Saturday, December 02, 2006

Our Day in Vancouver, BC

It was still snowing in Vancouver the next morning when we got up. We had planned to spend the night again after a day in Vancouver. With all the snow, we decided to check-out of the hotel and see what we could of Vancouver before heading down the road.

We found another IHOP not far from our hotel. Yes, we like IHOP's. It was there that we learned the snow was not usual. One of the servers told us this was only the second time in 12 years that it had snowed like this.

After breakfast we headed back downtown. As we were driving down one of the main thoroughfares we found a very quaint and rich looking neighborhood. The canopy of trees filled with snow made the area even more charming.

Downtown Vancouver was like any other big city. Big. It bustled with shoppers walking in the weather with their packages and umbrellas. Due to the weather, my photos aren't exactly what I had expected, but they do show the feeling of the day. Cold, damp, rainy and snowy. Above is an attempt to photograph the Vancouver Lookout from inside the car as we headed down to Water Street.

We parked the car and strolled along the cobbles of Water Street. The snow turned to rain for just a while. Our destination was the old Steam Clock in Gastown. We didn't realize it at the time, but we had parked just about 30 yards from the old clock, but headed in the opposite direction when we got out of the car. The shot below is just about across from where we had dinner, looking back up towards where we parked. Our car was up on the right, right behind the big white vehicle parked in the distance.

We had dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory on Water Street. It was so good to get in out of the cold. The food was wonderful. They're building an Old Spaghetti Factory in Boise, we'll definitely be dining there in the future.

Photo SNAGGED from Gastown BC website.
While inside the restaurant, I was admiring some of the old "things" they had. The windows behind our table caught my eye. The stained glass was beautiful. My photo does not do them justice. There was an old cable car in the center of the restaurant.

After dinner, we headed back up the street. We still hadn't found the Steam Clock. We had to laugh. We had planned to get to the car and drive a few more blocks to see the Steam Clock, but as we got to our car, the motor home that was initially parked in front of us had left, and there is was! The old Steam Clock was just across the crosswalk, right in front of us! Good thing we were paying attention!

We enjoyed our time on Water Street. It was quaint, romantic and seasonable.

It was getting late, we still had tickets to the Canada Place IMAX, and we wanted to tour the city a bit more. We car toured through downtown. Some of the streets were crowded with film crews. Lights and cameras were everywhere within a couple of blocks. I wonder what they were filming.

One of the sights I wanted to see was the Christ Church Cathedral. The cathedral was built in 1894-1895 and used to be the tallest building around. It's amazing to see such a gothic building amongst the newer skyscrapers surrounding this historical site. We didn't have time to get out and tour the cathedral, so I took this "drive-by" shot.

Photo SNAGGED from websites, obviously not taken in a snow storm. lol
We made it back down to the waterfront to Canada Place. Our intentions were to see an IMAX movie there. When we came through the visitor center at the border, we prepaid for tickets. We had no idea what was playing and thought, whatever it was, it would be good. Turns out the only show playing at the time we arrived, we had already seen. So, we decided to return our tickets and we were on our way, back to Seattle. Yes, they refunded our tickets.

We definitely did not have enough time in Vancouver and have every intention of returning for a longer stay, sometime soon. We'd love to see Stanley Park, go to the top of the Harbour Centre Lookout Tower, visit Chinatown, stroll through the Granville Public Market, walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, ride the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain, do the interactive science museum at Science World - a 47 m tall steel geodesic dome built for Expo '86. There's so much to do, and so little time!

It was dark and snowing. The snow really hadn't stopped coming down since we checked in at Richmond, the day before. Our little rental car plowed through the elements without any trouble. At about 15 km's from the border, traffic came to a complete stop. Snow was deep, ice had capped the surface of the roads. Cars were sliding backwards on the freeway when headed uphill towards the customs check points, three lanes wide. It took us almost two hours to get to the customs gate from where the traffic stopped. Once at customs, it took just a minute to check our papers and ask where we were coming from, and we were back in the US of A.

We didn't have reservations for a room that night. And I am so glad we didn't stay another night in Vancouver as we initially planned. It got pretty scary out there on the highways for this California beach gal. What is normally a bit more than a two hour drive from Vancouver to Seattle, turned out to be more than six hours. My guy did an excellent job maneuvering through snow drifts and stranded traffic. He had only to pat me once on the leg to reassure me we'd be okay as I clawed the arm rests of our little rental car. We saw many slide offs but no major accidents. Traffic was bad, weather was worse.

The weather turned to rain just outside of Seattle. About 30 ml's from Sea-Tac, we found a hotel and snacks for the night, and headed to bed. PBS was broadcasting a Pink Floyd concert which we enjoyed until we fell asleep.

Monday morning we returned our little car and were shuttled to the airport. Our flight home was at noon, we'd be home by 2:30pm. We grabbed some breakfast and boarded our plane. Flying over I-82 across Oregon, we could see the roads below were clear. But, I'm so glad we flew. We had a great time. We were rested and able to enjoy each other, the show and the weather.
We definitely got what we needed.


Nancy said...

Always love your photos...some great ones here. First off, I love IHOP too...especially the Harvest grain pancakes! Second, "Ye Old Spaghetti Factory" is one of my all time FAVES. I've been to several of them across the country. Wanted to go in San Diego last week, but it's gone.

: (

Take care...
Thanks again for all your support.


Rob's troubled friend said...

You hit Vancouver during a freaky snow storm. We usually don't get it that ofen. The tourists mostly complain about the rain, so you were at least lucky that you had snow. I believe it was the worst storm in years. You took some great pictures that are reflective of downtown Vancouver. I used to work right by the 'sails' - Canada Place. It's a beautiful city for outdoor activities, snowboarding, kayaking, etc. So, I hope you come back in the summer.

Mary said...

I read the whole entry but the thing that struck me was the IHOP

man I like IHOP, but it seems to be almost a religious experience for many I know I have been seeing many IHOP references, so much that now guess what I want?

Cheryl said...

Rob's Friend... Thank you so much for stopping by! We had a wonderful time in the rain and snow of Vancounver and definitely plan to return when weather's warmer.

Bedazzzled1 said...

You have some fabulous pictures here. I am in love with picture #2. It is stunning, yet fills me with a sense of calm.

Happy you had such a fun time!