Day 7: Vancouver to Toronto

It’s leaving day after an action-packed week in Vancouver. We’ll spend most of the day on the flight to Toronto, plus the time difference, so day 7 probably won’t have much to be written about. But I’m on a (writing) roll here, and I didn’t want to stay away from blogging, so I’m posting pictures of the lovely flora that I captured all over town. Don’t ask me to name any of them, but feel free to add to my very limited knowledge!

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Day 6: University of British Columbia

The hectic holiday started to take its toll on us last night, and we set an easy pace today, simply moving from one meal to another.
From a late breakfast we went straight to lunch, visiting the University of British Columbia, or UBC, Harish’s workplace. The day was wet and cold, quite perfect for hot soup and an indoor tour of the Museum of Anthropology. The museum had some of the most striking exhibits I have seen. Both Souvik and I came away impressed with the First Nations’ art.

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In a break from tradition, I have included two pictures taken by Souvik (the last two above). Piali and Ravi joined us at the museum, and I was able to get an interesting composition:

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We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the University campus, never tiring of the lush green landscape and views of the not-so-faraway mountains.
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After all that walking, we hankered for samosas, for which we drove to the Punjabi market and stuffed our faces. We had grand plans of walking over the suspension bridge or browsing through Gastown, but those samosas and chole had us groaning and eager to head home and relax. Then Niti baked a chocolate cake, and Harish rustled up some guacamole, and we were happy enough to indulge in a late night snack!

Day 5: back to Stanley Park

Today we said goodbye to the family Nichols and Aunty Dagmar and moved to Niti & Harish’s home. After a very early lunch, we all set out to cycle around Stanley Park. Yes! Didn’t have to work too hard to get that wish checked off.
Predictably, the route was beautiful, with the added bonus of the sun shining and spreading cheer. The sea wall was as majestic as all the websites boasted. I didn’t get my fill in one round, so I took off on another, while the rest of them played in the park. I can never get bored of the pictures of the park, so here are a few more:

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With all this exercise, we felt the need for some nourishment, and what could be better than the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory?

A few short and pleasant walks around downtown first, and then Commercial Drive, and we were ready for more food! I wanted to see the Christ Church cathedral up close (after admiring it from the bus yesterday), but by the time we got there it was shut. Very quaint church!

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I haven’t gone around Vancouver city, photographing buildings as I normally do, but I did get a few shots here and there. The nicest view is towards the north on any street, so see the big mountains in the distance!

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We haven’t left Vancouver yet, but I’m missing it already!

Day 4: More Vancouver (or, now I know what the fuss is all about)

Today was the day we actually saw Vancouver city. Piali had booked us all on a bus tour, plus it was little Jaian’s birthday, so we had a family day out.
Wet and rainy didn’t dampen our spirits, especially once we got off the bus to explore Stanley Park. There’s green, and there’s green and there’s all kinds of green! Feast your eyes:

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Just some random shots to show that we weren’t the only ones to appreciate the refreshing weather:

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Some blues followed the greens – as we took up the boys’ call and waddled off to see some African penguins at the aquarium, plus some exciting fish from around the Canadian arctic.

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After dinner with Aunty Dagmar, Souvik & I took in an exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Matisse and modern masters, and got home later to an absolutely sinful birthday cake:

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If there’s just one more thing I wish to do in Vancouver at this point, it’s cycling in Stanley Park. Don’t know if there will be time for that, but I’ve already seen that if I pray hard enough, my wishes do come true!

Day 3: On Top of the World

I woke up this morning from a dream that it was snowing on Whistler. And that dream came true!
We, Piali, Souvik & I, hiked to the village through the very picturesque trail, and hopped on to the gondola that would take us to the peak.

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Up that way I had my first ever glimpse of snow, and couldn’t help the tears of joy at that sight.

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Up up above it was 0 degrees C, and I was blessed with the lightest, most delicate sprinkling of fresh snow. For all those living in cooler regions, this must seem like much ado about a bit of ice, but coming from 30 deg ++ all my life, I was THRILLED to be freezing and prancing in the cold. Souvik was excited too, but did a much better job of containing it. For that, he was rewarded with some well aimed snowballs.

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We did the peak-2-peak ride from Whistler to Blackcomb, admiring the stunning landscape:

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We were warmed by hearty soup, jackets on sale and hot chocolate, ever ready to pose in the cold.

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With a heavy heart we had to leave Whistler, but the ride back was no less of a treat, with Piali obligingly stopping at every viewpoint for those awesome landscapes:

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Day 2: Granville island and Whistler

If day 1 was eventful, day 2 went beyond all expectations. We started off with an early morning run by Souvik, inspired by all the local hyper-sporting people, so now he’s earned his bragging rights on this trip, and I can peacefully plan the rest of the agenda.
We decided to find our way to Granville Island, via a short train ride and a long scenic walk from the olympic village to the ‘island’, past the marina and the parks and the lemonade stands… Straight into a children’s festival gathering up steam.

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Granville Island turned out to be an interesting spot for eclectic art, street musicians, and other browse-worthy markets, full of the weekend bustle.

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But, as usual, it was the cherries and berries display that made my mouth water!

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Later in the afternoon Piali drove us to Whistler mountain, little expecting the extent of squealing and gushing she would have to hear all the way up. Words and pictures do no justice to the beauty of the landscape, so I’ll dispense with the superlatives but let in a glimpse:

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We also sighted some seals in the water and black bears roaming free, none captured even on camera. My heart is simply bursting with joy!

Day 1: Vancouver

After the long haul flight from Jakarta, we landed in Vancouver last night to a gorgeous sunset. Then David and Piali whisked us off to a rejuvenating night tour of the city, just to whet our appetites for the rest of the vacation.
This trip to Canada is as much about meeting family and friends as it is about seeing the sights, and spent day 1 marvelling at them all. We started to catch up with Aunty Dagmar, then watched the antics of the boys, Ravi and Jaian, and met with Niti & Harish & Chetan.
Niti showed us around the fishing village of Steveston, with it’s stunning landscape and charming restaurants and shops, and the tour at Gulf of Georgia Cannery ensured that we can never look at a can of salmon in the same way again. Different matter that I never really looked at cans of salmon before, but hey, you get the picture? Apparently every step of the canning process had a little history related to the social conditions of the time. But my favourite spot of the morning excursion has to be the Garry Point Park, with its vast open spaces and fields of lupins, and the fishing boats.

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After an energising round of ice cream, we set off to Queen Elizabeth Park to see a view of the city.
And the flowers, the crisp and clear air, the mountains in the background, all made for some spectacular sights. Some wedding parties thought so too, and we had to timeshare the photo ops at some of the scenic spots with limos full of bridal posses.

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