From Los Angeles, I went to Redmond (WA) where I was in our US office for a week (November 2007) before returning to India. Since I have been to many places around Seattle, I decided to go to Vancouver (BC), Canada for the weekend. This is my first trip to Canada. Canada requires Indian Citizens to have a valid VISA to enter, I had got mine from India itself.
We booked the trip from Seattle-Vancouver-Seattle through Clipper Victoria for about USD 212 per person including the hotel room at Vancouver, entrance to Aquarium, hotel transfers and Grayline tour on Day 2. Today morning (Saturday) we left by Amtrak from King Street Station, Seattle at around 7 AM and reached Vancouver at noon Just like in an airport, you have immigration happening at the arrival.
We stayed at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is a nice hotel and well in the downtown accessible to all places easily.
Taxies are easy to get by calling in Vancouver and many places cost about $10 per trip. Since this is Winter, it was drizzling almost throughout the day, but it seems to be a beautiful city.
The Vancouver Aquarium at Stanley Park is hyped a lot, I found it ordinary especially after seeing many of them around the world. One show that was worth seeing there was a live Necropsy (autopsy done in a fish) performed for a dead Shark – though the event was staged it showed live the inner organs of a shark.
In the same park, we walked for about 20 minutes or so and saw a live Rugby match being played and little far the Totem poles.
After this, we went to Imax Theatre and saw a 3D Movie on Dinosaurs, on our way back we went to Chinatown – where most of the shops got closed at 6:30 PM itself. For the dinner, we went to a nearby Indian Restaurant (Original Flavours of India) on 1232 Robson Street, though the food was little pricier it did taste good. Sunday when we went back to the area in Robson street we found at least 2 other Indian restaurants within the same block.
On Day 2 (Sunday) we took the Grayline half-a-day tour of the city which took us to the Lookout point, Chinatown, Stanley Park, Lions Bridge & Granville Island Public Market. The public market was a World War II abandoned warehouses (5) that were converted to shops – now they house a few hundred eateries. The market itself was fun to roam around & window shop.
Outside in the parking lot, we saw a performance by a freelance magician doing an escape act from bonded chains. Being a Vegetarian I didn’t find anything that interested me but managed to grab something to eat. Post lunch we went to the shops on Robson street.
In the evening we took the Amtrak back to Seattle. Unlike in an airport, the immigration for the USA happens in Vancouver Station itself, customs happens only after the train enters the first station in the USA – just like in India State to State buses border checking, the US Customs officials come into the train seat by seat and check.