Vancouver

Vancouver was a place I expected to love, and thankfully it lived up to expectations, not often the case. With a beautiful natural setting and cool architecture, plus the buzz of sea planes and handy cycle lanes, it was a great place to spend a few days back in 2009. I really should go back sometime…

Vancouver has one of the most stunning modern skylines in the world, carefully planned to ensure a reasonable distance and alignment between towers.

There were also far more heritage buildings than I was expecting, both in the Gas Town area (though Downtown Eastside area close by was a bit of shock, one of the dodgiest places I’ve been), and further around the city. Lots of great buildings but my favourite was the Art Deco Marine Building.

VanDusen Botanical Gardens were some of the best gardens I’ve visited, varied, extensive and well laid out.

There were more good gardens in Dr Sun Yat-Sen Park, one of a number of Chinese gardens I’ve visited in somewhat unexpected parts of the world, including Sydney, Portland, Bendigo, Nelson and Dunedin.

Queen Elizabeth Park was rather lovely as well, and had some great views over the city as well as a funky dome with the Bloedel Conservatory.

Stanley Park is deservedly regarded as one of the top city parks in the world, a huge expanse of dense forest and scenic foreshore on the footsteps of the CBD, easily explored by bike.

I tried biking of a different sort out at Lynn Canyon Park though I remember carrying the mountain bike rather a lot up steps, a decent workout!

Granville Island is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver, didn’t do much for me but pleasant enough place under some massive overpasses.

The Museum of Anthropology was well worth a decent cycle out to from the city, though I did get absolutely soaked on the way back, even wearing a stylish waterproof poncho. The museum itself was home to a huge collection of totem poles, great place to spend a couple of hours.

To end as I often do with some sunset pictures, when most places look at their best, and Vancouver was no exception.

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