Last night, Zak and I stayed up too late chatting to the sweetest couple from Bellingham, Washington around the firepit at our hotel. It was really good to talk politics, travel, the world, food, and parenting with some others. They come up to Vancouver as often as we go into Chicago for the weekend. We took all their advice for what to do today and could not have planned a better day ourselves. Stanely Park bike path and ramen it was for us!
The morning started with croissants and lattes at a coffee shop near the hotel and then borrowed bikes. Every Kimpton (every single one!) offers bikes for all guests to borrow and the girls love the idea of using them. We have a few times in a few different cities, and I don’t like it. As much as I enjoy riding bikes, I get very anxious with the girls on wheels in city traffic. However, we had a great plan to ride around Stanley Park, and only needed to go about a mile in city traffic to get to a bike path. We strapped helmets on, swung our legs over the Brodie’s, and took off. Into the crazy Monday morning rush hour of Vancouver. I panicked. Full on panic attack. Zak and the girls we in front of me, gracefully swerving between cars, and stopping at lights, and going when they turned green, and using hand signals, and getting to the destination. I did my best to follow, tears in my eyes, not really able to breathe, hollering (no, full on screaming) to the rest of the family to be careful. It only took a few minutes to get to the bike path and off the city streets, but it was a a few solid minutes of hell for me. Also, the last half was going downhill at what must of been a 45 degree angle. But we all survived and I was able to calm down with a few deep breaths and a promise from the family that we could walk that part of the ride back to the hotel.
From then on the day was perfect. The park is really unique and has a lot to offer and I know we didn’t dent what is available. We spent our time riding the perimeter, stopping at all the interesting spots, taking photos, and trying to navigate being bikers rather than hikers. We did a great job and finished the loop just in time for Cactus Club to be opening. I had a sangria and we shared an order of the calamari. (Calamari is Ellie’s trail name and one of her favorite foods. We try to order it at least once every road trip for her.) It was a perfect mid-ride treat. We all agreed that biking the park was a lot of fun, so we opted to do another loop rather than heading back to the hotel. Our speed picked up during the second loop and we didn’t take any breaks. It was awesome and made me realize that I do want to bike a lot more than we do, just not in cities. The rest of the family graciously agreed to walk the last part of the ride, so I was able to stay calm and relaxed. I realized on the final leg, that I didn’t remember much from the first leg. I didn’t recognize any buildings or landmarks and I didn’t recall being on the blocks that we were on. Crazy what a little panic does to the mind.
More than 15 miles of riding later and very sore sit bones, we arrived back, intact. We decided an early wine hour and ping pong family tournament was necessary. I didn’t come close to winning. Except if you are tallying glasses of wine enjoyed. I won that contest.
The couple from last night told us that they basically came up here to go a specific ramen restaurant, so we copied them. (They also left Chicago because they just needed to be away from the area. I’m ready to copy them on that one too.) Even at the early hour of 5:00 there was a line out the door at Ramen Danbo. Once we got seated and took our first bites, it was so evident as to why there was a line. Delicious! Best I’ve ever had. And apparently it is also rated the number one ramen shop in Japan too.
It was an early dinner, but that’s good for us tonight. We’re hanging out by the firepit again, the girls are playing ping pong, and we’re going to get to bed early. We have another huge day tomorrow.