V for Vancouver

Well, time for another overdue post. This time for another city that’s supposedly at the top of the best cities to live list. First it was Vienna, now it’s time for… Vancouver!

Trip started nicely, with some gorgeous sights while flying over Greenland:

Do you want to build a snowman?

I’ve mostly kept to the strict city centre, so my impression of the city might be skewed… nevertheless, here we go!

As can be seen from the above photos, there quite a few interesting and colorful places (that I found during the few days I’ve been there). While I did not like the downtown with all its skyscrapers (they were overwhelming and obstructed the mountains in the background…), I did enjoy walking outside it and looking at it from afar 😉 Not pictured: great food (mmmm, ramen…) on every corner.

I heard that the Vancouver Aquarium was the first one of its type. From their site:

The Vancouver Aquarium is a recognized leader in connecting people to our natural world. As a self-supporting, non-profit association, the Aquarium is dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research and direct action.

I’ve never been to an aquarium, so, of course, I had to visit it 🙂

As expected, it was a great place to get some interesting photos. It was also my first time visiting a 5D cinema (or was it 4D?). I’ve always thought it was a cheap gimmick, but I actually really enjoyed it, though it probably works for a very limited types of movies.

After the aquarium, I’ve explored the Stanley Park it’s located at. It’s almost as big as Downtown and offers much needed concrete-free space.

Yup, that’s a separate track for rollerblading
The downtown looks great… from afar 😉

The other place of interest that I’ve visited was just at the edge of Chinatown. It was the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It was the first traditional Chinese garden built outside China and, while I don’t have much comparison, it’s definitely worth visiting. It’s very well-kept and while it’s not big, it has many details. I highly recommend catching a tour guide, as their commentary adds so much to the visit. I’ve learned, for example, that the koi fish they have there are easily older than me, and the oldest specimens in the world are over 200 years old!

The garden is divided into two spaces – the free, public one (which is also worth a visit) and one you have to pay a fee to visit (but it’s totally worth it).

I was curious of the Chinatown that was next to the garden…. but I soon regretted venturing into that area. I was expecting something like London’s Chinatown – tourist-friendly, etc. What I found was nasty neighbourhood, full of drug addicts looking like skeletons. Apparently, it’s not uncommon to see a car on fire in the middle of the day there. However, before I fled, I couldn’t resist visiting a few shops. They had dried goods of every type… I didn’t recognize 90% of the stuff (or was afraid to ask). I saw dried sea cucumbers and lizards XD

All in all, it was an interesting visit. Certainly a different type of city than Vienna. Especially when you look at it on the map and notice all those straight, grid-like, streets (though, they do make navigating the city very easy).

For some reason however, when given the option to return there this year, I’ve decided not to. I’ve heard an opinion that it’s a great city to live in, but not the most interesting tourist-wise. I’m easily entertained as a tourist, so I’m not sure about that (and I can’t say how’s living there after spending just a few days there), since I found many things to do (and there were still a few left). It’s probably my growing allergy to people that affected that 😀

Till next time!

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