03 July 2014

Suspension of Disbelief

Jet lag be damned: I woke up at 7.30 yesterday morning and went for a run along the waterfront and into Stanley Park — a huge, green, sprawling nubbin on the northern end of downtown Vancouver, and the largest urban park in North America. Jogging and cycling paths circle the sea wall around there perimeter of the park, and there are plenty of sights along the way, from totem poles to Vancouver's Little Mermaid equivalent, also known as Girl in a Wetsuit.

I returned to the hotel via the first of my pre-vetted coffee destinations: Revolver Coffee, which is in Gastown on Cambie Street. I ordered an Aeropress-brewed Costa Rican coffee to go, along with Revolver's own cold brew, which is served in an über-stylish bottle. More importantly, both coffees tasted great!

Later, we went for breakfast at a cool little place on West Georgia called Nosherie. I couldn't face the — delicious looking — breakfast sandwiches, and stuck to a smoothie. Revitalised, we walked down to Canada Place to get the free shuttle bus to Capilano Park, across the water in North Vancouver. The main attraction in the park is the pedestrian suspension bridge — at 70m high and 137m long, it's the world's highest, longest suspension foot bridge. The bus takes about 25 minutes and deposits you at the park entrance.

The suspension bridge itself is quite fun. It's very wobbly and on such a warm, sunny day, it was very busy, but the views down through the forest and across the Capilano river are amazing.

You can also do various other walks and climbs, including the cliff walk, which is even higher than the bridge and ends by letting you stand suspended over the valley, with only a thick glass barrier to protect you. Not for the vertigo-ridden, but very enjoyable for everyone else.

In the afternoon, I did a little bit of shopping, raiding some of my favourite North American chains, including Lululemon (which is a Vancouver company) and J. Crew, and then headed to Gastown to shop in some more interesting boutiques. I bought a necklace from Örling & Wu, a Water Street boutique that sells a thoughtfully curated collection of accessories and homewares, and I also admired Parliament's interiors products, many of which, understandably, featured owls.

I returned back to the hotel via Revolver (again; full review forthcoming) for a brew flight: the same coffee brewed three different ways (French press, Aeropress and Clever dripper). It's a really great coffee bar: stylish and with excellent coffee. I also made a pitstop at Cartems donuterie, once I saw that they sold whiskey bacon doughnuts. The tiny pieces of crunchy bacon were the perfect complement to the whiskey flavouring of the glaze.

After a quick sauna, swim and jacuzzi at the hotel, we went for dinner with friends at a great seafood restaurant on Thurlow called Joe Fortes. We shared some oysters to start (East Coast trumped West Coast on this occasion), and for my main I had the fish trio of the day, which included tiger prawns, Alaskan sockeye salmon, and scallops, served with garlic mash, carrots and asparagus. It was all delicious and I was far too full to even consider pudding.

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