So anyone who read my last blog post could be forgiven for thinking I was becoming a bit of a dull Jack as all I seemed to be doing was being work focused. Well rest assured what’s about to come will clear that notion up straight away.
Hop on, hop off
One of the best ways I have found to learn about, and to get my bearings in a new city is to take a bus tour. I did it when I lived in Oxford and within weeks I had local-like knowledge of where places where and had learnt a good number of the street names too.
My first stop this morning was the tourist centre down by the waterfront. I had been down there yesterday for lunch during my busy day doing practical paperwork things. At the tourist information centre I picked up tickets for the Trolley Hop On Hop Off tour. For $63 I chose the 2 day tour that allows you to take the tour on two different days. Many of the tours offer this but insist that the two days are on consecutive days. What I liked about this one was that it gave me a chance to see numerous places across the tours and go back around on another day up to October 20th.
This bus tour boasts two different routes around the city and surrounding areas. Rather than using pre-recorded audio descriptions, commentary is given live by the driver. I really liked this touch as it personalised the experience and meant we got to know our different drivers.
The first of the two routes I did was the green route which took me to the west of the city and around one of Vancouver’s most iconic parks, Stanley Park. Within the park there are 7 stops to get on and off the tour allowing for a great way to explore it. Furthermore within the park there is also a horse drawn tour you can take separately from this tour. The rest of the green tour is also really insightful offering great views of different areas of Downtown Vancouver.
Photos taken on the Green Route
The second route covered by the Trolley Hop On Hop Off tour is the red route. This time rather than going to the west this tour covers the east of the city, taking in views over Granville Island, which is one the most popular tourist destinations in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the tour doesn’t go onto the island, however it does provide a birds-eye view over it and there are stops right by the overpass onto the island (unfortunately I didn’t get any decent photos of the view over it).
This tour is very different to the green tour as it takes you around some of the older parts of the city including Chinatown which interestingly celebrates its 150th birthday this year despite Vancouver not celebrating its until next year. Chinatown in Vancouver is the 3rd largest in North America, only being beaten by New York and San Francisco. In addition to Chinatown the tour also takes you around Gastown which is famous for its gas lamps and gas clock. The clock is famous for whistling with steam every hour. Interestingly there are a number of buildings in Vancouver including one of the Fairmont Hotels which are heated in this old fashioned way using steam.
Pictures from Red Route
Overall I thought both routes around the city were great and provided excellent information about different places of interest. My only reservation about this tour is that it is rather bumpy under-bum, which is understandable given they are held on the old Trolley’s, however, after nearly 2 hours of touring it makes for a rather tender backside.
After all this sightseeing it was definitely time to find some food. Having spoken to my brother about Vancouver he insisted I must try Poutine while in Canada. Poutine is a Canadian dish that originates from Quebec and consists of fries covered in thick gravy with cheese curds. It’s not much to look at but boy does it taste good. I found my helping inside the Food Hall near the waterfront. I would highly recommend trying it.
Final and most spectacular stop for the day, Vancouver Lookout
Offering some of the best views of Vancouver, the Vancouver Lookout is a must visit for anybody visiting the city. For just over $17 (adult fare) you can go up to the lookout platform and see 360 degree panoramic views of the city.
Above the lookout there is also a revolving restaurant that offers diners the same breathtaking views of the city from the comfort of their table. This wonderful restaurant is perfect for couples and families to share time observing some of the best views of this iconic city. They also serve Stanley Park Ale which I took great time to sample.
Before finishing my visit here I had to take in the wonderful sunset over the city. Watching the sunset over Vancouver from the lookout definitely has to be the best bit about this adventure so far and I would definitely encourage anyone visiting the area to go and do this.
A few photos from Vancouver Lookout
After such a busy day it is now time for me to get some much needed rest. Keep posted for more updates to come soon. Hope you all have a great day!