So, Vancouver day had arrived. We had a full morning and day planned because we planned on doing a Disney shore excursion in the port, then re-board the ship and get ready for another "first day" of cruising----Sail Away Party, fun with friends, dinner.....ah...this is the life!! When we awoke, this is the view from our balcony:
This picture makes it look a little dreary/cloudy...but really it wasn't...it was just early. I think this photo was taken at about 7:00am. We got up that early because we had an early excursion and we needed to eat breakfast first....
.....once we were showered and ready, we headed down for breakfast. Because this was technically the last day of the cruise, this was supposed to be our "farewell breakfast"----and for over 1500 people aboard, it WAS----thankfully for us, however, we didn't see this menu...
...and end up depressed! LOL
After breakfast was done, we met our tour group and headed for the bus:
Our tour today included a driving tour of the city of Vancouver to see the sights on our way to stop at Stanley Park and then on to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This ended up being a very fun day! First of all, there were several people who we knew from the DISBoards (and who'd been on our fabulous "Michael K. San Francisco Adventure" as well) and second, both the sites we were visiting were great and our tour bus driver was cool and had a lot of local knowledge to share. Our tour took us driving past a bunch of very cool buildings and sites and interesting architecture. This first picture is actually the Olympic Cauldron (lit by the famous torch) from the recent Winter Olympics held in Vancouver. The second, which looks a lot like the Colloseum in Rome, is actually the Vancouver Public Library!
Next our tour took us through Chinatown in Vancouver. Our driver shared with us that Vancouver actually has the 2nd largest Chinatown in all of North America----second only to San Francisco! Chinatown had a lot of interesting buildings and pretty components (including the street lamps, pictured below, that were designed to look like traditional lanterns and adorned with golden dragons and silk lanterns):
Another interesting site was the "steam clock"-----a clock right on the street that is literally powered by steam and every so often it actually releases a billow of steam. It's one of only a few clocks like this in the world, apparently, and we were lucky enough to go by just as it was doing it's thing:
Our next stop was Stanley Gardens. This is Vancouver's version of Central Park-----only MUCH bigger (1,000 acres!!) and, if I may so, MUCH prettier, too! Here are some images of the park (and remember that it is relatively early in the season here still...so I imagine the park only gets prettier and more lush as you get farther into spring and summer!):
Another thing that made this park exceptional was its proximity to the beaches/bay/ocean. The views were amazing from the park:
Within the park there was also an area dedicated to Totem Poles because the history and culture of First Nations is very important in this region.
(NOTE: In both the pictures above where you see Jason and I standing together at totem poles----we weren't together at all. Playing with Jason's phone's ability to create pictures where it LOOKS like we posed together is my new favorite thing! LOL)
Vancouver also boasts a large bridge, designed by the same architects who designed the Golden Gate Bridge (and the similarities are clear when you look at the bridge----even thought it's green):
And another replica that Vancouver shares is this statue:
It is called "The Girl in a Wet-Suit" and it is supposed to be a modernized replica of the very famous statue of Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid that is found in Europe.
Our main stop for the day was the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This bridge is part of a park here in Vancouver that is kind of a testament to where man and nature meet. It's set in an amazing forest, over a beautiful river and a VERY deep canyon/cliff. There is a bridge that spans the chasm and there are nature trails and a network of swinging bridges that connect treetop lookouts on the other side. This bridge has the distinction of being the very FIRST tourist attraction ever in the Vancouver area as it has been drawing people willing to pay to cross it for over 100 years. A few fun facts about the bridge: It is 230 feet high and 450 feet long. (OK, those are fun facts for me and Jason, who both loved it.....but many of our tablemates thought those facts were horrifying and that we were nuts for having crossed the bridge at all! LOL) Here are some photos of us in the park, on or at the bridge, of the surrounding area, and in the treetop adventure areas:
(Note: If you're looking at these pictures and wondering if the bridge moved or swung, like our table-mates wondered----HECK YES, it did!!! LOL)
After we left the park, it was a nice drive back with some more sights to see and then we boarded the ship, ate some lunch and relaxed a bit before the sail away party. I relaxed QUITE a bit, actually----bundled up on our patio (although it wasn't really COLD....in fact, it was probably as nice a day as it could possibly be in Vancouver!
The Sail Away Party was, as ever, a great time. We hung out with friends, danced, clapped, blew bubbles and drank non-alcoholic champagne!
After the sail away party was over, it was time for the ship to pull away from the dock and begin our voyage. As we pulled out, the staff of the Vancouver port were lined up and waving at us with Mickey hands....this is a tradition at Port Canaveral (the Florida port where most the Disney ships spend time) that we missed in Los Angeles, so it was nice to see again:
As we pulled out, we had some beautiful views. Vancouver really is a GORGEOUS city where I suspect Jason and I could spend a lot of time!
Even the view from our balcony was INCREDIBLE as we were preparing for dinner:
Another thing we did today was we decided to make this a very pampering cruise----by adding an additional meal (brunch) at Palo and by adding several more spa treatments to our week! We booked two more special massages for later in the week AND we booked pedicures (a first for both of us EVER) for this evening before dinner! So before we got ready for dinner we headed to the spa to get our pedicures and foot massages. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about some stranger working on my feet and toenails to be honest...but it was actually really, really lovely.....and our feet looked and felt amazing when it was over!! So, with feet beautifully coifed, we headed to the room to get ready for dinner. We skipped tonight's show (we saw it on last cruise) in order to have time for the pedicures and getting ready. Tonight's ties were Disney Villain ties:
After a nice meal and social time with our dinner-mates....it was back to our room to say good night to our towel animal....
...and then to set our clocks back one hour (hooray for an extra hour of sleep!!) and turn in for the night!