Day 8: Saturday, May 23, 2009: Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, British Columbia

It was sad to see our cruise come to an end, but the vacation wasn't over yet! We returned to Seattle at 8:00 AM, where it was again a beautiful and sunny day. We took the "Seattle City Tour" offered from the ship so we could get a few sights of the city in before heading off to Vancouver.


Just off the ship and onto a bus.

 

These dragons were wrapped around several of the poles in the Chinatown district.

 

This is Waterfall Garden Park, a peaceful place in the middle of the city.

 

Views of the city.

 

A cute little courtyard area with checkerboards.


A nice shaded street.

 

They call this the "sunken ship" parking deck. It's actually level. This is just an optical illusion because the streets are so steep.

 

For that special occasion.

 

Union Lake.

 

The Sea Star, as seen on The Deadliest Catch.


The Hiram Chittenden Locks that separate Union Lake from the sea.

 

Lots of water moving around here.

 

They have an underwater viewing area where you can see the salmon run. There were only 5 or 6 little guys to be seen at this time of year.

 

They said a certain amount of any building project in Seattle must be dedicated to the arts, so artwork and sculptures were everywhere.

 

A look at the fish ladder.


I'm digging the trees in this area.

 

A lovely flower bed and our tour bus.

 

The neighborhood overlooking the locks.

 

Trains and houses.

 

The view from the Magnolia Bluff city overlook area.


Because how else would they know we were tourists, if not for the name tags?

 

More artwork.

 

The Space Needle and the Monorail.

 

The Space Needle. We didn't go up it, only up to it.

 

Fun and exciting angles.


The Experience Music Project building next door.

 

How the bus driver got that photo of us. Very nice guy. This is seriously over and beyond the call of duty.

 

A stainless steel tree.

 

At Pike Place Market. It was extremely crowded, so we left.

 

Look!


Some of the action outside of the market.

 

The original Starbucks.

 

An old plane of some sort. The driver said they fly them around all the time.

 

This is the viaduct on our way to the airport, where we picked up our rental car and drove to Vancouver.

 

Our hotel room in Vancouver was super nice. We stayed at the Delta Vancouver Suites hotel. This is the office area.


This is the bedroom area.

 

We were in a corner suite on the 13th floor.

 

The bathroom.

 

The view from the bedroom.

 

The view from the office.


It was around 7:00 PM by the time we were ready to begin exploring Vancouver. Since most things were already shutting down for the day, we chose to visit Stanley Park.

 

This place is just amazing. It is a 1,000 acre peninsula that juts out from the downtown area. There is a one way perimeter road that runs around it with several other roads and paths in between.

 

A view of the downtown area from Park Drive.

 

The Lion's Gate Bridge.

 

More from Park Drive.


The Lion's Gate Bridge again. It's reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Douglas fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar trees are throughout the park. And no, I don't know which ones are which.

 

Since this is a one way street, you choose to go left or right around the obstacle.

 

Our perimeter tour complete, we decided to hop out to explore. This little guy ran right up to us.

 

One of those cool trees.


Our first stop brought us to a cute little pond.

 

Wait. What's that in the bushes?

 

Within moments of stepping out of the car, this little guy shows up.

 

He hopped in to swim across.

 

Almost there! Apparently, raccoons are expert swimmers. And darn cute.


I guess he had somewhere to be, because he didn't even give Travis or I a second glance, and just walked by. He ducked into a nearby bush and disappeared.

 

Back to the mallards.

 

Splash down!

 

I still can't get over how beautiful this park is.

 

Wish you were here, right?


I love these trees!

 

More of that pond area.

 

There were a couple of families of geese and their goslings.

 

These goslings were a little bit bigger than the others.

 

So cute!


Geese everywhere!

 

Then this skunk shows up! Seriously. A skunk!

 

He too ran off into the bushes. Some idiot started chasing him. Knowing what might happen, we got the heck out of there.

 

We went over this lovely bridge to the other side of the pond.

 

As seen from the bridge.


More of the pond.

 

We could still hear the idiot on the other side digging through the bushes looking for that skunk, when he suddenly popped out over here.

 

Tee hee hee, way to outsmart him, skunk!

 

The rhododendrons were in bloom. And what might Stanley Park have to offer?

 

A rhododendron garden, of course.


Travis, our tallest representative (haha), shows how big these rhododendrons were.

 

What a beautiful setting!

 

More of the garden. Look at all these colors!

 

Travis shows how large the hostas are.

 

Rhododendrons are a member of the same family as honeysuckles and azaleas.


There's a little bee to the right of this cluster of blooms.

 

Some of the trail winding through the garden.

 

I'm not sure what type of flower this is.

 

More of the walking trail.

 

More awesome trees.


Another cluster of rhododendron blooms.

 

From the garden, we walked to the Lost Lagoon.

 

There were a few people enjoying the sunset.

 

A swan.

 

It just dipped down for a drink.


A Canadian goose, interestingly enough considering our location.

 

Duck, duck, goose? Eh, close enough.

 

More of the Lost Lagoon.

 

Goslings on the move.

 

Goose crossing.


At first, we thought, "Dang, that raccoon was fast." But it turns out this was a second raccoon.

 

Then a third.

 

Then a fourth and fifth! All within a close distance.

 

More cool trees.

 

Another view of that cute little pond area.


Mallard wake.

 

Love the trees!

 

Vancouver, as seen from the park.

 

More of the downtown area.

 

Our rental, a Jeep Patriot.


Travis has always told me that when he went to Niagara Falls as a child, he saw black squirrels in Canada. And right when I was starting to doubt him, this little guy hops into view.

 

A closer look reveals that he's carrying something in his mouth.

 

Two black squirrels! I think their fur is a little longer than the gray squirrels I'm used to.

 

Here is Vancouver from the sea wall, with the tide in. We'll see the tide out tomorrow.

 

Lion's Gate Bridge again.


One more shot of the Lion's Gate Bridge as dusk takes over.

 

The view from our bedroom at night.

 

Here is the bedroom all closed up and cozy.

 

There were also these sliding doors to separate the two areas.

 
 

Stanley Park is an amazing place. We really wish we had something like it near our home. I could see myself there almost every day. The brochure we got said it is visited by 8 million people annually and is North America's third largest urban park. Not only is it just a beautiful area to view nature, there are a ton of things to do. There's an aquarium, where we're headed next, an outdoor theater, several gardens, a miniature railway, a children's farmyard, horse & carriage rides, tennis, golf, beaches & pools, rollerblading, cycling, jogging, playgrounds, and a few sports activities. They do have their own website: vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley, but I found another one done by an individual that I enjoyed as well: www.seestanleypark.com/index.htm.