OK the day of our cruise check out! We were luckily placed into a later check out time, which worked well with me, because there wasn’t thatttt much I wanted to do in Vancouver. I enjoy Vancouver but when I first visited, I thought the architecture was hideous. Even though it’s considered a beautiful city, presumably for the trees and the water, I feel like the architecture is irredeemable. I also feel like there are more high rises here now than I remember, but come to think of it, it’s one of the few cities I’ve visited that doesn’t have undergoing construction littering the skyline.
We had to leave our cruise rooms by 8am, and leave the cruise ship at 9:35am. My mom and I ended up waking up around 6:30am, and we went to the breakfast buffet around 7am. I kept wanting to have a conversation with my favorite employee of the trip, the bouillon lady, but I also felt rather self conscious and didn’t want to disrupt her work. I’ll never know her!!! Haha I did finally get a glimpse of her name tag though, which was Natalia. Though, I feel like these are not their real names, and that the cruise line assigned them names that people would feel more comfortable with. Like, of course you’re going to give an Eastern European woman the name of “Natalia.”
Anyway, goodbye to Natalia Bouillon, my favorite employee. My family took a few pictures of Vancouver from the top deck of the boat, and I enjoyed having the time to do that. Then we had to leave!
Here is where I WENT WRONG IN MY PLANNING! I decided to get a car from the docks to the airport in order to pick up the rental car, as it cost $50 more to pick up from a different location. I assumed there would be Uber here, but it turns out there isn’t. So the taxi ended up being $42, and I wasted an hour of everyone’s time. SIGH SIGH. What we could have done in that hour was walk to get the rental car from another location, then drive to the hotel, then walk around the Costco that was located A BLOCK from our hotel. Sadness.
Anyway, we got our rental car (a Camry! Hurrah!) then I basically drove us right back to where we started, and had my family go around Granville Island. It turned out, by an extremely good stroke of luck, I parked off the island and decided we’d just walk there, because I didn’t want to pay too much for parking. REALLY luckily, I found metered parking about a 10 minute walk away from the Granville Island entrance. It was far enough that the time limit was three hours, rather than the two hours that closer meters had. The downside was I forgot that there is such a thing called $2 coins, and I needlessly threw $2 into the meter. But oh well – we walked to Granville Island … and essentially my whole family split up to do their own thing because at this point, everyone wanted to do different things (my brother wants to eat, I want to walk around and make sure I capture every possible picture, my mom wants to look at crappy souvenir shops, my dad just wants to walk around very slowly).
I walked around the food market a little too long – there was one street with more artisanal craft stores like a BROOM STORE, a glass art store, etc., that I only got to see a small portion of and wish I had explored the entire street. I had assumed there was less to Granville Island than there actually is. It’s more than just the food market! While walking around, I kept seeing ALLL of these parking spots open, FREE FOR THREE HOURS! I was getting SOOOO pissed at myself, for throwing away $8 on parking!
WELL while I was buying up cute little postcards at one of those artisanal stores, the storeowner told me that the entrance of Granville Island had been completely blocked off because a SINKHOLE had appeared that morning! So that was why there was so little car traffic! She mentioned (and I later saw on yelp reviews) that typically parking on the island is a shit show. So I’m really glad I had parked on the street, as I’m sure it would’ve been impossible to get in otherwise. Everyone on that island had essentially walked in! (Later they opened up the entrance to single lane traffic which also looked like a horrible ordeal on the news).
So, I will overall classify our Granville Island experience as a success. It was the same weekend as a Kids Festival thing, which the storeowner said usually makes it the most busiest time on Granville Island. So by extreme luck, thanks to that sinkhole, we were able to have the island a little more to ourselves (though of course, to the detriment of the vendors on the island).
Well, around this time it was 2:40pm so I drove to our hotel. I honestly thought the Hampton Inn was similar to a Best Western (I think I internalize the name as “Holiday Inn”), but it turned out it’s REALLY nice … and my room ended up being FREAKING $400!!!!! WHICH IS INSANE TO ME. I guess that’s $400 CAD, so luckily it wasn’t as bad in USD.
