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Ahoy from Argosy

Photo Friday!

sunny 60 °F

Time to take a brief detour from my adventures at the Vancouver Olympics to see what I've been up to as of late. Last weekend Seattle was graced with the most glorious Spring weather. With clear skies, 60 degree temps, and visibility ranging from the Olympics to Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier, I thought it best to celebrate with a delightful boat ride on Elliot Bay.


Picnic in hand I boarded Argosy's Goodtime III with the three kids I nanny for in tow. Ah yes - work can be grueling some days.


The 2 1/2 hour cruise started downtown and we immediately happened upon a gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier.


The bay was bustling with other vessels, but nothing could compare to the sight of the Seattle skyline.


Thanks to the steady hands of my ten year old charge - we managed to snap a few photos of me basking in the warmth of a sunny day.


As we navigated outside of Elliot Bay we maneuvered into Shilshole Bay where houses perched precariously on the water front.

Then into the Ballard Locks we sailed. Curious side note: The Hiram Chittenden locks were designed by the maker of the Panama Canal and are used to separate the salt water of Puget Sound from the fresh water of Lake Union and Lake Washington.


Once through the locks we navigated through Lake Union where we caught a glimpse of the Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat. Rather than snap some photos of this Hollywood landmark, I found the views of Gasworks Park rather pleasing.


Back on land the general consensus was one of success. We found the chatty, live commentary a bit excessive, but overall we learned a great deal and thoroughly enjoyed the scenic views.

Argosy - I'll be back!

For more Photo Friday visit Delicious Baby!

Posted by Jennylynn 13:11 Archived in USA Tagged cruises Comments (0)

Bountiful Granville Island

Seattle and Vancouver are quite similar. Both are bustling port cities, minutes away from stunning mountain and ocean views, and internationally diverse (although Vancouver has a slight advantage). The similarities don’t stop there: Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market bears a striking resemblance to Pike Place Market and Stanley Park is reminiscent of Seattle’s Discovery Park. I could easily see myself transitioning to life in Vancouver as its differences from Seattle are subtle.


One of the greatest things about living in Seattle though is the assortment of Farmer’s Markets available on any given day. From the daily offerings at Pike Place Market to the weekly neighborhood markets, one is never far from a bounty of fresh and local food. Travelling, I often find disappointment awaits as I discover that the local markets of many cities are only open one day per week (often falling on a day I won’t be visiting). Markets are a great way to sample local fare, meet new people, and eat for relatively cheap.


When I discovered that Vancouver also hosts a daily market on Granville Island I was eager to put their vendors’ culinary expertise to the test (my love of food rivals Canada’s love of hockey). With a pleasant layout (unlike the strip mall style of Pike Place), the Granville Public Market sprawled in a grid-like fashion with food stalls offering everything from intricately decorated chocolate truffles to overflowing baskets of glistening apples. The smells of fresh baked bread and pies filled the air as locals loaded their arms with a variety of foodstuff. Scruffy men with an open guitar case played old time favorites as children danced to the music. It was truly a delight for the senses.


Granville Island itself was a funky, eclectic mix of artist studios, industrial warehouses, and hippie fare. Not technically an island, but still surrounded by water on nearly all sides, it is easy to feel as though you have escaped Vancouver completely. Reaching Granville Island requires a 30 minute walk from downtown or a quick ride on the Aquabus. This ease of accessibility makes it a must for all those venturing into Vancouver. Between the food, scenery, and friendly faces, Granville Island beckons you forth, and you’ll be surprised how difficult it is to leave.


Posted by Jennylynn 20:15 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Vancouver's Scenic Seawall


Although the Olympics were in full swing and Robson Street was spilling over with tourists, within minutes it was possible to navigate outside of the chaos and find yourself in one of the many parks and green spaces Vancouver hosts. The seawall, which wraps itself around the entire downtown area of Vancouver, was particularly inviting. This wide, paved pathway is perfect for strolling, biking, and jogging and locals fervently put the seawall pavement to good use.


The seawall and I became very good friends over the course of the week, and the majority of my city navigating involved taking this scenic route to avoid the drunkenness of downtown. This is not to say the seawall was without its share of crazies, but the majority of people were sane, sober, and friendly.


If there were ever a place to jog, the seawall is it. Running a length of 14 miles the seawall wraps around city streets, harbors, beaches, and parks. It connects downtown with Granville Island, Stanley Park, and Kitsilano Beach – all of which assumed top ranks on my list of Vancouver favorites. The scenery ranged from snowcapped mountains, stretches of ocean, and miles of forest.

Avoiding the gym when travelling is one of my specialties, and Vancouver was no exception. But the seawall was my saving grace, that and pushing a two year old in stroller. At the end of each day, I pulled up Google Maps, plotted out my walking route and calculated the distance. No wonder my feet were aching, thanks to the Seawall I was averaging 11 miles a day. Some days I hit 13 miles. I secretly was wishing there was a half marathon exclusively for walkers; I would totally wipe out the competition.

