Showing posts from August, 2017

A hazy shade of summer

The bright blue skies that have so far adorned our photographs started to hide behind a fine, yet firm, veneer of haze that covered Vancouver about two weeks into our trip. It was smoke from forest fires, which were mercifully far away but prevented us from seeing the sights in their full splendour for a while. So we took the opportunity to stay local, spending time at parks, meeting some lovely mums for playdates (Natasha via the extremely helpful Kitsilano Moms Facebook group, and Grace via a mutual friend in Sydney), and taking advantage of a truly excellent local facility called West Side Family Place  which provides a kind of drop-in playgroup every weekday morning (amazing!), and a toy lending library which is open every Tuesday (double amazing for travellers like us with limited toys!). And we also found some fun things to do where the haze didn't matter. As a minor vertigo sufferer, Lynn Canyon Park provided a less heart-stopping (and significantly less expensive) suspen

The back of the bike, they cannae sing

Ah, Stanley Park - one of Vancouver's very best places. It's home to the aquarium , a miniature train and a beautiful walk / cycle path that skirts the ocean, as well as playgrounds, a water play park and some very picturesque lakes. We first visited here shortly after we arrived, when we came with my Australian friend Lachlan who moved out to Vancouver a few years ago. After taking us to a properly nice coffee establishment in the West End of the city (if an Aussie goes there it's a good sign!) Lachy took us for a walk round a fair part of the sea wall, then into the middle where he abandoned us to enjoy the miniature train ride and then find our own way out (just kidding). Going back to Lachy for a moment: on our travels we've met lots of lovely people, and I for one (as I've mentioned elsewhere) really enjoying chatting to new people, but there's something super nice about seeing people you know from another place when you're in a new city.

Birthday fun in the Canadian sun

One of the perks of being born in the (British) summertime is that I'm usually away for my birthday. Now I grant you, going travelling for six months increases one's odds slightly, but still, I felt special getting to celebrate it somewhere new. View from The Boathouse The morning was spent opening cards and pressies and having video chats with family and responding to lots of lovely messages - thank you one and all. We then had lunch out at The Boathouse in Kitsilano, before spending the afternoon at Maple Grove Park , a super park near us which has an outdoor swimming pool that's just for kids, complete with a slide which Master Hart thinks is almost better than Blaze and the Monster Machines (and that's saying something). Thanks for the recommendation Eilidh and Elizabeth - it's now our favourite park! (More to come about these lovely lasses later - who said this blog was going to be chronological?)  The next day I got to prolong

Oh, Canada

So for those who don't know, we're taking six months out of real life to do some travelling as a family. We left Australia in early July 2017, and, after a brief visit to see family in the UK, we took off again. First stop, Vancouver! Flying with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old is never going to be the luxury experience the travel industry would have us believe flying still is, but we tried our best. Master H loved his Puro headphones (volume-limited so we wouldn't worry about his ears being assaulted for hours on end and Bluetooth to stop Miss H from chewing the cable), and Miss H was pretty good. Flight across: tick! Having landed without incident we bundled our crazy amount of luggage into a taxi and set off for our accommodation which is in an area called Arbutus, just south of the better-known suburb of Kitsilano. We're staying in a quaint little 2-bedroom cottage which is actually a converted garage. Known as "laneway houses" these are fairly