The room WAS nice, but a suite is probably the way to go from now on if I’m traveling with my entire family (which I hope doesn’t happen again in a very, very long time). I no longer want to ever travel again with my whole family, but I’m pretty sure I say this after every vacation and I always end up feeling guilty and planning a family vacation anyway. I just cannot handle having all four people sleep in the same room. It’s SOOOO ANNOYING. That’s just too many people in one room, breathing the same air, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style.
Upon entering the hotel room, everyone just sort of collapsed onto their chosen thing and sat around. We kept saying “ok we’ll leave soon!” but clearly no one wanted to get up. I think we sat there for an hour before we gathered our energy to leave. I made my brother drive us to Stanley Park, though I would come to regret this because I HATE his rental car driving style. I must distinguish this from his normal driving, which is typically fine. But for some reason, when he’s on vacation and driving a rental car, I feel like he thinks very highly of himself and starts to drive very riskily and shittily.
I’ve been to Stanley Park twice before, the first time via bike with Kristen, Andria, Leneve and Christina which was really fun. I have memories of me biking with my camera in hand. The other time was with my mom, and all I remember was that it was pouring rain, but we committed to walking around the entire park in the rain with no umbrella. And the entire time, we only saw TWO other people who were committed to doing their running routine in the rain. We kept seeing tour buses pull up to major stops, and no one would get out, and the buses would just continue on.
This time, we did more of a drive and walk tour. We weren’t able to walk the entire perimeter due to timing and the drag of my dad and brother, which kind of sucks. My mom and I ended up ditching them, and walked the most important parts on our own (which I deem to be from the Bridge to Ferguson Point/the Teahouse). We eventually met up with my brother, then decided to drive around the Park again just cuz. We ended up stopping at a lookout point right when the Princess Cruise we just came off of was leaving the port, so we took a ton of pictures of it leaving. It felt weirdly sad! To see our home of the past week leave without us. Goodbye, Natalia Bouillon!
Then we drove out of downtown Vancouver to try a sushi restaurant my brother’s friend recommended called Kushimoto. It’s known for the oshi sushi, which is essentially box sushi? I don’t know why it’s so amazing but I didn’t think it was stellar. The plus side was, the wait to get in was about an hour, so we ended up walking to a nearby pizza place that had AMAZING, unique pizza for SUPER cheap. The small regret is that for a dollar more, we could’ve gotten two cokes, but I had initially been too cheap to pay for the special and hadn’t done the math in my head to realize they were practically giving cokes away! We initially got four slices – a crab, bacon, alfredo pizza, a spinach and feta pizza, a chicken masala pizza, and a honey pork pizza. My favorite was surprisingly the crab bacon. After this, we decided to get another two slices as part of the specials deal, and share a coke between us – this time we got a lamb pizza and an artichoke/olives/something one. Everyone was thrilled and all of our slices and that one coke cost $14 CAD, which is SUPER cheap.
At this point, everyone was questioning whether we should eat sushi, until I was like “the WHOLE POINT of eating pizza beforehand was so we would go into the sushi restaurant semi-full, because we were too cheap to stuff ourselves on sushi! SO we are actually EXACTLY where we planned to be!” and everyone was like “hmm that’s true!” So when we finally got in, we got an udon, two sushi rolls and salmon cheeks. Again, I don’t think the place was thattt amazing but I’m glad we tried it.
Then we went back to the hotel, mainly so that my mom would have time to jacuzzi. My mom and I did the jacuzzi, and immediately afterwards, I went out onto the rooftop to look at the view. My mom ended up getting sick the next day, and she points to this as the reason why. Her words: “I’m too old to have such romantic experiences.” Her doctor told her that she had bronchitis, and it came from over exhaustion and dehydration. So … NOT the hot tub!
Then we went back to our room to sleep and get ready for … VICTORIA ISLAND!!!