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October 3, 2011

We drove down to Harrison Hot Springs with high expectations for a lovely resort town with some great soaking opportunities. However on arriving we were pretty disappointed with what was a fairly drab town reminiscent of a British seaside resort. The hot spring itself was accessible through a large swimming pool – however the water wasn’t really that hot. We spent a night here and then headed off to Vancouver.

Seeing towns from the Beast isn’t always easy as it is often pretty hard to find somewhere to park – the main problem is height as we can’t use a multi-storey. However Vancouver is unusual in that it has an RV park almost in the centre of town which is a really quick bus ride from the downtown area (Capilano RV Park). The downside to this RV park was price in that it was just over CAD 50 a night.

The RV Park itself is just over the Lions Gate Bridge from Stanley Park and is just next door to the Park Royal Mall. From the Park Royal Mall there are a number of buses you can catch into central Vancouver and the bus ride is only about 20 minutes.

Vancouver is a city of around 2.2m people and is Canada’s third largest city. The reason for its growth is that it is the only major Canadian mainland port on the Western side.

The first thing we did in Vancouver was go up the Harbour Centre Building which has a circular observation gallery at the top, called the Lookout. This gave great views across the city and since the weather was good gave us a really good overview of where we would go next.

From here we walked through the Downtown area into the Gastown district – the old town. Here the highlight was the steam powered clock. From Gastown we went to Chinatown where we stopped for a bit and watched a First Nation (native Indian) ceremony that had closed the streets to traffic for a few minutes (we didn’t really get what was going on but there was singing, incense burning and speeches). Chinatown was a pretty rundown area so we didn’t hang around too much.

From Chinatown we went to Yaletown and then caught a bus back through downtown up to Stanley Park. This is a 1000acre park which has a great seawall walk as the ocean surrounds it on three sides but also a pretty wild interior. We explored for a couple of hours and then decided to head back to the RV Park. We were very surprised to come across 2 games of cricket being played in the Park and a rugby pitch – they are obviously pretty civilized when it comes to sport in this part of the world! We also listened to the band “Ra Ra Riot” warming up for their gig that evening in the Stanley Bowl.

Overall Vancouver seems a nice city but as a tourist it is too new to be that interesting. It was only founded in the late 1860’s and didn’t become big until later so there aren’t really that many interesting buildings and areas. I could see living there though as there are a number of pretty funky areas with lots of bars and restaurants that look fun.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Colin permalink
    October 3, 2011 8:43 pm

    From Chinatown we went to Yaletown and then caught a bus back through downtown up to Stanley Park.

    I wonder why they never called it Stanleytown…?

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