April 16, 2011
It rained and snowed overnight and the temperature dropped. As soon as I stepped my little toes outside I knew we were going to take the day off. No sight seeing today. Donna agreed. We did the laundry instead and got caught up on email. We did what a lot of people on vacation forget to do, do nothing. We were rewarded with rain all day.
I got a call from the San Diego Union Tribune. It seems they are going to do a story about Austin’s and his high school friends’ new business experiment. That reminds me, have you joined the experiment by buying a pair of cool sunglasses or a lanyard for your keys. Visit the experiment www.seriesoffour.com
While most people think of April 15th as tax day, for me it is my mother’s birthday. I called my mom first thing this morning and wished her happy birthday. She is 96 today. She said she had made the news on channel 29, Bakersfield this morning. They wished her happy birthday. I looked out and it was a bright and sunny day and we were back on our vacation schedule of seeing all the wonderful gardens in and around Vancouver. Today was no exception; we were off to see Bloedel Floral Conservatory, which is an indoor climate-controlled garden of flowers and tropical birds but to our surprise the views and gardens outside were just as spectacular. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities and it is easy to see why it has been voted “World’s Most Livable City” for 5 years.
And not to be outdone by the fine dining at VanDusen Gardens or Butchart Gardens, Bloedel’s fine dining is provided by the Seasons in The Park Restaurant. I think the best way to describe the food is that it matched the view, which was absolutely stunning. I had Duck 2 Ways, roasted and deep-fried in oil. The breast was slow roasted to perfection and served with a traditional delicious plum sauce. The leg and thigh was cooked to a golden brown where the skin was so light and crisp that it just melted in the mouth; unbelievable. So good I had a hard time not moaning umm with delight with each bite, right in the restaurant but I used restraint. I didn’t want everyone staring. Donna had the mushroom ravioli, which was also light and delightful in a cream sauce. Our table had a picture window that framed Vancouver’s skyline against the snow-covered mountains so beautiful we did not want to leave but with lunch completed we had to move on or get a parking ticket.
The weather forecast was for “chance of rain” so we decided to play our luck and head off for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in the Chinatown part of Vancouver. By the time we reached Chinatown, only about twenty minutes, the weather had turned bitter cold, windy and parking was an issue with all the parking meters marked “Temporary No Parking.” We parked a few blocks away and got to experience Vancouver’s homeless population, which dominated several blocks of sidewalk on both sides of the street.
Fortunately, we were headed in the other direction but I did have reservations about leaving our parked car. I kept having visions of returning and finding the car had been stripped or worse, not there at all. I pushed my concerns back, more than likely just my over reaction to a strange place and my imagination running wild. I locked the car and we set off to find the gardens, but I did glance back a couple of times just to make sure the car was still there.
We found the garden without much trouble but the weather was turning colder. We decided to take the guided tour anyway. The brochure stated stay safely under cover during rainy days. We were not impressed and this is one garden tour you can skip so when it started to hail we decided to leave and see if our car was still parked where we left it. That is, if we could find it? The strange thing about big cities is all the streets look alike.
Finding our car with all its tires right where we left it was a big relief. We jumped in, I turned on the GPS, I punched in Granville Island and headed to a place we knew would be fun to revisit. Years ago when Donna and I were dating and on a trip we bought sour dough bread, cheese and grapes, which we had for lunch. It was a wonderful experience we both remember. We decided to relive that experience so at the Granville Public Market we bought several kinds of imported cheeses, a big bunch of giant sweet red Globe grapes and a half-pound of thinly sliced Italian mortadella. Next we visited the bakery and picked up two loafs of freshly baked sour dough bread, one plain and one garlic cheese. The fresh bread aroma was like heaven to my nostrils. For dessert we bought two Almond Croissants, one plain and one chocolate. With lunch in hand, we headed back to the motor home where we relived the experience and it was just as good the second time as it was the first. We might have to try that again tomorrow.
While at Granville Island we also picked up tickets for The Graduate next Wednesday afternoon, which we think will be a great way to end our vacation in Vancouver. One thing we noticed today is that the cherry trees and daffodils are starting to fade a bit with the rain and the wind. Our timing was perfect to see them at their peak.