The three of us got up at 6:30, ready to leave Victoria, and be on with our travels. Matt’s grandma, perpetually generous and extremely nice, gave us a bag filled to the brim with chips, hardboiled eggs, soda, crackers, and other munchies. After saying our goodbyes, we piled into the Juggernaut and headed north, with Willie Nelson’s voice crooning us along the highway (“On the Road Again”). This ferry was far bigger than the one that got us into Victoria. We parked the car in the belly of the ferry and got ourselves a seat, munching away on various snacks from Matt’s grandmother.
We arrived in Vancouver early, about 10 A.M. Obviously, the first place we headed was Caffé Artigiano, a world renowned coffee shop famous for housing the Canadian Barista champion from 2003-2008. We went to one of their many locations and sat down, faced by a powerful setup: a La Marzocco GS3, a La Marzocco Swift grinder, 2 Mazzer ginders, and most importantly, a Clover (only the second one I’ve ever seen). Pictures of absolutely astounding latté art covered the walls, and I was giddy. Matt ordered a Columbia microlot off the Clover for $8, and I got a traditional cappuccino. The coffee was… awful. The Clover tasted barely better than a French Press (nothing like the Vacuum Pot from Barista! in Portland), and my cappuccino was on par with the Starbucks variety. The froth was spooned on, and jiggled like awkward jello. And there was no Wi-Fi. But enough of my complaints; the rest of the city was incredible. I was reminded sharply of my stay in Italy, and the city of Florence. Vancouver had a much more international feel (especially European), and it was vast. We were able to take a 20 minute walk down the oceanfront to the city aquarium, where we saw a Beluga whale giving birth (the rest of the aquarium was excellent too).
Looking for a cheap room and shower (its almost impossible to find camping near the city; suburbs stretch forever), we booked 3 beds in a great hostel downtown: Samesun Hostel. With our rooms good to go, we went to get therapy for our visit to Caffé Artigiano at Café Crema. This shop was across the river, in what we presumed to be the “nice” part of town. The café was spotless, and they were rockin a Synesso Hydra. My cappuccino was amazing, enough to make up for the traumatizing experience earlier. Back at the hostel, we hung out in a common room and posted on the blog. We met a bunch of really interesting people: Joe from Israel, a group of 3 friends from Switzerland, even a few girls who were taking an even more epic road trip than ours (Florida to Alaska). The hostel was also hosting a movie night, so we watched Back to the Future before bed. Ultimately, a good day exploring a great city. The next night we would be back under the stars, and I was excited. Civilization can only hold my attention for so long, you know?