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Trip Report Vancouver Trip Report

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My husband and I took our annual adults vacation to Vancouver and we had a great time. We got there around noon on Sunday, October 12 and left Friday, October 16. We stayed at the Pacific Palisades Hotel. The room was great—basically a one bedroom apartment with views of the water (the bay and an inlet-?) and North Vancouver. The staff were super friendly and the hotel was in a great location. Air Canada obviously has a “contract” for their staff to stay there—saw lots of flight folks. My husband was really excited to share an elevator with some roadies from a popular band that was in town for a concert. My only quibble is that the carpet was worn, the counters in the bath and kitchenette had seen better days, and the backs of the dining chairs were worn.

We ate at the following restaurants: Bluewater Café, Raincity Grill, The Cannery, West. Bluewater Café was great—I had an amazing soup with duck prosciutto, an heirloom tomato salad, and a great fish dish. The server was fantastic. Raincity was a delight. We had the 100 Mile Tasting Menu which was excellent. The server was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. The only issue is that the wines could have been better—but they were limited to wines from Vancouver Island—the 100 mile limit. The Cannery was very nice. Old school décor and menu but the food was excellent. There is something to be said for simple food prepared really, really well. The service was great. And they served lobster oil and balsamic for bread dipping—that was great. West was a disappointment. We had saved it for last because we didn’t want to have other restaurants seem poor in comparison. We had the seafood tasting menu. I didn’t think the wines were matched all that well. The server was very distracted—and there were plenty of waitstaff for the amount of customers. And the price was double what it had been at the other restaurants. Not worth it, in my opinion. It was about the same amount as we spent at Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA (wine country) and Cyrus was an experience worth the money—not so with West.

We made the most of the sunny days we had: we rented bikes and rode all around Stanley Park-fun. The next day we took the ferry and the bus to the Suspension Bridge and then hiked the Grouse Grind. I have to agree with a note in the Fodors book that said to skip the Capislano Bridge and do another one in a nearby park. There was supposedly a harvest festival going on but that just meant there were lots of pumpkins out. Now it was Thanksgiving Day in Canada so maybe that is why they didn’t have dancers or the guides that I had heard about. There were plenty of people there and kids loved it. It was just a lot of money for 2 adults. As for the Grouse Grind—when the Canadians give you all these warnings about how hard the trip will be—they mean it. I am in good shape (run 3-4 miles several times a week and we live at 5,500 feet altitude) but that trip kicked my behind. The trail is very poor—at best you are climbing rough “stairs” and other times there is sort of a ladder and other times you are just scrambling up rocks. It was fun climbing through the forest. We live in a high desert so we had fun seeing “moss on moss” and all the ferns etc. We didn’t stay long at the top—but it would be fun in the summer when the weather was warmer.

On Wednesday, we went to the Aquarium and spent a long time there. The baby beluga whales are very cute and the exhibits of all the international and BC fish habitats is really impressive. Definitely great for adults and kids. Then we went to the Art Gallery in the evening. I really enjoyed the permanent exhibit paintings—a lot to explore and think about. Unfortunately, there was a new exhibit that was opening right after we left—they let people peek in and it looked like it was going to be really good. That night we just got some food from Urban Fare. Our hotel was well located so we were able to walk to everything.

On Wednesday, we took the bus to UBC to see the Museum of Anthropology. We took the docent tour and while it is interesting to have a guide, I found myself less inclined to go back and spend more time with the exhibits. And there are not that many exhibits. The ones they have are awesome, but there is just limited space. It will be interesting to see it after the expansion. Sadly, the houses outside were being reconstructed so they were closed. We took the bus back to Granville Island and hit the kids market for presents and then bussed back to the hotel.

On Thursday, we toured Granville Island and had a lot of fun touring the shops. We bought a small lovely bentwood box—we collect Pueblo Pottery and it was so interesting to see the similarities in the boxes and pottery. That afternoon, I took a nap and my husband had a massage in the spa. I did plenty of window shopping as we walked around Robson etc. I think there was some better shopping on Granville street and Broadway in Kits.

We had a great time and really enjoyed the city—very relaxing trip.

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