2010 Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver, Canada
It’s always nice when you stumble upon one of those unique weekend get-a-ways – the kind that prompts reactions like “wow, now that sounds fun”, or “can you send me the link, I want to go”! Now Jen is without a doubt becoming an astute hunter of hidden gems and our latest trip is a testament to her diligence.
The cruise lines here in Seattle which include Holland America, Princess and Norwegian, all have ships that move twice per year, providing the opportunity for a 1-night cruise on these great ships that usually take their passengers on 7-10 day journeys up into Alaska. This seems to occur in April and October and can be booked directly from their website. These overnight cruise packages go from Seattle to Vancouver in October and vice versa in April. Taking advantage of this opportunity is really easy and a lot of fun!
We both left work a little early on Friday and walked down to street level to grab a cab out to the cruise terminal. We were on the Zaandam by 4:00 PM with cocktails in hand shortly afterwards. After acclimating ourselves to our surroundings, we hit a few ship bars, listened to some good live music and made our way to the Pinnacle Grill for a nice 2-hour steak dinner; we then hit the ship casino to see if we could make a few bucks. In the end we were up about $70 thanks to some riveting Blackjack and Craps mastery (and a lot of luck). What a fantastic night!
The next morning we weren’t feeling our best, and to make matters worse, apparently the crew wanted us off the ship at some point before 9:00 am. RUDE! So we reluctantly climbed out of our comfy bed nursing a couple of hangovers as a result of our ‘ship pub crawl’ and slowly packed our things to disembark. Twenty minutes later we were on the street trying to get our bearings so we could navigate the shortest possible route to our hotel for some much-needed rest and recovery. After an ‘exhilarating’ 20 minute walk, we arrived at The Sutton Place Hotel and had a big breakfast while we waited for our room to be ready. A nice long mid-morning nap followed.
View of Vancouver Harbour from the Zaandam
The weather during that first weekend of October was fantastic, and not wanting to miss any chance for sunshine as we approach winter in the Pacific Northwest, that afternoon we took a great walk down by the water. It was a treat to see some of the leftover relics from the Olympics held there earlier this year, including the cauldron (see photo at the top of the page).
Burrard Street in Vancouver, Canada
Sunny day in Vancouver Harbour
Olympic countdown clock in Vancouver, Canada
Fortunately we had all Sunday to explore the city as our train home didn’t depart until 5:45. I suppose the lack of a grueling hangover also prompted us to be a little more adventurous. So we headed out with cameras in hand to see what we could see. Our first destination was Gastown
, a nostalgic area of the city featuring cobblestone streets, historic buildings and tons of shopping. While the area certainly had that old-time appeal, many of the shops clearly catered to tourists, with a myriad of Canada t-shirts and snow globes, which is just not our thing.
Gastown street view in Vancouver, Canada
The Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver, Canada
After Gastown, and a rather brisk walk through a quiet waterfront park, we decided to check out Roger’s Arena
where the Vancouver Canucks play. We jumped on the SkyTrain
and headed for the stadium. As it turned out, it was fan appreciation day, which included free admission to a full team practice. We grabbed a few free tickets and walked right in – pretty cool for a hockey fan like myself!
Cruise Terminal in Vancouver Harbour, Canada
Vancouver Canucks – Roger’s Arena in Canada
Vancouver Canucks team practice – Roger’s Arena in Canada
With the last leg of our journey was upon us, we headed for the train station to catch our chariot home (the Amtrak Cascades) which departed at 5:45 and arrived in Seattle around 10:00. It was a pleasant and scenic trip made even better by a nice bottle of wine.
For any of you locals reading this, I would highly recommend this trip. Another option would be to catch a flight home on Kenmore Air out of Vancouver right to Lake Union – perhaps next time!