Well goodbye and farewell to Holland America’s ms Volendam. We had a wonderful time aboard. Bye-bye Club Chef Esteban, all the great staff and especially HAL kids’ club … we are going to miss you.
We then ventured to Canada, arriving at the lovely port of Vancouver. One of the lectures on board had been about British Columbia and the lecturer (the lovely and very interesting Terry Greenburg from Vancouver) was so passionate about the city – its people, its diversity, its nature, its history and more. His words didn’t disappoint. It has been a wonderful place to visit and we are just sad we can’t stay longer.
The pleasure of walking around Stanley Park in beautiful sunshine was magical. It has trails, forests, mountains, lakes and is home to over 500 species of wildlife. Beaver Lake was covered in gorgeous yellow iris flowers and we watched red winged blackbirds fly by. The flower gardens, including the Air Service memorial gardens were delightful.
The kids loved walking through the trees, and balancing along the fallen ones. There are bike/roller blade lanes, paths, a miniature railway (sadly closed), horse drawn rides (sadly very expensive), an aquarium and the wonderful sea wall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront pathway. It is hard to believe that so much natural ‘wilderness’ is just a stone’s throw from the city life.
The city is very diverse. The national languages may be English and French, but Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken as the home language in a third of households. The small parade of shops near our fabulous airbnb apartment consist of a Latino bakery, Filipino cafe, Chinese restaurant, Indonesian grocers, Korean BBQ house, Pizza Parlour and Indian/Pakistan eatery.
Our stay has been short and we felt it unfair to bombard the kids with too much forced sightseeing before our next leg so have spent our time locally, taking walks and playing in the lovely Central Park.
Our visit to Vancouver has been too short but nevertheless, very sweet. We’re back in America tomorrow, heading to Seattle. All I know about Seattle is Starbucks, Fraiser and Meg Ryan films.