I took my second trip to Vancouver to meet up with my cousin over an extended weekend and had a completely different (better) experience.
We stayed at an AirBnB downtown, close to the subway and walking distance to a lot of great restaurants and shops!
The first thing I wanted to do was go to the Vancouver Aquarium because Rialto the sea otter was taken there after being rescued and spending rehab time in Seattle. The best part was the variety of jellyfish! I wish that the otters had more room to play, as they were separated into two smaller tanks, but it was nice seeing Rialto look happy and healthy! The park was busy, being a sunny Saturday afternoon! We spent some time walking around a little and enjoying the beautiful trails around the park.
After that, I think is when we ate at The Flying Pig in Gastown, about a block away from the famous clock. I still don’t know why the tiny clock is a tourist attraction and since I already have a picture, I decided to reflect on this while watching everyone else. The dinner at the Pig was delicious ‘pub’ food — I had mushroom gnocchi, which I wasn’t able to finish. Sadly, I realized after I got home from the trip that the leftovers were still in the fridge!
The following day, we took a passenger ferry to and from Granville Island and good thing at that! The weather held out for most of our visit, so the weekend on the Island was packed: not a parking spot to be found! This time, after making a near beeline to the best bakery, A Bread Affair, we found the island’s park and climbed to the top of the mountain, getting a nice view of the city. We waited a little bit in line for Granville Island Brewery — but after sampling a flight, we didn’t mind. I also was able to sample poutine for the first time: it might’ve been way overpriced ($18 CAD), but the fries weren’t soggy and sprinkled with rosemary and thyme, it was quite delicious!
I’m forgetting some parts of this trip: I was supposed to write this post yesterday whilst my mind was still fresh, but it turns out I wasn’t able to, and I didn’t even take notes. So, apologies.
After wandering around Yaletown, we stumbled upon an ice cream store called Mister, which sells (expensive) nitrogen ice cream. I got creme brulee, and I don’t regret it at all! Worth every penny!
I can’t remember where we ate for dinner that day, but it was probably very good. We took a nighttime walk through Chinatown (not recommended due to business closures & number of homeless and/or drug addicts). But, it was a good walk around of the layout of the stores. We eventually went back a few days later during the day and while there were more people, it wasn’t as busy as I had imagined.
Our host recommended Cafe Medina, which we tried to eat at on Sunday around brunch-time, forgetting the hour and day. When we walked in, there was an hour and a half wait!!! So, we tried to go to another place in Yaletown, called Jam. That too, had a line around the door! We eventually got to Cafe Medina on Monday after about a 20 minute wait: their take on breakfast might seem unusual (it’s not your typical pancakes and waffles joint), the fare was delicious and filling! However, I highly recommend a reservation, even if it is for two, because it’s always busy it seems!
Also following our host’s recommendation, we decided to go to nearby Deep Cove in North Vancouver for a short hike on the Baden-Powell trail. He mentioned that the trail gets busy, so to go early, but figuring that it was a weekday, we’d be okay. Wrong. BOTH parking lots for the trail were full, so we had to find street parking. The trail was still a bit crowded for my taste, including a group of schoolkids. The view was worth the exercise though, especially for my first hike of the year! I only wish the power lines didn’t reach across the lake.
While I don’t like doughnuts that much, we followed the recommendation for the signature doughnuts at Honey Doughnuts and Goodies. The line was out the door in the crowded small cafe, so navigating around the people was difficult: we got honey and cinnamon sugar because my eyes thought that it was delicious. In my opinion, they should re-name themselves ‘Cinnamon Sugar and Goodies,’ as it was that good. After a few laps in a search for postcards (we had to settle with an artist’s rendering of the town), I got hungry enough to try Deep Cove Pizza! It was a great deep dish slice and really hit the spot!
Our legs shaking, we took a break by driving to Queen Elizabeth’s park. While unimpressed by the park, that probably could be due to the fact that I was tired, the fountain that I thought looked awesome on the map was under repair, and the small conservatory was loud and expensive (we skipped it).
I think after a short rest, we went to Meet, the vegetarian/vegan restaurant just off the main street in Gastown. I thought the name was hilarious! The food was so good I don’t think carnivores would notice the lack of meat! And because it was doughnut day, we tried their version of the cronut, which was also several sweet bites of cinnamon sugary goodness!
At this point, my ‘old’ iPhone refused to take anymore pictures.
Tired from averaging 21,000 steps a day, our last full day in Vancouver we took it easy, walking only a short distance (18,000 steps). We walked around Chinatown, walked into the Art Gallery, hoping to go back for their ‘pay what you will night,’ then window shopped some more. After a long nap, we returned to the Gallery to find the line out the door! We passed by, turning around to shop for dinner. After a walk through again in nearby Gastown, we settled on a Chinese restaurant just around the corner from the apartment. While the Chinatown location might have stellar reviews from the Food Network, the one we visited was just so-so. I did try veggie buns for the first time though and they were large and very filling!
After that, we left the city in the rain to go to our respective destinations: mine to home. Trips to Canada aren’t complete for me without a stop in Bellingham at Mallard’s Ice Cream. Licorice won out in a close tie with Coriander.
I’ll be back Vancouver: the dollar is strong and I still have a postcard stamp left!