Thursday, 13 September 2012

Day 48 - A Grouse day in Vancouver- Sep 11th

Well one thing is for sure, coffee may keep some people awake but in my case, the less I drink, the less I seem to sleep!  According to Warren our cruise director I am not the only one who has suddenly developed signs of partial insomnia.  He has suggested the insomniacs meet at 3am for a game of table tennis!

He and Matt have a permanent reminder of our Alaskan visit and currently display the mugs we presented them on their desk for the morning’s “Wake Show”.  It did gain us an honourable mention and the shop prize we were promised arrived in our cabin.  An inflatable Dawn Princess for the pool/bath.

Our arrival in Vancouver was scheduled for the middle of the day so plenty of time for a full breakfast.  The chef doing omelettes now has my portion of onions and mushrooms ready without me even asking.  Typical of the great staff on this ship.

Morning trivia was a total disaster.  Our team never showed up and as Wayne the Canadian DJ had responded to a request from someone to do a Canadian trivia, that is what we got.  We suspect the winning team may have done the asking and may well have  a Canadian in their team - or did some serious swotting.  Who else but a Canadian could name Canadian ice hockey or football teams and knew who had never won the Stanley Trophy?

The sail in past Stanley Park was very pleasant and the Disney ship from Alaska was already berthed.

We assembled in the theatre for our afternoon trip and just walked straight off.  No wasteful immigration red tape and an easy exit.  Canada can do it, why not the USA?  A gentle drive through the famous Stanley Park, then across the bridge and up to Grouse Mountain.

Paula isn’t too keen on cable cars and Malcolm even less so.  They crammed about 100 people into the car and although they hadn’t booked a Princess tour, M & M made their own way to the mountain and we were happy to see them being shoved into our car at the last minute.

The run up to the top is about 7 minutes but apparently can be speeded up if required.  Paula managed it OK and so did Malcolm.  At the top there are a variety of attractions but we didn’t really have enough time to experience most of them.  People coming back down were enthusiastic at having been within touching distance of a couple of bears, so we headed straight there.  It must have been afternoon nap time as they were up a bank, virtually hidden in the undergrowth so we missed out on that treat.  The ski lift to go further up was included so we headed for that with Denise and Gayle, from our morning quiz team.

Paula wasn’t at all comfortable on the way up and we decided to head back down again so headed for the exit, back up the entry steps, only to met with a terrified Mal turning the lift into a genuine white knuckle ride.  Brave of him to get on and probably something he’ll get to laugh about one day.

We asked what it was like walking down and were told that whilst it was quicker, the steepness and the loose gravel made it a bit of  a challenge.  Mal quickly succinctly summed it up by stating that giving the option of being 50 feet up in the air and falling over a metre and a half, he’d go with the latter – much to Paula’s relief, so we walked down to the intermediate level.

By the time we had made a quick comfort stop and joined the long queue to go down, that was it.  Our coach driver wanted us back at 5pm.  The queue at the top was double what it should have been as there had been a run up the mountain, so we whilst were wearing our warm jackets, all these young, fit healthy types were in tee shirts and shorts!  The chap we spoke to had run up in 31 minutes.  Our driver had told us it was a two and a half hour walk.

Going down was fine and I chatted to a lovely English girl who now lives in Canada, having worked in the salon on a cruise ship and fallen for the Canadian shop manager.

Our driver battled the late afternoon early evening traffic and with a quick stop at Prospect point, where the bus was met by a trio of rabid raccoons, we headed back to the ship at the arranged time of 6:30.  Although it was an 11pm sailaway, we stayed on board, but others certainly explored a  bit more of Vancouver.

We opted for the buffet and I made do with prawns on rice and a welcome bottle of cider.

The vista show was mentalist,  Brent Webb.  Very clever, but not a gripping entertainer and I managed to almost nod off more than once.  So did Paula.

On to Alan & Alana’s quiz where a lady, Shirley joined us, but our score of 21/25 wasn’t quite good enough to win.

With no nana nap, bed at about 11:35pm (again) and Victoria on Vancouver Island to look forward to.  A good night’s sleep would be nice.

Only half a day for our last stop of this cruise (ignoring San Francisco) which is a shame, as the last time we were there, we didn’t get enough time to really explore.



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