vancouver, day two

On Tuesday morning after breakfast we were finally able to see the pups on the webcam, so the day started out right.

After a quick breakfast in the hotel, we bought day passes for transit - Vancouver's new Compass Card - and set out for the Granville Island Market. The weather was beautiful - 9C and sunny - but would supposedly be even nicer the following day, so we were planning accordingly.

We took the Skytrain (the same train we took from the airport) to a bus through the downtown to Granville Island and the market. It's a small but beautiful market, and the food is really top-notch. Besides eating and wandering, we bought food for our visit to Stanley Park. We think for once we refrained from buying three times as much as we need.

The Granville Island Market also boasts a huge collection of shops of local and independent artists and artisans. Paper crafts, potters, textile arts, glass art, jewelry, you name it. We're not big shoppers, but living in the middle of homogenized sprawl as we do, this is a treat. We were able to pick up some gifts we needed, too.

Across False Creek from the market are the condo high-rises you always see in pictures of Vancouver, and in the distance you see snow-capped mountains. You actually see those in the near distance from various vantage points downtown, too, much like Seattle.

We bussed back to the hotel and collapsed for a while, our brains still on Eastern time. The transit here seems great. The buses are electric, so they're quieter and the air is cleaner. In general, this city is so clean, like all Canadian cities, at least compared to the US.

Later, we were back on the train to dinner. A friend sent me this review of Vancouver's Top 10 ramen spots. As soon as I saw it, I was like "Noodles!! Noodles every day!" Last night we went to the first one on the list, Gyoza. We had some messy, delicious pulled-pork bao, then a ramen in a rich, delicious, tomato-based broth, almost like a bouillabaisse. I could eat that every day and never get tired of it.

The restaurant was a short stroll - in beautiful Spring-like weather - to the Vancouver Art Gallery, the main art museum here. We weren't interested enough to spend $20 each admission, but Tuesday night is pay by donation night, so we thought we'd spend an hour there.

As it turns out, there's a special exhibit on taking up the entire museum. And of course there are big crowds (which is nice to see). But focusing on art and navigating through crowds while our brains are on another time zone was not too appealing.

We strolled back to the train, seeing more of the downtown, including some of the famous food trucks. And then, using the hell out of our transit passes, it was back to the hotel.

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