Friday, June 25, 2010

Vancouver: Day 2

The day started out with a workout, although it was a little longer than we first anticipated because we kept seeing places we wanted to go - the beach, the bridge.6.4 kilometers later (4 mi), we had followed the following route:

Later (much later), we got ready and headed to Granville Island for the public market. We had heard that it rivals Seattle's Pike Place Market so we were excited to check it out.
We found mangosteen! It has a history of being banned in the US. After a little internet researching I found that the ban was actually lifted in 2007, so I don't know why I've never seen it in the US.
Mmm. It looks and feels like it's alive, but tastes less scary. Rob, who has eaten mangosteen in Thailand, said that it wasn't as good as the ones he'd had - but I thought it was really delicious.
Monica, this is for you. Remember the dragon fruit we saw at H-Mart? Here's what it looks like on the inside. Has anyone ever had this? It looks like it would be like kiwi fruit.

We also went over to the kid's market, which is a building full of toy stores. Note to my future parent-self: never take my children here.
Granville Island is very small, but it was still worth it to explore it via bike. It really was a neat place, very beautiful.

Then we went to Costco. Rob was planning on getting poutine: french fries covered in cheese curds and french gravy. After a few samples inside he decided against it. The healthy choice, obviously, but he might live to regret it. We love checking out different Costcos, by the way.

In the late afternoon we rode bikes from the hotel down onto the Seawall, a great bike trail that pretty much circles the entire Vancouver West Side. By the time we got to Canada Place, however, my bike was making an awful squeaking/rattling sound when I peddled. We figured it was probably okay, but we ditched the bikes anyway to walk to Gastown, Chinatown, and the Library.

Gastown's steam-powered clock. We waited 5 minutes to hear the chimes that go off at quarter after the hour. 4 short chimes, then it was done.

At a Chinese Garden in Chinatown. This koi was as big as my arm - from my shoulder to my hand, it also had a funny "crook" shape to it's body. It stayed here at this spot for five minutes and Rob wouldn't let me gently toss a small rock at it to see if it would move.

Our route for the late afternoon: (bike update: WD-40. Sounds like new)
It was such a nice evening that we decided to keep on going on the seawall on our bikes. There were so so many people out on bikes, walking, on the beach, and rollerblading. With all the people, it didn't feel too crazy. In Seattle the most popular public places are also a hassle, with parking, etc. We think that because Vancouver is so urban and has so many great paths, people just walk to the beach.

giant bikes
Beautiful evening in Vancouver. This was taken around 9:30 in the evening, when we were riding back to the hotel via the same route on the Seawall. If you could ignore the darkening skies, you'd think it was 1 in the afternoon - still a ton of people out at the beach and riding bikes.

That's it for Vancouver. That's also it for the blog updates of our trip - 4 days of camping and no internet!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vancouver is delicious

I suppose we're like most people - that one of the best things about being on vacation is eating good food. Here's the food we've eaten in Vancouver, and please know that we order one meal and share it!

First, we ate at House of Dosas. We've actually only had a dosa once before this, they're not at every Indian restaurant, but we loved it that first time so when we saw there was an entire house of the stuff, it landed itself right at the top of our itinerary. This dosa was a Chef's Special: potato, masala, and other goodness.
Japadog - a Vancouver must. They now have an actual storefront on the east end of Robson, but food is about 7x better from a cart.
We had the Okonomi (fried cabbage and Bonito flake - flakes of dried fish). Made even better with sweet chili sauce, honey mustard and wasabi mayo.This is still the same day (I feel a little ashamed, but remember the hours of walking and riding bikes??). We ate at Steamrollers, it was probably 9pm. Just about every restaurant was crowded even this late. This town is a-live! I recommend the veggie deluxe, although we got chicken.
Second day: Lunch at Donair King. According to Yelp, this is the best donair place in the city. Check out this link for the difference b/w a donair/doner and a gyro (there isn't one). Except, this place grills the wraps. Smart/delicious!
Dinner was lots and lots of sushi rolls. Just check out that price:
We also ordered (cheap) gyoza, which was uncalled for. One of the 3 rolls that comes in the deal is a tempura-yam roll. If all 22 of the rolls had been this variety, we would have been a-okay. The other rolls were California and tuna, also good. But, oh, that sweet potato!
That was it - and we're probably leaving early tomorrow. We're a little sad about that - we'll have to miss out on eating more cheap+fantastic food.

