Gondolas, grizzlies, gardens and Granville Island
11 May 2019
|Gondolas, grizzly bears, gardens and Granville Island.
I slept very well last night and woke up at 7am feeling totally refreshed and jet lag free!
After a hearty breakfast, Cheryl and I caught the hotel’s free shuttle bus to Canada Place where, after a short wait, we caught the first shuttle bus of the morning to Grouse Mountain - a ride of about 20 minutes. Being quite early on a warm, sunny, Saturday morning, we quickly bought our entry tickets and, within minutes, were on the gondola heading up the mountain. Despite it being not far off Summer and very warm, there was still icy snow on the ground in some places. Cheryl and I had fun throwing a few handfuls at each other .
Unfortunately, a lot of the attractions don’t open until the 18th of May but we were still very pleased to be there and enjoy the wonderful views. We were also really fortunate to see the mountain’s two grizzly bears - Grinder and Coola. The two, now 18 year olds, were rescued as cubs and brought to the mountain as part of a rescue and conservation effort. The bears have happily lived on Grouse Mountain for most of their lives and are too accustomed to people so they can never be returned to the wild. Having said that, their keepers still never enter their enclosure as they are close to 1000lb (480 kg) in weight and, when standing, reach a height of 8 feet. Their claws are enormous and very sharp.
The bears only came out of their Winter hibernation on 18th April and I had been warned that I may not see them. Imagine how thrilled I was to see both of them foraging for food - enjoying the tender new leaves on the spring bushes. Cheryl and I watched them for over half an hour until they retreated to the inner part of their 5 hectare enclosure. I heard later that other people had missed seeing the bears as they were napping. How lucky were we!
After we spent time walking around, we went into the theatre to watch a few films on the bears and Canada.
It was then time to head back down the mountain on the gondola. While on it, I got chatting to a nice girl who recommended that we visit Queen Elizabeth Gardens.
So, once back in Canada Place (via the courtesy shuttle bus), we went to the information centre to get directions to the Gardens. A short train ride and a rather long walk later, we reached them. The Gardens were created in a disused quarry - a bit the same as the Eden Project in Cornwall. Being Spring, the flowers were in full bloom and the place was amazing - steep but amazing! We walked and walked and came to Seasons Restaurant which had a magnificent view of the city and mountains in the background. We had a late but very enjoyable lunch - complete with a mimosa (proseco and orange juice) - which could become my new favourite drink!
After lunch we walked through the conservatory- full of birds and tropical plants. Then it was the long walk out of the Gardens and a bus ride to the train station and back to Canada Place.
We could have easily come back to the hotel but decided there was plenty of time to visit Granville Island - so off we went on another bus!
We reached Granville Island about 20minutes later and had a good time wandering through the market of mostly fresh food... with a few other stalls included.
By 6pm, we decided it was time to come back to the hotel. So.... you guessed it! Back on another bus we went! Followed by a few block’s walk.
Since then, I’ve had a lovely refreshing shower and done my washing - stomping up and down on it in the bath, followed by rolling everything in a towel and walking over it to remove as much moisture as possible! Who needs a washing machine?!?
It’s now 9 pm - time for a cup of tea and some quiet time before bed. We have most of tomorrow to ourselves before meeting our tour group in the late afternoon.
Bye for now xxxxxxxx