The first 3 days of our trip have been spent exploring the delights of Vancouver. Initally I'd been thinking of this part of the trip as a bit of a 'warm-up' to our main holiday in NZ but I've started to realise that, after months of burning the candle at both ends, really, this is really a much needed opportunity to 'wind-down' ... and Vancouver is proving to be the perfect place for that!
My initial impression of the city was that was a little 'Sex In the City' - mainly because of the dense concentration of modern, glass fronted tower blocks that dominate the Vancouver skyline but also the many stretch limousines that were there at the airport to greet new arrivals - us included! However, thankfully, that impression was completely wrong! The pace of life here is delightfully slow, the people are incredibly friendly, the streets feel very safe and the dress code is definitely much more 'comfortable' than 'fashionable'! In many ways, it reminds me a lot of home ... Cumbria, that is, not Surrey!
Stu and I have spent the last 2 days exploring the city. The highlight of the trip is definitely the stunning natural harbour around which the city has developed. So unspoilt, so peaceful, and incredibly thoughtfully developed. My favourite part of the city. We're incredibly lucky to be staying on the harbourside and it's the place we've spent the most time.
One of the biggest surprises for me is the rich muti-cultural mix of people who live in the city, especially Asians. There is an abundance of the most fabulous street food on offer. The public market on Granvillle Island really is the best place to see this aspect of Vancouver life. An artistic and vibrant place, its very easy to while away the hours there ...
Today has been spent exploring Stanley Park, a massive natural reserve which is incredibly well-cared for and with an abundance of trails. Normally I can't get Stuart out for a walk unless it involves a set of golf clubs but today he needed no persuasion. Winter is not really the ideal time to visit, but today we were blessed with glorious sunshine and clear skies - definitely made our 8 or so mile walk all the more enjoyable and the views were stunning, especially across to North Vancouver and Vancouver Island. I'd definitely recommend a visit.
For me, exploring the local food and drink is an important part of this trip and one which I know I will thoroughly enjoy. Last night we were lucky to find ourselves in Joe Fortes, an amazing Seafood and Chop House, known locally for its oysters - say no more! Although a little pricey (nothing here seems to be cheap), the atmosphere was vibrant, the food amazing and the service first-class. I thought I'd best try out the local British Columbian Pinot Gris - which, much to my surprise, was a perfect match for the seafood. Very drinkable and having enjoyed it. I suspect I could be trying more of the local wine later! However, I have to say I'd forgotten about the portion sizes on this side of the 'pond'. It's really not very often that my hubby struggles to finish his dessert but last night's 'Sin City' chocolate affair was too much even for him! Be warned!!
Right time for a shower before out last night in Vancouver. A local restaurant and bar by the harbour beckons. Tomorrow we head off for Auckland. I suspect I will have a small tinge of sadness that I haven't had longer to sample the delights of this part of Canada but I'm sure I'll be back. Thank you Vancouver for the perfect start to our trip. I'm now relaxed and raring to go!
Hope all well with those of you back home. Keep safe in the snow please