Vancouver, Part IV: The 13 Mile Stroll

Stanley Park
Stanley Park

Earlier in the series, which might as well be subtitled Vancouver: Searching for Sunshine (and luckily finding it), I mentioned that it is important to seize the moment when the weather is good. As we awoke to a beautiful, warm (by Pacific Northwest standards, not by Floridian standards), sunny day, I looked at the weather forecast. It could rain. It seemed like a good idea to take a stroll (1.5 miles) over to Stanley Park. Perhaps this was a good time to walk along the seawall?

FKGuy agreed and before we could change our minds, we were out the door. It occurred to me that it was possible we

We were not alone on our walk.
We were not alone on our walk.

would also be walking along the seawall later that evening with friends, but it was so beautiful (and I am so horribly stubborn,) I swore I could do the 6.5 mile path twice in one day.

We got to the park, started our walk and encountered very few other people: several bikers, many runners and just a few walkers. I noticed that I saw many of the walkers twice. Apparently we were the only fools to walk the entire loop. But it was a beautiful walk. We saw the Lion’s Gate Bridge, which we saw on the way to Capilano the day before (and, spoiler alert: we would see it again as our ship sailed away from Vancouver. More on that later.)

Lions Gate Bridge, from the park.
Lions Gate Bridge, from the park.

Stanley Park is about 1,000 acres of park, right in the city. It is amazing. There are boats, tennis courts, totem poles and much more. We strolled the perimeter, taking in the sights, enjoying the weather and snapping a few photos. By the end of the walk, it was starting to drizzle. We meandered our way out of the park and contemplated lunch. I will admit that my initial reaction was that we should go for sushi, then walk around a bit and go for another lunch somewhere else. It seemed like such a good idea. After all, this is a town with loads of great food that spans the culinary globe, so two lunches seemed plausible.

Then reality set in. We had walked 8 miles already and were hungry. Plus, if we were to do this again later in the day,

Enjoying the day.
Enjoying the day.

I would likely keel over without a nap. Who are we kidding? I would likely keel over with a nap, too. We were walking back in the general direction of the hotel when we spotted Banana Leaf, a Malaysian restaurant that is part of a small chain, and one of our friend’s favorite places. It seemed that only one lunch was going to happen that day.

We were seated and began to peruse the menu, it became¬†clear that we were both too hungry and too tired to be making serious decisions. And this was a huge menu that would require a lot of thought. Then I spotted the seven course lunch, and thought “nothing says food coma and nap quite like a seven course meal in the middle of the day, plus, we are on vacation,” and we went ahead and ordered the set menu and a bottle of white wine (Calliope Viognier, an excellent match for the spicy food.)

Happy to be sitting...
Happy to be sitting…

With the decision not to decide already made all we could do was sit back and enjoy. In reality, this was not a seven course meal. It was really a three course meal, with seven items. Much more reasonable (or so I told myself).

We started with a refreshing papaya and pineapple salad, and then moved on to calamari with chili sauce and roti with curry sauce. Roti is a flat, unleavened bread (note to Jews: we should totally have this on Passover. Much tastier than matzo.) The roti is a conduit for a delicious, perfectly spiced curry. Frankly, you could have put that curry on a shoe and it would taste good, but on bread? Amazing. I tried to say as much to FKGuy, but it came out as a series of grunts as I continued to eat carbs with reckless abandon. Plus, I figured the longer I ate, the more time my legs had to recover.

Next up was Assam curry fish, Rendang curry beef and Sambal string beans. It is safe to say that each dish was better

A Malaysian feast, and no decisions needed.
A Malaysian feast, and no decisions needed.

than the next, and I understand why this is a favorite for our friend. I should also mention that this entire menu, including dessert, but excluding the wine, was a bargain at $18/person. Hell, not having to make a decision is worth the price of admission.

After lunch, and a brief, unsuccessful stop at the liquor store across the street in search of the white wine I liked at the Vancouver Urban Winery, we headed back to the hotel for much needed rest. Mostly I wanted to take my shoes off. But 4 PM came around quickly, and we were off to meet our friends by the Olympic torch. As we approached them, we noticed they had a backpack full of provisions: water, good walking shoes, and pretty much anything else you would need. They seemed to be more prepared for a Zombie apocalypse than a stroll, albeit a long one, around the park.

View from above.
View from above.

We needed a seriously good Plan B to deter them from the Stanley Park walk. It was beautiful and all, but once in a day (or week), was plenty. I didn’t need to do it again. Although my legs were screaming, my brain was still functioning, and as they were getting up and discussing our route, I casually mentioned that the weather was perfect this morning, so we had already done the walk. But, if they want to do it, we’d be happy to do it again. (“Happy” might be overstating things just a bit.) Or, I suggested, we could go to the restaurant at the top of Harbor Place and have drinks. It is a revolving restaurant with 360 degree views of the city. It takes exactly two cocktails to see the whole thing. The look of relief on Pauline’s face as she realized that she could be enjoying a cool beverage instead of trekking around the park was priceless. Plus, the views from above the city are phenomenal.

Surf and turf at The Fish House.
Surf and turf at The Fish House.

After our drinks, we headed to Stanley Park on foot, as we had dinner reservations at The Fish House. For the record, I was convinced that there was no way this touristy, overly froofy place in the middle of the park could be good. I was wrong. Food and service were both very good. Between the surf and turf, salmon and halibut, we tried most of the offerings, and they were universally well received.

By this point, according to fitbit, I had walked almost 13.5 miles, and I was delighted that we had not added another 6.5 to the tally. After dinner my mother suggested we walk back to the hotel, but I quickly overruled that, (“you are more than welcome to walk. I am taking a taxi,“) as I had hoped to be able to walk the next day. Several applications of Tiger Balm, and a bit of screaming in pain, and I was good as new and ready for another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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