What to see in downtown Vancouver - part 1

With our friends acting as our personal tour guides we loaded up the car and set off for a tour of downtown Vancouver.

We stopped in  Stanley Park which is absolutely enormous and connects the shores together. The sea wall runs around the edge of the park providing support me amazing views out over the Bay. We pulled over at English Bay to marvel at the seaplanes coming in to land, the iconic five sails building and the Lionsgate Bridge, with its reflection shimmering majestically in the water.
We idled around the park taking in the giant leaves that had turned gold and crisp, falling to the street below. The trees soared above us and some had been hollowed out and art etched onto them. Brightly coloured totem poles, a tribute to the First Nations people, shone out large and proud.
The park is so large that you could stay all day, riding bikes, walking or taking a horse and carriage ride. Driving round is the quickest way to see the sights but if we'd had more time we would have hired bikes and took a picnic with us. I feel Stanley Park deserves a write up of its own so I'll save some photos for another post.

Our bellies rumbled and food was high on our agenda so off we went in search of tasty morsels. Granville Island is the arty bohemian quarter of Vancouver and contains a market with every foodie delight you could ever desire.
After a mooch around the art stalls and perusing jewellery, hats and the most amazing stall selling every variety of maple syrup you could imagine, we could hold out no longer. 

We headed to the freshest, tastiest looking juice and salad stand. There's a big organic, began scene in Vancouver which was right up my Herbivore street. I ordered a veggie rice paper wrap which came with a yummy peanut satay sauce and a green veggie juice.
The Carnivore found his thang at the Greek stall, enjoying lamb koftas with a feta salad. We sat outside enjoying the view and the buskers entertaining the crowds.

With our savoury craving satisfied we visited the famous Len's doughnut store to load up on sweets for later. The biggest maple syrup doughnut may have hopped into our basket, along with a few smaller nibbled for us to have with coffee in the morning.

There are so many artisans in Granville Island and I loved that you can watch them make their wares, as the workshops are attached to the shops where they sell goods. Hat milliners, pottery barns and even pasta makers all invite you in to watch, learn and maybe buy.
With our bohemian urges satisfied we wanted to learn more about Vancouver so headed over to historic Gas Town where the city began. Weirdly it was a sailor called Gassy Jack who was first to discover the place and he was from our hometown of Hull, belying our pioneering and seafaring heritage.
The red brick buildings are in contrast to the fairly modern infrastructure everywhere else in Van, which reminded me more of home. Proper pubs can be found on street corners intermingling with trendy new restaurants and shops.

The best thing about this area is just wandering around in and taking in the vibe but knowing where you are going and avoiding alleys is advised as one block down was a very sad scene, showing the shadier side of the city.

We took in the statue of Gassy Jack to pay homage to our fellow Hull traveller and the very instagrammable  steam clock, which if I'm honest was smaller than I imagined but was a real 'hoot' when it went off on the hour!

After popping our heads in a few shops we picked an American hipster pork rib joint that looked friendly and ducked in for a pint of craft beer. Vancouver has an abundance of breweries and craft beer options that are well worth trying. We let our hosts choose for us and didn't regret it.

On the way back we passed through the gay district of Vancouver and found the most colourful pride coloured road crossings which I loved. 
Vancouver has a real bohemian feeling to it in places. Do you like a more bohemian vibe when you visit a new town or something a little more historic?

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