Driving into Vancouver the first thing I noticed and loved were the bike symbols on the street names. Letting cars and bikers alike know which roads are bike friendly. It is such a simple thing, but I believe makes a huge difference on the road.
Regardless of that fabulous first impression and a great night of sushi, I wasn’t instantly sold on Vancouver. It’s still a big city, and after being Peru for three months and then a month in Fernie and Nelson. I wasn’t feeling the big city life anymore. Not to much the sweltering hostel in the middle of rainbow (gay) town and having to listen to the Rotary kids get yelled.
Plus it was so crowded. Granville, although beautiful, full of a great market and crafts. Including a broom making company, using grasses from Mexico. Was just chalk a block of people and just felt like a combination of Centre Island, Harbourfront and The Distillery for you Torontonians. However, still a must see in Van and I will go back from some souvenirs.
Stanley Park is a gem, with it’s trails and Totem poles. And a couple of days later as I ran the seawall I started to sea the magic that is living on the coast. Starting at the Olympic torch and a spectacular view of the ocean. To only continue around the seawall, with ocean one side and beautiful trees on the other and the occasional beach.
Everyone is so outdoorsy and fit here too. Heading up to Grouse Grind you see all types of people, families, grandmothers walking slowly but deliberately with large natural wood walking sticks they picked up on the way, runners, challenging themselves, and me. It was a laborious climb, which may have been a bit easier had a taken some water, but I left it with my partner who unfortunately I just couldn’t quite catch up to. Maybe with a little water I would have shaved off those 7 minutes. But he did come back down to take a picture of me as I did the last little bit, which was great. Thanks!
The Grind is amazing. A great training ground for future races or mountaineering trips and right in town. With a bear sanctuary at the top. And if you go a little further up you can see the wind turbine and paragliders. Bonus, if you want to save your knees is the chairlift and cable car down…and up, if you really want. Where’s the fun in that?
I really started to get in the city when I just wondered. My favourite way to get to know a new place. I wondered all over downtown, seeing the unique architecture of the museum and library, watching people and grazing. Some people were even watching me as I get targeted by a fake sob story for money. Highly entertaining, but not really worth sharing here. Grazing consisted of JapaDogs, where I was mistaken for a local. I guess I looked like I understood hot dogs. Who knows?
Wondering along Granville Street day or night is always full of some action. By day a place to lounge in the middle of the now blocked off street and covered in faux grass with street bands popping up. I was pleasured with a great steel drum band. By night the now walk zone is covered with young and some old clubbers deciding which music is better as the bars blare their stereos competing for business.
Oh and I can’t forget Chinatown. I felt I was back in China, as I partook in a traditional tea ceremony and wondered the streets and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden. Only when I sat down at the Chinese festival outside the garden was I reminded of being in Van. With Chinese vendors around, but a reggae DJ and a rock artists playing. Only a Van combo.
Yeah this place certainly has a good feeling. If…when…I do move to Van, I won’t be moving right downtown though, after all I am a Bloor West Village girl. For that reason, North Van or Kitsilano (fabulous little BWV feel with a beach and a frozen probiotic yogurt bar. Awesome!!!!)