Thursday, September 03, 2015

Vancouver Girls Trip- Stanley Island, Gastown, Chinatown

This was our day of endless walking. We took public transportation wherever we went, and basically walked around Vancouver all day! But we felt like we had a good feel of the city after this day, the good and the bad.

We first headed to Stanley Park, but since the Skytrain station we got off on was right next to the Aquabus station (and there was no bathroom at the Skytrain station, but there was one at the Aquabus station...) we decided to take a pleasure ride on the Aquabus first.

Then we took a bus to Stanley Park, which is a giant 1,001 acre park on a peninsula in the middle of Vancouver. We walked around a lot, and didn't even see 1/3 of the park. The vegetation was beautiful. These flowers were of course planted and well maintained as part of the restaurant behind it (but I thought even the restaurant looked pretty). It inspired a comeback for the princess pose.

Then we saw the rose garden and read the names of the unique breeds of roses they have there.

Massive tree stump with a large tree growing our of it.

The natural rain forest vegetation was also beautiful. Much of Stanley park is just walking trails and forest.

They have a collection of First Nation Totem poles in the park. Viewing the art of the Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest was one of my favorite things about the trip.

More silly faces as a sister's totem pole, because we are just silly. The totem poles depict important events or figures to the extended family, the clan, that built the totem pole. So our totem pole represents our weekend of fun as sisters without the kids for a change!

 A view of Lions Gate Bridge and North Vancouver as we head over to the lighthouse.

I thought it was obvious where we were, here. But in case you were lost, now you knoww!

The lighthouse at Brockton Point. It was built in 1914 and was used as an active lighthouse until just recently.
After the lighthouse our plan was to go eat at The Fish House restaurant. It was on the edge of Stanley Park, so we walked all the way there and were famished, only to be told that the restaurant was closed for the afternoon for a private event! So we had to walk even farther to find something else for lunch. We ended up getting some pretty authentic Greek food from a Greek "fast food" (meaning, not a sit down) restaurant served by a Greek lady and what looked like her son. We saw over and over again that Vancouver has a very diverse population with a lot of international influence (Mediterranean and Asian especially. We ate Greek food, Chinese food, Mongolian BBQ, and had to go specifically looking for Canadian food-poutine- on the last night we were there.)

We stopped into a used bookstore that seemed to need a little more space with overflowing shelves and piles and piles of books everywhere, but they had a lot of cool books and had an organized system going despite the clutter!

Then we headed down to Gastown and Chinatown. What no one told us is that the area between Gastown and Chinatown is the druggy and homelessness area. It was the skid row of Vancouver, literally a street over from one of the most touristy areas with expensive stores and galleries. We just walked fast and avoided eye contact, but it's not someplace I would walk through at night.

Gate to Chinatown. This was the historic Chinatown of Vancouver,in the early 1900's a lot of Chinese immigrants settled here. But we felt like the current Chinatown was in Richmond where our hotel was. There were a ton of Asians there, and many signs and business names were written in Chinese.

In the real Chinatown we visited the beautiful Chinese scholar garden, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Stopped to relax our tired feet in the garden.

Then headed over to Gastown where we saw the famous steam clock. It is steam powered from steam under the city.

Thursday night we had walked by a Chinese restaurant, Shanghai River, on the way back to our hotel that was packed. On a Thursday night. So we went back there the next day because we figured it they were that busy on a Thursday night they have got to be good. Also, it was a Chinese restaurant and it was packed with Asians, and if the Asians all like it it must be good right? It was. It was delicious. And we were the only Caucasian group there the entire time we were there.

When we got back to the hotel we relaxed by going hot tubbing and did mud masks.

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