Sunday, 15 February 2015

Vancouver Zoo

It is simply not acceptable to visit a new city without seeking out the zoo- because every city must have a zoo! Jonas decided a few years ago that he intended to visit a zoo in every Australian state, he can now include an international zoo to his list. 

It was a miserable day (the only bad weather we had during our stay) & not ideal for exploring a zoo. Campbell decided after a short tour of the first few exhibits that he had seen enough. So we sought out a dry place to wait & sip hot chocolate while Eric & boys explored the Australian animal section!! While Jonas was delighted with all that he saw (and the massive puddles he 'accidentally' walked through) it's not a zoo that gains a top rating on our list. It was a fairly long drive out of the city, and there MAY have been a few stressful moments of remembering what side of the road we should be driving on! We managed to find a lovely little spot on the way back to the city with a massive book shop- hurrah! Not only did Campbell find some gems, but Drew found some great comics and I found some leather bound classics for a steal. Are you noticing the trend here- where there are bookshops we are happy. Although, the peacocks were fair more interesting according to Joe. 
....Oh and also watching the world go by with the locals. 


We all arrived back to Vancouver feeling like a slow paced day after all the Whistler excitement & hadn't anticipated that a visit to Chinatown would be quite so exciting! On our search for yum cha we must have stumbled across a different part of the neighbourhood. The first clue was the ambulance roaring through the streets to pull up outside a decrepit looking hotel, then there was the obvious drug deal that took place across our path- they all smiled very pleasantly as they backed out of our way and continued to exchanged goods and cash. We hurried along, with the boys oblivious to the interesting happenings around us. The shops were sparse & mostly boarded up, there were large gatherings of homeless people lining the street & there was just a sense of desperation. We were relieved to find our way back amongst the bright shop fronts of Chinatown, feeling grateful for our comfortable home & good fortune. We are not naive to the realities of the world, but we weren't keen to expose our children to drug deals & drunken rants. It was just one street, but the sense of despair was palpable. The fabulous array of goods that tumble into the street once you turn the corner provided a very stark contrast. 
We never did find that yum cha and decided to head further downtown towards Gastown for another look around the harbour & to find some lunch.  A side visit to Stanley Park on our way back to the apartment to see the totem poles was a cheerful end to our eventful day . 

More Whistler!!

We were not quite ready to brave the slopes on skis (& with a wheelchair) but we were keen to cross from Whistler to Blackcomb on the gondola. Campbell even looked up from his book briefly to admire the view. 
Very happy boys who just couldn't wait to build a snowman & throw a snowball! 
Clearly Eric is just as excited!! 

Hot chocolates at the top...of course! 



The reason for getting the car was so we could find some snow!! We were not eager to try to join a group on a crowded shuttle with Campbell's wheelchair to juggle. Now that Eric is a seasoned driver on Canadian roads ;) it is time to head for the mountains. 
It was a glorious day in Vancouver when we left- great omen. 

First pitstop & the boys thought that THIS snow was exciting!!! Can't wait to see what they think of the real snow! 
Yep- now they realise what all the hype was about. 
Quick slice before we plan out our time in Whistler! 

Great accommodation right in the town centre. Lovely loft bedroom for Drew & Joe. 

Oh what a treat this was! Our first booking was for an evening sleigh ride. We had a gen-u-ine cowboy driving the horses & Campbell decided that a bit of Willy Nelson was required...he entertained our fellow riders with a delightful little number. 
Over the fields we go, laughing all the way....

It really was a wonderful experience & although it was very expensive ( by our standards) it was totally worth it. 
Returning to Whistler it was buzzing with happy skiers chatting about their exciting day on the slope. We were looking forward to a hearty dinner to warm us up. 


We got a car!! Time to spread out beyond the downtown Vancouver boundaries.....while driving on the other side of the road!!! Adventurous we may be, but not ready to dive in too deep without practise. The perfect first stop was the lovely Kitsilano- an easy drive across the city AND a bridge! The best bit was that we were on the hunt for a good (actually really kinda trashy) second hand bookshop for Campbell. Since it was the only request on Campbell's international travel wish list, we did a lot of research to find EVERY bookshop in Vancouver. As luck would have it, one of our dear friends happened to have a cousin in Vancouver, and wondered if we might like to look him up, and he happened to work in a second hand book shop!!!!!!!

A morning treat & a look at the map before we set out to explore. 
Lunch after lots of walking & shopping. We found thrift stores, a toy shop & several candy stores...still looking for the bookshop & Campbell is trying hard to stay calm :/ it is!!!! Campbell quickly found a suitable book & when we got to the counter he quickly asked 'do you know Mrs Sansom?' Thankfully it was indeed our friend Jan's cousin & he was thrilled to meet us. Quite surprised too. Certainly worth the trek to find it. 

Just look how pretty it was walking around Kitsilano. We had a wonderful day. 
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