I caught the early train from downtown Seattle. It was my first time on an Amtrak which was exciting and it was a perfect morning for it- the sun was already shining which is always a good start to the day. The train ride was four hours long and i got to see some amazing scenery. We travelled along the coast most of the way up so it was beautiful seeing the water and watching fisherman heading out on their boats. I have never crossed a border before to enter another country, it seemed weird not to have to fly anywhere or cross any ocean. I forgot that i had to go through customs as well. The Canadian customs officers were very pleasant. I booked into a hostel close to the train station so only had to walk around the corner. I stayed at C & N Backpackers on Main Street. When i got there my room wasn't ready yet which was fine, i dropped my bag off and headed out into downtown Vancouver. I spent most of the first day wandering around the city. I checked out Chinatown, the Gaslight district and walked along the waterfront to Stanley Park. I stopped in on my way to have lunch at the Steamworks Brewery. I had a cider and a delicious parsnip and carrot soup. It was nice to sit at the bar by myself and people watch, sometimes there is nothing better than your own company.
Stanley Park was probably my most favourite part of Vancouver. When you walk through it you feel like you are miles away from the city. It's like being in a forest with beautiful trees everywhere, lakes, squirrels chasing each other, geese, and even beavers. I walked down several trails within the park and then came out to the water around it. I then walked around the whole park which was about 5 miles of walking. It was really beautiful though. I could smell the salt water and see boats coming in off the harbour. It was a hot sunny day so the beaches were packed out with people but i was more interested in walking and seeing more of the city. I was getting a little tired by the time i got back to downtown and found a cute little organic market to stop and have dinner in. The lady who served me was hilarious. She was one of those larger than life types who sat by me on her break and told me her life story. It was nice talking to her, she was very interested about New Zealand and my adventures from my time in Seattle.
When i got back to my hostel i was tired from walking all day but eager to do something that night. I struck up a conversation with a lovely lady from North Carolina. Her name was Lindsay and she was roadtriiping around America and Canada with her friend Claire. They invited me to go out with them that night and we quickly became friends. We sat around drinking wine and headed into downtown Vancouver to check out the nightlife. We went to one bar which was apparently the 'travellers' bar. This would prove right as we met a group of Brazilians and a group of Irish people. All the people i met were super lovely and we ended up forming a little posse for the night. I met a nice Brazilian named Toby who may be visiting Seattle in the near future. We all ended up having a great night, we stayed till last call and then went to an apartment to hang out. I headed home around 3 knowing that i had to check out early in the morning..
The next day..
I got up to check out and started once again to roam the city. It was another hot day which was hard considering this time i had my backpack with me. I decided to walk to Granville Island. On the way i stopped to send a postcard to my Mum and Dad, i don't think i have really embraced the tourist side of me and it felt nice sending cheesy postcards home to the family. The walk to Granville was long hike but a really nice one - i walked over the bridge and got a beautiful view of the city and hills surrounding it. I like that Vancouver is surrounded by water, it think i would always have to live in a city that has water all around it. It brings a certain feeling of peace. I didn't really like the buildings though, there were so many condo's that looked almost plastic, shiny and fake. I think i prefer the older, dingier cities with rustic looking brick buildings and places with a little more history.
Granville Island was amazing. Little artist studios everywhere - you can look into the studios and watch the artists at work. There is also an amazing public market with great food and little knick knacks for sale. I stopped at a little cafe close to the park and got an iced green tea with soy milk. I sat for a while before heading out on my walk back to the train station. I decided to walk back along the waterfront and ended up napping in the park for a couple of hours. It was such a relaxing afternoon and very pretty seeing the little boats bobbing up and down on the harbour. I walked up South Main St before heading to the train. South Main St was probably my favourite shopping area. It was a little more bohemian looking and had some cute little vintage stores and cute bars. Unfortunately i could only have a quick look - before i knew it i was on the Amtrak back to Seattle. I met a really cute old couple on the train. The were from Winipeg Canada and told me all about their children and grandchildren and their little lives in central Canada. We talked for a couple of hours until we got to Seattle and then parted ways. It was a very pleasant way to end what was a great trip.