Today was our last day in Vancouver before we took the train across the Rockies to Jasper. There was much more we could have done around the town and further afield in BC, including Victoria and all the national parks stuff, but we can always come back. We probably will, even if it is just for the wild Pacific salmon. With its amazing colour and rich flavour – far less oily than than farmed Atlantic Salmon – it is the king of fish, even with stiff competition from the local white fish.

Our wanderings today took us through Yaletown – a very swish and upmarket renewal area surrounded by apartments and fringed by marinas. It reminded one of Docklands, although Melbourne lacks Vancouver’s dramatic mountain backdrop. Paula went window-shopping for aquatic transport and thought the pictured vessel filled a nice niche between luxury liner and aircraft carrier.

The days are still cool in Downtown, although the sun was shining this morning as I had my post-gym lap session. This has been a luxury this trip – one of many at L’Hermitage, which I would recommend even if it wasn’t the first hotel I’d ever stayed in with a Nespresso in each room. I’ve been comfortable in shirtsleeves most days, with jeans in the evenings, though it was much colder on the water yesterday.

Granville Island grew from a sandbar to an industrial area in a reclaimed island, left derelict after the war and revived as a boating and art/craft centre in the eighties. Think of The Rocks without the gouging and a sense of genuine craftsmanship. Theatres, drama workshops and restaurants flourish. Add the most marvelous food market and you have a whole day of wandering.

We are both particularly taken with the First Nation artwork: it is very powerfully and I latched onto an iconic representation of an orca – fortunately available as a card rather than a print, which we would never have got home.

Some marvelous street theatre kept us entertained for some time – Harry Houdini via Saskatoon, with an appropriately slanted attitude to all things America (so where’re you from? California? Oh, I’ll be nice to you, you might have a gun.)

The discovery of the day for me was the Granville Island micro-brewery. The taster deal was very reasonable and contained a great selection: a great lager, an interesting take on a pale ale (rather like Coopers, I thought, rather than the genuine English article) a very tasty wheat beer and a ginger-flavoured beer. All very modern, but much better than the industrial suds of a beer-drinker’s nightmares.

We’re now at the appropriately dilapidated Pacific Station, in what appears to be God’s waiting room judging by the average age and number of walking aids. Can’t wait to see the Rockies – that’ll be all the action for most of the passengers, I’m sure!!