Well I've given myself a great big backlog to cover now, haven't I? The time and energy to post after Samantha arrived never seemed to materialise, but on the plus side it gives me plenty to do for the rest of this lovely Sunday afternoon.
I arrived in Vancouver on the coach and managed to get myself over to the Hi-Downtown hostel, the first of three hostels I would end up staying in in the city. As usual I was jammy enough to have the bottom bunk and my usual hostel checks gave me a lot to be happy about - there was a socket close by and the internet was strong. These things became very important to me. Downsides were the fact that it was really quite dark and the pillows were rubbish enough to be pointless.
This hostel was right on Davie Street, an interesting enough road that lead right down to English Bay. My first night I managed a short stroll out to get some food before quickly retiring back to my bed. Knowing that Samantha would be arriving in Vancouver in a not-too-short space of time, I tried not to do too much that she would want to do. This meant a lot of walking round Stanley Park and the beaches, but this was absolutely fine by me. I adore a good stroll and sit on a beach. Who doesn't? Maniacs, that's who.
After letting the world know via Facebook that I had arrived in my hostel, I received a message from Hannah (who I'd met in Ottawa) saying she too was in Vancouver in the other Hi Hostel on Granville Street. After enquiring as to the state of the wifi where I was she made the move over to Downtown - a decision I would later agree with wholeheartedly. We met up and took ourselves round Stanley Park, somewhere I could walk for days on end without getting bored. Over the next few days befor Hannah left we spent a lot of time together, walking ourselves around Vancouver and Canada place. She then head off back to the states for a short while before jetting off to Fiji for Christmas! A hot Christmas...I'll never get my head around it.
As I said before, knowing that Samantha would be joining me in Vancouver, I didn't want to do everything and be bored. So I spent the next couple of weeks walking around Stanley Park and the beaches and watching lots of Midsomer Murder. We had a dusting of snow on a couple of days - I didn't realise it had snowed until Jen (in the UK) told me, as she had seen Hugh Laurie tweet about it. I love the internet.
After a fortnight at Hi-Downtown, I moved to the St. Clair hostel closer to Granville Street. It was cheaper and would be the same place Flood and I would stay for a couple of nights before going to Victoria. The hostel is cheap, but good enough for what you pay. Good strong wifi, but poor plug placement. The staff were friendly and accommodating...it's a short stay kinda place, there are some longer residents but I wouldn't have liked to stay too long.
Whilst here I was able to explore Granville Street a bit more, and found a carol service to go to...it wouldn't be Christmas without carols. Before long I was finally making the trip to the airport to fetch Samantha, woohoo!
Flood collected, we stepped outside to find it snowing again. By the next morning it had settled thickly, and we were able to go slushing around Canada place, leaving footprints and patterns everywhere.
Our plan for the only full day in Vancouver before we left for Victoria was to go to the Christmas fair...we'd bought tickets on groupon via a favour from Pippa in Calgary. We killed some time in the morning then went on over....to find our tickets were not valid for Fridays, our only day we would be able to use them. Grr. We paid to get in and were not overwhelmed. It was a Christmas market...and it was tiny. Having come from the free Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to this, it felt really cheeky to charge us to look around a tiny selection of stalls that were, in general, overpriced. We had some mulled wine and enjoyed our Christmas mugs. They'd make a large appearance later on in our script.
We walked on up Granville Street to the Famous Warehouse for dinner, a place I'd visited with people from Hi-Downtown that has everything on the menu for $4.95 and is delicious. Sat at the bar, we were talked at by a man who had apparently lived in Acton and was part of a Shepherd's Bush Massive. He told repeatedly how he didn't like the UK, and the barman defended our honour. Fun night. DEFINITELY go there if you're in Vancouver and need cheap yummy food.
Next morning we were up and out over to the ferry terminal to get ourselves over to Victoria...