Day 43: Capilano Suspension Bridge and Granville Island
I was up and headed into town fairly early. I met up with Michael at his hotel and we grabbed some breakfast before walking to the shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I’ve seen photos of this place for years and always wanted to visit. Sure, it’s a tourist thing, but I have to say it’s pretty well done. They offer a free shuttle from various Downtown locations that take you on a short guided tour to the park which is about 20 minutes away (it’s actually fairly close to where I’m parking the RV). We hop on the bus and are given an entertaining tour and lots of history from the driver. She told us about the growth of Vancouver, the expansion into West Vancouver (where the RV park is) and the building of the Lions Gate Bridge by the Guiness family (yes, the same Guiness). We arrived at the park, paid our $40 admission (we had a coupon from the RV park) and started to explore. The park is comprised of the suspension bridge, but also a treetop walkway and a platform along the cliff. Even at 11am this place was PACKED. I’m so glad we didn’t try to drive the bus up here!
We explore the various bridges and walkways and then decide to grab a cab back to the bus instead of going all the way back into downtown on the free shuttle, and then a cab back to the bus. After checking on Pepper and eating lunch in the bus (all our money is going to cab fare it seems) we headed back into downtown to check out Granville Island and Granville Island Brewing, specifically. Our friend Brett had recommended the stop. Getting there looked to be a short walk and then a super short ferry ride across a small inlet. When we got to the ferry the inlet was so small we were laughing that we had to take a boat. And then we saw the boat. It looked more like a floating bathtub than a ferry! Not in the mood to swim there, we decide to take the ferry. It was a 5 minute ride with barely enough time to pay the $5 fare collected onboard.
Granville Island isn’t really an island, but it probably was at one point. It’s just a small area now that looks like it used to be industrial but was converted to house a huge public market and some art shops. We’re thirsty so we head to Granville Island Brewing as our first stop. There is a line waiting to get into the taproom. Instead we head to the brewery’s store next door. We sign up for the 4pm tour (about an hour away) and then decide to wander around Granville Island for a bit. The public market is amazing. I wish we had one in Denver. It seems all the cool cities I visit have one. We didn’t buy anything but browsing the booths was really fun and the people watching was even better. As 4 nears we head back to the brewery for our tour. The tour is pretty typical for breweries, but it was cool to hear about some of their special beers that they brew on limited release. And then we got to taste 4 beers, which lets be honest, was the whole reason we were there. After the tasting we bought a couple of beers for the bus and sat down at the bar (which didn’t have a line now) and ordered a couple of pints. Yup. My beer tour of North America continues.
After the brewery tour it was time to check on Pepper, so back on the ferry, then back toward downtown while looking for a cab. I tried eCab, the Vancouver cab company version of Uber but it repeatedly told me it couldn’t find me a cab. Awesome. Finally found a cab and he said “Lots of heavy traffic. I charge you a $40 flat rate” Uh, no. “Ok $30 flat rate. Lots of traffic, take long time.” Uh, no. “Let’s see what the meter says when we get there” I reply. This is my 6th cab trip. I know it’s going to be less than $20. Jerk was trying to rip me off. One more reason I wish this city had Uber. We arrived at the RV park (after the cabbie tried driving as slowly as possible to increase the fare) and it was $19. I didn’t tip (which is very rare for me). After checking on Pepper we hopped back in the cab and headed back downtown and out bar hopping for the night. We found some great places and had fun exploring the city. It turned into a late night as it was nearly 1 when I got back to the bus!