Thursday, October 6, 2011

US Holiday - Day 26 - Seattle to Vancouver

Day 26 - Tuesday 4th October

Arrgh. Another early morning. Woke around 6am and snoozed for the next 15 minutes. Then it was time to get up. Got dressed and headed down to check out and I was on my way to the train station. I planned my route to be as much down hill as possible and after around 20 minutes I was at the train station. I walked into the foyer and immediately saw people lining up. This appeared to be different to the Amtrak journey that I had from Boston to DC. I was always going to check in my luggage but the lines were from seat allocations. Thankfully the line for business class was shorter than that of coach and only had to line up for a couple of minutes. I was able to get a window seat which was great. I then had enough time to grab a coffee and danish before boarding the train.

Business class got to board the train first which was another benefit but it didn't stop there. More on that later. My seat was at the rear of the second carraige and was a single seater rather than a 2 seater. Slowly the train filled up and we were then off north to Vancouver. We travelled under the city for a little while before reappearing down near the piers that I had walked along on previous days. As I looked out over the water the weather looked a lot better than what was predicted.

I wanted to have a bit of a snooze along the way but thought that would be unwise as the scenery around here is fantastic. The journey north hugged the shore line and stopped at around 5-6 stops before we crossed the border. We didn't stop at that point, but instead kept on going all the way into Vancouver. Once the train arrived, all the baggage was taken off and lined up and then the business class carriages got off first. Found my bag easy enough and then we I was in front of the immigration official. A couple of hard questions later I was officially in Canada.

Got out of train station and then walked across to the Skyway which is an elevated subway system. No lifts or escalators so dragged up the suit case up the flight of stairs until he last 2-3 steps when some dude decides to help me. I thanked him and it's at this point he asked me for some change to help a homeless person. I reckon he waited for me to do all the hard work before deciding to help me. I gave him $1USD.

Caught the Skyway one stop and then got out and walked the short distance to the hotel. Thankfully when I checked in my room was available so headed straight up dropped off the bags and then headed out. The weather seemed to be getting better and better by the minute so wanted to take advantage of the improving conditions. The front desk gave me a map and some ideas of places to check out and those areas to avoid after dark.

The streets are modern and appeared to have more people on them than Seattle. Just appeared to have some more vibe than what Seattle had which is a good start. Lots of tall apartment buildings as well. Visually it is a very appealing city, again surrounlded by water. I headed to the northern part of the downtown area which had a large cruise ship moored. I looked out across a large bay to parts of Western and Northern Vancouver. Very $$ part of Vancouver.

Sea planes were coming and going constantly and this appeared to be servicing tourists and locals. I then walked down to an area called Coal Harbour. I guess the equivalent area in Sydney would be a combination of Pyrmont and Cockle Bay. I then walked back into the centre of town and went up to the top of a building that had a circlular observatory deck. Certainly some good views from there.

By this time the body was feeling a bit weary so headed back to the hotel for a nap. Crashed on the bed for an hour or two. Later on in the evening felt a bit peckish so visited the restaurant down stairs and grabbed a meal and a couple of vodkas to ensure a good nights sleep.

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