My Parents Drove Me There With Their Van...couver

Trip Start Mar 29, 2008
Trip End Apr 30, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, March 31, 2008

I need to stop with the bad titles.

Vancouver is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been. I have always been lucky to have it so close to my university city.  It was also a great place to get cheap flights to Asia (Even though I fly to Portland, Oregon first.)  This city has a mix of modern fun, rich history, and stunning nature.  A city I would suggest a visit to for anyone.  Hopefully a lot more people will learn more about the city during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

 Sites Seen:

Canada's Largest Flea Market (703 Terminal Avenue): Located in a huge warehouse this this market can hide many treasures and have you leaving with items you never knew you needed. 

Stanley Park:  A large peninsula that was turned into an amazing park.  It offers beautiful views of Vancouver City, mountains, and the rich life of the area.  A must see spot of Vancouver.

Park Next To The Ramada Hotel in Richmond:  If you are taking a flight from Vancouver airport and are staying a night near it I suggest looking for this park.  It is very calm and full of animals to gaze at.  It is very European in design and could be a welcome surprise for you.


 My parents picked me up in Bellingham Washington and we drove north to Vancouver, British Columbia. This is where my flight to Japan originated from.  It was $500 cheaper to fly out of Vancouver than it was Seattle for some reason.  So due to that it made great sense to use that airport.  It also gave us a day to explore Vancouver.

First thing we decided to do was visit Canada's largest flea market, or so it advertised at least.  My parents read about it online and it intrigued us all. I think the Williams' just love to shop through other peoples junk so that it could become our junk.  If you are driving north from the US-Canadian border it is a great first stop on your way into the city.  Located on Terminal Avenue you can hit this and then be just minutes drive from the main center of downtown Vancouver.  We had problems finding it at first due to there being many warehouses in the area. Eventually we noticed which one it was (helpful hint: there is a Starbucks near it).  It truly was a large flea market and offered pretty much anything you could think of.  It had antiques, electronics, Native American crafts, and all types of clothing.  Could also be a great and cheap place to pick up your Vancouver souvenirs. 

Spending a few hours in the flea market made us very hungry.  We decided to drive to Old Vancouver.  This part of the city is a strange mix of European style buildings and American style cross streets.  There are many artsy stores here, cafes, and small restaurants.  The main problem with this area is finding parking.  It took my parents and I close to an hour to find a place to park the car.  If you do drive be prepared to have to walk to where you need to go.  We had lunch at a very small burger place, almost set up like a 1950s diner. However, it didn't have all the nostalgic knicknacks on the walls.
I wish I could still remember the name of the restaurant because it was great. One of the best burgers I have had I would say.  Old Town deserves a relatively fast walk through.  It is on the way to one of Vancouver's true wonders. 

Stanley Park is one of the best ideas a city has ever had. Instead of spreading urban sprawl to this peninsula they decided to keep it natural and allow people to escape the city in mere minutes.  A great way to get a basic feel of the park is to park your car in any of the lots on the south side (where you can see the skyline of Vancouver) and just walk.  Pay for an hour or two in the meter and go enjoy the views.  From this area you can see the mountains that are snow topped year round.  You can gaze at ships and seaplanes traversing about the waterways, and you can view the very old and dense forests that still surround Vancouver.  When you are done with your hike and are driving out of the park there are a few other spots worth stopping at. Mostly involving cliffs and more views of the nature surrounding Vancouver.  This park has always been one of my favorites and I make sure anyone I ever take to Vancouver sees this park, so don't miss it.

Since my flight was fairly early the next day we decided on staying in a hotel near the airport. This area is actually called Richmond and it is kind of like the "Chinatown" of Vancouver. However, it is its own city, just very Asian influenced.  The first hotel we checked for prices was the one we ended up staying at.  This was the Ramada Inn Vancouver Airport. A very basic hotel, not much to mention here.  What is worth mentioning is the park behind it.  This random small park was one of the prettiest I have seen.  Perhaps due to it being a perfect spring day helped, but things seemed perfect and at peace here.  The water was calm on the small lakes,  the willow trees were an amazingly bright yellow-green color, and the wild life going about their business as if there were not people around really was amazing.  I think the pictures will explain it better than my words.  If you stay near the airport look for this park near the Ramada Inn and you can search out bunnies, water fowl, and other critters. Plus, you can just unwind before a big flight.

That was about it for our site-seeing in Vancouver.  I went to bed and went to the airport the next morning and took my long flight to Tokyo, the next stop on this graduation trip.
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