DM and MM's USA and Canada 2004 Trip Diary

Day 20 - Victoria to Vancouver

Thursday, 15 April, 2004

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We got up and partook once again of the pastries and muffins at the Traveller's Inn, then packed our bags and checked out. We carried our bags across the road and up one block to the bus stop there to wait for the number 70 bus to Swartz Bay and the BC Ferries terminal. While waiting, we saw a few other buses go by, with signs on them doors saying "Exact Coin Change Only". We had the right change, but including a $5 note - so I ran across the road to a currency exchange to get it changed to coins and got a handful of dollar coins and quarters. The bus arrived soon after and we climbed aboard to find the coin machine also accepted $5 notes!

The bus ride to Swartz Bay took an hour and 15 minutes, taking a circuitous route through the suburbs of Victoria, past Victoria Airport, through Sidney, and finally on to Swartz Bay and the ferry terminal.

The next ferry left at 1pm, giving us 1:45 to wait. We checked our bags in and walked over to the cafeteria near the parking area for car passengers. I tried to get money out of an ATM but it didn't take Visa - the second such we've seen in Canada. So we bought lunch on the $10 cash we had - I got a Thai chicken wrap and Michelle got a plain roll and individual packet of cheese. Then I ate the maple-nut chocolate I got yesterday at Roger's Chocolates in Victoria, and Michelle raced outside to another Roger's stall to buy a chocolate cream filled chocolate to match mine.

Grey transport
Boarding the ferry at Swartz Bay

Eventually we headed back to the foot passenger terminal and the boarding lounge, where we could see the ferry arriving. We queued up and watched as the ferry docked and the buses, cars, and trucks began driving off. The foot passengers disembarked and soon after they let us walk on board.

We settled into seats in the forward lounge on the starboard side and before long we were off. I went to the Pacific Coach Line desk to get tickets for the bus to downtown Vancouver from the Tsawassan terminal. The bus was on board the ferry, as it had come from Victoria with through passengers, and our luggage would be put on board the bus as we had elected to tag it such when we left it at the Swartz Bay terminal. Thankfully they took Visa as we didn't have any cash left, but I had to wait until everyone else had paid in cash, as the EFT machine apparently didn't work in a "dead spot" right neat the Swartz Bay terminal.

Then I went up and out to the outdoor deck to get some photos of the islands around us, but it was raining so I didn't stay long. A bit later it cleared up a bit so I went out again. Some boys were throwing soup crackers off the back of the ferry and watching seagulls catch them before they hit the water. One gull flew within half a metre of so of one of the boy's outstretched hands, trying to snatch a chip.

As we approached Tsawassen, the PA told us to go down to the bus and truck deck and board our bus. No sooner had be done so than the front door opened and we could see the ferry drifting in towards the terminal. It stopped there, ramps were lowered, and we drove right off and on to the road. The trip into Vancouver took about half an hour, and we got off at Cambie St and 12th Ave, where we had labelled our checked bags to go - and they were unloaded form the bus by the driver.

We had originally planned to stay at the Shaughnessy Village B&B, which was about eight blocks from the bus stop, but we had found another B&B just around the corner that also sounded reasonable, so we tried that. Knocking at the door of the Douglas House B&B produced no response. Then we saw a notice on the door saying to phone a toll-free number from the public phone across the streets to male a reservation. So I went over and phoned and managed to get a room, but in the house next door - Cambie Lodge.

Storm over colour
View of Vancouver from Kitsilano

After dumping our bags we went for a walk. First we stopped at a bank in a nearby shopping mall to get some cash. The ATM rejected my Visa card, so I went in and got a manual cash advance done - luckily just as they were closing the bank at 4pm. If we hadn't managed to get some cash somehow, I'm not sure what we would have done! Then we got some cucumber sushi for a snack and went walking west towards the Kitsilano neighbourhood, where the Naam restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet was. We walked down Broadway, passing a Death By Chocolate dessert place that we marked on our map for later reference. At Burrard St we turned and went down to 4th Ave, which we walked down to Naam, arriving just as it started to rain. While walking we caught glimpses of the downtown buildings across False Creek and the mountains behind them, with snow near the top but shrouded but heavy dark grey cloud so we couldn't see the tops. We even stopped at the back of one office building to take a photo.

Twilight in Vancouver
Broadway, Kitsilano

At Naam, we ordered veg burgers - walnut patty burger for Michelle and a tempeh reuben with sesame fries for me. They came with a gravy - tangy and reminiscent of Italian porcini mushrooms. It was all good.

After eating, we walked back 11 blocks along Broadway after crossing the 5 blocks from 4th Ave to Death By Chocolate. I ordered the signature "Death By Chocolate" dessert and a vanilla milkshake, while Michelle got a latte to drink. The waitress said we could watch the dessert being assembled, so we got up and watched as another woman put a slab of rich chocolate cake on a big plate, scooped mixed raspberries and blueberries at its base, added a double mint leaf garnish, sprinkled the fruit and mint with powdered sugar, piped two huge mounds of chocolate mousse, filled the plate with white chocolate sauce, added dark chocolate sauce in two blobs, drew a skewer through them to make swirly 5-pointed star patterns, plonked on a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and finished it off with a towering curled slab of white Callebaut chocolate drizzled with dark chocolate patterns. It was astounding. it was also a lot of eating and very rich, but I managed it okay. We bought a souvenir T-shirt too, just to prove I'd done it.

Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate dessert being constructed

Then we walked back - slowly - to the B&B and turned in for the night.

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