Our time was up in two of the most stunning national parks we had ever been to. It was time to pack up and head back to the bright lights and city life of Vancouver. It was a mission of the day to drive from Jasper to Vancouver and I believe it took about 10 hours in the end.
It was a tiring day filled with signing along to songs, beautiful roads and Tim Horton’s iced coffee. We stayed on the road as much as we could but did make a quick stop at the base of Mount Robson that we had seen a few days previously. The weather wasn’t on our side but the signs assured us it was behind the clouds.
Once we arrived in Vancouver and had found the hotel (stressful when driving in the city after having been on the open road for 10 days) we ordered room service and had an early night. In the morning we returned Wally and got set up for the next couple of days in one of the world’s favourite cities.
When researching Vancouver you read lots about the location of the city being between sea and slopes and it really is as beautiful as it sounds. Once we had left Wally behind we caught a shuttle bus to the number 1 rated attraction in Vancouver – Capilano Suspension Bridge.
The first suspension bridge here was built in 1889 by George Grant McKay and it’s been there ever since (although it’s no longer made of hemp rope!) The tourist-ness of the bridge has only recently been improved, Nancy Stibbard purchased the bridge in 1983 and set about making it a must stop destination.
She has certainly managed it. The whole park is breathtaking and in my opinion sympathetic to the nature it’s built around and within. The park itself is just outside of the city centre but it’s easy enough to get to with lots of shuttles. I can imagine it would get very busy in peak tourist season – it was pretty busy when we were there. Top tip – buy your tickets online, they are valid for a year and allow you to skip the queues for tickets!!
As you make your way round you can read up on the history before making the voyage across the bridge itself. It is an engineering feat and does feel very strong, despite the MASSIVE bounce as you walk across it. Of course there are many a selfie but it’s a wonderful experience. 137m up and 70m long, it’s pretty incredible.
Those of you who may worry about how stable the bridge is will be pleased to know it can withstand almost anything – 96 full grown elephants to be precise. There was once a storm that caused one of the humongous trees to be uprooted and fell onto the bridge. The bridge did not fall or get much damage but just left the tree hanging there.
You are then right within the rainforest, tree canopy walks and boardwalks surround the area with kids activities and places to just stop and listen, experience the nature. You could spend as long or as little time as you wished wandering around the trees. There is also a new Cliff Walk which allows you to walk out along a narrow bridge suspended from the face of a cliff over the river.
I can certainly see why it’s the top tourist attraction in the city – even the food and beer onsite was great.
Once we had our fill of forests and food we headed back into Vancouver city centre and made our way to the renowned Gastown. You just have to search Vancouver in Pinterest to find endless posts about this area of the city, once an area you didn’t want to go and now very much in the hipster bracket. We walked around for a while looking for the steam clock and statue of Gassy Jack but I wasn’t as blown away by the area as it’s perhaps made out.
This may have been due to fatigue or culture shock coming back to civilisation but we decided beer was in order so headed to one of the many pub/bars and partook in some samples before walking back to our hotel. (This is also why there are very few pictures of this part of the day!)
We had succumb to room service the night before and I was adamant we wouldn’t do that again, we both have a love of tapas so treated ourselves to a meal in a packed tapas bar. It was super tasty and had amazing Sangria!! What more do you need!?