April weekend in Vancouver

The big excitement in April was a trip from Seattle to Vancouver BC by train for a long weekend -- kind of a birthday weekend celebration for Byron.  We arrived to discover Vancouver's cherry blossom festival in full bloom.  Plus, the weather was gorgeous, which allowed us to walk nearly everywhere we went albeit with a couple rides on the sky train, the water taxi, and a cab.

Our trip began Friday with an early-morning lift to the train station. We boarded the Amtrak Cascades and chugged along for about four hours until we reached Main Street Station in Vancouver.  From there, a quick hop on the sky train put us at our hotel downtown -- it was the birthplace of Button (the Sutton Place Hotel bear), who had come back to Canada with us (strapped securely to the outside of Wyatt's backpack) to see where he had come from (we acquired him on our last stay in April 2013).  We arrived by noon, had an early check in, and promptly decided to all take a quick nap . . . which meant we all woke up about three hours later.  It was lovely.

A late-afternoon urban stroll led us to Gastown and one of Vancouver's top wood-fired pizza joints for salads and pizzas and very fancy beverages, including the Golden Goddess for Wyatt.  Then back to the hotel for baseball watching and some more sleeping.  We had an early morning and full day planned for Saturday.

Next morning, we headed out of our hotel early, found some breakfast, and picked up supplies for a picnic lunch at Stanley Park.  Then it was off to the Vancouver Aquarium to be first in line when it opened.  We weren't first in the door, but we did make it early enough to pick seats in the "splash zone" of the beluga whale exhibit before the first beluga whale show of the day began.  We learned about how trainers work with these animals every day,  watched them train them, and even got to see some whale tricks.  Didn't get too wet, luckily.  Then it was off to the dolphin show and to check out the jelly fish, the Amazon exhibit, and the amphibians.  We stopped by the sea otters too.  For some bizarre reason, Wyatt seemed to enjoy the gas chromatography exhibit the most.  We could barely pry him away.

A picnic under the blooming cherry trees in Stanley Park, time at the play ground, and then a bit of a hike around to the totem poles . . . and then back to Burrard street left us all tuckered out.  It was during this part of the day that Wyatt repeatedly asked to "go get Dad's office car and drive back to the hotel please."  Although he rode a fair bit on Byron's shoulders, Wyatt hiked a good number of miles that day.  He was a trooper.  Until we got in the cab to go to dinner east of downtown, that is.  Within five minutes, he was fast asleep.

At the suggestion of friends, we tried a Palestinian restaurant called Tamam on East Hastings.  I thought the meal was outstanding, including the fresh-from-the-oven baklava made with pistachios and honey.  I'm not usually a fan, but this version was amazing. I thought the halloumi eggplant was a standout.  But the red cabbage salad and the slow-roasted chicken with spices were also pretty exceptional.  Also loved the humus and mutabal.  Highly recommended.

Sunday morning we went to Granville Island for breakfast and wandering and then took a water taxi to Science World for a few hours of exploring.  We saw a very old t-rex, discovered that together the three of us weighed about the same as 7,000 hissing cockroaches (but less than one giant tortoise), and visited a display of what seemed like millions of Legos.  

Afterward, we headed back out into the sunshine for some eating and hanging out in the part of town known as The Village (formerly the Olympic Village).  Then we caught the train for Seattle and settled in for the return trip.  Wyatt and Button slept all the way home.


B+J said…
Looks like a super fun family trip. I love that they are not too big yet to fall asleep in mom's lap:-)

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