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August 02, 2005

Beautiful Vancouver

Spent a lovely day in a lovely city. Our second time in Vancouver has been just as pleasant as out first trip here. There is something so completely pleasant, so vibrant, so comfortable about this city. It's small enough to be manageable by foot, but large enough to feel like a major metropolitan area, with great restaurants, cafes, and shops. And the public spaces are especially magnificent. If we lived here, we would never tire of the waterfront paths and the not-very-distant mountains. Vancouver is everything that we hoped to find in Seattle but were disappointed not to.

We spent pretty much all day on our feet, although our plans today were not particularly ambitious. We slept in, headed to Caffe Artigiano for breakfast and some of the best lattes anywhere. Afterwards, we walked to Sunset Beach Park and strolled along the waterfront for a few miles, finishing up our walk at the water taxi stand for a ride to Granville Island, Vancouver's wonderful public market.

After lunch, we walked through Yaletown back to our hotel, the Westin Grand, and refreshed in the room for a while. We decided to go to the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, which according to our guidebook was a peaceful oasis within the center of Chinatown. But we didn't have much inner peace after paying $17 CDN for the two of us to stroll around the park. It was very nice, and indeed a pleasant experience. But the garden is postage-stamp-sized, and the presence of many tourists makes it difficult to attain inner peace and Zenlike calm--the only things that would have made the admission price worthwhile. What's more, the gardens are attached to a public park, which while not quite so lovingly sculpted, was nearly as interesting and free besides. If you're visiting Vancouver, we recommend you to to the free park and peer into the Sun Yat Sen gardens from a distance.

Dinner was at Incendio, a Gastown pizzeria we liked two years ago. Their pizza is quite good--if not amazing--and the patio was a pleasant place to enjoy the lovely evening.