So with only one day left in Van City, and with the sun miraculously still shining we headed to Queen Elizabeth Park because I love that place!
The view was one of the best we've had, as even on blue sky days it can be a little hazy normally.
We packed a picnic and lounged in the sun.
Mara and By, always up for an adventure, splashed around with the kids in the fountains!
We wondered through their display gardens...
and I took too many pictures so this is just a snap shot!
We parked right by this monkey puzzle tree, which is one of By's favourite trees so I had to take a pic to keep the forester happy!
We drove along Marine Drive and posed at this lookout point...
and then we showed the family the delights of UBC! Could that campus be any more beautiful?
Let me just say UBC has made it incredibly hard for when Byron finally has to return to Bangor Uni that's for sure! He absolutely loved his time at UBC and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more amazing campus!
Beauty in every direction!
and it even comes complete with it's own beach....known as Wreck beach!
Let me give you the back story on this beach, before I proceed. It is a known nudist beach, however the only other time we'd been there was in winter and so obviously there were no nudies around at that point! Also, in Europe even when beaches are designated nudist, you still have tons of people in their swimming stuff too...so I was expecting a handful of nudists, and that was going to have to be okay because the other thing about Wreck beach is that you have to walk down 500 steps to get to it. It's a bit of a schlep! and whilst fires are illegal on all Vancouver beaches, the police don't usually venture out as far as this out of the way beach so I figured a few random nude people would be an okay enough trade off for ending the night with some tasty s'mores!
So imagine our horror when we got to the beach and found that my 90% clothed, 10% nude estimation was actually more like 90% nude, 10% clothed! I made sure I screened the pics I took carefully so as not to subject you to what we had to see, but it was pretty crazy to say the least!
I'm pretty sure Mara is either covering her eyes in horror here or she's cracking up, because the situation was pretty funny!
Mom's way of dealing with it was using a jumper to shield her eyes!! We ended up moving around to a quieter side beach with less crazies on it...or so we thought!
and that's when the naked yoga started...I kid you not!
You think a whole beach full of naked hippies is bad...wait 'til they start busting out the yoga moves!
and then just when we thought it couldn't get any worse...a full on naked man approached us and asked if someone would take a picture of him! Mara, Mom and I looked at each other and tried our best to ignore him! so By stepped up and ended up taking the picture! It was a hilarious situation, the guy was even trying to tell By how to use the zoom lens and everything!!!
You just can't make this stuff up!
Mara and By joined the crazies and ventured into the sea for a while! Despite being a sunny day, that water is icy cold! I could barely let it get past my knees before chickening out!
Then there were some sand dune climbing adventures...
It's pretty crazy how these layers of sand look like layers of rock!
I think the route back down was the most fun part for them!
As the sun was starting to set, Byron went about building his own little 'innuksuk' - a stone landmark the natives build over here to mark travel paths or as a point of reference.
He also busted out his awesome fire starting skills, to get this lovely little beach fire going! Our fire pit wasn't quite as magical as when we used to make it with conch shells in the Caribbean but we have to work with what we get!
The innuksuk at twilight...
and then the s'more making got started! Fortunately Mom and Mara had brought me my favourite Lindt coconut cream milk chocolate over from England and so coconut s'mores were the order of the day!
Mom was having much more fun than this pic shows! Somehow, and this makes me a bad daughter, it was her first ever time making s'mores! I think she was a convert!
Oh yeah! the perfect toasty marshmallow!
and then things got crazy...when Mara made a malteser bunny s'more! Taking things to the next level is what we Jones girls do best!
It was the perfect way to spend their last night in Canada! Eating delicious food, keeping warm around the fire...
and watching this incredible sunset!
It's no wonder they have been missing Vancouver ever since they got back! It's a pretty magical place!
I am super grateful to them for all the effort that went into them making this trip! It was the holiday that nearly never was! because they missed their original flights due to British Rail being an epic failure and their Gatwick Express train getting signal failure on the way to the airport! For a while it looked like it wasn't going to happen, but they booked whole new flights to come out to see us and for that I will love them forever because I was craving some family time and we definitely had the most awesome time together and got to see/do and eat so much cool stuff!
I'm guessing when they come to visit us in Scotland next year, the visit won't be quite as exciting! haha