A Travellerspoint blog

Day 30 - Thursday 28th May 2015

Aloha!

sunny 27 °C

5am wake up call, so less than 4 hours sleep for us. We had a morning flight out of Seattle to Hawaii but first we packed the car and drove up the road to return the rental car. We then jumped on the shuttle that took took us to the airport. We checked in our baggage then queued for a while to get through security. We then had to catch a train to get us the the stand alone terminal where we ate a quick breakfast and boarded the plane. The flight was just over 6 hours, so I decided to pay for a move and watched "Dumb and Dumber Too". Got a lot of chuckles even though the gags were corny.

We landed at Honolulu just before midday but were stuck on the plane as we'd arrived early and the driver to get the exit staircase to attach to the plane wasn't there yet! Anyhow once we exited and stepped into the terminal we were greeted by a rep from the company that was taking us to our hotel. We were both given a lei of fresh flowers and we headed to claim our bags.

The bus trip to our hotel took a while, firstly as we had to wait for more passengers to arrive, then the bus makes several drops along the way dropping off passengers at other hotels. We finally got to our hotel just after 2pm, and sad to say the room was tiny and bed only a double. Not that we expect luxury but at least hoped for a little space especially as now we had four suitcases with us from all the travelling.

We were tired given we'd had little sleep the previous night although both managed quick snoozes on the plane. We had gained three hours time difference because of the flight so really our stomachs were hungry as it was after 5pm Seattle time. We quickly changed into summer clothes and walked down the Main Street of Waikiki.

On the bus trip to our hotel I saw a Cheesecake Factory restaurant on the strip and as Vicky had never eaten there before we decided to eat there. I ordered a burrito which was giant! I was hungry though and so was able to devour it successfully. This chain of restaurants is known for its cheesecakes so we had to try some but we were so full after dinner we chose to take 2 pieces back to the hotel with us for later.

Though we were tired we were so full from dinner we thought we'd watch a movie before bed. Our hotel has a dvd rental machine in the machine we could choose a movie and watch it in our room as it had a PlayStation 3 console. We picked "American Sniper" to watch, it was very good and no wonder it won awards. We quickly crashed after that, it was only 9pm but sleep was overdue by then.

Posted by Ace from Oz 21:16 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii waikiki Comments (0)

Day 29 - Wednesday 27th May 2015

Back to Seattle

sunny 25 °C

6am rise today - we wanted to get ready, have breakfast and pack the car to hit the road as we were driving back to Seattle. We finally took off at 9:45am and drove about an hour before we reached the USA-Canada border. Here we ground to a halt for about 30-40 minutes as the the cars inched forward to go through border patrol. Once we did that we were back on the highway in no time.

We decided to have a stop back at the outlet stores which we visited on our first day in Seattle. We looked at the perfume stores but didn't find the prices any better than what we can pay for them in Australia. Perhaps there were some brands that weren't sold in Australia but didn't buy any. Vicky ended up buying a handbag and purse from the Guess store, then we jumped in the car and headed to Seattle.

We arrived at our fiend Carmen's house at 2:45pm only to find no one home, so we waited 45mins for her to get back. We met her friend Ronda who flew up from California for Carmen's daughter's wedding this Saturday. We sat outside nibbling and having a few drinks and catching up on all the news and gossip since we had last been there.

Carmen then took us to her favourite Italian restaurant nearby, Pasta Nova. We were joined by her son Brenner and husband Alan also came later. Another nice night catching up and having some laughs. We returned back to Carmen's and as per the previous time we were there, ended spending a few hours outside by the fire pit talking and laughing and sharing more stories. It was a rushed visit as we had booked a hotel next to the airport that night as we had an early flight to Hawaii in the morning. As usual, saying goodbye is never easy, we had several goes at it before we managed to get in our car to drive off. It was already past midnight and we had a 40 minutes drive to the hotel, despite being no traffic at all it was still a decent trip. Needless to say we were exhausted and by the time we checked in and Banff got to our room it was after 1am, and we were waking at 5am so a short sleep was all we could get in.

Posted by Ace from Oz 21:12 Archived in USA Tagged vancouver seattle Comments (0)

Day 28 - Tuesday 26th May 2015

Vancouver - Canyons, Rivers and Bridges

sunny 20 °C

We made sure not to sleep in too much today so we wouldn't miss on the places we had planned to visit. Today we had breakfast at a bakery nearby, very popular spot judging by the number of people in there. After we ate we got on the road, first stop was Gastown which is an old style district in the city. Reminded us a little of The Rocks in Sydney, old brick architecture, cobble stoned streets. We wandered up and down Water St, most shops are souvenir stores. The main feature here is an old steam powered clock that sits on the corner. Lots of tourists were admiring it, and every 15 minutes the steam would play a tune on the outlet pipes.

After departing Gastown we headed across the harbour and drove to Lynn Canyon. A friend at work had told me about this place. We parked and walked down to the suspension bridge high over the rushing stream below. We followed the trail downstream to get to the next bridge to cross back over, the trees were amazingly tall and the lush green forest was wonderful to walk through. We made our way back up to our car and headed for our next destination.

We drive a short distance to the base of Grouse Mountain where there is a gondola ride to the top of the mountain however when we got the pre there was still heavy fog and we couldn't even see the top of the gondola ride. Figured it was pointless go up to see nothing, so we headed down the road to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I thought it was quite pricey just to walk over a bridge but once in there you have so many other things to do. We first did the Cliff Walk, wooden walkway suspended over the side of the cliff so you look down and the bottom. From here we crossed over the suspension bridge, quite an experience being so high and the bridge was swaying a little with the number of people crossing it. Over the other side we did the treetop walk, wooden walking trails suspended between the trees and we followed that route to the end. Then we walked along the nature trail again marvelling at the sheer size of the trees, some over 200 feet tall. We had a quick lunch after all our walking before heading off.

