Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tuesday 6/19/12

When we arrived in Vancouver, we parked the rental car in the underground garage of the Best Western Plus Uptown and have been taking public transit ever since.

We began our journey with a new Ford Focus. It is a great car for our travels; large enough for our many suitcases, quiet and comfortable, gets great gas mileage but is really, really lousy at turning. It has a surprisingly large turning radius! Thumbs down on this car. If you get behind one in traffic, don't get frustrated with the driver. It's the car's fault!

Both Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent time riding around Vancouver with our all day transit pass. We stopped at coffee shops to enjoy a beverage and use their Wi-Fi. Today, we tried Blenz - a Canadian competitor with Starbucks.

Tuesday, we had lunch at Sushi Moro - another restaurant recommended by Martha and Andrew, our coffee tour companions. We enjoyed a nice meal in the area called Yaletown. I like this section of Vancouver very much. We ordered a large mixed Bento box and had mango ice cream - yummm!

We took the bus to Granville Island. This section of Vancouver has a quaint village atmosphere with a market filled with vendors offering fresh vegetables and other wares. It reminds me a little of San Francisco. The day was cold and overcast; grey and dark like most days in Vancouver.

Then, at 7:30 pm, out came the sun. No wonder so many people were out biking and walking. The paper said that this June has been one of the coldest on record. In Vancouver, cold Junes are called Juneuary. The mornings have been 40 to 41 degrees and it takes until 6 pm for it to reach a high of 50 and even up to 60.

Wednesday, June 20th The Longest Day of The Year

Once again, we started our day with our spartan hotel breakfast. I needed some real coffee so we headed out to find a coffee house which is easy since there is literally one on every corner. Coffee shops are everywhere and all good. Cinnamon rolls seem to be very popular, too.

Today is our Granville - Gastown Tour with the Tour Guys. Susan booked this tour on line before we left Florida. The surprise here was that the tour is FREE! This company offers all kinds of tours - each on a different day of the week. They do ask that you tip what you think the tour is worth. What a bargain! We spent 105 minutes with our guide, Jessica and learned a great deal about the rich history of Vancouver. Jessica referred to herself as a history nerd who scours old records to glean authentic details about early Vancouver that even Vancouverites do not know. Great fun!

We enjoyed lunch at one of the top destinations for good sandwiches in the city. Meat and Bread at 370 Cambie Street, lived up to everything Jessica told us. Amazing food! Wow! Porchetta is their signature sandwich and the grilled cheese with Canadian white cheddar is equally tasty. Don't miss this place!

I have to mention the incredible weather that made PNW residents go nuts. Two days of perfect, glorious sunny weather with temps. in the mid-70's brought out the best in everyone. The skies were a rare blazing blue and there was an air of happiness and bright joy that was palpable. Susan has taken over 600 photos and only a few show blue skies. And then we went right back to normal Northwestern weather. So savor the beautiful pictures with blue skies and plan for cold and rain when you visit.

We spent the rest of the day riding the bus and viewing many different areas and neighborhoods of Vancouver. We stopped at the campus of UBC, University of British Columbia, and strolled the grounds of the massive campus. The rose garden was a favorite back drop for graduates in cap and gown posing for photographs. The North Shore Mountains made a wonderful background.

Back on the bus and back to our hotel. We packed up and pre-loaded our car to be ready to hit the road, first thing in the morning, to return to Seattle. We ended our evening with another delightful surprise. We tried a sushi restaurant right across the street from our hotel. The place was a dumpy, ordinary looking place called Hime Sushi. We were welcomed as if we were family. We sat in front of the sushi chefs and watched them prepare meals. Our sushi platter of many different varieties of sushi was divine. We found a real gem and the price was very reasonable. Another recommendation from us!

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