This is the first of a couple of posts about our pre-Opening Ceremonies trek through Vancouver. We've spent the last 7 years building up for the world and I thought it would have been a shame to not showcase some of the interesting things to do. I'll be getting to my view of the Opening Ceremonies as a spectator inside the stadium very soon.
Today was the day of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. I had hummed and hawed about going to selling these tickets. They would have gone for over $750 a piece but then the "it's a once in a lifetime thing" phrase kept creeping into my head. In the end after someone called and offered us over $1000 each and I declined that's when I realized "well, I guess we're going after all."
I kissed the kids goodbye for the day and left Mini-E & B with the Mascots. The Mascots assured me they would show our New Moon guests a good time.
I think they were planning on teaching them how to bobsled. I think Edward would love it since he seems to love going fast.
|Mini E and Mini B learn how to |
bobsled with Miga and Quatchi
That morning a few of the moms from school had lined up at 4am to watch Michael Buble on the TODAY show. Apparently even at 4am there were about 1000 women on Grouse Mountain. Our friends got to ride the special staff gondola on the way down with Michael - a full 10 minutes with him trapped in a confined space with a few hungry moms - poor guy!
|Click here for Youtube video clip from inside Grouse Mountain|
Or click here to go to the MSNBC Concert Series site.
My husband and I hadn't taken the bus for ages and it was great to feel like tourists in our own city. We ended up taking the bus and Seabus (our mini ferries that take 15 minutes to cross from North Vancouver to Vancouver).
|Seabus from North Vancouver to |
All public transit is free on the day you have an Olympic Event ticket. You just show your event ticket as proof of payment. Most of the time the bus driver doesn't even check anymore because there are hoards of people getting on.
We arrived at Waterfront Station which is the major transport hub where the Seabus, Skytrain (our subway), West Coast Express (train from the suburbs out east) all intersect. Even the helicopters land there and the float planes take off from three blocks away.
|Waterfront Station transit hub in downtown Vancouver|
I get obsessed about cute things. For years I was obsessed with the whole Winnie the Pooh clan. Now that the Olympics mascots are around in full force I'm always looking out for the cute critters. I was happy to see them greeting us at Waterfront.
|Quatchi & Miga in a Samsung display|
To figure out where to spend our day downtown, I went to check out my husband's blog Averagetraveller.com. He has a link on there near the bottom of his latest post for a full listing of free stuff to do during Olympics.
You can also go to the Vancouver2010.com website on your iphone and it will ask if you want to download the free app.
|Worth the free download for the cute |
Olympic app icon
We used the map feature to find cultural events nearby and decided on the Northern House a few blocks away.
Canada's Northern House
Canada's Northern House is devoted to all things from the three northern Canadian territories (up north they have territories, not provinces but in my head they are equivalent - I'm sure the Canadian geography people will correct me here).
They had beautiful Inuit art and carvings.
I liked a few of the wall scripts. It was a pleasant sanctuary from the chaos of downtown.
The freakiest things were the animals. Especially the polar bear. It must have been about 7 feet tall so not gigantic but it still gave me a scare.
|Reminds me of the polar bear from Lost|
Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion
|2010 Olympic Gold Medal|
Next we headed a couple blocks away to the Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion where the Olympic Medals were on display. For a very limited time, I believe you could actually touch them if you were willing to line up (a friend of mine today was lining up for 3 hours outside). People can learn the story behind how the medals are made. The Mint website has a really nice interactive tour about how they're made.
|Click to see how the medals are made|
At first I thought our Vancouver 2010 medals were odd because they were wavy and definitely had a 3D feel. I've gotten used to them and agree that they reflect the waves and mountains of our area. Now I love that they have the matte finish too.
They had a million dollar gold coin on display. I hadn't heard of this before but apparently it's in the Guinness Book of World Records.
There was also a line up to touch a 400 oz. gold bar. The room was full of Chinese people all wanting to give themselves a bit of good luck at Chinese New Year.
After standing in the line to see the medals for twenty minutes (and having not moved more than 5 feet) we decided to leave and go for lunch.
We ventured onto the newest branch of the Skytrain called the Canada Line. So shiny and new when I'm on this it makes me feel like we are on vacation either in Hong Kong or London.
One interesting thing I'd never noticed before was that the garbage cans were transparent. Makes a lot of sense and I guess that is part of the almost billion dollar security budget for the 2010 games.
|Clear garbage cans|
We ended up in Yaletown which is downtown Vancouver's newest hip district that used to be full of warehouses. Now it's full of the city's best restaurants and clothing shops as well as notoriously bad parking. The parking is a bit better now but the Canada Line has helped make this area more accessible.
We were hungry and headed for the Casa Italia or what we called the "Italy House" at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown. I came out of there with a free cheese hat and lanyards, some brochures, but no food. They say they have wine, ham, and cheese samples but there was no schedule posted.
|All I wanted was to taste the cheese|
|But I ended up with a nice toque instead.|
They had a nice Kinder display with chocolates but still nothing I could taste.
They had an Italian food info station/bar setup but nothing to offer us for food. The girls were too busy chatting in Italian and laughing to serve anybody.
Leaving the pavilion I was struck by this very pink booth.
I don't know what it was for because no one seemed to want to tell us but I thought it was pretty so deserved a photo. See how they were standing around but not very helpful. We left feeling hungry.
I hope the Italy vibe in June is more welcoming.
Next up I'll probably do a post about what Olympic activities Mini-Edward and the Olympic Mascots got up to.
|More Mascot posts to come|
I'll also show you the Coca-Cola Pavilion too where I got to take a picture holding an Olympic torch!