Canada Place, Vancouver
The Olympic Cauldron
Sam in front of a building blocks Orca
Lonsdale Quay Beaver Tails
Madeline and Andraya, Crescent Beach
Madeline, Violet, Andraya, Crescent Beach
Kelley and Doug's house (far right), Surrey
Outside Canada Place, downtown Vancouver
Karsten and our kids on the Skytrain from Surrey to Vancouver
Auntie Marilyn with the children on the ferry
My cousin Donna, Scott with Serenity
The view in Surrey
Ice Skating, Canadian style--on a frozen pond
with friends Kelley, Doug, Andraya and Karsten at Crescent Beach, Vancouver
On January 2nd our family headed over to the mainland accompanied on the ferry by my cousins Donna and Scott with Serenity and my Auntie Marilyn. It was a great idea to have the company and the distraction for the trip, although Violet was ready to make friends with some strangers sitting nearby on the boat. A sad good-bye and best wishes for Donna's new baby in February, and then we were Surrey-bound, to visit our good friends and my old Capernwray buddy, Kelley and Doug Stuart with their two children Andraya and Karsten. It was fantastic to see them again and to quickly fall into our easy and familiar friendship despite the years and distance. We also got to see some snow on the ground! We enjoyed the walk to the park, the brief snowball fight (Sam discovered that snow is really cold on the hands!), and playing hide and go seek in the woods. The next day we all drove out to Crescent Beach where we walked, played, balanced and explored in the sun. The highlight was driving past all the skaters and hockey players taking advantage of the frozen pond beside the highway. Followed by McDonald's which was a real treat for all, and then home to Surrey for some street hockey behind their house. Tuesday, January 4th was departure day but first we had a surprise for the children and drove to the train station in Surrey. They were all excited to see the trains and Sam exclaimed at the fact that they were coming and going, but still none of them cottoned on. Finally, Paul told them all to get out of the car and the grins started to show. We took them on the Sky train into Vancouver where we explored Canada Place, saw the Olympic Cauldron up close (no need for chain link fences anymore), took the sea bus to Lonsdale Quay and enjoyed some freshly made Beaver tails, all before racing back to try to get the 3 pm ferry. Amazing Race indeed, although we nearly missed our checkpoint and ended up getting the 5 pm ferry after a wrong turn and an unscheduled trip through the tunnel (twice!). But would you believe, the strangers that Violet attached herself to on the first ferry? They were there, sitting in the same seats. I'm not joking.
But the fun didn't end there! When we finally dragged our travel-weary bodies into the house on Cooperidge, Grandpa told Sam he had an appointment with him the next day at 10:30. The two of them had a tour of the Central Saanich fire station together--just when you thought our Sam's grin couldn't get any bigger. He has fantastic photos of the station, the chief, the old trucks in the museum and of himself driving in one of the trucks. Naturally, he impressed the guys with all his fire-wise knowledge! And he came home with a badge, a crest and a t-shirt from the station, treasures and keepsakes for years to come. Our lucky boy.
Today we finally managed to take the kids to Miniature World in Victoria and I'm so glad we did because they absolutely adored it. What a fantastic venue for old and young alike. Pictures to follow.