Seattle to Vancouver

Seattle is probably best known for being the setting for TV series such as Frasier, Grey’s Anatomy, and Dark Angel.  It’s a nice city, but with 330 days of rain a year perhaps not the most popular in the States.  The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World’s Fair, rises gracefully into the skyline, the city’s most iconic landmark.  Also of note is the Public Markets, home to the Seattle fish markets, where stall owners literally throw fish at one another, normally over the heads of delighted patrons.

There is a decent comedy scene, some fantastic restaurants and plenty of live music and theatre.  Electra and I went to an improv night at a local comedy club where everyone seemed to work for Microsoft as their day job. and they had a lot of fun doing sketches around themes suggested by the audience.  I actually think the audience only comprised of Electra and I as everyone else seemed to get up on stage!  Like most cities, Seattle is more of a weekend place and we were there earlier in the week, but check out Vito’s and the Hideout if you are in the area (thanks to the wonderful Pol for these tips!)  

Vancouver is a short drive from Seattle, and you don’t even have to leave your car to cross over into Canada.  Of course the customs officer was bemused by the relationship between me and Electra.  I’ve got a Mexican surname, British passport and Australian accent, and Electra has a Spanish/English accent.  It doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.  

Now, I’m really behind on my blog, so I’m going to snapshot the things to do in Vancouver:

-   - English Bay – a really great neighbourhood close to Stanley Park, with a huge variety of restaurants, with a decent beach.
    - Stanley Park – you can walk, drive or cycle round this really pretty park which is iconic in Vancouver and has stood in for Central Park in many a TV series or movie. 
·   - Yaletown – converted warehouses make for a trendy neighbourhood full of cool bars and nice restaurants.
·   - Gastown – on the harbor, this is another great area for pubs and restaurants
·   - Grouse Mountain – a short drive out of Vancouver central, you can either get the cable car up or do the ‘Grouse Grind’ – a steep walk that was closed when we were there because of the snow!  Breathtaking views of Vancouver, ski slopes, grizzly bears and wolves, it’s a cool day out.
If you haven’t heard of the Stanley Cup, chances are you aren’t into Ice Hockey.  The Stanley Cup happens once a year, 7 matches between the top National Ice Hockey teams of the year: Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins.  As Canada hasn’t been represented for several years, and the Canucks haven’t played in the Stanley Cup for about 30 years, the city was abuzz.  Huge screens were erected in the streets, thousands of people clad in the blue Canucks shirt thronged the streets, the first game was even played in Vancouver.  The Canucks won, resulting in one of the biggest street parties of all time – over 70,000 people out celebrating.  Electra and I stayed out for a lot of it, but we’d partied pretty hard already up until that point and I have to admit to folding early!  Still, it dominated the next couple of weeks of my trip as I proudly wore my Canucks shirt, even to games I watched in the States.  Unfortunately they lost rather spectacularly in the last game and Vancouver erupted into riots, a complete 180 from the feelgood atmosphere that abounded when we were there.