Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Va Va Vancouver

After the excitement of Victoria Day yesterday, the streets this morning were positively peaceful as we made our way back up the Galloping Goose Trail the 21 miles from Victoria to Swartz Bay to catch the ferry to Vancouver. Well, the ferry terminal is called “Tsawwassen” actually, just South of Vancouver, but with an unpronounceable name like that…

Anyway, we did our usual trick of speeding along on the start of the ride, then having a “quick stop” at a gas station, and suddenly finding ourselves pressed for time. It was 11.55 as we pedalled like maniacs from the gate of the ferry terminal toward the 12-noon ferry. Luckily they let us on. Squeezing between the lines of stationary lorries each with one pannier off to get to the front of the ferry was quite an experience too…

Departing the ferry, we were stunned to see an expanse of wetlands covered, and we mean covered, in herons. We thought about cycling on past as we usually do assuming that the nervous birds would take flight as soon as the camera was half out of the handlebar bag, but for some reason this time we were in luck. Check out the photos.

When planning our route from Tsawwassen into downtown Vancouver, we found that there was a tiny problem. The only way across the Fraser River Estuary for many miles is a tunnel that is unsuitable for bikes. However, Canada is a resourceful and cycling-friendly nation. They run a free shuttle bus for cyclists, which goes every couple of hours from one end of the tunnel to the other. Result!

Although we had a bit of a wait for the shuttle, there was another unforeseen benefit. We met Denver and Rob, fellow cyclists, who were “commuting” from Victoria to downtown Vancouver. Denver had clearly ridden this route many times before and was happy to lead the rest of us, pied piper style, through the streets of Vancouver …navigating the cycle paths, bridges and other short-cuts in any downtown city is always a challenge for us, particularly as the Gamines tend to throw up their hands and give up, sending us on crazy routes and beeping away for good measure. So, we were very grateful, and also enjoyed chatting to Denver and Rob as we cycled along.

We’ve fallen on our feet with our hotel too …it’s great, and very reasonable. Best of all, it has a fabulous Italian restaurant, Cibo, where we ate tonight. The freshest of local produce, cooked perfectly, and tasty as can be, washed down with some seriously stylish vino. A big hello to Ed and Kelly, our hosts tonight.

Us x

P.S. A quick thanks also to another Rob, from the ferry, who did offer to drive us from the ferry and through the tunnel.

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