Vancouver B.C. – A great city to explore!
I recently was in Vancouver B.C. for an overnight on my way to another destination and I had a chance to explore the city a bit. Instead of driving, I chose to ride the bus from the King Street Station in Seattle (which is a wonderful old building with great architecture). It took about three hours and was a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery and spend some time reading.
I always love the feeling of crossing the border into Canada. It really isn’t that different from the United States, and yet I get a feeling that I’m going back in time a few years. I see grocery stores there that I used to see as a kid here, and the stores all seem to sell items that we used to have. I see a package and think, “Oh, I remember that!” It’s like seeing an old friend.
And what is it about the candy in B.C.? We have two kinds of Cadbury bars and they have 20! And don’t even get me started on the Coffee Crisp! I have to admit that I rarely go down the candy aisle at home, so maybe that’s what it is … I automatically go there in Canada. It must be a throwback to being on vacation as a child.
If crossing the border feels like going back a few years, arriving in Vancouver seemed like going forward. The city is a lot like Seattle, but larger and more international. It is very walking-friendly too, which makes it ideal for me since I love to explore by foot. And it’s surrounded by water, with a lovely paved path for biking and walking that takes you from one section of the city to another. Vancouver is super clean and just plain pretty – with parks and glass high rises and old brick buildings.
I took a cab from the bus station to the Opus Hotel on Davie Street in Yaletown, a section of Vancouver that is especially charming. The hotel is modern and has brightly colored rooms. Mine was red and black. It overlooked some fun shops and eateries.
After settling in, I walked about three blocks from the hotel to the waterfront and took a water taxi to Granville Island, which I could see from the shore. The ride across the bay took about 20 minutes with a couple stops prior to my destination. I got off and walked up the ramp to the large market, which is famous for all sorts of great food and fun items – vegetables, salamis and cheese, sushi, bakeries, and gelato. Yum! It’s a fun place to walk through and poke around in.
Outside of the market, the island is also home to an art school, lots of restaurants, and other shops. I explored The Original Paper-Ya, which has lots of unique paper and related items. For a writer, it’s a happy place.
It doesn’t take long to walk around Granville and it’s fun to hang out and listen to the musicians who play there, as well as just to people watch. The path leads to a canal with kayakers and a park (there are dozens of parks in Vancouver). This spring it will be lovely with flowering trees and flowers. I walked all along the sea wall from the island to an outdoor waterfront restaurant where the water taxi has a station. From there I boated back to Yaletown and my hotel.
I was headed to the Sunshine Coast the next morning, so my stay in Vancouver was short, but I had an afternoon in the city on my way back home. That day I left my bags at the Opus Hotel and walked around the sea wall in the other direction, toward English Bay. The vista was of open sea rather than closed harbor and marinas, and the beaches were sandy. It took about an hour to get to English Bay and I was delighted to see a large installation of 14 bronze statues of oversized laughing men, called “The A-Maze-ing Laughter.” I found it is absolutely enchanting.
I walked back to the Opus Hotel through the city, passing dozens of ethnic restaurants in search of a particular sushi place that had been recommended. Unfortunately, I missed it, so I had a latte at the Caffè Artigiano, which is connected to the hotel and very nice.
I took the train back to the States, thinking it would be nice to stretch out a bit and move around, as compared to the bus. I enjoyed the food entrees offered onboard. The train seemed to move much slower than a car or bus would have, but it got me back to the Edmonds Station in three hours so it made good time. From there, my family picked me up and I was home.
The trip to Vancouver was so easy and refreshing without the stress of driving! I can’t wait to go back with my family or some friends. I know I only saw a small portion of a great city!