August 2012

Wednesday we arrived in Vancouver, B.C.  The “tour” we purchased included a bus ride to the ferry terminal, ferry across the Bay, and a bus ride to downtown Vancouver.  We really enjoyed the beautiful weather to be able to sit outside on the deck of the ferry as well as the drive through downtown Vancouver to kind of get the lay of the land.  We figured out the Skytrain to go one stop to our next BnB. Our host Orlea was a delight. She showed us around her place and to the room we were renting and offered a glass of wine from a batch she made and labeled.  We then headed out for dinner.  We went to historic Gastown (named for a gas/steam clock) and found Momo Sushi. We enjoyed a tray of sushi and then headed to Steamworks Brewery.  Due to some new changes to how they are allowed to serve beer we were told we must “share” the taster tray, I did not particularly enjoy any of the beer but I did taste.


One of the beers, Nick sampled on his initial taste made him think of soap.  It was something to do with the floral hints or whatever. The funny part was that the server walked right by as he was saying this and did a double take to find out what he had said.  We all got a good laugh and I guess it got better, because he did finish it.


Thursday we had a delightful hot breakfast with Orlea before heading out for the day. Loaded with water and a map we had decided to rent bikes and bike around Stanley Park. We walked toward the park and area recommended for renting bikes and needed to sit for a while, so sat and watched float planes land then meandered over to WE Coffee (west end coffee) and ate some fruit with our coffee.  We then found our place to rent bikes.  Nick really wanted to rent a tandem bike like we did in Italy, but with the city traffic and it being YEARS since I’ve ridden a bike, I wanted my own to wobble on.  We then headed to Stanley Park and going the “wrong” way only to find out that most of the seawall is one way for bikes, so we zoomed back around to the other side through the center forest area and started where the Totem poles are in Stanley park to go all the way around.  We decided to go through the center again and ended up three times passing the same part where the sidewalk goes around a tree on the right.  We tried to go to the Tea House for their advertised mussels and local beer special, only to leave after being told they don’t actually have the beer that was advertised.  Oh well.  We then headed toward the beaches on the bikes and saw another park (Vanier Park) on the other side of the English Bay we decided to cross the bridge and see what was over there.  We stopped to take a picture then wanting to return the bikes before we had to pay beyond the 5 hour rental we raced back to the store.  Sore in many areas we decided to stop for an early dinner at a Korean restaurant we spotted that morning.  It was delightful.  We headed to Yaletown Brewing Co. for some of their beer and also enjoyed watching some Olympics on the TV, though it was interesting watching from a Canadian broadcasting station. Yaletown, another historic district in Vancouver is now loaded with highend shops and restaurants and quite the night scene.


Friday we decided since we had forgotten to take a picture of Nick at Yaletown, we had to return. While there we stopped for coffee and rest on the patio.  We then crossed Granville Bridge to Granville Island, which is not an island.  It was a bit of a walk, but we were rewarded by stumbling first onto Granville Island Brewery. Nick really enjoyed these beers, probably the best in Vancouver and I even liked the Raspberry Wheat enough to have 3 sips, not just one.   We then wandered through the Public Market and found our way outside with live music, Nick got a small bite to eat while we rested and relaxed.  We then wandered over to the other side of the “island” to find Dockside Brewery and enjoy sitting outside on the patio in full sun on comfy chairs.  Another taster flight, which was not so enjoyable, but another one that I could “like”.  We rested until we were to hot then left for some shade and hung out there.  I was not really wanting to walk back across the bridge so we headed to where we saw some options of a boat “taxi” to get across the False Creek.  We needed cash so off toward the Public Market for some cash and also in the mood for a sweet bite, we found a fish counter with delicious looking maple glazed salmon bites. WOW, perfect sweet treat!  We went across on the boat and meandered with bare feet in the sand on the beach.  We found a quiet spot with less people on some large rocks to watch the sunset. It was beautiful.  We had heard about a weekly Friday night Chinese market, so we set off in search of it.  It was only on one block and Vancouver boasts one of the largest China Towns in North America so it proved tricky to find.  Once we did we were rewarded with some bubble tea, fish dumplings and shrimp on a stick.  Yum.  We headed back for bed, tired and worn out.

