjoyed the experience of eating it.
Then we spotted 'the girl in wetsuit' statue, similar at first glance to the mermaid we had seen in Copenhagen, but nowhere near as mesmerising upon closer inspection.
We headed to one of Miss T's favourite play areas in Stanley park before heading back to the hotel for a late lunch.
Then we headed to Gastown to see the steam clock which played a tune just as we were arriving.
The harbour centre lookout tower is located here and there are lots of tourist shops. Richard and I had been up the tower before and I don't recall it being anything too special so we gave it a miss today.
On the way back we stopped at Rocky mountain chocolate factory on Robson street They had the cutest dipped apples! The boys chose an apple each and Miss T chose a mini minion.
There are so many restaurants down our road that it was tempting to eat out for dinner but none of us were particularly hungry after our late lunch so opted for some bread, cheese and fruit from whole foods market instead.
Today was the day I missed my mum. I'd been fine seeing photos of her that my aunt had dug out the other day but today I blubbed my eyes out walking up Robson st after seeing a poster for the soft drink, Canada Dry (it used to be her favourite soft drink when she was growing up in Iran). Utterly silly - I know - but sometimes it's the strangest things that can trigger the strongest memories. Today I felt she should have been here. She should have got to see her sisters again. She should have met her 3 grandchildren.
13 years on, August is often tough but this year I feel it will be tougher.
You can see Vancouver Diary - Part 1 here.