Blog 22, Vancouver BC

Blog 22, Vancouver BC

Anacortes is only about an hour’s drive away from the USA/Canadian border.  Once at the border we had a 30 minute wait in the queue.You are supposed to fill out ArriveCan on the App which we had tried to do but the NZ Government Covid records couldn’t be accessed for the app, very frustrating.  Because we had been unable to complete this we thought there might be a chance we would be turned back.

We had many questions fired at us but the border officer was very friendly and waved us through.  During this time, we saw 3 cars in line get turned back into the US, so it’s not a given you will just sail on through.

Once on the road again we drove to Peace Arch which was only 30 minutes up the road.  This is the area we are staying in, Surrey.  We are in an RV park that has mostly permanent residents but it’s a nice place and very quiet at night time.  I phoned Dudley to let him know we had arrived and as it was still only lunch time they invited us over for dinner.

We had a great catchup and delicious homemade hamburgers for dinner, Paddy is a great cook. It was also lovely to see little Zoe again, and to meet Brucie, Glen’s dog for the first time.

Having a lovely drink and dinner in Dudley and Paddy’s back garden.

The next day we kept to the schedule of meeting up with Dudley and Paddy for dinner at their place again, but we went over early so we could all go for a walk.  The days are hot here, Canada is sitting under a heat dome so it’s about 35 deg each day.  Still we drove over to Delta and went out for a walk.  To try to keep cool we walked in a forest where we all got terribly bitten by mosquitoes which Paddy found amusing as she didn’t get bitten at all!!

Back to their house for a wonderful seafood dinner, one of the loveliest dinners we’ve had on our travels.  Paddy and Dudley are great hosts!

 

The next day we thought we had better give Dudley and Paddy a rest so we headed over the Steveston Village and had a cycle around, and then a cycle along the dyke towards the airport.  We are surprised at how flat Vancouver is and how far the tide goes out.  The tides here are about 3 meters but they seem more noticeable because the land is so flat. The wild flowers around Vancouver, and especially this area are really beautiful.  The ride along the dyke was very pretty.

 

The next day Stuart and I drove into Vancouver city.  It was a Sunday and a long weekend for BC day Aug 1st.  We didn’t realise there was a Pride parade which had quite a lot of the city closed -which made it quite congested.  It took about an hour to get to the downtown marina area where we parked and cycled around Stanley Park.  This is a wonderful woodsy park of over 400 hectares right in downtown Vancouver.  It really is a credit to the city planners of old that they preserved this piece of land as a park.  The cycle ways around it very good-one way and pedestrians have their own path.

The path follows the harbour as it leaves the city, just as it does in Auckland.  Stuart was very impressed with the undercover marina berths!

Once around the park we cycled along the waterfront to the cruise ship terminal and then into the city.  A very well done, thought out cycle route which was popular with everyone adhering to the rules.  It felt like a very safe and fun place to be.

I must confess to having had an icecream today.  It was wonderful, in a soft coiled bread cone called a chimney cake.  It’s an idea from traditional Prague dating back to the 17th century.  I don’t treat myself to sweet things often but I couldn’t go past this!

I was just checking my bum for size…

Yep, I can squeeze one in!

 

A wonderful day exploring downtown Vancouver.

 

On Monday Dudley and Paddy came over to Surrey to the RV park we are staying in.  We invited them for lunch so I baked some scones.  It was lovely having them see the RV and coming on board for lunch.  They were a bit disappointed in the RV park we were staying in, as are we.

After Dudley and Paddy left for an afternoon cycle ride we went for a forest walk.

 

On Tues we met up with Dudley and Paddy and took them out for lunch at a restaurant of their choice.  They chose Pat Quinns at Tsawwassen Golf Club.  It was a very nice setting outside in the sun.  We had a very enjoyable lunch where we still found lots to chat about.  We all seemed to get along well and it was sad to know we would not see them again on this visit.

After dropping them back to their house we said goodbye.  I was sad and cried on the way back.

 

On our last full day in Vancouver we went back into the heart of the city.  The weather had taken a chilly turn and showers were forecast but we thought we would chance our luck.  We did a repeat of our last cycle ride into Stanley Park but this time we stayed on the cycle way longer going past Granville Island and generally heading to Downtown Eastside.  It was all very impressive and reminded us of a combination of Toronto, Sydney Harbour, Manly and Auckland all rolled up together.  Downtown Eastside is where a lot of homeless shelters are so this was a bit smelly and dirty but still felt safe.  A little further on and we’re into the Gastown area which reminded me of how Carnaby St in London used to be.  After a short ride your back to where the cruise ships dock in the city.

This was a good distance to have ridden, but we then walked to the gardens and had a look around there before driving back to Surrey.

We thought Vancouver city was beautiful.  It’s similar to Auckland in some ways but seems much more ‘grown up’.  It’s bigger and has the money to invest in some great infrastructure such as their bridges and tunnels.

It rained all night but fined up in time for us to pull out and head back over the border.  I left with a heavy heart given that it will most likely be another year before I see Dudley and Paddy again.  I shall miss them.

 

30 minutes down the road and we are back at the Canadian/USA border.  The US officials seem to be much more thorough than their Canadian counterparts.  We got quite the 3rd degree.  They seemed especially interested in whether we own our own home in NZ and whether we own the RV.  They appeared suspicious that when asking what we did for a living and saying that we were retired that we could have this lifestyle.  They asked some rather prying financial questions that were bordering on an invasion of privacy.  Anyway, we got through so I guess they didn’t get the impression we had just robbed a bank!

 

Within an hour we were back at Anacortes where we will stay for 3 nights before heading south.