Flying into Vancouver was a really pretty sight. Snow-topped mountains, lots of water and the most awesome autumn colours. We found it to be the friendliest city on our travels so far, starting with the most helpful two bus drivers, who both gave us free rides, because the buses only take coins and we only had notes. Now would that ever happen in London? I think not!
The passengers on the bus were just as helpful. They volunteered information on where to stay, where to go, and how to get around the city. We hadn't booked any accommodation for Vancouver, so it was a bit scary arriving without a destination to lay our heads that night, but with all the help from the locals we quickly found a great hotel in downtown Vancouver and absolutely loved our stay there.
We headed out to sunset beach on English Bay to watch the sunset and then headed to a lovely Italian restaurant who were doing a 50% discount that night, so we got a great deal.
The next day we slept late, as we had been getting up early most days and just needed a rest. We did some running and cycling in the hotel gym and after a late breakfast, we headed to North Vancouver on the water bus and then caught another bus to the base of Grouse Mountain. We hiked up the Grouse Grind, which was a pretty steep hike, but very rewarding to see the most beautfiul sunset as we arrived at the top. Once inside the restaurant, it started snowing! It really was freezing, so we were very grateful when the the waitress brought us some blankets to warm up. They also had a lovely fire going, so we spent the rest of the evening on top of Grouse Mountain, enjoying drinks and dinner.
We also had the privelege of watching two free s movies all by ourselves in this huge cinema. One about beautiful Brish Columbia and the other about the two bear cubs, Coola and Grind, who are part of a a new conservation concept, where orphaned bears are kept in their natural surroundings, taught how to hunt for food and even taught how to hybernate, before being released back into the wild. Amazing! We caught the cable car back down the mountain and funny enough, had the same bus driver on our way back. He recognised us and we ended up having a long chat with him about property in Vancouver.
The next day we did a 2-hour walk through Stanley Park and saw the most beautiful autumn colours. That afternoon we headed to Victoria on the ferry and spent one night there before returning to Vancouver for our last night. We visited the Capilano suspension bridge and saw all the amazing trees in the Calipano Canyon on a special "canopy walk" before heading to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong.