Saturday, February 20, 2010

vancouver 2010 - our golden friday

Yesterday E. and I joined the masses of Lower Mainland Olympic fans partying and celebrating on the streets of Vancouver. We had decided to do the whole day on public transportation, and so got an early start boarding the 502 bus from Langley at 8:00 a.m. (7:57 to be technical). We arrived at the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver at 9:18 - excellent time, we thought, with no parking worries to boot.

We headed first to the Pan Pacific Hotel (nice washrooms there!).

(click on any photo to enlarge)

The Olympic Cauldron was our first Olympic destination. As we had heard on the news, they have now designed a camera slit in the chain link so it's easy to get unobstructed photos of the cauldron.

You can also get in line to take photos from one of the balconies of the Convention Centre but since we had set out promising ourselves we would not get in any lineups, our photos through chain link will have to do.

Next we went to Robson Square. Even though the hour was early, there were already lines of people waiting to get into attractions like the Vancouver Art Gallery.

No one was skating on the outdoor rink yet but some folks were getting their thrills on a zip line (for which, again, the lineups were amazing - given how slowly they were pushing people through!).

Next using our bus passes and feet (mostly feet), we checked out David Lam Park in Yaletown. Here everything of interest was behind Olympic barricades with people going through air-port-type security to get in (long lines again, and getting longer by the minute). When we asked, a security guard told us inside the walls were sponsor pavilions and other attractions. We consoled ourselves that we didn't want to be held captive by advertisers anyway, did we?

By now lunchtime was approaching, so we walked back up to Granville and found the restaurant where our son had suggested we meet. Having got our bearings, and still too early to meet him, we wandered Granville to the pedestrian-only area of the street.

The crowds were thicker than ever but it was a good atmosphere with street performers, lots of public art to ogle, and a multitude of enthusiastic Canadians, joined by even the stores in Olympic and Canada-wear of every description.

 The Templeton, where we had lunch, is a fifties style diner known for its great food and friendly service. We enjoyed the personal juke box (right in our booth), the old fashioned greasy-spoon decor and the food (a Med Quesadilla for me and for the boys breakfast - available till 3:00). When but the Olympics would fellow-diners come in wrapped in their national flags?

After lunch it was on to Granville Island (via a walk across the Granville Bridge - magnificent!).

The Island has been transformed into a French quarter with various pavilions and entertainment possibilities. Atlantic Canada has a pavilion there and I'm sure there were more. Again, lineups were the order of the day. Suffice it to say, we didn't go into any of them but instead, elbowed our way through the Public Market, listened to a few buskers, then bought gelatos, found chairs on the patio, and enjoyed more music with a French flair in the company of hundreds of other Olympic revelers.

We headed home around 4:00 p.m. and were glad we did when we saw, on the news, the crowds that plugged the Skytrain and buses later. All in all, it was a beautiful day, fun to be out and joining in the Olympic celebration.

To really take advantage of all the free stuff Vancouver is offering during the Olympics, though, you'd probably want to go out several times, pick a different area to explore in depth each day, then get there early and join the lineup before it got ridiculously (I'm talking hours) long.


rebecca said...

How fun! Thanks for the report. :)

violet said...

Thanks, Rebecca - it was a great day!

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