The Mister and I got home Saturday evening from a long-overdue mini-break up to Vancouver, B.C.
This city is super excited for the Winter Olympics, which it is hosting this coming January. Witness crap cell phone photo, above, of the Olympic count-down clock, which is strategically placed outside of the art museum. Only 244 more days, people, until I have to decide what my knitting olympics project is!
Vancouver is one of my favorite places, no question.
I started to type that it is one of my favorite cities, but then realized I don't have many cities with which to compare it. I've been to Seattle, of course, many times...also San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix...but that's about it on the large cities of North America front, and most of those I've only visited for a day or two total, with the exception of Houston, where we lived for two years. Prague, Salzburg--which is really barely a city except for its long history--Venice, and Milan round out the European crowd.
(I'm not counting cities like Los Angeles, London, Baltimore, or Chicago, where I've only been through the airport.)
Full disclosure over. Now. Vancouver is one of my very favorite places.
I just can't express my love for Vancouver in strong enough terms. It is a compact city, with a very dense population in the downtown core (how nice that people actually LIVE downtown, unlike so many cities decimated by flight to the suburbs). I read somewhere that it is the most densely populated area in North America outside of Manhattan island, but you'd never know it while driving or walking around. There are huge high-rise apartment buildings and towers of industry, but it feels safe, and clean, and friendly somehow. (Canadians are the epitome of good-natured friendliness. Even punk pierced Canadian teenagers will stop and give you directions or return a smile.) Stanley Park is absolutely enormous, with an aquarium, lagoon, bike/walking trails, and miles of beach.
Over the years we've often day-tripped up across the border. (Vancouver is actually closer to us than Seattle; it takes about an hour to get there if border traffic is light.) It holds wonderful memories for us...it's the site of our first date and is the place M proposed to me, back when we were such younglings (19 and 20, though of course we felt so mature)....And now we have a new set of Vancouver memories to add: staying at Lonsdale Quay and watching the sun set over the city skyline, waking up early to see the big cruise (or was it ferry?) boat slide through the water and dock across from us...taking the water taxi across to downtown and walking up to the Dutch Masters exhibit--a Vermeer! some Rembrandt! and a bunch of other cool stuff!--at the Art Gallery...great Greek food.
We'll be back up in BC in July for sure, staying in Whistler for three nights with my folks...I wonder if we can stop for a day in Vancouver on either end of that trip? and how long can I stow away in the city before they notice I am American and make me go home?