Our second full day of playing tourist consisted of going to the botanical garden and walking around the west end, including hitting the beach. When we got downstairs for breakfast, there were more people milling around both in the kitchen and in the eating area than the day before. We were able to grab a table, though, and went back upstairs to plan out the rest of the day. We knew we wanted to go to the botanical garden, but we weren't sure what we'd end up doing in the afternoon.
After making sure we had everything, we started out walking to the SkyTrain station. We could have also taken a bus to the station but the walk wasn't that far. The same was true getting off the train, and as it ended up, the bus showed up where we would have gotten off just as we were walking up to the intersection.
We found the entrance to the VanDusen Botanical Garden, got tickets, and started to study the map to figure out what we wanted to see. There were a few self-guided trails, and we opted for what ended up being a combination of all three.
We walked by the rhododendrons and azaleas, and there was even a deciduous azalea which looked odd, not having any leaves. The hydrangeas still had some blossoms, and the witchhazels were just letting go of the last leaves and starting blossoms.
We then took our first of several offshoots from the suggested trail to walk through the Canadian Heritage Garden, which included a grove of sugar maple trees. Just past that was a vegetable garden which was sporting a cover crop for the winter. We also saw where they kept bees, and we heard some buzzing, but no activity.
Back to the main path, and once we got past the fern dell we tried our hand at the hedge maze. As can be expected, there were lots of kids running around inside. We didn't do too badly and were able to find our way out.
Up to the stone garden, then we walked through the Great Lawn which used to be a golf course. Next up was the Heather Garden, which still had lots of color. By that point we were getting ready for lunch so we found the café and took a break.
We didn't spend too much time after lunch in the garden, but did see the cypress stands, bamboos, and the Mediterranean and Southern Hemisphere gardens.
We were ready to sit down for a bit, so we worked our way to the closest bus stop. The bus pulled up just as we were getting to the stop, so we rushed onboard and rode it back downtown, where we started a walking tour at the Fairmont. We walked along Robson Street which was filled with holiday shoppers.
Our tour next took us through the West End, including several mini-parks. We then wandered down towards the English Bay Beach, which had lots of people milling around, even though it was a bit chilly. We walked down the beach towards Alexandra Park, which had a great view. Next the tour took us a couple blocks from the hostel, and we decided to call it a day and complete the tour the next day. We gathered some food to heat for dinner and settled in to relax for the evening.