The problem with visiting places you're already really fond of is that pleasant return visits can cement your feelings in the most bittersweet way. Case in point: our second trip to Vancouver in the past two years. We knew we liked it; it's the reason we went back. But now...well now my longing for Kitsilano Beach, Stanley Park and the gorgeous Vancouver skyline are downright unbearable.

You can have a look at photos from the 07 trip here and I'm starting off this year's selection of pics with my favourite place in Vancouver—Stanley Park. The people of Vancouver have it lucky—mountains, ocean and beautiful parkland, all within easy reach. Swoon. Walking the seawall in Stanley Park is something I believe I'd never get tired of, even if I had all the time in the world to do it.
Vancouver from Stanley Park

Vancouver from Stanley Park

Vancouver from Stanley Park

Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park

Several of the benches along the seawall in Stanley Park have intriguing stories to tell.

Alain Abrams (32) lost Jan 18 1986 in a remote Guatemalan Jungle in the worst plane crash in that country's history. I will never forget you, buddy. This bench is for you. Your friend and partner Allan

John "Mother" Holland to your shining palace built up on the sand we'll remember, always Steve & Sam

And others just make you want to nod in deep agreement.

In memory of L.H.  (Bob) Wade 1912-1994 Happiness - walking the seawall

Check out the spectacular view from Prospect Point Lookout, the highest point in Stanley Park.

The SeaBus ferries you back and forth between Vancouver and North Vancouver for the same low cost as a Skytrain ride or city bus fare. Scenic AND cheap, quite the combo!

The Vancouver skyline as seen from Granville Island.

As well as being able to juggle torches and swallow fire while balancing on the head of a pin, this Granville Island performer was downright funny. I would've given him more than $2 but had just dropped five into the guitar case of the equally talented street musician I saw before him. By the way, the Granville Island Market is a great place to grab lunch (whether that be fish, focaccia or whatever kind of tasty offering you fancy) and then check out artsy local shops.

Honestly, I could write an entire blog entry on Cupcakes. Their shops look every bit as delicious as their cupcakes taste. Mmmmm. If you're having a bad day, picking up one of their creations might well help set you right again and if you're having a good day the icing on a Cupcakes treat will send you straight to seventh heaven. Sadly, the only Cupcakes locations anywhere on the planet are in Vancouver (we dropped into the one in English Bay in the west end and then a downtown location right off Robson Street). But wherever you're coming from, Cupcakes is worth the trip. Seriously. I'm salivating just typing this.

Cupcakes. off Robson Street, Vancouver

Cupcakes, English Bay

Cupcakes, off Robson Street, Vancouver

Cupcakes, English Bay

Blue Hawaii Cupcake, yum!

This 100 foot totem pole stands just outside the Maritime Museum in Vanier Park. There are also several in Stanley Park itself.

Kitsilano Beach is the place to be on a sunny day, whether you want to strum a guitar by the water's edge...

Guitar guy, Kits Beach

play beach volleyball...

Volleyball game, Kits Beach

shoot hoops in the court across from the beach...

Basketball game, court across from Kits Beach

lie around soaking up the sun...

Kitsilano Beach

enjoy a salmon or chicken burger on the sand's edge...

Snacking, Kitsilano Beach

or just hang out with your favourite person.

Kitsilano Beach

Another bit of Vancouver I'm in awe of is the Vancouver Central Public library. Yup, this is the public library! It has seven floors and cost 125 million dollars.

Vancouver Public libraru

We worked a day trip to Victoria (on Vancouver Island) into our vacation this time. The B.C. Ferries journey takes about an hour and a half from Tsawwassen Terminal and offers some lovely vistas along the way.

Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

Before I forget, I should also mention that I dropped in to sign stock copies of One Lonely Degree and I Know It's Over at the Chapters in the Burnaby mall, Metropolis at Metrotown (which is a great mall, by the way, the second largest in Canada). So if you'd like a signed copy and are in the area you know where to find one.
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