Monday, December 05, 2016

Vancouver: Stolen Holiday -- Days 1 and 2

Day 1

Very excited to be in Vancouver. I've only been here twice in my life. Once when I was 10 or 11 years old, and once when I came to see The Police in concert with Anna and Ian in 2007. Wendy and I have never been here together.

Like most of the good things in my life, we are in Vancouver because of Wendy's insatiable desire to learn and teach. She is attending the Learning Forward conference. You may remember this as the conference that allowed me to go to Nashville in 2014. She was a presenter at that one. This time she is just attending. In both cases, I was/am along as an adorable complication ;)

But, before the learning begins, we get to do a little exploring. First... Wendy style.

Our flight arrived in Vancouver at 6:35am and we were at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront shortly after 7am. By agreeing to change our room type from a King-size bed to 2 doubles, we were allowed to check in immediately (rather than waiting until 3pm). We flopped down and rested for an hour or so before heading out on our adventure.

We wanted to do some scenic hiking and good news... Stanley park is 1km from our hotel. However, for those of you who missed the memo, Wendy likes to avoid crowds. So we grabbed coffee and hot chocolate (OMG!) from Waves. 40 minutes on the bus through West Van. and 10 minutes walking had us practically alone at the mouth of Burrard Inlet, hiking through Lighthouse Park. It was a cloudy morning and the trees, tall and dense. With the humidity high, and 500-year-old, moss-covered Douglas Fir and Western Red-cedar everywhere, dripping with water, Wendy was in heaven.
 We shortly found our way to the lighthouse. I was disappointed not to be able to climb it, but it was pretty none-the-less. A persistent cool breeze came off the water and we enjoyed sharing the wave worn rocks and the cries of gulls and eagles with a single photographer.
 Wind-swept trees were in abundance, but this one, near Shore Pine Point, was my favourite.
This log did not bear the standard play warning! Very dangerous, indeed ;)
 Considering I had nearly broken my toe the previous day (while climbing my own pathetic single story staircase), I managed to hobble along quite nicely with only the occasional mishap.

We spent 2 1/2 hours meandering through the park and eventually had lunch in W. Van. at Handi, an Indian buffet. The naan, pakora and paneer were all particularly delicious. Lack of buffet desserts (except for Jello) was quite a let down.

In the evening we enjoyed a stroll down by the water and a soak in the hot tub.

Day 2

Cloudless morning light from our 4th floor hotel room

We started out by walking through some really inspiring downtown architecture on our way to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It is well rated, appearing in National Geographic's 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems and is supposed to be pretty great. I enjoyed it, though it is on the cusp of a very sketchy neighbourhood (Vancouver's infamous Downtown East Side(google news)).
 From there we hopped a bus to UBC and walked to the MOA--Museum of Anthropology ($18 admission). We feasted on their apple/brie croissant and vegetarian chilli before wandering the exhibits.
 I was spell-bound by the stories that the artwork told. In the Footprint of the Crocodile Man was horrifying and beautiful.
 And, there were even quite a few puppets!
The Last Supper of Lucifer
The Last Supper of Lucifer is super cute. The tiny display is less than 30cm.
I found Bill Reid's Raven and the first men riveting and fun
I can't spare the time to tell you all the wonderful things I saw at the MOA, but if you are in Vancouver, I can't recommend it enough. Be generous and budget a big chunk of time. I spent 2 1/2 hours here and had to leave much of it unseen.
In the late afternoon we managed to get to the Vancouver Public Library. I'm not going to geek out too much, but their digital maker space was AMAZING!! And, not to brag, but they do not have anything in their children's area to match our performance space a.k.a. Pooh Corner.
Outdoor wandering found these great translucent, illuminated stairs.

Here is my growing Google Photos album of our trip to Vancouver.