Thursday, July 04, 2013

West Coast Vacation - Vancouver Day 2

After our very busy first day, we decided that we needed something a little more low key on day two.  We woke up, happy to see that the forecast had changed from a good chance of rain, to a bit of rain early in the morning then mix of sun and cloud for the rest of the day.  We decided that after the busyness of the first day we could handle a quieter day checking out some gardens and parks.

In the morning we headed over to the Bloedel Conservatory.  It is located in Queen Elizabeth Park.  We were really impressed with the beauty of the park, before we even got into the conservatory.  The park is a big hill with beautifully maintained flower gardens and unique trees and lovely views of the city and mountains.

 (The Bloedel Conservatory)

(Queen Elizabeth Park)

 (Queen Elizabeth Park)

 (There were sculptures of a guy taking the picture of his sculpture family.  So I went and posed with the sculptures and Jay took a pic of the guy taking a picture of the statues....haha)

 (Nice view of Vancouver and the mountains from Queen Elizabeth Park)

We explored the area, as much as we dared with the steep paths and then headed into the conservatory.  It was really inexpensive, and they gave Jay free admission because I did need to give him a push a few times up some steeper paths.  I had looked at the website for the Conservatory, but had not realized that they have birds as well.  We got to see some beauitful macaws and parrots as well as some smaller birds like finches, canaries and budgies.

 (A pair of macaws!)

 (A miniature macaw on my shoulder ;) )
 (Unique flowers)

 (This was where the small birds liked to hang out.  If you look closely you can see a few of them.)

 (The dessert part of the conservatory with huge cacti and succulents.)

A few blocks away from the conservatory is the Vandusen Botanical Garden.  I really did not know what to expect from this, as their website is pretty useless.  However, it had great reviews on Trip Advisor and was recommended by people who had also enjoyed the Bloedel Conservatory.  I was impressed that Vandusen had free parking, however they did charge admission (I think about $12 each) to the gardens.  We had a light lunch at the cafe (a nice outdoor table with a view of their pond) and carried on around the garden.  There are three main paths to follow in the garden, and the only one that said it was accessible was the shortest of them, and was estimated to take less than an hour to complete.  The other two paths were 1-2 and 2-3 hours, I believe.  We decided that since the paths were mainly paved that we would venture a little beyond the accessible area.  We managed quite well, though a few of the paths were quite steep.  There was a great variety of unique trees and plants to see.  They also had some wooden sculptures throughout the gardens.  After we spent our time doing a loop around the garden we found a nice spot by the pond and sat for at least half an hour and just enjoyed the peacefullness of it all.  It was really neat to see such a place right int he middle of a residential area.  I believe I read somewhere that the gardens are about 50 acres.  Such a nice place!

 (A nice place to have lunch, and no bugs!!)
 (One of the wood sculptures.  We noticed that it had an electrical socket and wondered if maybe they light it up at night...?)

 (We were amazed by the beautiful flowering trees.)

 (Hedge maze!)

 (Enjoying some shade under a nice shady canopy.)

 (Such beautiful roses!)

 (What a nice peaceful place to rest after walking through the park.)

We had decided that we certainly wanted to try some good seafood/fish while we were on the west coast.  We had asked my cousin for suggestions, and she recommended The Fish House in Stanley Park.  We checked out their website and decided that even though it was a bit of a fancier place, we wanted to give it a try.  We made a reservation, but because we tend to eat supper earlier than average, it was not very busy at all.  It would have been nice to eat out on the deck, but there was a step down to get onto the deck, so we settled for having the dining room almost entirely to ourselves.  We had a really great experience there.  We both ended up ordering the chef's choice trio of fish.  That day it happened to include salmon, arctic char and ahi tuna.  Those were all things that I was interested in trying.  I would say out of the three, the arctic char was my favorite.  It is an oily fish, somewhat similar to salmon, or trout, just had a nice richness to it.  It was plated beautifully with potatoes, steamed vegetables and a delicious creamy sauce.  The ahi tuna was unique, it had a very meaty texture, almost like rare beef.  We rounded out the meal with a piece of cheesecake.

 After supper we drove over to a different part of Stanley Park, where we could see that the seawall was more level with the road and we walked a little ways around the sea wall.  Such a nice place!  So many runners, rollerbladers and cyclists there!  They even have lanes on the paths for each type of traffic.


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