My favourite hotel in Vancouver is the Rosewood, or the old Georgia. In fact they have kept many of the Georgia icons, like the exterior of the elevator. I like the Executive room with a view of the Vancouver Art Gallery so I can keep track of protests, art displays, concerts etc. And I really like the lobby bar and the little patisserie. The pool is gorgeous with different changing colors, and it is perfect for our grand daughter,Sway, to enjoy. The Reflections open air restaurant is terrific for lunch or dinner and there is a definite vibe there and lots of people watching.
I just feel comfortable at the hotel. I love the lobby atmosphere and of course the location is stellar, as we can walk anywhere from there. From time to time they have an offer that gives you three nights for the price of two. Deals are always appealing. I also enjoy the bathroom as it is large and there are two sinks, a wonderful tub and excellent shower. So I naturally booked the hotel for our stay of three days while we visited with our family.
I knew we would be checking in around 5:00 and organized that our family would meet us at the hotel and we would eat in Reflections-The Garden Terrace. With Covid protocols in place I had made a reservation beforehand and hoped it wouldn’t rain. The family, Niels our middle son, Corby and Kate and their daughter Sway and a very quiet guest, the future baby, who came along for the ride and for nourishment. Although we had seen Corby and Niels when we first arrived in Vancouver, it was terrific to see them again, see Blog The Beautiful Province, and of course to get a big hug from our grand daughter, Sway.
Now this restaurant/bar/terrace is quite a see and be seen place especially on a Friday night. The girls in stilettos and low bosom displaying outfits, with makeup and long hair were obviously out for a night on the town, or an early start to one, as our dinner time was 6:30. Sway settled in beside me and loved sharing my steak Tartare and sushi. It is a fun, inventive menu, with great wines and interesting cocktails and we all ate a feast or so it seems. Now, you won’t see any photos of Sway because her parents do not want her image on social media and I totally respect that. She is a dolly though with strawberry blonde hair usually in long braids, sort of an Anne of green Gables type, although she is just 4. She is a delight and very well behaved in a restaurant..we tried many during our visit. The one thing she does like is to visit the washrooms perhaps to see them, or perhaps to get a break from sitting. Strangely, I loved to do the same thing at her age.
After good byes, Charles and I went to our room, and relaxed. Lovely beds helped with a great sleep, because if you read the first blog in this series you may remember that I was in considerable pain from my infection. We woke and had breakfast in the lobby bar, and then Corby, Kate and Sway arrived for a swim. Fun to just watch them cavorting in the pool. I call it Sway Tv. I just watch and watch and try to absorb because being a grandparent who lives at the other end of the country is not conducive to really seeing enough of your grand child. So just watching and listening is indeed a rare pleasure.
We walked to the SkyTrain about a block away and took it to the Queen Elizabeth Park and hoped we could get a table at Seasons. It was Saturday afternoon, but I went in and nicely asked if there was anything and we luckily got a table, albeit with a partial view, but with a super waiter. The food was delicious with large portions. We had Caesar salad, and some fried squid and prawns and Charles had clam chowder. Everyone was happy to walk around the stunning park after lunch, and enjoy the views of Vancouver. I think Sway even had dessert. She is a good eater and again well behaved at the table.
Charles and I had our usual afternoon nap while the family Petersen went to their home to regroup for dinner later. Sway went to her first sleepover at a friends’ house, and Corby and Kate as well as Niels and his girlfriend, Charlie, met us at Pidgin, a very trendy restaurant in a shady district of Vancouver, and I don’t mean with trees. Lots of druggies and vagrants sleeping on the sidewalk, but amazingly lots of high end restaurants in the neighbourhood. You kind of just step over the dirt etc., and enter the establishment. We were warmly greeted and served extremely well by a very knowledgeable waiter. We all had some drinks and settled in at a long table and shouted at each other. Of course so many restaurants now are noisy, which I assume is to give energy to the surroundings, or to get you out of there quickly. We ordered the tasting menu to share that had many dishes that were very good, some unrecognizable, drank too many bottles of wine, and decided to take a mortgage out on the house to pay the bill. All good though as how often do we see our kids.
Sunday was a fine day weather wise. Charles and I went for a walk outside the hotel and wandered around the blocks near us and then saw the shocking site on the steps of the Art Gallery This installation was for indigenous children who were taken from their families and put in residential schools and who were buried in unmarked graves. To see the hundreds of pairs of shoes on the steps and not find yourself in tears would be impossible. We stood and read notes and just breathed deeply and felt massive shame for our country, the Catholic church and the politicians who were responsible. What a horror. I will never forget this. I lived in Whitehorse at the time of the residential school round up, and had no idea of what was going on, and now try to imagine a child being taken from his family, language, home, and that the church condoned and aided and abetted. This is beyond belief!
Corby who captains a whale watching vessel out of Granville Island, worked part of the day, while Kate brought Sway for more swimming at the hotel and then we all met at the island, where I bought food for dinner; just love the fresh fish and vegetables there, and the desserts too. We then connected with Niels. We were in the Boston Whaler that Corby and Kate share own with another couple. It is spacious, and comfortable and Corby took us by water to North Vancouver for lunch at a large restaurant called Joey at The Ship Yards. It was really more than a restaurant, actually part of a centre for activities like skating in the winter and waterpark in the summer. The food was good. I had dumplings and lettuce wraps. Someone had a pressed hamburger and lots of iced tea and cold drinks all around. Then we toured the waters around Vancouver, and headed back to Corby and Kates where I started to prepare dinner.
Sway and I played catch for a while. It is a different concept for a four year old to catch a ball, and to cheer her on. We hung around outside in their little garden. Then I prepped the fish, the potatoes and the veggies for dinner. I used sesame oil and Ketjapmanis, an Indonesian soy sauce, on the salmon and Charles barbecued it. Everything was yummy. Sway had a little melt down, and after she ate headed for her bath and bedtime story. We soon went back to the hotel for a night cap and went to bed as our flight was leaving early for Toronto.
We loved seeing everyone as Covid had kept us away for two years. We still haven’t seen our grands in Quebec and I fear it will be May in 2022 when we finally spend some in person time with them. The flight home was comfortable. i was really looking forward to seeing the doctor in a few days, and when I did, found I had a major infection in the surgery site, and was put on a regimen of antibiotics for 6 weeks, no swimming, no golf, no Pilates, lots of rest, and I am now happy to report all is good and I am back to normal, whatever that is.
I had earlier booked tickets to Stratford, the Covid version, so at least we were going to have some doable activities, and lots of dinners with Liz and Wouter and visits with my sister at her home and our club. And I read many books without feeling guilty for lying around. Oscar is a great nurse/company and cuddler, so all the time passed quickly. My iphone reminded me 5 times a day to pill up and it seems now it all went by in a flash, well maybe that is an exaggeration.
Next blog visit I will tell you about Stratford, a wonderful wine tasting we went to at my golf club, and the incredible Martha Henry..
Meanwhile as so often happens now that we are older, another colleague has passed away. The great composer, R. Murray Schafer died recently and I wrote a small piece for our national newspaper, The Globe and Mail called “I Remember”. I will add it to this blog as a tribute to Murray.