For the love of the layover.

Layovers are great- especially when they are long enough to let you leave the airprot and do some exploring.  I was forunate enough, both on the way to and from Edmonton, to explore two great cities for the first time.

On my journey from Auckland to Edmonton, I took advantage of my 8 hour layover in San Francisco and ventured out on the BART train system to explore the heart of the Tanner Family’s hometown.

BART whisked me off to the city’s downtown core, where I strolled through a couple of enchanting side streets and savored the sun’s warm rays in the city square.

The city’s waterfront held some nice views of the San Francisco Bay and the mighty Bay Bridge, and an abundance of Starbucks.

I took advantage of this and picked myself up a mocha coconut frappuccino- hadn’t enjoyed one of these since our honeymoon in Hawaii.

A 24 hour stopover in Vancouver on the way home created the opportunity to hook up with a few friends.

My Kiwi friend Sharona was kind enough to let me stay overnight at her lovely downtown highrise apartment, just 2 blocks from the waterfront.

During the unfavorable patches of weather the next morning, I took shelter in the refuge of an Urban Fare cafe, and rode public transit to explore some new territory.  While the downpouring moisure somewhat inhibited my photo taking, I did stumble upon some neat sights.

For lunch, I met up with our friends Carrie and Mike Chase, who have been living in Vancouver for the past 3 years while Mike attends seminary at Regent College.  It was so lovely catching up with these two over a delish sushi feast.

The one place on my must-do list for this brief trip to Van was Granville Island.  Several people had told me beforehand that I would love it, and they were definitely right.  For those of you who have not been, Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district composed of neat shops and market vendors.  It has a had a great vibe and feel to it, and would love to do a more thorough exploration of this particular place next time we are in town.

Although my visit was brief, and I did by no means experience the fullness of what Vancouver has to offer, I think I got a decent feel for the city.  I particularly enjoyed the greater presence and celebration of the First Nations culture- as observed in more of the artwork and even street art.  I do hope to see more of this vibrant city when we make our return to Canada, hopefully next time with Brendon.

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