Monday, June 22, 2009

Yay Visitors!

We have written before about how much we enjoy having visitors up here, and the latest was no exception: an old high-school buddy of mine named Dom and his lovely family. At the tail end of what was already a punishing vacation schedule (fly cross-country to attend D&D convention in Seattle, then cross the border to hop on a cruise to Alaska), they had some time between the cruise ship returning and their train back to Seattle so we took our van (ideal for transporting five guests, as it turns out!) over to Vancouver to meet them.

The original plan was for them to come and visit us in Victoria, but as it ended up that wouldn’t have worked out well anyway (by the time they would have arrived in Victoria we wouldn’t have had time to do much before they headed back to the US), and we love going to Vancouver so we ended up having a great day.

We started off very early in the morning, taking the BC Ferry over. We don't sing the praises of this service often enough, but they have a very comfortable fleet of ships (that get more comfortable as newer ships enter the fleet), reasonable prices and much better-than-expected food. You drive your vehicle right onto the ship (if you have one), saunter upstairs for a meal or just staring out the windows, and before you know it the 90 minute voyage has elapsed and you drive off. If the ship offered internet access it would be absolutely perfect. :)

We picked Dom, Betty and the kids up from Canada Place, drove through the seedier parts of the city (okay, so I don’t know my way around that area as well as I should) to Pacific Central to check the luggage, and then the fun began. We headed over to Granville Island and the Granville Public Market, a food fest the likes of which is rarely equalled. On a pleasantly warm day as we had, there is just no better place to buy a freshly made lunch and eat it. I had fish & chips but the kids all had very different choices, from Dom’s dressed-up sausage dog to exotic Indian dishes and excellent sushi. Oh and the freshly-made desserts, including fruit tart and cheesecake -- wow!

From there we headed over to Science World (I would have preferred we go by AquaBus, but we didn't want to end up that far from the van) for a quick look at the Dragon Boat races before heading in to an OMNIMAX movie about Van Gogh that I really enjoyed. Made Victoria’s IMAX look like a drive-in!

Alas, all too soon it was time to go, so we headed back the station and wished them well on their long journey home. It’s a pity we (and they) didn’t have more time to discover Vancouver further, but we definitely had a lovely afternoon. We hope they can make it back up this way again soon, and I think they will back me up when I say that if you’re sick of the Florida heat, the Pacific Northwest is a great place to visit! :)