We took 3 days to drive from Jasper to Vancouver. The temperature reached 36 on each day so we tried to set off each day early and be stopped somewhere by 3 p.m. latest otherwise driving just became unbearable in the heat. At each stop Peter took advantage of the pool and I had to sit under the awning as even under an umbrella it was too hot for me.
Sometimes on long journeys you make an unexpected discovery and one day in the middle of nowhere we found a smallish log cabin which was a German owned bakery with outdoor seating in the gardens, selling the most wonderfual home baked goods. We had toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese which was delicious and on the way out bought cornish pasties and sausage rolls for our freezer. (We have since eaten the pasties which were also excellent).
We easily found our campsite in Vancouver but were very disappointed. In advertising material it had been classed as luxury and for camping was expensive at $50 per night (usually between $29/$30). The pitches were very, very close together, seperated by a small privet hedge. Peter likened it to a grave yard you were so near the person next to you. He complained and after trying 3 pitches we finally settled on one. That said, the facilities were actually very good.
Next morning we set off for Vancouver at 10 a.m. and went into the city on the sky train network. It was efficient, clean and quick. The journey into the city was 20 minutes and for a $2.50 fee were were whisked right into the city centre. We did the whole tourist trip and took the open topped, hop on and hop off bus which took us around the main attractions. On previous trips to Vancouver I hadn't liked it that much mostly because the weather had been bad but on this occasion I loved it and arriving in the middle of a heatwave the weather was fantastic. Studies have often named the city of Vancouver as one of the 'best places to live' and it's not hard to see why.
Downtown Vancouver occupies a narrow penninsula bounded on three sides by Burrard Inlet, English Bay and False Creek with the famous Stanley Park at the tip so from many places in the city you can see the sea and it is all quite easy to get around. You would need to read a guide book to discover everything Vancouver has to offer as I can't list it all here there are so many. The west end is the city's heart, full of heritage houses on one side of the street and a seawall promenade full of dining and shopping options on the other. It is also the centre of the gay community which makes for a hip trendy safe area. You can stroll along the beach at English Bay full of sunbathers in summer and walkers bracing the winds in the winter. Gastown, a historic area where Vancouver started full of gass lamps and cobbled streets and China Town, one of north America's largest, are two more tourist areas. I could go on and on. We went into Yaletown an upmarket up and coming loft apartment area for dinner and had a Thai meal and didn't get home til 10.30 p.m., hot, sticky and tired after walking round all day in 30 plus temperatures. The temperatures in Vancouver are higher than for the past 49 years.
Next day we moved campsites as we needed to be on the other side of the city so that we could cycle along the many paths. This place turned out to be worse than the last and because it was a city campsite was something akin to a carpark. In fact you may as well have been parked at Asda you were so close to the vehicles eitherside. As soon as we arrived I refused to stay more than one night but it was so handy for cycling into the city. We rode across Lions Gate bridge into Stanley Park and from there along the walking/cycling path around English Bay and False Creek. The whole route is about 25k and it is awesome. There are the amazing skyskraper apartments that make for such a stunning nightime skyline with gardens in front of them and then the sea. We saw at watched locals in the parks, reading, walking their dogs and boats in the harbour with little sea planes taking off and landing. There was something new around every corner and we were totally mesmorised. We also cycled out to the new olympic village that is being constructed for the 2010 winter games which is in a fantastic position and all the apartments will be sold afterwards. After visiting Granville Island again with its sea food cafes and restaurants and artisans shops we made our way back to the campsite.