Sorry for being slack and not updating the blog for a while, we've just had lots of busy days and nights and lots of travelling and moving around now that we have our car and are in road trip mode but we'll try and be a bit more diligent in future!
We arrived into Vancouver late Thursday night, very cold after coming from perfect Hawaii weather and hungry, but managed to catch the Skytrain from the airport to downtown Vancouver and lug our bags to the hostel, grabbing a much needed slice of pizza on the way.
The next morning we got up bright and early and made our way out to Lynn Canyon Park, about 30 minutes outside downtown Vancouver. The park is home to a suspension bridge, a number of waterfalls, swimming holes and several walking trails through dense, very lush old-growth forest. We walked two of the trails, one down to the twin falls where a short bridge crosses the river and let's you look down upon the waterfalls below. The other trail took us to the 30 Foot Pool, where the water was much calmer and very clear. It would be an amazing spot in the summer, and though we were warm enough in the sun to take off our outer layers, there was no way we were getting in the water!
After leaving the park we made our way back to the city and decided the check out the city a bit more. We walked down to Gastown, the oldest part of downtown Vancouver and now a pretty trendy suburb. We found a really cool steam powered clock, the first one in the world, a statue of Gassy Jack Deighton - whom Gastown is named after, and just admired the streets in general. After Gastown, we visited Vancouver's Chinatown, apparently the third largest in North America after San Francisco and New York. It certainly was massive, but not really that impressive, with not enough food options for two very hungry walkers. We had to look pretty hard but we did eventually manage to find a place to have a late lunch of Yum Cha. Tired from our all our walking we headed back to the hostel for a bit of a rest, before checking out the shops on Granville St (the main drag filled with restaurants, clubs, shops and a Starbucks on every block and the street our hostel was on) and Robson St (a current fave of Caitlin's) looking mainly for a warm jacket for Caitlin, who was struggling a little bit in the cold. After a couple of hours we made our way to Davie St (kinda like the eat street but also the gay district of Vancouver) and had a late, late, but very delicious dinner at an amazing Greek restaurant, Stepho's.
The next day we spent a bit more time getting acquainted with the area around the hostel and later caught a bus over to Granville Island, which is another trendy but pretty chilled and fun area in Vancouver, lots of galleries, restaurants, arts and crafts, shops etc and lots of things for kids and families. The best thing about it was browsing the amazing and extensive markets, lots of fresh fruit and veg, meats and seafood, and lots of delicious baked goods to drool over. We had a delicious lunch in the market place from a gourmet deli and some sweet treats to snack on. We also walked along the waterfront and caught a really cool show by a very entertaining street performer. We headed back to the hostel and had a bit of a rest back before hitting the streets for another walk around the area (the shops are open everywhere until 10pm every night which is great) before heading to Davie St once again for make it yourself, all you can eat Mongolian BBQ.
We saved the best for last on our final day in Vancouver when we rented a couple of bikes and spent the day riding around the famous and very beautiful Stanley Park. Only 5 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is a 1000 acre haven of open parkland, gardens and more heavily forested hiking/bike trails. We biked around the 9km seawall which makes up the perimeter of the park, taking in some noteworthy sites along the way such as the Indian totem poles, lumberman's arch, siwash rock - a rock that sticks about 50ft straight up out of the ocean, the 9 o'clock gun - a cannon which is fired at 9pm every night, Brockton Point lighthouse, girl in a wetsuit and a couple of beaches along the western side that would've been nice in the summer. After making our way all around the seawall we rode through the centre of the park, feeding some birds at lost lagoon and biking up to beaver lake, where we saw some cute little squirrels and tiny, tiny finches but sadly no beavers, only their huts. Unfortunately we took a slightly wrong turn upon leaving the lake which saw us end up on a steep, winding dirt trail which left us a little lost as it wasn't on our maps but allowed us to see more of the park interior (while Caitlin wheeled her bike up some of the hills). In the end after a bit of trial and error, we were able to find the main road through the park and fly downhill the 5km back to the entrance which was pretty fun. We watched the end of the Superbowl when we got back to the hostel after dropping off our bikes and having worked up an appetite bikeriding all day, we went back to Davie St to a Chinese place recommended by the hostel. Never have we seen so much food for $8 in our lives! Spoonful after spoonful of four different dishes were heaped upon enough rice to feed the both of us alone, plus Caitlin got a delish duck and wanton soup which likewise was massive. Needless to say, neither of us got close to finishing.
The next morning we picked up a final few reinforcements for the impending cold of Whistler and had one last walk around our favourite streets. All in all we both loved our time in Vancouver and wished we'd had longer to spend there. It was such an awesome city, so much to see and do and eat and such a great feel and vibe to the city - we both agreed it'd be very easy to live there.
Coming up next, our time on the slopes at Whistler!