By Sam – Thankfully, today’s forecast of rain failed to materialise and we spent a glorious sun-drenched day in Stanley Park. This enormous urban park, almost completely surrounded by water, is forested with about half a million trees many of which we scoured for hidden geocaches! Most impressive is the park’s First Nation art work. The totem poles near Brockton Point get the most attention but to the right is a beautiful statue called ‘Portugese Joe’ which commemorates the connection between the indigineous nation and the Portugese settlers. There’s also a beautiful bronze statue at the Aquarium created by the famous Haida artist Bill Reid. Called the ‘Killer Whale’ it looks both fierce and protective. Let’s hope we only spot a dolphin or two on our ferry crossing to Victoria tomorrow…
The globe shaped science world
Bridge to Granville Island
By Noah – Today was our third day in Vancouver and we spent it with our Canadian relative, Claudia. Having lived here for 16 years, she was able to give valuable insights about the history of the area and helped see the city completely differently to if we had just used our own knowledge. She gave us a local tour of the small island of Granville, nestled between downtown and West Vancouver, of the local, artisan shops and the popular tourist sights. We also introduced her to geocaching and found two caches in and around the island after looking for some and seeming quite odd! We then took a seabus journey down False Creek, a section of water dividing the north and south to give us a different perspective of the city. This included the recently developed Olympic Village – built especially for the 2010 Winter Olympics – the science world, colourful murals on cement silos created by Brazilian artists, floating houseboats, sports stadiums and many skyscrapers in the heavily built up centre. We also managed to spot a sea lion’s head on the journey but hope to see more of the body in Victoria on Tuesday. After the river cruise, we went on a walk, via another geocache to a well known pub in the city that had many board games to play with inside and keep you busy. Returning home by the skytrain, we were hoping for pleasant weather for the following day when we would be walking around Stanley Park…
By Noah – Today was our second day spent exploring Vancouver and we decided to go back into downtown to walk around Gastown. This involved another bus journey but today’s trip was a lot smoother despite travelling through the poorest areas of the city. So called due its founder ‘Gassy’ Jack (gassy here being used to mean talkative), Gastown is the oldest part of Vancouver with many buildings dating from the Victorian and Elizabethan eras. The main attraction in the area is a steam powered clock, however today, it is electrically powered but still puffs smoke to give that illusion. After this, we went on to the waterfront and Canada Place to look out over the water and watch the seaplanes take off. After lunch, we returned to both the waterfront and Gastown to do some geocaching and found 3/3. If you haven’t heard of this activity I recommend it as it takes you to many areas of cities you wouldn’t normally visit. Tomorrow we will meet with a relative to explore Granville Island and its geocaches…
By Noah – Today was the first day of our 3 week Canadian adventure and we didn’t hang around. We had left our Air BnB by 9:06 in the morning with a very enjoyable day planned ahead for us. The first new experience was the bus system. This is very complicated with some buses not stopping and others not even arriving so it took us over an hour to get ourselves on a bus. We went to the Lynn Canyon, recommended by a friend in the city, which featured a suspension bridge spanning the 50m drop before doing a few walks up and down the valley. After this, we took a bus all the way from the north east of Vancouver to the far south west in search of a beach. Here we enjoyed ice creams before beginning a long bus ride home. Overall, it has been a great and tiring first day in a new city and we all can’t wait for the next three days we have here…
Round the World 2011
Finally, we get to dust off the backpacks and head West to Canada for the summer. At the packing stage, it is already apparent how our trips have evolved over the years. It really brings me out in goosebumps to remember the wonderful trips we’ve enjoyed together – almost before he could walk really.
In contrast to the early days when I was responsible for carrying all of our gear, Noah now towers over me and is able to carry the heaviest backpack (cheer!). He is also undoubtedly the most technically competent and has taken complete responsibility for downloading travel apps and managing our accommodation and transport bookings online.
The only challenge I may have with Noah is getting him to slow down. When we travel, he will happily walk all day and talks me out of every cafe stop unless it’s an ice-cream that we can take with us. However, we are travelling with my parents who are in their mid 60’s and I fear that they may not take kindly to his high energy levels!
Our route takes us East from Vancouver to Calgary, taking in Victoria, the Okanagan Valley, the Icefields Parkway, Banff and Jasper National Parks, Lake Victoria and finally to Calgary. It’s a part of the world that none of us has explored and we are all very eager for the adventures to begin – 3 generations OneBigFieldTrip!
By Noah – We’ve returned home now, to our own beds and a whole house to ourselves, a lot better off after the last journey. We may be tired and in desperate need of sleep, but we both enjoyed our little adventure together. We were happy to say goodbye to some not so hot Prague weather, and as the plane took off, we said goodbye to the rain of Europe, and hoped there would none in England. At the end of our trip, I just want to share some of our statistics with you.
Total steps: 204,293
Total distance (excluding travel): 142.41km, 88.45m
Total flights of stairs climbed: 312
Once again, thank you all for reading this blog. Whether you know us, or just found us for this trip, this blog wouldn’t be any thing without our readers.
By Noah – Today was our last full day travelling round Prague and our last full day on this wonderful journey. Today we decided to see everything on the other side of the Vlatava river so that we could confidently say we’ed been everywhere and seen everything in Prague. This started with a trip to two synagogues: Pinkas Synagogue, and Old-New Synagogue. The first was shut but the latter was open to the public so we went inside to have a look. When I went inside, I was given a Jewish Kippah that symbolises respect for a higher power. The synagogue itself was quite small and very basic, only having a highly decorated altar and chairs all around the outside.
The next place we went to was the main square in Prague. The main attraction there was the Prague astronomical clock. Built in 1410, this is the third oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest still in use. It has many dials and hands and it had many different sections to tell you lots of information about when you are. The different parts tell you: the position of the sun and moon; sunrise, sunset; moonrise, moon set; what phase the moon is in; the time( in local Prague time); the time( in unequal hours); the time( in old Czech time); what the date is; what the current sign of the zodiac is. All this information was crammed onto two medium sized discs that were constantly moving. Also, on the hour figures moved and bells rung.
The rest of our day was spent going round the other side of the river and visiting any old building of interest we could find. We returned home early, tired, but happy about our day and what we had seen.