BRAD     |     EMILLIE

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A tourist in Vancouver

Well things are much better now... last night we got our first full night's sleep, the heaters were all fixed today, the weather is beautiful and mild (more typical for Ireland), and our buggy (stroller) was returned today (it got lost in Heathrow... more the rule than the exception, apparently).

Stories of visiting with all our friends and family could be entertaining and humorous... but since most of them comprise the main readership for the blog I'd better leave it alone ;-).

However, we did get to spend sometime playing tourist! Our goal in this was not to see the sites, as we'd basically seen them all before, but rather to keep Nikolai entertained. I think if he had to go out for coffee, even one more time, he would have put us up for adoption. Our stories of tourism start with my sister Claire, who, through her employment at the Canadian Tourism Commission has unlimited free access for two, to many Vancouver attractions. And with Nikolai still being young enough to be free... well... we did a lot of sight seeing! As a seasoned tourist, I shall provide my reviews of the "Nikolai-Centred" Attractions:

-False Creek Ferries: Took us for ever to get on the little boat... and it was hardly worth the wait for our short ride across the straight from Stamps Landing to Yaletown. However, it is an ephemeral way to commute, and if we were able to go on ferries from the other company operating on the same route, then our wait would have been negligible. But anyone who knows Nikolai, knows that he LOVES boats... so it was a hit with him... even if we froze our toes off while waiting for the boat to come.

Grouse Mountain SkyRide: We went on the New Years day holiday... so it was very busy. But the gondola ride still features in Nikolai's lexicon. We didn't do any skiing... and wanted to take part in the free sleigh ride, but the line up was too long. However, the view was amazing and the excitement of riding 1 mile up the side of the mountain in a little gondola makes this attraction the most memorable moment of Nikolai's trip to Vancouver. (To be honest, he talks the most about seeing his cousins, specifically Penelope and Trisston who both spent time "playing" with him, but the gondolas are a close second.)

Science World: It's only a 20 minute walk from my parents in False Creek, so he went twice. We skipped the Body Worlds exhibit. This is a kid that couldn't handle the Natural History Museum in Dublin without getting nightmares... so we figured the plasticated people would be a bit much to say the least. However, he loved all the rest of the exhibits, and on his second visit he sat through no less than 3 educational shows (gravity, electricity and bubbles).

Granville Island: A 20 minute walk in the other direction... and free for all. He loved the Kids Only Market Place, and we loved the Food Market. It's more touristy in the summer, but in the winter is Good Holiday Shopping.

Vancouver Aquarium: A bit of a trek into Stanley Park... and if it weren't for the long transit time we would have gone at least twice. As it was, the one trip with Baba and Dede (Brad's parents) was a lot of fun. The aquarium is well laid out, and has lots to see. We caught the beluga show, watched the sea otters play, and probably only made it through half of the exhibitions. Of note, Brad even recognized one of the Gift Shop staff members from his summer of folding Aquarium t-shirts over 13 years ago now!

Above is of the SkyRide, and below is a dolphin.

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