Vancouver, BC, the last full day.
Awoke felling much better than I had the night before. Has a passable breakfast prepared by the innkeepers, and wait a few hours for the rain to die down. We pile in the car and head for downtown. First, we head over to the park on the west side of the island where the clerk at the first hotel had said there was parking. There is. For 2$ an hour. So we drive around for a bit more, see some of the park, and find a spot with a lot of people at an outlook. So we park, pay our 2$, look at the view over the water to ‘North Vancouver’, and, err, that’s about it. 5 minutes of looking, one plaque, and errr…well, I guess that’s our 2$.
So we get back in the car and decide to try our luck downtown. Katy’s heard the ‘Gastown’ district’s nice, so we drive there, after finding no parking where the ‘P’s were on the map, we drive around a bit more an find a garage on the edge of Gastown. Garage smells of urine, flies everywhere walking down the stairs, but it did only cost $6 to park. The street looks run down, graffiti everywhere. Walk a few blocks though, and you get into Gastown which is quite a nice little tourist spot. Walked around a little, stopped at a chain spaghetti place for lunch (very good), and then walked some more and stopped in a few shops. There we saw a postcard for the famous suspension bridge over a lush green gorge just north of town, so we decided to go, since there wasn’t much else to see in Gastown.
Back to the car, and out of the city. Find our way up to the suspension bridge. Since we’d been nickle’d and dime’d the whole time in Vancouver, we were jokingly taking guesses on how much they would charge us to walk across the bridge. Katy guessed 15$, I guessed 10$. We get there, park ($2), expecting a bridge across a ravine and a donation box, and instead find a whole little park there that they charge $27/person admission to. After picking up our jaws, we came to our senses right then and decided to cut our losses. Screw them, it doesn’t matter how pretty the gorge is, it’s not $60 pretty. Yes, there are other things to do in the park.. nature tours, actors reenacting stuff, other stuff they’ve built in there, but come on, that’s ridiculous. So we decide to waste the $2 parking fee (note how many times we’ve wasted parking money today), and drive a little further up the regoinal park and find a nice place off in the woods with (free!) parking and trails. It’s actually a salmon hatchery, which was pretty cool seeing and learning about the salmon.
We had dinner reservations downtown at a nice jazz/blues restaurant, so we still had a few hours to kill. So we drove back into town (more traffic), and then off to the west side of downtown, where we found a nice park overlooking the water. We parked ($2), found a bench, and then watched the sun on the water and read the Car Talk Puzzlers to each other while relaxing. Probably my favorite time in all of Vancouver.
Had a nice dinner that night (‘free’ parking, because a nice guy who was leaving the garage near the restaurant had paid for all night and then didn’t need it, so he gave it to us… one of the few nice things that happened to us in Vancouver..otherwise it would have been $4). Dinner was great, the music was good, and the night ended rather well.
We got back to the B&B, got a third set of conflicting instructions on what to do with the room key when we checked out, packed, repacked, and now we’re off to bed. We have to catch a 7am plane tomorrow, a 2 hour layover in Denver, and then back to home sweet home.
We ended up having an OK time in Vancouver, but it fell far short of what everyone around us had talked it up to being. People were telling us we’d want to move there after visiting, and that’s hardly the case. I know there must be a lot of good points to this city, but I guess we just missed some of them. Oh well. We still had a good time.
Now, off to sleep.