After the major delay to the Amtrak from Seattle, I eventually arrived in my final stop of the trip, Vancouver, at around 1:30am on Saturday morning. After passing through Canadian customs and a short taxi to my hostel, I went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
My first morning in Vancouver, I took the Skytrain to Richmond for my first non-Scotland parkrun (new personal best time of 23:13). There were only 30 runners participating; a long way from the 500+ usual attendees at Edinburgh. When else am I going to place in the top 10 otherwise though?
After parkrun, I went to Tim Hortons for a coffee and doughnuts with some of the local runners. After teasing out some recommendations of things to do, I headed back to the hostel to shower, and then walked down to BC Place to collect my ticket for the Vancouver Whitecaps game against Sporting KC. I ended up getting to the stadium about a half hour before the will call windows opened, so I visited a sports bar across the road for a couple of pints and a burger, and then walked to the Whitecaps merchandise store on Water Street to buy a shirt before the game.
I made it back to BC Place an hour or so before kick-off, and killed time in the bar before taking my seat. The game against Sporting KC was my first live match in a few years; I miss the intensity of proper stadium atmosphere. The Whitecaps won the game fairly comfortably 2-0 against the league leaders, so the atmosphere remained buoyant as the stadium emptied. After the game, I wandered back to the hostel and ate in the restaurant downstairs, not having made any plans for after the football. I got talking to a girl at the bar who worked in American politics, and we killed a few hours discussing, slightly inebriated, our views of Trump, Brexit, and Scottish Independence.
I woke up on the Sunday morning a little hungover after the full previous day of drinking, and walked to a coffee bar two blocks from the hostel to try and wake myself up. After consuming sufficient quantities of caffeine, I walked across to Granville Island, then back across the Burrard Street bridge and into Sunset Beach Park. The weather was beautiful, so I kept walking up through Stanley Park with no real aim in mind. As this was a holiday weekend in Vancouver and with temperatures over 25C, the place was packed with bikers, runners, skaters, and dog walkers. It was relaxing to walk through the park, feeling miles away from the skyscrapers in the city centre.
After a long day of walking, I met some friends at a ramen place in downtown Vancouver (I’ve never had ramen before; I always figured it was just fancy Pot Noodles, but it was actually really good), and after that they took me to a brewpub on Water Street called Steamworks for a few pints. It was great to catch up, and having spent the preceding couple of weeks on my own it was nice to talk with people I hadn’t just met in a hostel dorm.
I woke relatively fresh on my last full day in Vancouver, Victoria Day, and after the fresh bagel breakfast in the hostel I put on my running shoes and headed back to Stanley Park. The weather was again beautiful, and the 10k route around the outside of the park was a nice easy way to see Vancouver Harbour. After my run, I returned to Granville Island to see the market, picking up a couple of final souvenirs for family as I wandered through. I walked back from the market to the hostel to leave my souvenirs, and then left again to meet my friends for dinner. We hit an Irish bar a block from their flat after eating, and reminisced until the early hours over several pints of Guinness.
I didn’t plan anything for my last day, as my flight home to Glasgow was at 2pm. I still hadn’t had any Canadian poutine at this point though, so before I left the city, I visited a hole-in-the-wall place across from the hostel to sample what Vancouver had to offer. Totally sold; I wish we could get cheese curds here in the UK. I walked back to the Skytrain station to the airport for the eight-hour flight home to Scotland, having thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cascadia.