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11 October 2010 @ 08:13 pm
Vancouver: 23-30th August 2010;  
Vancouver: 23-30th August 2010;


why, yes, I did visit the Vancouver Public Library for the shallow fact that it's shaped to look like the Colosseum! XD
 

23rd August, 2010;

 Vancouver, here we come!


My trip to Vancouver (incl. VanCon) was spent with the delightful Sarah-Louise, aka timecake! Having planned this excursion about a year in advance you can imagine just how giddy with excitement and disbelief we were that OMG IT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING XD! Our main intent in travelling all the way to Vancouver was, of course, to attend the Supernatural convention "VanCon", but in order to get the most out of our trip (and the ridiculous amounts of money we were spending to go on said trip!) we decided to stay in Vancouver for about a week. This post will blather on a bit about what we got up to for the first half of the week in Vancouver, I'll make another one solely to gush talk about the convention itself which took place over our last four days.

Though we were due to fly out on Monday 23rd of August, our holiday started pretty much from the Saturday where both crewed at Collectormania: Glasgow (a sorry excuse for a convention, but a great crewing experience), so we managed to get quite a bit of squee-ing done as we psyched ourselves up for our impending trip!

On the Friday morning however I'd managed to jam the fingers of my right hand in the fire door at work, the nail on my middle finger instantly turned blue whilst my finger swelled horribly. Come the Saturday night I was on my way to A&E after hearing everyone telling me my finger might explode on the plane due to the pressure/fluid build up- not something I actually believed but I thought I'd better be safe than sorry because I seriously wasn't going to let anything stop me getting on that flight come Monday morning! An x-ray later and I was told that I'd managed to fracture my finger, thankfully I was assured that no finger-sploding would occur and that the swelling would go down itself in a couple of weeks and that the nail (a delightful shade of blue) would probably fall off in it's own time (two months later and it's only just done this btw. It's ridiculously gross right now).

Sarah-Lou stayed at my house on the Sunday night and come Monday morning we were off! Things started off pretty well, we got to the airport on time, got checked in okay, boarded the plane on time and after a half hour/hour delay flew from Glasgow to Heathrow where we were then due to transfer to terminal 5 to catch our flight from Heathrow to Vancouver. So of course we reach Heathrow airport where we were delayed some more because they couldn't find those things they put behind the wheels to stop the plane from rolling backwards? I think we were another half hour late getting off. Then our bags were delayed by another half hour and by this point we're beginning to worry because we still need to get to T5 and check in and stuff and we're approaching our deadline of "2hrs before the flight leaves".

So I check with security and we're told if our bags don't arrive in another 15minutes we'd better hightail it to our next flight and we'd have to sort out getting our luggage sent on once we reached Vancouver O_o not something either of us were thrilled about! Our bags arrived around 10minutes later however and then we were running like actual crazy people to catch the train to T5 and to get checked in and through security and we literally arrived at the boarding gate as they were letting the last group of people through. We were absolutely knackered! OMG. I don't even know what we'd have done if we'd missed it :S

Thankfully that never happened and we were soon on our way to Vancouver, our spirits once again high!

Our first day in Vancouver was spent getting checked into our hotel (we stayed at the Sheraton), and exploring the general area (mostly in search of food ;D). Sarah-Lou and I were aiming to stay awake until around 9pm to get our bodies used to the time difference but come 7am we could barely see straight so just ended up going to bed! Thankfully other than this first early night we weren't affected by any kind of jetleg, which was pretty awesome. (Not so awesome was the jetlag suffered after arriving back home a week later, but more on that later!)

24th August, 2010;

Day Two, or Caspe gets ridic. excited by The Colosseum II & Museum of Anthropology!

 
Having planned the trip to Vancouver for the past year, I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see whilst we were over there. Thankfully Sarah-Lou was very accommodating and/or wanted to see the same things as I did :D

We were up pretty early come Tuesday morning with a vague plan for our day: the Library that looks like the Colosseum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and The UBC Museum of Anthropology!

We thought we'd end up walking for miles but, as I'd discovered when I went to Rome back in April, things are actually alot closer than they appear to be on the map! We also discovered that nothing in Vancouver opened until 10am :S so we were wandering around for a good hour waiting on places opening up. Incidentally, we managed to find both the Art Gallery and the Library with almost ridiculous ease. We decided not to go into the Art Gallery proper due to the cost, and although we planned to go back one night when they were supposed to be doing their "enter for a donation only" we missed the day it was on and never ended up going it. We did explore the gallery shop which was pretty awesome though. I'm not a huge fan of art galleries but I did like some of the First Nations artwork postcards they were selling, particularly as it related to what we were going to see at the Museum of Anthropology later on that day!

As for the Vancouver Public Library, heretofore referred to as "The Colosseum II" ;D getting to see it for real it was pretty damn exciting. For me at least! I swear, if my local library looked as awesome (or was nearly as huge) as The Colosseum II was, I'd never leave it. You'll all be pleased to note, however, that I did not hug this building. heh.