Vancouver: Roadtrip begins

Our summer has begun! Rob and I have pretty awesome summer schedules, working very part-time. But even before that we have some time off and just like last year, we decided to go on a roadtrip! We settled on Vancouver for 2 nights (that's where we are now), Manning Provincial Park for 2 nights, Osoyoos Park for one night, Chelan for one night, then home. After Vancouver we'll be camping each night. Here's the route pictured:

Fun, eh? We began planning a few months ago and we are pretty stoked about it. Deciding the route, committing to 4 nights of camping by ourselves, and then packing for the trip has all been very grown-up-feeling. Helping my parents pack for a long camping trip was always fun for me (unpacking is another story), but there's so much involved! We're keeping it pretty simple and I've pretty much realized that the only difference b/w camping for 2 nights, which we've done, and 4 nights is just the amount of food.

This trip feels a bit like 2 trips in one. I packed a Vancouver bag (cute clothes for the big city) and a camping bag (for when I won't care what I look like)! We're about to be done with the first leg of our trip and it has been great so far. See, I'll show you....

Rob's obligatory roadtrip hat. The great thing about this roadtrip is that there is only 2-3 hours of driving between each leg of the trip. Brilliant.

Switching to metric is a little strange. It just adds to the overall strange feeling I've had here in Vancouver - in that I know we're in another country, but there are only a handful of things that show that (metric system, Canadian $, road signs, not being able to watch Top Chef on Hulu... but that's about it). Oh, and I keep telling Rob to use up our coins - they're like fake money to me.

The first things we did once getting into town was head to Stanley Park. It was just so nice outside that we had to take the opportunity to ride our bikes on the Seawall, which was the number one thing we wanted to do. My main recommendation for visiting Vancouver: bring or rent bikes! The Seawall at the park is amazing, and Vancouver is just a great cycling city.

Some shots of us at Stanley Park. It took just an hour to ride the 5.5 miles (stopping multiple times to take in the view and check out other parts of the park included).

We wanted to ride the Miniature Train at the park, but didn't end up doing it. Here's how bummed Rob was when I wouldn't even let him wait around until the train passed by us (the thing was S-L-O-W).
Stanley Park also has a awesome looking outdoor pool. It was so very unfortunate that we didn't have our swim gear with us when we discovered the pool at Second Beach. If you're visiting Vancouver in the future, don't make the same mistake we did.

After Stanley Park we dropped off our car at the hotel (west-end-ish of Robson) and started walking. Then we kept walking. We saw a lot of Vancouver on our walk and learned a few things: Robson is busy, Granville has an H&M, Davie has cheap food, Clothes are more expensive here, Sears is fancy, the streets are still crawling with people at 10pm, and Starbucks are everywhere.

Vancouver is a great urban town and I really like the size and amount of "busy." As most great big cities there are also many impressive nature spaces. Here is a community garden on Davies. I loved it.
I love this picture of Rob, too. What a great travel buddy, a few things about Rob as a travel buddy: he has amazing sense of direction (I know this, and still I try to disagree about where things are or how to get somewhere... he's right, but I hold onto the hope that one of these days I'll be the one who's right), he loves the hunt for cheap and good food - that post coming later, he will rub my feet after hours of walking, and he will wait around for me while I'm browsing (never buying) through a store he has no interest in.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Originally we had planned to go camping with our friends Memorial Day weekend. The weather, however, had other plans as it continued to rain all weekend long. On Sunday, we decided to give up on the camping plans and we took a trip to visit my family in Silverdale with our friends The McDonnels. We had a blast over there, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time that I got to spend with our family and friends. Here is some video footage I took on our trip. Enjoy!