So there's the official Olympic countdown clock. And some really amazing Chinese food just so you loyal readers can know what I've been doing and eating in the land of caffeination- otherwise known as our trip to Vancouver and Seattle. Seriously - you folks in those cities know how to do coffee and tea - and let me say, I indulged over and over. Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Tim Horton's, Blenz... plus a bunch of others not of the chain variety. Just walk five feet and you pretty much trip over a coffee shop of some sort. Which is just fine with me.
We flew into Seattle and then drove up to Vancouver, showing our passports at the border now that this is required. (kind of adds a touch of excitement to the whole process) And then we began the tourist thing in earnest: aqua bus to Granville Island; Robson street, Stanley Park carriage ride, Aquarium, neighborhood walks, followed by tram ride up to the top of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver; Space Needle, Harbor and Locks cruise, Pike Market, and lots of neighborhood walks in Seattle.
And the coffee. Did I mention the coffee? Plus a really spectacular Assam Chai tea in Vancouver at Blenz. They scoop it out loose and make their own mesh tea bag thingies...
Of course, I wandered bookstores in both cities; looked for those 2k9 books on the shelves.
But mostly, we (husband and I ) just enjoyed being somewhere else. Honestly, we'd both been so crazy busy the past couple of months that I'd actually planned very little. And by little, I mean nothing. Normally, I'm anal Annie about vacations. The Bataan Death March of planners. This time we stepped off the plane in Seattle and headed to the Enterprise booth and I was thinking, huh! All I've got with me is the map quest for how to drive to Vancouver and honestly, it's a straight line so I probably didn't even need that. (okay, we had hotel reservations. I guess I planned a little) But no schedule. No agenda. We'll figure it out when we get there, I thought.
And we did. I had no idea that the Art Museum in Vancouver was hosting an amazing Vermeer/Rembrandt exhibit on loan from Amsterdam. But it was. So we went to it. And not long after that, got to watch as a group of Iranian students and Iranian Canadians protested their current elections on the steps of that same museum. And listened to talk of the same over Chai tea at a coffee house a few blocks away. I had no idea that a baby beluga whale had just been born at the Aquarium. But it had. And we got to see that seven day old, still wrinkly baby nursing on its mother. I discovered something called Montreal smoked meat at the market on Granville Island. I love this stuff... and the Chinese food in the picture above. Had some of that in Vancouver, too. And it kicked butt! I had no idea that the Deadliest Catch boats are harbored in Seattle or that I'd see The Wizard. And the Sleepless in Seattle house on the water. Saw that too. And the big warehouse thing the Real World Seattle people lived in. And I discovered that for some weird reason there's a statue of Lenin in the Fremont neighborhood. And a troll under the bridge. Who knew? Not me!
I could keep rambling. But you get the picture. Travel. Wandering. Meeting and talking and going places you haven't been. Stumbling into a tiny little tapas restaurant with decent Sangria. Chatting up a cabbie about his thoughts on the upcoming Olympics. As Melissa Marr is fond of saying, it "fills the well." Takes you out of your life for awhile and lets you walk a different path.
So I guess the question for today is: Where should I go next?
Til next time... (when I will post some Dreaming Anastasia updates!)