Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Travel stories: Part 2 - Vancouver

Fri evening we arrived in Vancouver and met our 'host' in front of the building where we'd be staying.  The Newlyweds found this 2-bedroom condo with a rooftop garden on AirBnB and we arranged to meet the owner/host there to get the keys and orientation.  Since AirBnB hosts upload their photos to their property listings, and our host's photo was a bit ambiguous, we were a little taken aback at the man we met in front of the building, who looked to be about 20 years older than his photo.  But he was very nice and friendly.  As he was showing us around (cable TV remote, laundry, etc) he ended the orientation by saying "and if you need anything, just call me.  Oh, and I just ask that if you use the dishes, please don't leave me with a sink full of dirty dishes.  I think that's fair."  Of course we all agreed it was, but it became a catch-phrase for us for the remainder of the trip.  I said to Spouse "When you come back from the bedroom, would you bring me my hoodie?  I think that's fair."

The condo was just off Davie St in the Davie Village community, which is the gay epicenter of Vancouver, kind of like Boystown in Chicago or the Castro in San Francisco.  
All the crosswalks in Davey Village are painted the rainbow colors.
After settling in we walked down Davie St to The Capital where we saw a sign that read "Entire menu $4.95".  Being the bargain-hunters that we are, the 4 of us decided to give it a try.  Our waitress Emily was super-nice and the food was really good and affordable.  We would return there for drinks and dessert the following night.  We were delighted to see that most restaurants on Davie St had an outdoor dining area or they had large garage-style doors that let the outside in.  The weather was very pleasant, in the 70s with no humidity.  After exploring the 'hood a bit more, we returned to the condo and chatted on the rooftop terrace until bedtime.
Nighttime in the Village

Sat we had coffee in the condo, then had breakfast on the patio at Score which had been recommended to us by Emily at The Capital.  Then we walked over to the little ferries that take you to Granville Island Public Market, which was very similar to Pike Place Market in Seattle, only with more art and hand-made stuff.  
Downtown Vancouver seen from the Granville Island ferry
It was beautiful and we enjoyed a nice walk around the island.  We also stumbled onto a juggler's show where 1 of The Newlyweds was asked to assist.  The juggler was also a comedian and solicited several genuine laughs from the crowd during his show.  
Jamie assists the juggler
We brought back some wine, cheese, salami, crackers, and Ranier cherries and enjoyed them as an afternoon snack on the rooftop terrace.  That night we had dinner at Falafel King on Davie St (they have multiple locations) and ate on their patio.  Spouse & I both had chicken shawarma and it was incredibly delicious!  Afterward we checked out a couple of bars on Davie St including PumpJack, which had been the source of many innuendos between the 4 of us since we 1st saw it.

Sun we had brunch at Fountainhead Pub and ate on their glass-enclosed patio.  That afternoon The Newlyweds opted to stay in and nap/read while Spouse & I walked to Stanley Park.  We took a shuttle which stopped at many beautiful spots where we could see the surrounding water, Lion's Gate bridge, redwood trees, and gardens.  There were lots of hikers and cyclists enjoying the large, beautiful park too.  
Spouse in front of huge hydrangas in Stanley Park
When we got onto the shuttle and I tried to give the driver money to purchase tickets, the Lebanese-looking woman said "Sit, sit!  I will find you later and get money!"  However, after exiting the shuttle and walking down the street I realized she never came to us, so we both got to ride the $10 shuttle for free.  That made us feel better about paying $20 for a cab ride back to the condo.

That evening the 4 of us went to Edgewater Casino so Spouse and The Newlyweds could gamble for a little while.  Gambling doesn't interest me at all and I'd much rather spend money on other things, but since it was Spouse's birthday and he wanted to go, I willingly agreed.  He actually won $31 playing a nickle slot machine!  Afterward we toured the charming historic Gastown district and saw the ancient steam-powered clock.
Look closely to see the steam escaping the top of the clock
Afterward we went to dinner at Cactus Club Cafe which sits right on the English Bay.  The views were beautiful and the food was amazing.  
English Bay
That night we played Heads Up and Cards Against Humanity until we could procrastinate no longer.  We had to pack before going to bed.

Mon morning our AirBnB host met us at 7:30am to pick up the keys and we hit the road.  Since the border crossings can sometimes had long back-ups, we waited until we had crossed the border to stop for breakfast, then continued onto Seattle.  The Newlyweds dropped us at the airport in plenty.  However, when it came time to board the plane, it hadn't arrived yet.  It finally arrived just a few minutes before we were due to take off, but had to unload its passengers and baggage, change crew, and be cleaned (sort of).  We left about 50 minutes later than scheduled, and only made up about 20 minutes during the flight.  Spouse's brother picked us up, took us to our car, and we got home to DE at 1:30am.  We'd been traveling by car, then plane, then car again, for 15 hours.  Marvin was very happy to see us, and we him.


anne marie in philly said...

isn't vancouver fabulous? and you saw the clock I recommended! my fave pix - spouse next to the hydrangeas. a nice birthday for a great guy! :)

the cajun said...

Sounds like a great time. Vancouver is on my bucket list and if I ever get to take that Alaska cruise, it is the city of departure, so I can spend a few extra days there.

Glad you had such a good time. I must look into the airbnb thingy.


Rick said...

Beautiful shots! Thanks for sharing.