blue skies and bingsoo
Stanley Park was one of the attractions I knew I had to go to at least once while in Vancouver but I had never realised just how big it is – it stretches over 1001 acres according to Wikipedia. After filling ourselves up with pho and bubble tea in Kerrisdale, we caught a bus to Downtown and from there we walked to the park.
The weather was perfect that day, all gorgeous sunshine and clear blue skies. We strolled along the seawall which runs around the perimeter of the park, taking in the endless views. There were a lot of people cycling and that gave me intense flashbacks to the previous summer in Hong Kong, when my uncle, cousins and I cycled around Cheung Chau Island on rented bikes. That is one of my most favourite memories and I don’t think I will ever forget the way the breeze made the sticky heat slightly more bearable as I cycled to my heart’s content well into the evening. We didn’t end up renting bikes at Stanley Park but it’s something I’d definitely like to do next time so that we can cover more mileage of the whole place.
The views were picture-perfect and postcard-ready – I could probably go there every morning for a walk and not tire of it – and I readily took the opportunity to take as many photos as possible. We found a nice grassy area to sit down in for a moment of quiet. There were other people around, just like us, enjoying their days and each other’s company. Some were lying down in each other’s arms, others were softly speaking or lazing around with a book. I wish for more days like this in Scotland, when the sun brings people out to savour these tranquil moments, with only the grass beneath us and the sky above.
We kept on walking for a little while, coming across what seemed like a small beach that we had to clamber down some steps to get to. The views were of a different perspective, with the focus lying on the mountains in the distance. It made me feel just how small we are as human beings, one among billions and billions in a world so vast and so incredible.
Our next stop was Vancouver Aquarium, nestled among the trees of the park. As we got there later in the afternoon, it was an hour and a half to closing time. The lovely guy at the ticketing stand gave us free tickets to return the next day (we didn’t end up going back as we felt we had enough time to see everything we wanted to see but it was a very kind offer). We happily made our way in, buying some slushies that tasted a touch too artificial but were otherwise sufficient in relieving us from the relentless heat.
The Tropic Zone was my favourite indoor exhibit, with an array of colourful fish weaving in and out of delicate coral. The jellyfish, large and small, in the Exploration Gallery were mesmerising to watch. In Steller’s Bay, we spotted the sea lions snuggled together and having an afternoon snooze. And in The Wild Coast there was a cheeky seal staring at us staring at him. We also managed to see the dolphins and the most adorable sea otters.
We stayed until closing time and let ourselves loose in the gift shop, coming away with a toy seal and some postcards as a keepsake. As we made our way out of the park, we Googled dessert cafes and found Snowy Village on Robson Street was the closest within reasonable walking distance.
Once we were there, we ordered a strawberry bingsoo to share. Bingsoo is a shaved ice dessert originating from Korea and it comes in a variety of flavours and toppings. The shavings were from frozen milk, adding this wonderful creaminess to the melt-in-the-mouth texture. It came with a generous portion of sliced strawberries and was finished with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberry sauce. A perfect, light dessert for those hot summer days and the Snowy Village version definitely ticked all the boxes and became one of my personal favourites. Not long after, it was time for dinner at a Thai restaurant but more on that another time..
This post is part of to vancouver, a new series to document my recent trip to that beautiful Canadian city. You can click here to read the first post, if you haven’t already done so. I do hope you will enjoy following along as I recount my journey.
Some questions for you: What are your favourite things to do on sunny, blue-sky days? And if you’ve tried bingsoo, do you love it as much I do?