On Tuesday, July 8th, we flew on United Airlines to Vancouver International Airport. Once out of the airport, we took a taxi to our hotel. The Howard Johnson hotel, according to one of our travel guides, "Vancouver: Secrets of the City", by Shawn Blore, was originally called the Hotel California.
We hadn't set any firm plans for Tuesday evening, so we set out to just walk around the area a little.The lady at the service desk in the lobby suggested we walk to Robson street.
On the map below you can see where the Howard Johnson is, and where Robson Street is. Our hotel is in the circled area at the bottom of the map.
We wandered up and down Robson Street, bought Mike a shirt and tie for our anniversary dinner, and finally settled on a Mediterrean resturant on Graniville for dinner. The restuarant instantly became one of our favorites. The food was fantastic! And the odd thing was, the entire establishment seemed to be run by people our age - management, chefs, bartenders, waitstaff. It was a great end to the day.
Wednesday morning, we woke up to a beautiful sunny day, and we decided it was the perfect opportunity to try to get to Grouse Mountain. The trip was easier than we had thought - the bus from our hotel to the end of Granville, the Seabus (ferry) ride across the Burrard Inlet, and the bus from the Seabus terminal on the north side of Vancouver to the base of the mountain were all covered by a single fare. We decided that the public transportation system by Translink was a major benefit to being a tourist in Vancouver. It really looked like we wouldn't need to rent a car at all!
The Seabus had drawn our attention more for the name than for what it was. (essentially, a commuter ferry) The name Seabus showed up on maps we were using to help determine, during the vacation planning stage, whether or not we could expect to get to Grouse Mountain without renting a car. The map of its route is available on the Translink web site. More interesting was the Seabus history:
From the Coast Mountain Bus Company web site: "Vancouverís unique SeaBus ferry service, operated by Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), was the first marine transit system of its kind in the world when it went into service on June 17, 1977. Twenty-three years later, it boasts 99.99 per cent service reliability, a record unparalleled in North America. It carries five million passengers a year across the waters of Burrard Inlet".More pictures of the Seabus are available on the NW Virtual Transit Center web site.
Looking back at the Seabus terminal from the northern side of Burrard Inlet (you can see the white teflon sails in front of the Pan Pacific Hotel (see pages for our Anniversary and the walk around the Pan Pacific the following day)
The Seabus as seen against the Vancouver skyline.