10th March 2005
If you ignore the flight, this was the first day of our travels, but strangely it didn’t feel like that. Maybe it was the jet lag, or maybe the reality of what we were doing hadn’t quite sunk in yet, but this was day one of what was to be a 194 day adventure!
We had a lovely continental breakfast in the hotel and then headed out into a sunny, but cold, Vancouver to shop! Well it had been a while since I’d spent any money frivolously.
Gaz needed a fleece and snowboard jacket for when we headed up to Banff; whilst I’d decided to get some new runners. I don’t know whether it was because I’d not exercised for six weeks or the ridiculously clean air but I felt like Forrest Gump.
The shops didn’t open until 10am and we’d finished breakfast by 8am, so we headed to one of Vancouver’s many coffee shops. I grabbed a table outside whilst Mr Brits went inside to order. He came back with a Latte for me and a white hot chocolate for himself, which was totally out of character. He’s not known for having a sweet tooth and this was the sickliest thing we’d ever tasted.
Mr Brits explained that on ordering the hot chocolate the waitress asked if he wanted it white. Well of course he wanted milk in it so he said yes, only to be presented with what tasted like a cup of liquid sugar. Not something we’d recommend.
After sharing the Latte we headed over to the shopping district where Mr. Brits found what he was looking for. I on the other hand couldn’t justify spending more than a full day’s budget on a pair of trainers, especially on day 1 of our trip.
Lunch was a wonderful affair in a small Greek restaurant we found in the West End, en route to Stanley park where we spent the afternoon strolling. We set out round the perimeter just after lunch, enjoying the views over the Atlantic Ocean and happy in each other’s company.
It was a busy route, not that you can tell by our pic, but we were passed by a number of cyclists, and inline skaters in their Lycra, helmets and knee pads. Mr Brits and I scoffed at the in-liners as they went by, you wouldn’t catch us doing anything thay ridiculous looking….
…well not until we’d circuited 6km of the park, with 3km still to go! Walking is a wonderful thing until it becomes boring. Then it’s just plain irksome because it doesn’t get you anywhere fast enough, and by this time we were ready for the pub!
As we neared the end of the perimeter though things got interesting as we found the Totem poles. Described by the Lonely Planet Guide as ‘a highly colourful array of carvings that attract plenty of camera-wielding visitors’.
It was our first bit of Canadian culture, even if it was there purely for us tourists.
We finally found the pub after stopping off at the harbour for a quick photo call (check out those flares).
It had a beautiful terrace over looking the harbour and the Pacific, as the sun was setting in a clear blue sky. I sat there with my best friend and my Honey beer, inhaled deeply and experienced my first ‘idyllic moment’.
At that particular point I was content beyond all feeling, appreciating where we were and what experiences, opportunities and fun times might lie ahead of us.
I was totally ready to take on the world.
NB. It’s just a shame that our little Fuji digital camera had run out of battery, because it means I cannot share that special moment with you.
However, I’ve found this beautiful image by TOTORORO.RORO, which isn’t exactly how I remember it, but it gives you an idea. xx