Friday, February 26, 2010
Seattle Day 3
The adventure continues... I had a wild idea that I would go to Vancouver, BC, a place I'd never been and where the 2010 Olympics are being held. How convenient. There is not an event ticket to be found in my price range (actually-they weren't so in my price range from the outset) and time has not improved that. So, this would be a "wouldn't it be fun to be where Olympic Games are being held and just get a taste of the atmosphere" kind of trip.
The train leaves at 7:40 and arrives at 11:40AM it leaves Vancouver for Seattle at 7:45 during the Olympics to allow visitors to stay a little over an hour longer than the usual last train back. That proved to be about right for a day trip. I was glad to have a left hand seat on the way up which offered a scenic view of Puget Sound a good bit of the way. The seats are comfortable and have seat back tables like an airplane (can you tell I don't travel by train often?) but unlike an airplane, you can roam around if you like. I ventured up to the snack car (which I'm sure has a much more appropriate name, but that is what it was for me) for a soda. There is a nice seating area with large windows. I didn't go to the dining car but wish I had just to have a look.
Vancouver is a beautiful place. The mountains are so close to the city. Very sophisticated, urban but very easy to navigate by sky train or foot. I want to go back when all of the trappings of the Olympics are gone to see this chic place as it normally is.
First stop-Sky Train to the Olympic Cauldron. A quick ride away on a train filled with excitement. Some Canadian women were dressed from head to toe in Canadian wear complete with red painted nails with design, maple leaf tattoos, red eye shadow. I wished I'd gotten their photo. They were so excited and so cute-headed to the hockey game. And-they were about my age.
As a note about the general atmosphere-people were so excited to be there and the Canadians couldn't have been betters hosts. Quick with information and help, directions and suggestions. You probably couldn't go a block without someone there to assist. Maps of venues and the area were readily available, some nice 14x 20, "peel off a pad" ones, that I plan to reuse as wrapping paper! Canada Place Way had a wonderful area for the large cauldron and a beautiful park next to it. Sea planes to Vancouver Island came and went along with helicopters. I didn't stand in the 40+ minute line for the unobstructed view of the Cauldron but was satisfied for my view from a chain link fence. A nice stroll through Harbour Green Park and then onward. I walked to Vancouver City Centre and wandered through BC Robson Square Celebration site where there were lots of street entertainers, shows-music and general entertainment, ice skating, zip-line (5 hour wait-but free!), and lots of Olympic street vendors. Pins are the thing at the Olympics and I did buy 2 but I really wanted stickers and magnets, which weren't so easily found. I do wish I had bought a pair of red Olympic mittens, but didn't pass by any and didn't seek them out.
Large TVs were everywhere so you could keep up with the games. The next thing on my list was the Art Museum where there was a free DaVinci exhibit. Again a long line, too long for a day visit. But, enjoyed the building, fountain, people having pictures taken in a bobsled and the gift shop. I also picked up a dropped lanyard of official nature which was a nice souvenir. Next, Robson Street toward BC Place. Lots of shops and the street was closed so easy to maneuver. I was ready for some lunch by then and found a crepe shop for a delicious spinach, egg and swiss crepe and a cafe frappe. Ah, energy to continue the adventure. Went into a huge candy shop and was sorry I didn't remember the favored candy bar of Canada. I'd heard people talk about it and just couldn't remember. Store was too busy for much interaction. So, alas, no candy. There was a nice art display on Granville Street, lanterns ( you can read a bit here) kids had made that are lit at night. Maybe one of my favorite things. I would have loved to have seen them at night. It was a community project, I think. Here is a quote from another website "During Jan 22nd- Feb28th 2010, a Lunar New Year celebration like no other will take over the grounds of Downtown Vancouver with thousands of lanterns decorated by school age children and large commissioned lantern displays. This free public display of lanterns as well as gathering of artisans and cultural performances brings together the celebration of Lunar New Year and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic spirit." The other art pieces are illuminated at night to, you will see if you click the link above.
Coming soon, part 2....