Vancouver is a remarkable city. I wish more US cities could emulate the vibrancy and energy of a city with striking and bold new architecture and people clamoring to live in their downtown high rises. An interesting article compares Seattle to Vancouver - the former (in my opinion) turning into another behemoth overcrowded and poorly planned city of bland and soulless architecture and disappearing public space. Visit Vancouver and you see a striking contrast to many US cities. An interesting article article further describes this contrast.
But spending a day and night in sparkling Vanc was great. The youthful bustling nightlife reminded me of being in Montreal. And we scored a cheap motel/hotel right in town on Burrard that was very retro, yet inexpensive. Things that surprised me include the number of openly drunk kids (eighteen, I believe, is the drinking age), including the young Asian girl in an very expensive Acura that blew through a traffic light and came inches from hitting me; the number of homeless (not just down-and-out, but mentally incapacitated); and the fact that there were few places that could be found serving a decent breakfast. But the city bustles and I look forward to my next visit here. I'll take Vancouver over Seattle any day.
But on a sadder note, the train ride (which was very mellow and relaxing) struck and killed a bicyclist on the way home. The train needed to stop for a few hours at this crossing while an investigation was conducted. Many of these collisions are suicidal, I've been told. Not this one. But we got home around midnight, so it was quite a long few days. But fun.