Green, green, blue, green and green!

Trip Start Jul 10, 2005
Trip End Jul 25, 2005

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Today was a marathon day of exploring Vancouver even though we had a late start. Somehow, Nadine and I ended up sleeping in and eating a late breakfast (though we ordered off the lunch menu thanks to our awesome waitress who put in a special request to the kitchen) at the hotel. The seafood in Vancouver is very, very good so we've been taking advantage of that and eating alot of fresh, fresh fish. I had a salmon club sandwich and Nadine had a grilled ahi salad, both of which were delicious.

After filling our tummies, we looked up directions on how to get to Stanley Park and decided that we could just walk. If you're planning a trip to Vancouver, get a hotel right in the middle of downtown Vancouver and use public transportation or walk. It's been very easy to get around downtown so far and this is a very walkable city with lots of interesting stores and such to check out while you're walking.

Stanley Park was just about 10 blocks or so away and we took the Robson Street route and just shopped our way to the park. There are lots of interesting boutiques albeit a little pricey if you're looking for bargains. When we got to the Stanley Park exit, we looked up the Free Tram ride that takes you all over Stanley Park and waited for the tram. In the summer, you can ride the Stanley Park tram for free which is a great way to get around the park and see it in its entirety. There were also places you could rent bikes at outside of the park which is another great way to get around if you have a few bucks to spare and a good set of pedalling legs.

Stanley Park is just unbelievably beautiful.... lush green forests surrounded by the beautiful water. It's just incredible that such quiet, pristine nature is so close to the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city. I wished we had more time to spend here in downtown Vancouver so we that we could go back and hike around but we'll just have to wait till our next trip.

After oohing and aahing at everything for a couple of hours, we hopped on a city bus and headed towards Gastown, a neighbourhood named after some dude nicknamed Gassy Jack. (Don't ask me why he's gassy..... ) For $2.25, you can hop on the city bus and transfer for free in the same service area for 2 hours. Pretty economical and easy way to get around. The bus comes every 15 minutes during peak hours so it's pretty convenient too. Gastown is pretty neat.. but nothing much to do except look at some of the older buildings and architecture. We caught the steamy Gastown clock by accident at 3pm as it steamed/chimed at the hour... it was pretty funny cos we just happened to walk past it and was wondering why there were so many people with their cameras aimed at it.

There were alot of little touristy type stores in Gastown which we sort of did a little bit of customary cursory lookie-loo shopping, but we got bored and decided to walk down to Chinatown which was a few blocks away.

More later on Chinatown... a scary encounter with homeless man attempting to beat a woman with a bicycle... the Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden... the hip Yaletown neighbourhood... frothy beer.. a romantic aquabus ride onto Granville island and more yummy desserts.



So, we walked from Gastown to Chinatown and ended up in a seedy block of downtown Vancouver... narrowly escaping some zoned out homeless people who were yelling and fighting with each other. Nadine whispered.. "Hide the map" to me and we walked as fast as we could toward Chinatown.

Chinatown was okay.. nothing special. I actually enjoyed Victoria's Chinatown better. More on that later. Maybe we didn't know what to look for or where to go, but we wandered around a bit.. checking out the Sun Yat Sen Chinese garden (free entrance) which was rather nice... peered into some stores and that was it. We were meeting a friend for dinner at the Yaletown Brewing Company so back on the bus we went... After a wonderful dinner and some awesome microbrews, and our friend took us to a converted train tracks thingy (which I unfortunately forgot the name of...). We took some pictures, and he gave us a great tip to take the Aquabus across to Granville Island.

The Aquabus is a must-do... especially late in the evening as you can get a whole different perspective of Vancouver. Beautiful.

We ended up wandering around Granville Island around 8pm but the market and most of the stores were already closed except for a few restaurants. We decided to cap off the night with some yummy desserts at the SandBar... and back to the hotel. Tomorrow, a Swedish breakfast and onward to Vancouver Island.
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