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Day 2 - North Shore, Capilano & Grouse Mountain

We slept until 2:00 am, then got up for an hour before trying to sleep again. We must have been tired, as we slept through to the alarm at 9:00 am (one of our fellow trip companions overslept until about a quarter of an hour before our pick-up time!!). We headed to the food court across the way from the hotel, where we had two huge cups of filter coffee and bacon, eggs, toast & hash browns in A&M for $16. Bargain!

Capilano Bridge

Now call me naive, but I was not expecting winter weather in May. The sun was out, but there were grey clouds around and it was distinctly chilly. After our coach pick-up, it started to rain again. We approached the day with trepidation. We also decided that Vancouver was more like Wellington - wet, cold, and prone to earthquakes. The buildings are all built on (supposedly) earthquake-pillars.

All the people on our tour were also going on Rocky Mountaineer train journeys - but not the one we were on. Most were our age, to older - and we were mainly Brits, Australians, Kiwis with the odd American thrown in. Our tour guide and driver, Christina, was efficient and very friendly. First stop was a salmon hatchery. Not very interesting….. Next was Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It was still raining at this point, but for those that needed them rain ponchos were provided (apparently they're used to this weather - it rains every other day, except in summer!) The suspension bridge is very wobbly - and it is the only way over to the forest walks. There are some good wooden paths, both at ground level and in the treetops, making for a very pleasant walk through the forest.

Then it was on to Grouse Mountain. Here I am with my 'naive' hat on again. All the photos showed people skiing and snowboarding, but I thought that would be in the winter. No - when we got out of the cable car at the top of the mountain, not only had it stopped raining, but the day before they'd had a downfall of snow! The path cut through the snow showed a thickness of over 2 meters still. The skiing season is due to end on 15th May - but it's been an extremely cold winter and spring, so I reckon they could carry on for another couple of weeks at least! It was beautiful and sunny, and the two orphaned grizzly bears decided to come out of hibernation on the day before our visit, so we all trooped through the snow to see them. I must say I feel sorry for the bears - their enclosure isn't that big. Given the amount of land in the immediate vicinity, I do think they could have at least doubled the size of the enclosure. One of our companions also saw three bald eagles circling above.

Our tour guide made an extra stop at the Capilano Dam for a photo opportunity, with the mountains in the background. The houses in this area also remind me of New Zealand - they are similar in their build, with weatherboard and cladding. I hope they're better insulated though!

Back at the hotel (and after a warming hot shower) we decided to go exploring and find a cheap evening meal. One thing I don't like in Vancouver are the number of beggars - they seem to position themselves at 10 meter intervals along the road. We ended up walking into the old central area of Gastown, and getting a pizza from a small place on the corner. Tip number 2 - a 16 inch pizza is much too much for 2 people - there were 8 huge slices! We ended up taking half of it with us, and feeding the beggars on the way back to the hotel!

So we're now back in the hotel with 2 cans of coke to add to our duty free bacardi. I don't think it's going to last 3 weeks!

Goose Mountain Snow
Grizzly
View from Goose Mountain

Houses are expensive in Vancouver, due to no building space left “You can swap an average house in Vancouver for 3 in Montreal and still have change.”, quote from a real estate site

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