Listen to Vancouver's Christmas Radio http://player.qmfm.com/ while reading this post. It adds to the mood. I grabbed breakfast at Gutenberg's Cafe near the Public Library. Got Eggs Benedict and fluffy buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. I tasted maple syrup for the first time and it was less sweet than I expected. All the better - it means I can eat more of it without being sick.
Then the exploring began and I'll surely feel it tomorrow - there are many climbing streets in Vancouver. I left home at 9 am and returned around 3 pm. I haven't counted the miles I made, but I've been to the public library, to the Pacific Centre, to Canada Place up at Vancouver Harbor, to the Transylvanian Bakery (it is an 8 year old Romanian family business which makes deserts) where I met the owner (I'm getting a Savarina tomorrow), to the International Village Centre where there is an incredible store called Vikings and Dragons! There are statues, T-shirts, carpets and whatnots - all with Celtic decorations and dragons! But it was closed...
Around 9 o'clock it's not yet fully light outside and there aren't many people on the streets, either. But the restaurants and cafés are packed. There was a nice queue waiting to get a table at Medina's. And for good reason - Medina is an amazing café with Belgian wafers and interesting dishes such as Avocado Toast (a thick layer of fluffy bread covered in avocado and tomato salsa served with sunny side eggs). The decorations are vintage and there is a cozy feeling about that place.
After more walking around identifying shops and heritage buildings I was walking down Georgia Street when I began seeing people gathering on the edge of the street. Also, a crowd of red clad elves hurried towards downtown. Then I read one of the red banners hanging from every light pole on the street - Vancouver Christmas Parade. I came to the Art Gallery at Robson Square where carols were sung and visitors could decorate their own gingerbread and snowflakes. At 1 o'clock the parade began and so did the downpour. My hands were numb on the umbrella holder and on the camera. Grinch was marching amongst the police officers :))
I'm tired now from my cold earlier this week, from the walking and from the remains of the jet lag. I'll be doing more exploration this week. Can't wait :D I can see the stadium from my bedroom window and tonight it's red. In the past days it's been green and blue. I wonder what color will it be tomorrow.