Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beginning at the End: Vancouver, Canada

 Another week of adventure is upon us and I have to admit it's a little bitter sweet. Why, you ask? Because we just wrapped up a great family trip to Alaska and I'm still trying to come to grips with it being over. As I mentioned last week we will be covering our cruise adventure in detail in the coming weeks but I've decided to start at the end of our trip because, as is often the case in our adventures, things didn't exactly work out as planned. 
  Our cruise ended in Vancouver, Canada on a Friday morning and against many a protest from the rest of my family I convinced everyone to fly home on Saturday night to give us one day at home to settle back in to normal life. Call me crazy but it just seems to help me get ready for the harsh reality of the real world. There's nothing worse than coming home late on a Sunday and having to get up to go to work the next day. So the plan was to explore Vancouver Friday night and Saturday morning prior to heading to the airport to catch our flights back home. Yeah, that was the plan.
 We disembarked at 10:00 am and walked to our hotel room. Yep. Walked three blocks and dropped off our luggage. Our rooms wouldn't be ready until after 1:00 pm. After some advise from the gal at the desk we booked tickets on the Hop On Hop Off bus that would take us to 24 stops across the city and we could jump on or off the bus all day. This allows visitors to see the city at their leisure without the stress of driving around a strange city. This is especially helpful in Vancouver because they have no freeway system. This shocked me when I heard that. Imagine a city of almost two and a half million people with no freeways to get you out of town. Not fun. It felt a lot like trying to escape Los Angeles actually. However, after about thirty minutes we hopped off the bus in Stanley Park where we found a lot of geese, loads of people, and totem poles. The 1,001 acre park is almost entirely surrounded by Vancouver Harbor and offers many beautiful views of the city. 
  As crazy as it sounds we were a little worn out. Half the group seemed to be coming down with a cold and we only ended up getting off the bus once. Not that it was a bad thing. The bus actually had an audio tour that played during the route and the bus driver added other facts as we traveled through the city. Since everyone seemed to need some rest we chose to grab dinner and call it an early evening. We planned to walk the Gastown and China Town areas in the morning before heading to the airport so everything was working fine. Until...
  We were rested and looking for a bite to eat when we learned that Misty's parents had missed their flight. The flight was supposed to take off at 6:45 pm but when they went to check in online it showed that they had missed the flight and their connecting flight was leaving in twenty minutes. This didn't make sense since there was a paper trail proving they had booked the evening flight. We tried to contact the airline and a recording told us they would call us back...in two hours. After an hour of frustration they left us to go to the airport to find a new flight. Disappointed, the rest of us went back to deciding where we were going to eat and how we were going to spend the rest of the day before catching our flight back to Los Angeles. During casual conversation we discovered that we disagreed on what time we were landing in L.A. which led us to checking our own tickets. Guess what? They had separated Misty and I from the rest of our group and we were flying out on a different flight about two hours after the rest of our group which included our kids. Not cool. The details of what happened are a little fuzzy. We all had spent a lot of time choosing these flights three months ago to ensure we could see Vancouver as planned. We received no notifications that they had changed our flights or when. To their credit the airline fixed the problem by finding us all new flights, both direct rather than having layovers and both flights took off earlier than our prior flights. The down side was that we had to leave Vancouver early as well. We were 45 minutes behind Misty's parents and none of us had breakfast until we were sitting in the airport.
 Despite the issues I'm glad to have gotten to spend a little time in Vancouver. The bus ride actually covered a lot of history and shared a lot of facts that we otherwise wouldn't have learned. Had I known how things were going to go we would have taken an extra two hours the night before to explore Gastown for sure. Vancouver grew out of Gastown and it's historic story would have been a great end to our trip. Oh, well. Dem's da breaks. The good news was that we got home a little earlier than we would have had we gotten on our original flights. It's the little things that make life enjoyable, right?
  Please come back as we take you to Alaska over the next couple of weeks as we share our experiences of glaciers, wildlife, train rides and buffets aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance Of The Seas
See you then.



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    1. Thank you for the kind words. We always try to keep our posts interesting and fun.