Sunday 2 June 2013

Bienvenue a Canada

So here I am in Vancouver, remembering why I like it so much. It helps that it's a beautiful warm sunny day and everyone is in relaxed and cheerful Sunday afternoon mode - but the city is so clean and the air so fresh, and walking along Robson Street, at every intersection there's a glimpse of water and forest, mountains and snow, close and accessible. It also helps that everyone we've met so far has been so friendly and nice.

Flying in over Vancouver Island, I was surprised all over again at how big it is, though we won't be going there this time; and beyond were the Rockies, which we will be getting a much closer look at: in, up and amongst them. Though it's so warm, there's still plenty of snow on the tops, even if it's "Indian snow" (old and pre-PC coach-driver's joke: "Apache here and Apache there"). Today is just a flying visit - we'll be back later for a proper nose around.

We're staying at the Listel Hotel in Robson St, "Vancouver's most art-full hotel" - we haven't had much chance to explore yet, but there certainly is art everywhere - paintings and sculpture (notably a fraternity of red squatting men) both in the public areas and in the rooms, which are comfortable and elegant. We ate here at Forage with Sue, who guided us through a very tasty menu of BC dishes including crab-stuffed morel mushrooms, halibut cheeks, juicy spot prawns and insane prawn oil popcorn mixed with super-crackling that our bubbly waitress Karen poetically - and accurately - described as "crunchy clouds". Plus a golden pinot gris that's on tap at the bar. All this, and sustainable too!

And I finished the day with a long walk along the waterfront into Stanley Park, where the paths were humming with cyclists, roller bladers and skateboarders, and with walkers and runners and photographers, everyone ready with a smile and enjoying the beautiful warm, still evening. It was a perfect way to end the day - shame I ruined it by tripping over a kerb and twisting my ankle and grazing my knee, tch.

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