Wednesday, 14 September 2016

VANCOUVER - MY DREAM CITY

Vancouver "City of Glass" 

Vancouver has been on my bucket list for a long time and the excitement I felt about visiting this city was immense.  I am glad to say it did not disappoint and clearly deserves its spot as one of the ten best cities in the world to live.  Its natural surroundings alone, of mountains and sea, were enough to steal my heart, but combine this with its relaxed, cosmopolitan atmosphere and the fact it is so easy to walk around - well, if I was younger I could be tempted to emigrate!  

PLACES TO VISIT

I can't do the city justice here, but thought I would share some of my favourite places.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and I am sure I have missed some top spots....but then this just gives me the perfect excuse to return and see more.

STANLEY PARK AND THE WATERFRONT

On our first day there we walked down from Robson Street, having taken in some of the fabulous shops, and headed through the West End to the waterfront to experience Vancouver's natural landscape.  I was beyond excited to see the sea planes (called float planes in Canada)  coming in and taking off and thought they were just fabulous.  We walked along the Coal Harbour Seawalk towards the cruise terminal  and convention centre and up into Downtown back to our hotel, The Fairmont, on W Georgia.  A really nice walk which allowed us to truly appreciate the two sides of this city - urban and natural.  
Me on the Coal Harbour Seawalk


Float Plane Terminal 

The next day, we followed the sea wall round Stanley Park which is a good 9km walk and well worth the effort.  We started on the Coal Harbour side and walked round past the First Narrows and Lion's Gate Bridge, finishing near English Bay.  There is a distinct difference as you round the corner from the Bridge as it is more exposed, the sea is choppier and we were greeted by a seal on the seashore which was just lovely.  

Me near the start of our Stanley park walk

Views back to the Brockton Point Lighthouse 

Lion's Gate Bridge 

Views across the First Narrows to North Vancouver 
GASTOWN

Gastown is Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood and the statue of "Gassy Jack" Deighton, one of the founding fathers, has pride of place in the centre of this historic yet trendy area. The docks and waterfront combine with hip shops, galleries and restaurants to create an area that was recently voted fourth in Complex magazines "50 most stylish neighbourhoods in the world". 


Gassy Jacks statue in Gastown
We loved everything about this area of the city, not least the bars and cafes where you could sit and people watch for hours.  

Me in Gastown

BC's Western Boot HQ no less 
GRANVILLE ISLAND

A trip to Vancouver just isn't complete without a visit to Granville Island.  We walked to it from Downtown and over the bridge but returned via the Aquabus which is a lot less testing on the shoe leather.  

Entrance to Granville Island and the Public Market 
It is an area that encapsulates a lot of Vancouver's qualities - a waterfront location where a commercial area has been refurbished and a market created where artisans and purveyors of fine locally grown foods can sell their goods.  It also hosts live theatre, music and seasonal events in both indoor and outdoor venues. 


The covered market is huge and the range of food and goods sold is amazing and so, so tempting.  From sustainable seafood to locally grown fruit and flowers, handmade crafts to Olive Oil and micro-breweries, it is all here and of such a high quality - just fabulous.


Nectarines that you could just pluck off the page

PLACES TO EAT 

We had some fabulous meals while in Vancouver and I have highlighted two of our favourite restaurants here and have listed others of note at the end of this post.  

TWISTED FORK
at 1147 Granville


We went here for brunch on our second day making sure to get their early as it does not take reservations and is so popular they run a waitlist. By the time we left there were quite a few folks on that list.  We really enjoyed the meal here and if time had allowed would have returned for an evening meal as well.  They combine really fresh homegrown ingredients served with fabulous freshly brewed coffee in a rustic, warm environment.  




L'ABATTOIR
Between Gaoler's Mews and Blood Alley in Gastown.

Just the location says it all - Gaoler's Mews and Blood Alley!  This restaurant, which does take bookings, is on the site of Vancouver's first jail in Gastown.  Again we were here for brunch and really savoured the cocktail, coffee and amazing food.  The French influence was clear and this is a more formal restaurant than Twisted Fork and well worth the visit.  

L'Abattoir Restaurant, Gastown


L'Abattoirs' Bar area where they mix a mean cocktail


ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHOCOLATE FACTORY
1017 Robson Street 

And this one is all my daughter Elizabeth's fault.  She loves chocolate covered apples and completely convinced herself that because it is an apple it must be healthy, even when she went for the chocolate, caramel and nut options.    I thought I was being quite circumspect by ordering a chocolate coated ice cream, not realising the coating is at least a foot thick (ok a slight exaggeration), but oh so good.



Other places we ate at included:

ABODE on 1223 Robson Street, where we stopped for a hearty breakfast.
POURHOUSE on 162 Water Street, Gastown a fine dining restaurant where we enjoyed dinner although thought it a bit pricey
STEAMWORKS on 375 Water Street, Gastown - a micro brewery where we sampled a Ceasar Cocktail (a must have while in Vancouver)  and a simple pub dinner before heading to the theatre to see The Book of Mormon.  
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3 comments

  1. Lumme! The extent of your travels is amazing. Lovely post, and beautiful place

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    1. It has been an exceptional year and with two of us travelling in different directions we have covered a lot of ground. Might be a little quieter next year - but who knows. Vancouver Island coming up in the next post - which is probably the most amazing place I have ever been. Anne H

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