Saturday, our kind host fed us breakfast again and offered to store our bags even though she need to get the room clean for another house guest.  Off we went to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/park.  The garden is by fee but there is a free to the public park that is beautiful as well.  We meandered around and took pictures then headed to Canada Place via the “seawall” on that side of the railroad tracks through Portside Park. While there we took in the War of 1812 exhibit as the 200 year anniversary.  They did a good job it was just very interesting to see the history from the Canadian perspective. We then headed to lunch and celebrated the end of our vacation with a nice dinner at Cork and Fin in Gastown.  It was great seafood, but like any gourmet restaurants not a ton of food so we headed to the Alibi Room, which was another recommendation to get a wide variety of draft beers.  After enjoying some beer we walked through the weekend Chinese festival for Nick to get another bit to eat since the oysters, though yummy were not filling and we would not be eating dinner since we needed to catch the train to Seattle.  Back to Seattle via Amtrak Cascades, a short night with my parents and then hop on a plane for Denver.  It was a wonderful vacation, very relaxing and filled with fantastic food and drink.

Sunday morning we got up and after breakfast headed out to the ferry terminal to get on the ferry to go to Victoria, B.C. We headed to check in to our “bed and breakfast” through airbnb. We had found a studio apt so that my parents could stay overnight with us.  We headed to dinner, I had made arrangements for mom and I to have high tea at The Fairmont Empress.

Nick and Dad headed to dinner at Spinnakers Brewery. We also found out that the next day was B.C. Day in the celebration of their becoming a province, so there was special events throughout the city for the holiday.  We found out about Symphony Splash which was the Victoria, B.C. symphony on a barge playing for downtown. The evening ended with fireworks which was great since we didn’t get to see any for forth of July. 

Monday we got up and after making breakfast said goodbye to mom and dad for them to get on the ferry back to WA.  We headed to town to find something to do for the day, knowing that it was a holiday and most things would potentially be closed. We walked through the oldest China town in North America, then headed to Beacon Hill park, or what we thought was the park.  While taking a bathroom break we ran into my parents who didn’t make the ferry, so we walked around to Fisherman’s Warf for some fish and chips at Barb’s. They advertise they are world famous, but we were NOT impressed. Then we wandered along the Seawall along the rocks, it was fun but then got tired, so headed back to downtown. We went to get coffee and sit for a while then decided to try to go back and find the park which we found a live concert going on. We sat for a while the went to sit along the seaside to watch the sunset.  We then walked back and had a bit to eat and tried the beer at Swan’s Pub which also had live music and fun dancing to watch.


Tuesday we got up and went to the local coffee shop for breakfast.  We headed out with plans to visit Vancouver Island Brewery and Phillips Brewery with lunch in between at Dim Sum in China Town. Nick enjoyed Vancouver Island Brewery and we conversed with a very friendly local who was on his second day of working there. We then wandered around a bit but then also sat for a while in the plaza with some coffee. When it started to sprinkle we decided to go for dinner early at a recommended place called Ferris’ Grill. It was yummy seafood. We had phenomenal seafood chowder and Nick thoroughly enjoyed his oyster pasta. It rained really hard while we were eating dinner then it slowed to a sprinkle while we jogged home. We got back home and finished our bottle of wine from the local Church and State Winery and did laundry to move to Vancouver the next day.

Wednesday we went to a different local coffee shop down the street then walked around the bay area. We then cooked the rest of the food for breakfast, packed up, checked out and headed to the final brewery: Moon Under Water Brewery. We got there right as they were opening and Nick ordered the flight to try their best beers.  Since we were the only ones there we got to chat with the owner and beer master quite a bit, which was fun. We then headed to the bus station to board our bus for Vancouver.  The “tour” we purchased included a bus ride to the ferry terminal, ferry across the Bay, and a bus ride to downtown Vancouver.


This year we decided to combine a trip for me to visit my grandparents in Bellingham, WA with our vacation, so we decided to vacation in British Columbia.  I flew up almost a week before Nick met me in Seattle and immediately went to my grandparent’s farm to help them weed and clean up as much as we could around the farm.  It was only a few days and we worked slowly but the time was well spent.  I enjoyed conversations and just being with them.  After a few days I went back to Seattle to be with my parents and have some girl time with my mom. Dad was able to take some time off of work to take us out for breakfast at the best spot in WA for breakfast and a view of Mt. Rainer.  It was a clear day so we could see the mountain beautifully but the sun was against us so the pictures did not turn out.

Nick flew in town late on Friday, so Saturday morning we went up to Bellingham and met with our adopted Grandparents Ed and Goldie Karber and then headed to the Grandparent Reimer’s farm.  We spent time with them and hung out, walked around the garden, Nick took pictures, and my cousin Amanda came over.  We ate dinner together then Amanda, who graduated from beauty academy about a year ago, was willing to cut my hair. I was in need of a hair cut but hadn’t taken the time before I left.  Anyway, it was fun and Nick enjoyed a few shots to commemorate the occasion. Afterwards, we headed out for ice cream all together.  It was fun.  For a few years now, they have been raising some award winning dahlias so I helped prune the leaves and then had Nick take some pictures to showcase.  They are so beautiful!


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