Visiting Vancouver

We finally pulled into downtown Vancouver’s Pacific Station, we were just over 4 hours late. This means that we get 50% of our fare back in the form of a credit. For us that was not a huge amount seeing that we were traveling on an Express Deal which cost us only $138. But I like that they recognize and compensate when the customer is inconvenienced. Customer service is something that much of the travel industry seems to be phasing out. Maybe this is one of the reasons I love traveling by trains, old fashioned, nostalgic, and romantic.

By the end of our journey, we had made quite a few friends and seemingly solved the case of Kevin’s missing camera. We stepped off the train into warm sunny Vancouver and I had to start peeling of layers almost. Rather than take a taxi, I suggested we walk through downtown. We passed by the Terry Fox memorial and I explained who the Canadian icon was. Fox, a symbol of hope and determination, stood frozen in time as skaters weaved in and around his many forms. I felt a sense of pride as I recalled the days back in grade school when we would all go on the annual Terry Fox run to honor this brave man.

I felt a certain sentimentality walking down Robson Street as I remembered those weekends of cruising up and down the then teen hangout. Things looked so different back in high school. Vancouver hasn’t changed that much, but I guess I have. We stopped into TH’s to redeem our last free Roll up the Rim to win and made our way down the popular shopping street. After 5pm, we met up with Liz and Paul who drove us back to their condo in Kitsilano.

After sharing a bottle of wine, we walked to one of their favorite restaurants called the Oakwood. It was New Canadian cuisine, which was a term I hadn’t experienced before and was quite excited to share with Michael who is a self proclaimed foodie. Let’s just say he isn’t disappointed. In fact, he gushed about it for the next week to everyone who would listen. Perhaps the highlight for me was the traditional favorite Poutine, which was topped with a healthy helping of tender, perfectly seasoned brisket. I have never tasted a poutine that I liked until this day. It was scrumptious.

The next day I had to spend a good chunk doing travel admining since there was a mudslide on the amtrak route we were supposed to be taking. I also finished up some flight bookings I had been meaning to make. By the early afternoon, we felt ready to hit the streets and explore. Almost on queue Paul came home from work and offered to take us on a little tour. It was overcast and raining so it seemed like a great idea to take the car. We zoomed around the coastline and eventually ended up in the famous Stanley Park. We all debated about who Stanley was and I decided the park was named after Stanley the Squirrel. We took some pics near the Lions Gate bridge and passed by the Olympic Flame.

By now, it was time to head out for dinner. We dined at a waterfront restaurant that had a nine course tasting menu. It was a lovely few hours with good food with even better plating. But my favorite part of the evening was catching up with darlings, Liz and Paul. I missed my old neighbors so much and I am so looking forward to their wedding this summer. I get choked up just thinking about it so I had better bring a family size box of tissue on the actual day. It’s been such a pleasure watching them grow as a couple into quite a inspirational example of true love. The level of care and respect they have for each other is rare to see these days.

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