Vancouver - Robson Street and The Vancouver Aquarium
29.12.2012 - 29.12.2012 5 °C
It's raining. It's drizzling, but it is not pouring. So we're all good for a walk from our hotel down Robson Street and onto the Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park.
We are staying on Robson Street which is the main shopping street in downtown Vancouver. Along this street you will find "high street fashion" and the more affordable labels side by side and thrown in for good measure are restaurants and coffee shops galore. All the post Christmas sales are on and when we started walking down the street at 10am (when the stores here and the US open) they were practically deserted. In fact for a Saturday it was damn right quiet.
I was window shopping so I didn't buy anything, but I will go back tomorrow or the day after for a better look. Locals were out having their breakfast in the many cafes and others were picking up a coffee before heading up to the slopes of Whistler (lots of cars with skiis and snowboards parked out front with the engines running). We all stopped for a hot chocolate at Blenz as we have a policy of not walking into a Starbucks. Like the US, there is a Starbucks on every second block if not every block.
Three quarters down Robson Street the street slopes down and you can see the forest of Stanley Park quickly approaching. The trendy shops have stopped a block ago and now there are only restaurants, hotels and food markets to look at. The side streets have lots of apartments and the avenues are leafy. This is a change to where we are staying at the other end of Robson Street.
As soon as we turn onto Denman Street we are met with bicycle rental stores. We are definitely on the right track.
Stanley Park is an urban park bordered by downtown Vancouver and transected by Route 99, which is the road to Whistler. The park is huge. It is comprised of almost 405 hectares and is 10% larger than Central Park in New York. A statue of Lord Stanley greets you as you enter the park and from then on you are surrounded by nature and marvellous gardens.
Due to the inclement weather we are only going to explore the famous Aquarium which is located on the western edge of the park, closest to the city. The Vancouver Aquarium is famous for it's Beluga Whales and the fact that it concentrates more on research, conservation and education rather than entertainment. It consists of 10 different galleries/exhibits. We were engrossed with the BC Coast/Pacific Canada gallery which showcases the local wildlife. These cool water creatures are very different to what we are used to.
The belugas were beautiful, the dolphins playful to the crowds and the sea otter very aware of us and happy to climb up the glass barrier to say hello.
I was taken by the jellyfish as they are much more attractive than the Box Jellyfish of home. I could have watched them for hours.
We also really enjoyed the Amazon Rainforest. The sight of the huge Anaconda submerged in his/her tank sent shivers down my spine, hence the blurry picture. Sorry! I have a huge snake phobia. My camera fogged up constantly and butterflies buzzed by you constantly.
After almost four hours we decided that we had seen enough. It seemed as though all of Vancouver had decided that the aquarium was an excellent wet weather activity. The rain had stopped for a while but rather than visit the nearby totem poles we headed home. Tomorrow the weathermen have predicted that the rain will clear. It so we'll be back. If not, it will be up to vote. Should be exciting either way!