After a comfortable night in Rebecca and Hamish's spare bedroom, we woke early, ready to continue the carpentry work on the van and to wave Rebecca and Spruce off to work at 7.30. After coffee, the work continued, a substantial storage box was created in what seemed like moments, and the van was packed ready to go!
We drove on down Highway 1 to Vanvouver for Chris' meeting with WIIVV in Gastown. A convenient underground car park in Chinatown lead up into a huge supermarket with a bizarre collection of huge tanks containing a variety of fish, crustaceans and molluscs....
B and K set off into Gastown in search of coffee, breakfast and the famous Steam clock. The Revolver coffee shop was half science lab, half cafe with rows of glass jugs and filters being tended by baristas, lovingly grinding beans, warming jugs, filtering coffee and frothing textured milk. We chose two tasty looking 'power cookies' to accompany our drinks and sat in the sun, deafened by the funky music to soak it all up!
Shortly after, at 12.14 we made our way down to the remarkable Steam clock in time to hear the quarter hour 'Westminster chimes' tooted out by steam whistles as the mechanism moved large steel spheres up a chain escalator to be deposited on a sloping track, allowing them to trigger the chiming mechanism.
After that we set out to explore Vancouver and took the 19 bus north to Stanley Island. Spokes cycle hire very efficiently provided us with a tandem complete with helmets and lock ($26 for 90 minutes) and we set off to see the Lost Lagoon and then cycle the Sea Wall trail anti- clockwise around the park, padding the totem poles, the statue of the 'Girl in a wet suit' - the Canadian take in the 'Little mermaid' statue.
We cycled on, under the Lions gate bridge and past Siwash Rock, adorned with cormorants, and onto Third Beach where we sat in the sun and watched the boats sail past. We were just contemplating s trip to The Teahouse Restaurant for lunch when Chris texted to say he had finished his meetings and suggested a Sushi lunch in Gastown. We hopped back on the tandem and cycled on, past English Beach and back to Spokes.
We walked back through Downtown (gleaming skyscrapers, blue skies and leafy trees) to Momo Sushi and enjoyed iced water and tempura vegetables as well as an array of fantastic sushi, as Chris told us all about his meetings.
After lunch it was back to the bus and headed off north to Squamish to visit Cora and Simon.
We stopped on the way to climb up the First Peak of The Chief - a granite monolith beloved by rock climbers and overlooking Howe Sound and Vancouver. (Cora was out climbing there so we hoped we might meet up).
We set off up the steep slopes, through forest and up steps, boardwalks and then bare slabs of granite with chains and ladders for easier ascent. Quite a challenge but we made it to the top in good time to watch the sun drop in the sky and set over the water of Howe Sound. We saw and heard Cora and friend Andrew climbing on second peak and they climbed round to join us. Chris did his customary hand stand against the sky and we took plenty of photographs before descending in the darkness using head torches to return to our cars / vans.
We met Simon at the local Mecicsn restaurant. It looked in the outside like the last place on earth that we would want to eat but inside the canteen style tables and chairs were full of happy moody climbers and the food and beer were both welcome and delicious!!
We drove home then to Cora and Simon's new flat - perched high on a hillside overlooking Squamish, and we were able to enjoy the views and the starts above from their hot tub before colliding into the lovely comfy bed in their spare room!