I love Stanley Park the way I love Golden Gate, and I am truly saddened that I have nothing of their sort anywhere near me to take the Tenster to on a regular basis.
We began our day there by meandering towords the Farm and the Train which are located a short way in the park near the Vancouver Aquarium. We took our time getting there stopping to admire the beautiful flowers and trees in full spring bloom. We watched the gardeners meticulously grooming the rose garden, which is sure to be spectacular in the next couple of months as it's intricate layout and pristine white trellises come alive with flowers. For her part, Tenley ran pall mall across the huge expanses of lawn, smelled the flowers, collected pine cones, examined the band shell, and stopped at each playground we encountered to sample it's wonders.
At last we arrived at the Farm and Train, which are located right next to each other. Very conveinient. Tenley and I hung out in the train station watching a Peahen who had escaped from the farm and was loudly calling for her mate while Jeff bought us train tickets, and then we all climbed aboard for what was a rather long ride through a very green and peaceful wooded glen. At one point we passed a little farm house with a barn and a yard where some of the animals are kept in their off time, and found the Peacock standing on a fence seemingly hiding from his shrewish mate back at the station. Some goats happily ambled down to the fence by the tracks and bleated at us as we went by. Eventually our ride came to an end, and Tenley and Jeff went to check out the locomotive before we headed over to the farm.
We crossed over a little bridge into the farm admiring the ducks, swans, and a turkey who looked like every picture ever embossed on a Thanksgiving platter. Someone must have forewarned the sheep about Tenley, because as we entered the main area they all took off in the opposite direction. The goats just ignored us and happily went about nibbling their alfalfa. There was also a Canadian goose with a mangled wing that had feathers and shafts sticking out in all directions. He promptly greeted the visitors by hissing at us all impartially, just to let us know he wasn't there to be pet. He then proceeded to follow us and the caretakers around honking happily. We inquired about the rather painful looking wing, and they explained that he was born with a twisted tendon- it didn't cause him any pain, and he had never known any different, but he would never be able to fly so he was brought to the farm to be raised and live in safety. Finally I carrried Tenley over to a friendly looking mid-size goat and showed her how to scratch the goat's head. Ten was unimpressed. She headed off to one of the buildings to view the crowing poultry. She chased to roosters, pet the burro and the bunnies, and could have cared less about the reptiles.
As we re-entered the main area, I felt something nudging me in the butt. It was the previously mentioned goat. Apparently, the goat rememberd me and my fingernails, and she was back for some attention. Her name was Traka and she may well have been half cat: she stood there and bunted my hands if I stopped scratching, and moved her body around to whichever location was itchy. She stuck out her neck and closed her eyes with her tail swishing in pleasure as I worked her chin bones. Such odd behaviour for a goat!
We said our good byes to the animals and mosied off in the direction of Beaver Lake to search out some geese to gift with the stale bread we had brought. I guess the whole thing had exausted Tenley, because she passed out in the stroller as we were getting close. I was sorry she slept through the path to the lake, not that she would have admired it the way Jeff and I did: it was exactly the sort of wooded place you wanted near your house to play in as a kid. You could just imagine a group of little ones pretending to be Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, for it looked just as you would expect Neverland to be. There was a tiny stream that wound through the trees and bushes that I'm certain my Bryer model horses or Meg's Barbies would have loved. We fed the geese and did a lap around the lake before we decided to leave the park and walk to Robson St. in search of lunch.
Robson is the main shopping drag in Vancouver, and is covered with everything from high-end stores to niche boutiques and all manner of dining options. It was on a corner of Robson that I had the best hot dog I have ever had in my life, and I was sorely disappointed that my snap-dog vendor wasn't there this time.
Tenley woke up during our lunch at a tapas place, and was rarin' to go by the end of our meal. We weren't sure she'd eaten enough, so we stopped in a little Chinese market and got her some snacks and apple juice on our way to Lush and Roots.
I love Lush. (www.lush.com) If you're not familliar with it, it's a UK based company that makes hand made fresh bath and personal care products. Their stuff is as pure and natural as possible, and is only tested on humans. Tenley's skin is so dry that I started using their Butterball bath bombs in her bath to help moisturize her. The nice girls looked at her dry legs and also recommended their Dream Cream (made with oats, rose water, lavender and chamomile oils, and cocobutter) for her, which I have to say has been doing a marvelous job. I also grabbed some Karma bubble bars for me.
Roots was our next stop, and while I love their t-shirts, my only purchase on this trip was an oversize blue leather wristlet. I think wristlets are great, but I can never get all the stuff I want in them... this one is perfect- it's still small enough to go into a diaper bag but big enough to hold my card case, cell, keys, and a full size lipstick. Tenely insisted on carrying the bag.
It was at this moment that Jeff and I lost our minds. We were standing there on the corner of Robson and Granville...and we decided to walk back to the Island. Now Yahoo Maps Canada tells me that it's only 2 miles and change from Roots to our hotel. But what it doesn't mention is that you will a) walk through a slightly seedy area of town, b) that 90% of that 2 miles is going to be up a very very steep freeway bridge that goes over False Creek, and c) that you will actually have to cross traffic doing 60+ mph several times before you reach your destination. We will not be making that mistake again.
We were so exausted that we headed straight for my favourite Island eatery, The Cat's Meow (www.thecatsmeow.ca) for dinner, fearing that if we stopped moving we might collapse and then starve to death while in an exaustion induced coma.