Canada, as many travellers will know, offers an altogether more gentle tourist experience as compared to the US.
We made our Canadian entry at Victoria with no fuss and were whisked efficiently away on our whale watching trip which proved to be thoroughly relaxed and entertaining. We saw far more Orcas than we anticipated but were surprised at the lack of follow-up material available. On board our viewing boat they had copies of a publication called ‘Orcas in our midst’ but no copies for sale or details as to how to obtain one. The nearby shop on the dock had no orca information either. Where’s their business savvy?
While some of our fellow cruisers stayed on The Good Ship Lollipop for an additional 10 days to Alaska, we disembarked at Vancouver. Unlike San Francisco, which I had visited some 40 years ago and found disappointing on my return, Vancouver had seriously upped the ante in the intervening years and is now a thriving, cosmopolitan city with a huge amount to recommend it.
On that final day, we elected to take the RSSC tour which included Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, culminating with us being dropped off at the airport.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Indigenous art Stanley Park, Vancouver
This gave us a hassle-free departure from the ship but, after an interesting morning of sightseeing, we were dumped at Granville Island for several hours for ‘shopping’. We had been away for three weeks, we were all packed and ready to fly home – who had the energy, need or indeed the funds for more shopping? It was a pointless stop at an immensely crowded location which left us all slightly irritated.
However, our hotel – the Fairmont – at the airport was excellent and thoroughly recommended for weary travellers in Vancouver. It is not the cheapest by any stretch of the imagination – £220 a night – but the rooms are spacious and comfortable, the staff cheerful and helpful (this is Canada, remember) and the food well cooked and extremely tasty.
For Kathy and I, it was the perfect end to what, for us, had been a perfect holiday. Sure, it cost us a bob or two but you can’t take it with you and you have to trust that your relatives will not totally abandon you in your impecunious dotage.