Day Seven & Eight in Vancouver, Canada

Not only did today mark the first time I’ve been on a bicycle in 18 years (or thereabouts) but it also marked our first ever JAPADOG – a Japanese style hotdog (please to report no actual dog). I had the “Avocado special”… in short a beef hotdog, smothered in Japanese mayonnaise, cream cheese, with a whole slab of avocado decorating the top. It was a beast to eat but bloody tasty. So were the shichimi and garlic chips. A meal there will cost you about ten bucks.

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Having consumed about one million calories, we figured it would be a good idea to burn them off on a bike. For four hours. In the pissing rain. We picked up our bikes at Simon’s Bike Shop on Robson Street ($28 including taxes for a whole day’s hire) and headed off at a modest pace. There are bike lanes all over Vancouver (apparently) but pick up a map from Simon and study it a bit before heading off. We cycled down Hornby Street, all the way down the end, and somehow managed to get on Beach Avenue. From there, we cycled up to and all around Stanley Park. Before we passed out, we grabbed a coffee and took a snap of the famous Totem Poles.

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We didn’t want to be responsible for the bikes overnight, especially as we had a flight to catch the next day, so we had to race back to Simon’s shop (it closes at 6pm). This would have been fine if a) we didn’t have any wine, b) there wasn’t a monsoon, and c) we didn’t break every highway code known to man. Regardless, we managed it. And we didn’t kill ourselves. Or anyone else. Hurrah.

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We were soaked through to the bones (pack waterproofs) so we sought shelter at our hostel and showered off the day in preparation for our last night in Vancouver. We met Irish for a spot of dinner at The Factory – every dish is $5.95. And after a few beers (Lucky Larger was on offer), we continued partying at The Cellar, followed by L.E.D. We didn’t last long. Mainly, because we were knackered but also because Vancouver’s nightlife doesn’t quite match up to what we’re used to back in the UK. That’s not us being bar / clubbing snobs (well, it is a bit) but even the Canadians we met said it was a bit on the dull / quiet / restrictive side. That’s another thing – if you look under 40, you’ll get IDed. So take ID.

Our flight was at 3pm the next day so we just had time for a final wander down Granville Street. We caught the Canada Line from Vancouver City Centre to YVR-Airport.

So, to summarise… A few firsts this week: first time in Canada, first mountain hike, first time on a bicycle in 18 years, followed by a 4 hour bike ride in a monsoon, first encounter with wild bears, and – above all else – my first JAPADOG. Thanks to Irish & the girls for being part of the adventure. Would I recommend Vancouver? Well, if you like the idea of popping down the beach one day and heading up a mountain for a bit of skiing the next, if you wanna eat and chill out like you’ve never eaten and chilled out before, if your greedy eyes are fond of spectacular scenery and if you’re the active kind of tourist… then yes, I would. There’s something for everyone in Vancouver.

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