So, after finally getting thrown head first into work once more, I’ve finally made the time to update with another reflective look at my time in Vancouver. It already feels like a little while ago, and I can’t lie – I’m still missing that city.
I miss the gum drop buttons on their trees, and most importantly their rivers filled with maple syrup. I guess you can say I’m still missing Canada, eh.
The last full day in Vancouver was spent retreading a familiar area, but unfamiliar ground. We returned to Stanley Park, only this time with the intention of experiencing it as a park, in all that entails from a leafy, green, park like stance.
After breakfast at a nearby McDonalds, where we experienced for the first time the wonder that is the McGriddle (Fuck your muffins; what a waste of time and calories. Instead, why not sandwich the filling with two goddamned pancakes, buddy?! – Canada) we headed over to Spokes, a nearby bike/roller blade rental place, with Thea acting as navigator. A good thing too, considering how many times I began to walk in a certain direction, only to turn around and see Thea waiting for me to realise she wasn’t following. I guess we can check navigator off of future couple job roles.
Cycling along the entirety of the 22km Sea Wall was a great experience. With the one way traffic, it made for a relaxing ride, with the only stress coming from other hardcore cyclists calling out every so often over your shoulder with a friendly (sometimes not so friendly) “On your right!”, or “On your left!”
As Canadian as it gets, I was the recipient of a couples muttered disapproval, as I trudged up to a certain spot where bikes weren’t allowed, my two wheeled companion firmly in my hands. I had no idea as I had come down from the side and not from the path, and hadn’t seen the clearly painted markings that signified that area as a no bike zone. That didn’t seem to stop the two Asian cyclists as they biked past me, but I wasn’t sure if the rollerblading Canucks admonished them as well. Probably not.
Sea Wall done after about an hour and a half, we decided to visit Granville Island in order to experience the wonders of its food and bustling market. Lee’s Doughnuts were what I had on my mind, having read plenty about them from numerous sources (primarily TripAdvisor). The journey there would be the most stressful part of our entire journey.
Big Bus, the Hop On/Hop Off service we had bought tickets for, had a stop nearby an area we found ourselves in after about 15 minutes walk. But I’ll be damned if we could find a corresponding bus stop, with sign, that lined up with map we were given by the company. Why? Because there was no fucking sign.
Yeah. Despite being labelled on the map, there was no distinct area of pick up or drop off in the area we were in. We had just started walking away when Thea, eagle eyes and all, saw the bus coming in the distance. We started running back as fast as we could, even after the bus driver (who had driven us around previously) nodded that he saw us huffing and puffing to the spot he pulled up at. Not a designated one, it seems; just a space of road where he could stop. Thank God he did as well, as we had underestimated how far Granville Island was to actually walk to.
Granville Island itself was an interesting area that we, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to fully explore. Time was getting away from us on this day, especially with the amount of walking/bus travel we were doing, and with the last bus only an hour and a half to two hours away, we crammed in as much of what Granville had to offer as we could. But only after we had finally tracked down two things:
1) Go Fish
Now, in truth, the thing that took the majority of our time at Granville Island was waiting for some of the nicest, freshest, meatiest fish and chips I’ve ever had; this coming from someone who lives in the UK, HOME of the humble fish and chips. If you visit Vancouver and are on a foodie quest, go visit Granville with the intention of seeking out Go Fish. Busy, with sparse seating available, and for good reason. You’ll be waiting for the food to be cooked up fresh, which can be a wait of upwards of 15 or so minutes, but it’s easily worth every one. I had the halibut and chips with extra tartare sauce, and it was probably the best thing I ate on this entire vacation.
Lee’s Doughnuts themselves were also awesome, though we weren’t able to eat that much after our fish feast. Light and fluffy, it allowed them an unhealthy attitude of “that wasn’t so bad, maybe just one more.” The original honey dip reminded me of the doughnuts I used to eat as a kid, though those were also covered (literally drowned) in sugar as well. It was nice to eat a doughnut in a strange land and to be able to think, albeit for a moment, of my childhood home. What a lifetime ago that all was.
The day ended with us taking that last Hop On/Hop Off bus back to Stanley Park for one last relaxing stroll across its grounds, exploring an area called Beaver Lake (another spot where I began to walk SO confidently in one direction, thinking it was the way to the Hotel, only to turn and see Thea literally bent over laughing at me. At least I tried, eh.) and finally taking a slow walk back through the streets of Vancouver back into its heart where our hotel was situated so perfectly.
I had an aura of sadness that night, knowing full well that the morning was dedicated solely to getting to the airport in order to fly home. Canada had been a great host to our travels, and I truly feel Vancouver is a great city to visit. Perhaps even live in one day. But that’s in a perfect world, of course.
The only thing left to do was to sleep, wake up, get one more McGriddle (yeah, that’s right!) and then head over to the airport to fly home. Nearly missing the flight wasn’t a part of the agenda, but I’ll conclude that in the next blog.