Memories of Vancouver Past

Vancouver Waterfront
  Oct. 26, 2011      As we walked along the riverfront this morning, I started bemoaning the fact that we were not going anywhere for almost five weeks.  Travel withdrawal—I decided the best remedy would be to bring forward some of my memories of trips past.  Our digital photos only go back to June 2004, so that’s where the story will begin.

Stanley Park Gardens
Alan and I started planning our first trip to Alaska about 35 years ago. Subscribing to Alaska magazine for years, we had more info on Alaska than we could possibly use.  And then, upon our request, the Alaskan Tourism Board provided us with an avalanche of additional information.  The problem with Alaska from anywhere in the U.S., and especially from Florida, is the distance.  Our businesses allowed us to leave for only 10-12 days, so we decided to fly into Vancouver and take a cruise on the inside passage with the Carnival Line.  Nicole was still living at home and in school, so we planned the trip on the cusp of the summer season (early June) which resulted in great deals on the flight, the hotel and the cruise.

Stanley Park Waterfront
With a 7-day cruise planned, we had time to explore Vancouver.  This cosmopolitan city with over 2 million residents is ringed by water and mountains, provides an incredible diversity of cuisine and offers a wonderful blend of urban living and nature.  Reserving a place in Yaletown, we learned after our arrival, that this was the up and coming new area of the city.  Eclectic restaurants, microbreweries and interior design businesses lined the streets along with new, upscale condos.

Nicole on the Stanley Park Bike Trail
Stanley Park Hiking Trail
Utilizing public transportation, we were able to explore the Downtown, Gastown and Granville Island portions of the city as well.  Downtown is primarily a shopping district.  The streets are lined with boutiques, coffee shops and a wide variety of eateries.  The most outstanding feature of this part of the city is Stanley Park.  At over 1000-acres, this park provides a six-mile plus biking/walking trail around the circumference of the park, hiking trails in the beautifully forested interior and perfectly maintained gardens.  Nearby businesses provide rental bikes.   Taking advantage of the rentals, we spent an ideal day wandering through the park.

Gastown is the historic district of the city.  This was where Vancouver started back in 1867, basically as a bar for the gold miners, but I’m sure Vancouver historians would take exception to my interpretation of their city’s history.  Now the area is a big tourist destination.  The cobblestone streets, Victorian street lights and tradition architecture create a wonderful ambience, as you meander through the variety of little shops and scan menus at the many little restaurants.

Granville Island was a close second after Stanley Park, as our favorite part of the city.  As a former industrial area, this region has been converted into a multitude of shops, artisan workshops and restaurants.  With incredible pastries and breads, fresh seafood, homemade jams and jellies, jewelry and on and on, the Public Market, was a destination we visited three of the four days we spent in Vancouver.  Staying in a suite with kitchen facilities, we were able to take advantage of the Dungeness crab, halibut, and fabulous variety of fresh produce.

But then it was time to board the cruise ship, so that will be the beginning of the next story.
Grouse Mountain Ski Lift provides a year round overview of Vancouver.

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