We decided to drive back up to Grouse Mountain to see if the fog had cleared, sadly it hadn't so we missed out taking the gondola ride. We decided to drive back to our hotel and sit in the spa to relax, we'd done a lot of walking already. I booked dinner at a nice restaurant that had been recommended to me, so we got dressed and drove back across the harbour for dinner.

We ate at Salmon House on Hill, with wonderful views over the harbour and the city and also the ocean. Dinner was nice albeit a little expensive but it was our last dinner in Canada so we decided to enjoy it. We were quite full as you imagine after a three course dinner, but it was getting late so headed back to the hotel. We had to drive off from Vancouver in the morning so arranged the suitcases again and headed to bed.

Posted by Ace from Oz 20:46 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver capilano lynn_canyon Comments (0)

Day 27 - Monday 25th May 2015

Vancouver - Stanley Park and MOA

sunny 18 °C

The first of two full days here in Vancouver, unfortunately we slept in a little and dragged our feet. By the time we got ready and went to have a cooked breakfast at a cafe across the street, it was around 11am before we headed off to do any sight seeing.

We started by going into Stanley Park, a massive park on the tip of the CBD here and bordering the harbour. By far the biggest and greenest park I've ever seen, it was huge. We thought we'd go firstly to the aquarium as a few places had suggested that. There was a queue to get in, I guess being a school day there would obviously be bus loads of kids in there. It wasn't a huge aquarium but we spent about three hours wandering around. Certainly some interesting exhibits, we got to see the otters up close, saw the beluga whales performing some tricks, the Amazon rainforest that had birds and sloths uncaged. Despite the crowd of people it was certainly enjoyable to see.

As there is so much to see at Stanley Park, and it stays open until 11pm, we decided to exit the park and drive out to the west side of Vancouver, to the Museum of Anthropology. A friend had recommended we visit here, and we got there fairly late considering the museum closed at 5pm. We only had on hour to walk through the exhibit halls, and the museum is part of the University of British Columbia where the students research and catalogue artefacts that are found and given to the museum. It was interesting without being fantastic, Vicky loved the exhibit room full of antique pottery, some dating back several hundred years.

After the museum we drove back into the city to Stanley Park. We drove around the perimeter stopping at various vantage points to take pictures of the scenery that included the city skyline, the harbour and beyond. By now I was hungry as I hadn't eaten lunch (the cooked breakfast was enough to keep me going), and we found a nice restaurant overlooking the water and the setting sun called The Teahouse. Despite feeling a little undressed, the meal was very nice and enjoyed the view also,

By the end of dinner the sun had set so it was dark, we drove out of Stanley Park and made our way back to our hotel room.

Posted by Ace from Oz 08:04 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver stanley_park moa Comments (0)

Day 26 - Sunday 24th May 2015

Anchorage to Vancouver

overcast 16 °C

We had a sleep in today and skipped breakfast, we slept until 9am as we had until midday to check out of our hotel. We did another repacking of baggage to try and even the weight between bags as we were flying out of Anchorage late afternoon. We finally packed the car and checked out at 11am. We didn't have a lot of time to roam around as we had to drop the rental car off before our flight.

We hadn't eaten, except for a banana in our room, so went in search of a cafe. The one we were recommended ended up being full and had a 45+ minute waiting list so we tried elsewhere. We,stopped at the Alaskan Mint as Vicky wanted to buy a souvenir for her dad who collects coins. She ended up buying 2 coins that were made there on the premises.

Still had no luck finding a cafe but then noticed that behind the street we were in they were having markets. We walked down there and found the food stalls and decided on a Po boy roll each, mine with shrimp and Vicky's with catfish. I also got a corn dog and Vicky bought something called a chimney cake, more out of curiosity but she enjoyed it. It was a bit cold and I had no sweater and the dark clouds threatened with spitting rain so we walked back to our car.

We found a petrol station to fill up and drove to the airport which was only 15 minutes away, then we checked in the rental car and then proceeded to the terminal. We checked in our three suitcases and had Starbucks coffee as we had time to spare. It allowed us to catch up on our diary and travel blog. Our flight left Anchorage 4:45pm, it was a 3:15hr flight to Vancouver. Somehow the flight arrived early. That seems rare, we had touched down in Vancouver around 30 minutes early. The airport seemed dead inside, no people and no shops open despite it only being 8:30pm, certainly seemed weird. We grabbed our luggage and passed through customs quickly. Even our rental car wasn't ready as we hadn't anticipated being there that early. Eventually we got our car and headed towards the city.

We hadn't eaten on the plane and I only had the one meal at midday at the markets in Anchorage so by now I was hungry. As we drove towards the city we found a Vietnamese restaurant so went there for a late meal, it was already 10pm. Food was great and huge portions, probably ate too much for that time of night. We made our way to the hotel we'd call home for the next three nights, the Blue Horizon on Robson St. We didn't need to have stopped for dinner on the way as all around the hotel were restaurants and cafes all still open. We got an 18th room with a balcony, our views North were of the city buildings and a tiny bit of the harbour, we could also see East downtown. Even though it as late we wandered down to the corner store to pick up some fruit and supply of water for the next few days. It was after midnight before we finally got to bed, tired after another day of travelling.

Posted by Ace from Oz 18:20 Archived in USA Tagged alaska vancouver anchorage Comments (0)

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