I often find that my most memorable travel experiences are the ones spent mingling with locals, engaging in their everyday activities. It is in this space that we learn the most and acquire the greatest sense of place. Navigating the seawall introduced me to the diversity of people who call Vancouver home. These are the folks I might have never rubbed elbows with had I remained in the vicinity of the touristy Robson Square. No matter where your travels take you, step off the well trodden tourist path, you’ll be surprised what new discoveries await.

Posted by Jennylynn 21:33 Archived in Canada Tagged foot Comments (0)

Welcome to the Vancouver Winter Olympics

The Olympics is a celebration of the world's greatest athletes and yet a competition amongst nations. It unites the world, yet also evokes rivalry. It is a time when glory, honor, and prestige fill the news, yet also scandal and injury inevitably resonate through the headlines. This year, Vancouver plays host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and as Seattle is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit this Olympic host city. Controversy, rivalry, and competition aside - the Olympics is a once in a lifetime experience for many athletes and spectators alike.


With just over two million residents, Vancouver is one of the most populated cities to host the Winter Olympics. Driving into the city however, one would never suspect that this bustling port city was playing host to one of the worlds most esteemed events. Border crossings were a breeze, traffic non existent, and road closures were kept to a minimum. It felt like any typical day in the city.



Late in the day however, this all changed. As streets were roped off, bars and clubs began to open, and suddenly the streets were filled with thousands of people. Live broadcast from nearly every restaurant, storefront, and Olympic venue was Times Square style footage of the Games. No matter where you were, the eruption of applause to a Canadian win was distinguishable. Tucked inside a Starbucks, cradling a warm beverage, the tables would practically vibrate with the sounds of cheering from the streets outside. It was everything but calm. The chaos in the streets was fueled by a constant outpouring of alcohol from the hundreds of sports clubs and liquor stores that lined the Olympic hub of Robson Street.

Canadian pride was instantly recognizable. From the balconies of hundreds of homes, the iconic maple leaf was hung with pride. The streets were filled with swarms of people donning flags, face paint, and Canada emblazoned clothing. Of course there were also the much sought after woolen red mittens that the majority were sporting.



As I took in the quintessential Olympic sights, I tried to kept my sightseeing at these venues to a minimum. The crowds were difficult to navigate and the results did not always live up to the hype. Chain link fence surrounding the Olympic Cauldron prevented anyone from getting close and in order to get an unobstructed view, a wait of up to two hours was necessary.


Entering the Olympic Superstore was completely out of the question as the stagnant line was constantly wrapped around several large city blocks.


One of my favorite experiences was watching the Vectorial Elevation light show from Sunset Beach. This artfully done light display was reminiscent of the Bellagio fountains sans music.


Also, the view from Stanley Park proved to be worth all the hassle of getting there. Looking out over the ocean, the Vancouver skyline complete with the Olympic Rings was stunning.


Although work prevented me from watching the games live, I still managed to make it to a Victory Ceremony at BC Place. It is here that each night the Gold, Silver, and Bronze champions gather to receive their medals to the thunderous applause of thousands of spectators. As the athletes were championed the victors in their field, a sense of overwhelming excitement swelled in the stadium. When the athletes cried, fist pumped, and shouted out their victory, their pride was practically tangible. Although I knew little about the competitors, I couldn't help feeling proud as Shaun White and Scott Lago received the Gold and Silver medals in Men's Halfpipe for the United States. As the National Anthem played and the flags were raised, citizens of all countries stood with honor for the winning athletes. Nothing would compare however to the surging commotion of the crowd as Christine Nesbitt took home the Gold for Canada in the Ladies' 1000 meter Speed Skate. As the majority of spectators were Canadian, the crowd erupted in a cacophony of cheers as their own reigned supreme.


Men's Halfpipe Winners


The United States National Anthem plays for Shaun White and Scott Lago

So between the crowds of tourists, the hoards of crazy sports fanatics, and the drunkeness of Robson Street, would I attend a future Olympic Games? Without a doubt. Every line, every crowd, and every passed out drunk person I had to step over was worth it. In fact looking back, these are not really the experiences which stand out in my mind. Instead I find myself holding fast to the memories of navigating the suburbs of the city where locals gathered in the parks to celebrate a Canadian win, the sea of red Canada themed clothing that was found in every corner of the city, the chatter of diverse languages on the street, and the small cafes on Granville Island which offered up Olympics themed menus. These are the moments I will savor. Yes, competition an rivalry persisted, but for me, I found the uniting of unique and varied cultures at the forefront of the Olympic Games.

Posted by Jennylynn 10:53 Archived in Canada Tagged events Comments (0)

Olympics Sneaky Peaky


Much more to come soon, but in the meantime check out the view from our hotel. Oh yes, that's BC Place directly below my room - where nightly Victory Ceremonies leave first class athletes studded in gold, silver, and bronze. The Olympics has me giddy with excitement!


Posted by Jennylynn 22:10 Archived in Canada Tagged events Comments (0)

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