After our morning explorations we jumped on a bus and headed for the University of British Columbia and the Museum of Anthropology:

  
 
I'm not terribly knowledgeable about these things, but I do love learning about native cultures and their histories, I just find (ancient) history in general such a fascinating subject, so getting to learn a little about the First Nations and their artwork got my inner geek all giddy! We went on a tour of the museum and Sarah-Lou and I got talking with the tour guide who, it turns out, was born in the same place as Sarah-Lou (did I get that right, hun?). She knew exactly where Sarah-Lou was from which got her pretty excited because apparently noone knows where she's from! XD

On the tour we saw examples of totem polls,bentwood boxes, and examples of weaving by two women of the Musquem First Nation.
 

I particularly fell in love with Haida artist Bill Reid's work, his most famous example being "The Raven and the First Men" as seen below. It depicts the figure of Raven (a wise and powerful, yet mischievious trickster) discovering the first Haida humans and coaxing them out into the world from a giant clamshell. The sculpture itself is simple gorgeous, particularly when seen up close and personal. I was kind of gutted that they didn't have any mini replica's for sale, but did come away with a wee postcard and a shitload of photographs ;D
 


25th August, 2010;

Day Three, where we experience the thrill appeal of a 240ft high suspension bridge!



Day three saw us heading out to Stanley Park in the morning with plans to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the afternoon. The plan for Stanley Park had been to wonder around and appreciate the general parkyness and maybe take a peek at the Aquarium whilst we were there. One peek at the prices they were charging to get into the aquarium however and we decided a nice leisurely stroll around the park was a much better idea! Whilst walking the park we visited the Seawall and Brockton Point before stopping off at the Brockton Visitor Centre where we were treated to more examples of First Nation artwork in the form of totem polls!
 
 
Finishing with Stanley Park, we jumped on the bus back into the city and from there made our way towards Canada Place where we got a seabus to take us across to Lonsdale Quay and from there a bus up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which I have to say, was perhaps my most favourite location we visited on this trip!

Built by a crazy Scotsman ;D, George Grant MacKay, in 1888 the Capilano Suspension Bridge is "at the height that eagles fly, the bridge is a swaying span across the tumbling Capilano River far below". It is also apparently the worlds longest and highest suspension footbridge! So of course I was giddy with excitement (and maybe a little trepidation ;D) at the thought of crossing it! I'd promised to hold Sarah-Lou's hand if she got scared but truth be told, as scary as it looked, once you were actually on the bridge itself the swaying wasn't nearly was terrifying as it could have been! It was actually kind of nice and the views you got of the valley below were just amazing!


Me and Sarah-Lou on the Capilano Suspension Bridge!

We spent the entire afternoon and early evening exploring not only the main suspension bridge but also the smaller ones they had for the "Treetop Adventures" where you can literally walk from tree-to-tree-to-tree, it was pretty damn cool! :D I think we walked around every inch of the place before returning to the main area where we checked out their visitors' centre and eventually settled down at the Loggers' Grill for some dinner before calling it a night and making our way back towards Downtown Vancouver and our hotel.
 

26th August, 2010;

Day Four, wherein we decide to go up a mountain... and it rains!


Our fourth day in Vancouver was also our last day in which to do more touristy type things, as the three days following on were, of course, to be taken up with VanCon and ridiculous amounts of squee and flail ;D We did some more exploring of the downtown area, picking up bits and pieces to take back home with us before deciding we would visit Grouse Mountain in the afternoon. The day itself was overcast but dry so we figured we'd be safe enough travelling up a mountain in clothing definitely not suitable for cold weather. I can hear you all cackling away already.


Sarah-Lou and me;
you probably can't tell from the picture,
but we are FREEZING OUR ARSES OFF HERE!

Still, the cold (and rain) aside, it was absolutely gorgeous atop Grouse Mountain. We never got to see the bears of wolves whilst we were there, but we did catch a lumberjack show and even saw a deer and "bambi" up close and personal which was pretty exciting!

      

After Grouse Mountain we headed back to our hotel and got ourselves sorted for the Thursday pre-registration for VanCon :D !!!
 

I loved visiting Vancouver, it's such a clean and beautiful city. I really fell in love with it whilst I was there. The only downside I experienced was the fact that the Canadians don't automatically include tax in their prices, which made trying to buy things more than a little annoying as the price advertised was never going to be the final price you paid. That and the "expected" tip you leave at restaurants. But otherwise, thumbs up Vancouver, I cannot wait to visit you again! XD

 
 
 
The Island of the Fay: [disney] gleefulatraphoenix on October 11th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
It looks amazing! Especially Grouse Mountain and the suspension bridge. You've got some brilliant photos.
Campaspe: Criminal Minds \\ Reid; musiccs_whitewolf on October 14th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
The Capilano Suspension Bridge was by far the most amazing place we visited! I swear I even started daydreaming about moving to Vancouver just so I could hang out there all the time XD Grouse mountain was also very awesome, (though I wish we'd been able to see the Wolves and Bears they had there), if it hadn't been so damn cold I'd have dragged Sarah-Lou onto the ziplines ;D heh.

thanks hun! It was definitely a trip to remember :D