Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Travel Mugs

Travel is an obvious influence here at the West End Guest House.  I mean all my guests have had to travel to get here but what about the innkeepers?  I get that question very often - "When do you get to travel?"  We do travel, we try to slip out of town once or maybe twice a year to experience some of the world.  We have favourite places to go but also try to see new places and countries as well.  And when we travel we collect Coffee Mugs to remind us where we have been and what that experience meant to us.  These mugs have been hung on coat hooks in the kitchen for 4 years now but we've decided to share them.

The Guest Pantry has fascilities for making tea, or hot chocolate and this is where guests can find a pot of coffee first thing in the morning.  We have always had a collection of mugs for guest to use and they are all different.  (It is fun to see which mugs appeal to which guest....sort of a way to express yourself.)  We cleared out all the old mugs and replaced them with mugs from our travels.

Recent countries visited are:  Ireland, England, Scotland, France - but I missed picking up a mug in Rouen - so mad about that one.  Cities include Amsterdam, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco, and attractions include the Hearst Castle, the Capilano Suspension Bridge and states including Alaska, Hawaii and Peurto Rico.  We've been to more places but the mugs from St. Petersburg, Russia and Buenos Aires, Riga are not displayed.  We couldn't fit a mug for each city we visited briefly last fall when we took a Baltic Cruise.  So countries/cities we missed were;  Brugge, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Tallin, Stockholm....I guess we'll have to go back!

I hope if you visit you'll enjoy using these mugs from our personal collection.


. More Mugs

. I seem to collect Tea Pots as well.

And more Tea Pots and wine glasses for guests to fill. We can't sell you the wine, but there are wine stores nearby.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Canada Place

I had a couple of hours off to explore a little more of Vancouver.  Yesterday I walked down to Coal Harbour and sat for a little while on a bench looking at the harbour, the SeaPlanes, the Paddle Wheeler and other harbour cruise ships, the private yachts and loads of people strolling the SeaWall.  It was all great but I didn't have a phone/camera to take a few pics.  So today I did.

Specifically I wanted to see the Fly Over Canada presentation at the far end of Canada Place.  There were two cruise ships in and loads of people.  The Canada Place Pier with the convention centre and hotel above it is a really good place to get a sense of what it is like to be Canadian.  There are small displays of history - nothing too in your face except perhaps a mural about the War of 1812 - I was quite young at the time and don't remember it well, so I'm happy they've got it documented...something for us Canadians to be proud of!  Actually the story isn't about the massive win for Canada as it was about establishing a border between the United States and what became Canada...kind of an important thing.  The Fly Over Canada presentation is in the old I-Max theatre and it is pretty cool.  And if you go then you'll know it is misty as well and scented and worth the $20 to get in.  I would have liked it to have more content that it did.  I didn't feel that they represented the East Coast of Canada too well but they did show some mountains that were pretty awesome.

We had had rain this morning but by the time we left the theatre it was sunny and warm and a pretty perfect day in Vancouver.  We had a leisurely walk back to the house - it is so close 20 minutes is all you need.  So if you are booking a room to attend a convention think about walking along the SeaWall before getting into the conference zone!

.. .. Coal Harbour is busy all the time - from Paddle Wheelers to Freighter, Sea Gulls to Sea Planes

.. .. Good vantage spot to see Vancouver is along the Canada Place Pier

.. .. You can practically touch the cruise ships. I didn't take photos of people on their cabin's decks but they were already occupied at 2:30 in the afternoon. Sail time is usually 5 to 6 pm.

.. .. Coal Harbour as taken from the promenade at Canada Place. That is the Stattendam and then the new Convention Centre with the living room, Harbour Air Port and the tall building at the end on the right is the Bayshore Hotel - Westin Hotel. The Guest House is about half way between the SeaPlanes and the Westin. I clock an 11 minute walk from the House to Harbour Air.

.. .. Couldn't resist taking this photo - freighter in the background and paddlewheeler in the foreground doing a harbour tour.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pride and Fresh Fruit

This morning could have been like any other.  We had two guests leave early so didn't join us for breakfast, we had a family of three and guests from Holland, New Zealand, Belgium and  a gay couple from Miami, Alexis and I were cooking and serving.  The menu was standard:  A blueberry, Carrot and Spinach Smoothie, fresh berries and yogurt and chopped mint from our mini herb garden.  The main course were crepes Alexis made with a stuffing mixture of mushrooms, spinach, onion and thyme, oregano and pineapple sage also from our herb garden.  The option was with or without ham.  And Cinnamon buns with vanilla icing which Alexis made yesterday and baked today.

Several of our guests were leaving the city, the family of three were going on a cruise to Alaska, the Dutch couples are using our bikes today.  After the dishes were done I ventured out to get some yogurt.  Today is Pride and Vancouver hosts a very big and fun Pride Parade.  One block from the house is where it starts at I write this it is 11:45....I could hear some of the music and noise from those assembling for the parade.  I'm sure there will be several hundred thousand people watching.  When I got to the market for the yogurt I couldn't help myself.  It is August and the fruit selection is wonderful.  I couldn't buy everything I saw but I did stock with a few choice items that will make their way into tomorrow's breakfast.

Coming back I decided to walk Robson Street, the route of the parade where people were already camped out with umbrellas, cushions, chairs, and festive clothing galore.  It promises to be a pretty awesome day.  I'll take some photos and post them.  If YOU decide to come for Pride it is held on the BC Weekend and the Parade is on Sunday, rather than the holiday Monday.  It is a day after the last evening of the Honda Celebration of Light - fireworks competition which started on July 27 this year.  Three countries - UK, Canada and Thailand all competed for the coveted award of BEST Fireworks.  Everyone was impressed but particularly the Dutch Couples who told me there fireworks at home were not so they are projected from two huge barges in the middle of English Bay, about a 10 minute walk from the house.  The end of July and the beginning of August are prime times in Vancouver.  If you want to be a guest book early.

The lower mainland produces bountiful crops of blueberries this year. We had a wet start to summer and then lots of sun, so this year's crop is one of the best I've ever seen.

Mika our housekeeper, Ron and Me watching the Parade with the crowd.

Seems to be more about inclusion and so many different facets of society involved.

I took a pic of this bus because this is how the transit buses were when I was in highschool in the 1970s....times have changed.

Times have changed but there is still appreciation for a little buff and tan!

Who could resist putting this outfit on?

Something like 600,000 people came out for the parade...this is only some of them.

The barges for the Honda Celebration of Light.