Canada Day on Granville Island

We had a fantastic warm, sunny day for Canada Day here on the coast. Ty and Brubin were dressed up in their red and white flag gear for a trip to Granville Island to enjoy the festivities there.

As we walked along the seawall towards the aquabus stop, we marvelled at the action on the water: pirate ships, tug boats, ferries, paddle boarders, kayakers – everyone was out on the water.

The Hornby Street aquabus stop was packed out with throngs heading over to Granville Island and Brubin was pretty excited about being part of the gang.

Once across False Creek, we took advantage of the opening of the wooden tug Master for public viewing to check it out. The Master was the last wooden hulled steam tugboat running up and down the coast of BC, built in 1922, and is beautifully maintained.

We also caught a few minutes of the free International Jazz Festival concert near the Market.

Since it was hot, we hung out in the shade of the Granville Bridge and watched red and white clad people walk by with their ice cream cones and bubble blowers.

Everyone was in a great mood and the vibe was festive.

Marching brass bands and disco queens entertained the crowds. The “free” (not sure why that was emphasised given that the event took place on the street) disco dance, with DJ, silver disco ball, and big-haired grooving disco ducks was great fun – of course I had to join in the action and danced up a sweat in the 25 degree sun.

We decided to wait for the parade coming down Railspur Alley on the patio of the Artisan Sake Studio where we had a ringside seat in the shade – huzzah!

We decided to sample the trio taster and cheese plate combination; the rice wine was very tasty, especially the original version, but the “cheese platter” was the world’s smallest, consisting of three crackers and the tiniest pieces of cheese I have every seen a restaurant try to get away with.

We had been told by a marshall that the Granville Island Canada Day Parade was “three times bigger than last year”, meaning it was eight minutes long instead of three … but we enjoyed it anyway, reminding us of the community parades that we had seen on Cortes Island.

Poor old Brubin was a bit too small to be able to see the passing parade.

Good Times and great fun had by all!

See more pics here.

Three Ex-Haciendas, a house, a temple, a torture museum, and a Palm Sunday Parade – Guanajuato!

We have had a busy few days here in Guanajuato.

On Saturday, we headed out on the bus to visit the Ex-Hacienda las Trancas, a former 17th century fort now converted to a luxurious hotel, about 15 kilometers outside of the city of Dolores Hidalgo, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We’d not heard of this place before; the owner, Kelley Wilkinson, left a note on one of my blog posts, and after a bit of an email conversation, invited us to come out and spend the day at the hotel – we were delighted.

We were amazingly lucky with the bus – just as we purchased our tickets and got on, it pulled away – huzzah! Suzanne greeted us at the Hacienda and gave us a tour of the whole facility, showing us the eleven very large and beautifully appointed guest rooms, the dining room (with seating for 30), the spa, the gym, the horse stables, and the pool.

After the walkabout we had an incredible lunch in the gardens and spent a couple of hours enjoying the pool.

After a taxi ride back into DH, once again, just as we purchased our bus tickets and jumped aboard, the bus pulled away for the hour and a half ride back to Guanajuato.

For more info on the Hacienda las Trancas, click here.

See more pictures here.

Yesterday, after my friend Heather had told me about a printmaking studio and artist’s residence here in Guanajuato, Ty and I paid a visit to Piramidal Grafica, the ex-hacienda and studio of Jim and Jenny Hibbert.

Originally from Portland, where Jim taught printmaking and drawing in a university, they now make their home in what used to be an old tanning factory from the 1700’s. The wells and pools from the old tanning era can still be seen in what is now their garden.

They purchased this place, just about at the top of the hill on the opposite side of the city from our house, as a ruin in 1989 and moved down full-time about five years ago, with all their many tons of art gear.

The hacienda building itself includes their living space, an artist’s apartment which they rent out, a studio area upstairs, a gallery, a huge printmaking studio, a workshop, and an outdoor area which could be used for sculpture. Jim was kind enough to show us around the workshop and gallery – what a wonderful place!

For more info on Piramidal Grafica, click here.

After a coffee at the Italian Coffee Company next to the Basilica, we made our way over to Calle Barranca to visit Carl, the innkeeper that I’d met outside the grocery store when we first arrived here.

Carl is the host of a B&B without the B which occupies a full block of real estate in the Centro area.

He, and his little dog Millie, showed us the four rental suites and the beautiful roof deck,

which has a stunning view out over the city.

On the roof they are experimenting to see which flowers will be able to flourish in the dry heat of Guanajuato. The furnishings, decorations, and colourful design of the house are really beautiful; this would be a great place to stay while in the city.

See more pictures here.

For more information on Carl’s house, click here.

Last night we joined the crowd down at the park below our house to watch the Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) Parade. Including marching bands (which we’ve heard practicing for 2 weeks),

costumed characters in tableaux on the back of trucks re-enacting the life of Jesus,

full-size effigies of Jesus on a donkey and Jesus crucified carried by townspeople,

and a crowd of folks carrying palm fronds, the parade, put together by the Jesuits, snakes its way through the city from the Park, along the main drag of Benito Juarez, to the Templo of the Compania de Jesus, taking about an hour and finishing just before sundown.

Today, to complete our round of Ex-Haciendas and churches, we visited the Ex-Hacienda del Cochero, otherwise known as the Museum of the Holy Inquisition, and the Temple of San Caetano in Valenciana, in the hills above Guanajuato.

The Inquisition Museum contains quite a few dark installations of figures being tortured in various ingenious ways, many instruments of torture, skeletons hanging and lying in graves, cages swinging from the ceiling, and three dimensional holograms (whose purpose here was mysterious to me), all displayed in lurid red, blue, and green coloured lights.

The Templo de San Caetano is a few blocks further up the hill from the Museum and is a stunning salmon-coloured Spanish baroque confection, containing three floor to ceiling golden altars

and a small chapel with a reclining Jesus in a large glass case and a severed head of Christ in a tiny one.

After perusing these, we headed back down the steps to the local loncheria, a small spot with a grill and three plastic tables, where we had a delicious lunch of tortas for about $1.75 each.

Tomorrow morning we leave for Puerto Vallarta; I’ve arranged for a taxi to meet us at 9:30 at the Museo de las Momias – hopefully he’ll show up! I have really, really loved Guanajuato and hope to be back in the not-too-distant future.

See more pictures here.