Monday, September 21, 2009

never again...

Never again...

Never will I ever attempt to venture off in a city that I have never been to without first checking just how far a place is on Google Maps. Paper maps are deceiving, especially those little tourist maps you pick up at airports and stuff. I don't know what type of scale they are working with but maps of Vancouver from the airport definitely make the city look smaller than it really is. Truth is I had a specific itinerary all worked out and left it in the seatback of my red-eye flight so my travel guide went on to Hong Kong, I got off in Vancouver. In any case, a little trek that appeared to be 2.5 miles by my estimate turned out to be 7.2 miles and took me nearly 3 hours to reach my destination (The Museum of Anthropology @ the University of British Columbia). On the brightside, I was able to see all of the beaches of the southern half of Vancouver and take some amazing pictures of this charming little city. I even stopped to jump in the water for a little bit.

View from Granville Street Bridge

I decided to go for a short walk over the Granville Street Bridge. Almost freeway-like, it's a busy and noisy bridge with narrow sidewalks and the persistent smell of car exhaust. It's not the most romantic or breathtaking bridge in the world, but the view's certainly impressive. The Granville Street Bridge funnels the majority of traffic in and out of downtown Vancouver. With the gritty end of downtown to its north, glamorous South Granville to the south, and the whimsy of Granville Island underneath - there's always something interesting to observe.

Granville Island Water Ferries

Okay, so for years I was hearing about this great farmer's market on Granville Island. It sounded nice, but there was always something else to do or see. I'm not against a good farmer's market, but I come from New York City and we have a ton of them every weekend. How good could this one be? Well, this trip, I made the ferry ride to see what I had been missing. To call Granville Island Public Market, JUST a farmer's market is like calling the Grand Canyon just a hole. This is the granddaddy of all farmer's markets.

View from Burrard Street Bridge

Once you hit the front door, your senses go into overload. There are vendors all over selling all kind of foods. There are butchers, fishmongers, bakers, green grocers, and dairies all setting up shop here, selling their goods. You can walk around and find food stands from all over the world: Indian, sushi, German, Chinese or French Crepes. If you crave it, you can most likely find it here. I had a great time seeing all the local produce. In September, all the fresh, local blackberries were in season, and they were the biggest berries I have ever seen. I went over and saw the fresh salmon booth. I got a sample of local smoked salmon and it was outrageously good.

I was lucky that I didn't have lunch in Downtown Vancouver before I stared this trek out to the West end of Vancouver!

Kitsilano Beach, B.C.

Kitsilano Beach, is as popular a destination for Vancouver's sun lovers on hot, summer days. It's a great big beach with wonderful views over the Pacific Ocean, the mountains and downtown Vancouver. Another thing that makes this place attractive is the big pool. It's a salted pool, but heated so its open from late May til Mid-September.

Jericho Beach, B.C.

Jericho beach was one of my favorites as there's a grassy bank which is great for picnics and snoozing. It's not as busy as Kits beach or English Bay which is an excellent reason to come. As you can imagine the views of the Downtown Area and West Vancouver. It was from this vantage point that I first realized that I was venturing farrrrr away from the buildings of Downtown Vancouver and entering a point where I had to continue forward as I had already traveled too much to turn back.

Spanish Banks, Vancouver

Five and a half miles later...the little beach area known as Spanish Banks...

Finally...The Statues at the Anthropology Museum of B.C.

Would I do it again? Absolutely not. It wasn't that I did not attempt to get a cab halfway through but there were none in sight and nearly 80% through the walk I figured even if I did start to see any I would not even bother. But the time I reached the museum I did not even care about it's contents. I was in bad shape carrying that heavy camera for nearly three hours, tired, hungry, and dehydrated...I was more interested in the museum café than anything else...

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