Friday, February 22, 2013

Vancouver, British Columbia

From Whistler, British Columbia (Canada), we drove to Vancouver, with plans to stays at the Four Season Vancouver Hotel, in downtown Vancouver.

The drive from Whistler to Vancouver was mostly uneventful, except for the traffic at the very end. We must have hit Friday's rush hour, as it took us an hour to go about 5 miles, on Lions Gate Bridge Road (Highway 99) from North Vancouver to downtown, where the Four Seasons was located.

After checking into Four Seasons, we rested a bit and then decided to have dinner at Yew Restaurant in Four Seasons at 8:00pm.

Yew is a fancy looking restaurant and I noticed that people were more formally dressed than at Whistler.

Alex enjoyed a pizza, but he didn't think it was as good as the one at Pizza My Heart in Los Gatos.

Inna and I shared the "Yew Salad", which was fresh and delicious, but nothing special.

Inna ordered the "Sablefish" dish.

I ordered the "Crab Shells" but they were a bit salty to my liking.

For dessert, we shared an Apple Tart. It was delicious.

As we were tired, we went back to our room.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We had a full day planned for Saturday - and it was Inna's Birthday! We decided to get some breakfast nearby. Four Seasons' staff recommended the Bellagio Cafe and we strolled there.

Although the weather forecast called for rain, we did not experience any rain on Saturday!

We walked over to Bellagio Cafe and ordered some breakfast items. We liked he metal cups and teapots.

Bellagio Cafe was full of various books and looked like an interesting neighborhood eatery.
Alex ordered some french toast with Nutella for breakfast.

Inna and I both ordered Neptune Benedicts for breakfast (Neptune implies Salmon).

After breakfast, Inna wanted to try some local coffee at the Caffe Artigiano next door.

After breakfast, we decided to go for a stroll through downtown Vancouver. We followed the route recommended by our travel book:

  • Starting at Caffe Artigiano on 763 Hornby Street, we walked south and turned right onto Robson St.
  • Walking easterly on Robson, we stopped by the many shops
  • We turned left on Nicola Street, walking southerly
  • We turned right on Barclay Street, walking easterly
  • We turned left onto Denman Street, walking southerly (reaching English Bay)

On Robson Street, there are many fancy retail shops including Louis Vuitton, Zara, Lulumon, etc. (just like in any large city). A bit further, we saw some unique Canadian shops like Roots.

Alex wanted to take a look at the chocolate covered apples at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. The apples looked delicious but we were all too full from breakfast to try anything.

There were a few tall buildings nearby as in  any big city and lots of pedestrian traffic.

We turned into a residential area, looking at the wonderful old-style homes.

Alex spotted a children's playground near a school and did a few stunts.

Once we turned onto Denman Street, we quickly reached English Bay. Nearby, we saw an interesting set of laughing statues. They were wearing blue scarfs, but none of the locals knew why?

As it was quite windy, cold, and around lunch time, we decided to have lunch at the Raincity Grill (where I originally intended to have our dinner). Raincity Grill prepares locally grown food and is known for the quality of its cooking. However, it does not have much of a Children's menu (and Alex was hoping for pizza).
Instead, we ordered Fish and Chips for Alex, which he did not really like. I tried them and thought that they were very well prepared.

Inna ordered a rabbit leg with mushrooms.

I ordered "Salt Spring Island Honey Mussels", which I enjoyed.

The food and service at Raincity Grill were good and we were soon full.

We decided to continue our stroll back to our Four Seasons hotel.

As we walked back, we stopped at another playground that was inside Nelson Park. While Inna rested on the bench, Alex climbed all the children's play structures.

As we continued our walk back, we saw a couple of interesting houses. The "Hobbit House" looked quite small (and was especially relevant to me, as I was in the middle of listening to an audio book of "The Hobbit" by Tolkien).

As we neared our hotel, we spotted the Robson Square Ice Rink. Canadians really love ice skating!

When we got back to our room at Four Seasons Vancouver, Inna got her Birthday Surprise!

As it was around 3:00pm, we decided to get our Dodge Journey SUV and head over to the Museum of Anthropology. This is a very large museum with lots of interesting artifacts. We really needed more than two hours to explore it all and to understand all of the wonderful cultural items on display.

Some of the pieces were especially fantastic:

We were sad to leave at 5:00 pm (when the Museum closed), as there were so many wonderful items we have not yet examined. We definitely need to return!

We drove back to our hotel and rested. Inna was not feeling well. I had made reservations to go to West - one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, but Inna was not feeling well enough to travel.

To warm her up, we decided to stop by Caffe Artigiano for cups of warm cappuccinos. The staff made some delicious and beautiful creations.

As Inna was not feeling well, I canceled the reservations at West Restaurant and decided to get some treats for her birthday at the nearby Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe.

I ordered a London Fog for Inna, real hot chocolate for Alex, and regular black Bergamot tea for myself. The cakes and pastries were delicious!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

We got up, packed our bags and stopped by Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie for breakfast. It was one of the few shops open in early morning and there were fresh pastries and cakes inside.

Alex especially liked the various flavored macaroons.

After our wonderful breakfast, we checked out of Four Seasons and drove to Seattle, where we dropped off our Dodge SUV rental at Alamo and flew back to Oakland, California.

We had a great time in Vancouver and hope to come back again.