I’ve been feeling the strain of winter recently. The rain, the gray, the cold. Normally, we would just go snowboarding or snowshoeing to get some endorphins going, but this year has been BAD for snow. As in we haven’t hardly had any. We have had plenty of rain though; not a combination for a happy Amy. So, Tom and I go to talking, and we decided to head up to Vancouver, BC to shake some of the winter blues. As many of you may know, the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver in just a few weeks, so we wanted to check out as many Olympic-related things as we could. We were especially interested in the Olympic mascots, which are all cute, furry and small. More on these later.
On Saturday morning, we grabbed our passports and headed for the boarder. There was little traffic, and we had an easy boarder crossing, so we arrived in Vancouver around noon, and set out exploring and hunting for the Olympics. Our hotel was on Robson Street, one of the main shopping areas downtown, and after some help from the concierge at the hotel, we had a plan. We were going to try and visit the Olympic Village, go to Chinatown and see the “official” Olympic Store. Right away, we found many stores selling Olympic goods, and many of the local stores were showing their Canadian pride.
After walking through many of the shopping districts on Robson and Granville Streets, we had made our way to a large bridge where, on the other side rested the Olympic Village. Most unfortunately, the Village is closed to tourists. As in, large fences and road barricades kind of closed. Hm. So we had to settle for taking pictures from the bridge. It looks cool, and the high rises that were built to house the athletes will apparently sold as condos after the Olympics are over. Next to the village, there was a HUGE parking lot filled with identical looking SUVs, which we theorized were for athlete transportation.
After the Olympic Village fail, we headed off to Chinatown. We’ve been there before on previous visits, and it never fails to impress. There are so many unfamiliar and exotic sights and smells which assault your senses as soon as you cross under the large, ornate gate. We stopped and got some yummy Jasmine tea, and were constantly taking pictures of the strange and wonderful meat and produce vendors which were spilling out of their shops and onto the sidewalk. There are many different types of vegetables and dried fish on display, but since many of the prices are in different Asian languages, (mostly Mandarin I assume), we were unable to read the bright signs.
Leaving Chinatown, we were starting to get really hungry and decided to head down to Gastown, which, according to the Wikipedia, gets it’s name from, “named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Geordie seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area’s first saloon“. We found the Steamworks Brewing Company, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and beer selection. As we like both good food and good beer, this place was a hit. Thoroughly exhausted by this point, we headed back to our hotel room to crash. But on the way, we stopped by the “official” Olympics Store at the Hudson’s Bay Company. The place is massive, and filled with all things Olympic, with a heavy emphasis on the children’s themed mascots. Unfortunately for them, many of the other “unofficial” stores had a wider variety of products, and we ended up buying more from other places. Oh well, we still had fun playing with the toys!
The next day, after sleeping in, (yay!), we headed back to Gastown for brunch at the Alibi Room. Tom, ofcourse, made friends with the bartender, and came back to the table with a “beer for breakfast” sampler. He was in heaven. I was equally in heaven with a bacon (Canadian) and cheese sandwich and yummy salad!
After brunch, we headed down to Granville Island to check out their AWESOME farmer’s market. Sadly, it’s illegal to transport produce across the boarder, but we were able to take some fun photos, and ended up coming home with some delicious handmade fudge! We also stopped at the Granville Island Brewery to pick up some delicious chocolate stout. We had a wonderful trip to Vancouver and can’t wait to go back!
For all of my photos from the trip, visit: my photo page