Vancouver is a busy city full of active people who don’t seem to get swayed by bad weather. There are lots of fit, outdoors people who have the luxuries of the city in their front yard and the serenity of the mountains in their back yard. If San Francisco had a sister city, Vancouver would be it. San Francisco has the Marin headlands and the coast which provide great hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing and camping as well as many other outdoor activities. Vancouver is on the same playing field with all it has to offer inside and outside the city limits.
Although we were only there for a couple of days, we ventured out in search of some local eats. Just around the corner from our hotel, we located a fantastic vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Panz with the help of Yelp. Until the cement truck pulled up across the street at a construction site, this place was relaxing and smelled wonderful. The food was amazing and so were the prices. We ordered off the lunch special menu and got a three course meal for eight bucks a person! There were even leftovers for a snack later that day. Panz is without a doubt a diamond in the rough that is a locals hot spot.
Once Jays parents arrived we settled in for the night chatting and contemplating the next days events. We decided to hit the aquarium in the morning and are glad we did. After hearing some mixed reviews we decided to go with our gut and check it out. We were all excited to see the Beluga Whales, a first for all of us. We arrived just a short time after the Aquarium opened and are glad we did, after a couple of hours exploring, the place filled up with summer camps, families, locals and tourists! The Belugas were great to watch and although we didn’t catch the show, we did see a dolphin training session and a sea otter information session. The inside of the aquarium was like many others, but they were featuring a large jellyfish exhibit with all sorts of jellies and information about them. The aquarium is located in Stanley park and although we just drove through it in the taxi it looked like a great place to spend some time.
After the excitement of the aquarium we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. We took a walk to the local camera shop over the bridge to see about a lens for Jays camera and on the way back stopped by the Granville Island Public Market. This market was unlike any that we had ever seen! Filled with local produce stands, fish markets, meat stands and more, the market was almost the size of a football field. We were awestruck! It was amazing and we decided instead of eating out we would get some goodies to bring back and eat in. After walking up and down each aisle and taking it all in we decided on Meat Lasagna (for the meat eaters), 3 different cheeses plus fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, fresh bread, roasted garlic and bruschetta. We rode the Aqua Bus (water taxi) back over the channel and carried our goodies back to the hotel. After our feast and a game of Phase Ten we called it a night in hopes of a good nights rest before leaving on the cruise in the morning.
All in all our first impression softened a bit and Vancouver, Canada is definitely a place we’ll return to explore.