A very early flight allowed us to see the sunrise over Manhattan’s skyline, perfectly delineated as if drawn by an architect, from Newark Airport.

In Vancouver’s airport they take their indigenous art seriously, with large wood figures and totem poles all over. There you also realize how much of a cruise city it is: cruise lines have their own counters at the airport, to take passengers and luggage directly to their ship.

After a fast and easy immigration, the Canada Line subway took us from the airport directly across the street from our hotel, the Opus. A fancy and “hip” hotel, where we enjoyed an executive corner suite, with welcomed amenities like an iPad, a local cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S IV), home theater, kitchenette, robes…

But we were not to stay in the room, having Vancouver waiting for us. So we left, and walked to Chinatown. Vancouver is a great city to walk or use a bicycle. At least in the summer!

In Chinatown we enjoyed beautiful peace and quiet of the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, chosen by National Geographic as the best urban garden in the world.

Then we headed to Gastown, a very nice semi-pedestrian area with restaurants and shops, home of the famous Gastown Steam Clock (yes, a clock powered by steam), and from there we walked to Waterfront Station and Canada Place Way to see the Olympic Cauldron and the “Lego” whale. On the way we stop to try a street food delicacy (which we just learned that they have a store in New York): a Japadog! “Kurobuta Terimayo” “hot dog” (definitely something new and worth tasting, made with Kurobuta Pork, teriyaki sauce, fried onions, Japanese mayo and topped with seaweed), and listen to live music at the Fairmont hotel. We also had some business in the Four Seasons and the surprisingly nicer Georgia.

At night we had a very nice and early dinner at the terrace of “C Restaurant”, by the False Creek Yacht Club. Very fresh local and sustainable seafood. We enjoyed great dishes like Seared Scallops Appetizer with English pea ravioli, bone marrow croquettes, sauce verge, lemon ash; Line Caught Ling Cod with braised kale, smoked & pureed artichoke, fried clams, and romescu sauce; and Lemon Dessert (“lemon meringue pie” lemon mousse, lemon curd, shortbread).

Wonderful beginning of an awesome trip.