Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sweltering Vancouver

Wow! Vancouver is hot. I'd imagined this great city as a cool retreat from the dry desert-like heat I experienced for the last week. I was mistaken. 35 degrees in the shade slows down sightseeing a bit, which is probably good.

This city is so civilised. Polite people, tree-shaded cycling streets and a great network of well signposted and mapped cycle routes, sparkling ocean, mountain backdrop, beaches everywhere (smothered with sunseekers and colourful umbrellas), tidy buildings and a few great ones, like the new green-roofed convention centre (below). Construction sites and vacant lots are filled with luscious food gardens - English allotment-style.Bicycles are everywhere of all different types and although helmets are enforced many defy this to feel the cooling sea breeze in their hair. All buses, trains and ferries take bicycles and car drivers give way even if they have right-of-way on larger intersections.

Highlights of Vancouver so far have been:
  • Cruising the waterfront and suburban cycle paths
  • Circumnavigating the huge, leafy and cool oasis of Stanley Park along the sea wall along with a steady stream of buff roller bladers, cyclists, skateboarders, joggers and walkers
  • Food in the markets at Granville Island and finding the Light House ecocentre

  • Stumbling across the new Convention Centre (see photo above) beneath 6 acres of green roof - click on link for more information
  • Exploring the beautifully detailed 1930 Maritime Building in town.

  • BBQ'd dinner on the back deck with my new friends, Andrea and Yvonne last night

I'm off now into the heat to visit the Museum of Anthropology, set on the coast within the University of BC grounds before cruising back to Vancouver for a walking architecture tour in one of the older suburbs of Vancouver. Tango tonight too! So much to see and do but after I've been here 4.5 days, i'll be ready for less cultural and architectural stimulation! Unfortunately my next cycling leg clashes with a long weekend so the road and all camp spots are likely to be very busy.

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