Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Honeymoon's Over, but Only Literally

Happy Fourth of July, everybody! Maddie and I are celebrating by not-celebrating, continuing the four-day weekend that has followed our wedding and honeymoon business. We aren't out looking for fireworks, but we did put some food back in the fridge and see Inside Out yesterday, and of course we've already retrieved Omi from the PetSmart cat-kennel in East Harlem. They said she was well behaved; she promptly spent most of Thursday night yelling at us from the other side of the bedroom door, then threw up on the living room floor on Friday, so yeah, the cat's back, and we still love her. The New York City weather isn't into full-on summertime oppression yet, so it feels nice that we get to ease back out of the Pacific Northwest atmosphere.

Inside Out is really excellent, by the way, one of the golden-age Pixar movies they're still capable of imagining up, in between the sequels.

To summarize the honeymoon in a single image, you could describe it as one long leisurely walk. We had five and a half days in Vancouver, two and a half in Seattle. Maddie and I have a similar default vacation mode, which is getting to a different, agreeable locality and wandering around it on foot, stopping to browse or eat or drink whenever the mood strikes. Sometimes we opt to wander around a park or a light hiking trail or a museum instead. Usually it's in a gemütlich urban-yuppie neighborhood.

We rented a car once, to drive out to the Harrison Hot Springs resort a couple hours east of  Vancouver for an overnight -- this is somewhat into the scenery, but not fully into the Rockies. Late in the evening and in the morning, felt as calming as promised to hang out in the thermal pools a while. Took a sneaker hike for a couple hours at a nearby provincial park with a well-maintained but not very busy trail going around a lake. We'd skipped the overpriced spa treatments at the resort but got massages back in Vancouver the day after.

In Vancouver, my two favorite wanderings were in our first and last days. First, getting an Aquabus pass and going to the tourist market at Granville Island, then around False Creek, for nice views of Vancouver's identical-looking luxury highrises (they were all built by the same developer, and I'm sure there's a non-seedy story behind that particular property deal) and a worthwhile stop at the Craft beer market, which is in a handsome old saltworks building. Second, catching one of the shuttle buses to the extremely touristed Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver. On arrival you see enough crowds and cheesy faux-rustic touches to threaten disappointment, but walking over the bridge is fun anyway, and the boardwalk paths they've built halfway up into the treetops and along the side of the ravine are memorable and surprisingly quiet. Probably best to go off hours, instead of on a Saturday morning like we did.

We visited the Vancouver Art Gallery early in the week, after a free jazz concert in the neighborhood had turned out to be listed in error. Both of us really enjoyed the exhibition there of Geoffrey Farmer, a Canadian mixed-media artist, creating room-filling sprawls of junk collages or cubist magazine-cutout puppets, often with inscrutable sound designs worked in. I like these museum discoveries that happen to you unplanned.

In Seattle it was more walking, even moreso. On our last day we walked from Belltown up to the pleasant climes of Capitol Hill, then on and on to a Japanese garden in the University of Washington's arboretum park. This was nice, and probably represented "enough walking" to both of us too.

I didn't really take any pictures, but Maddie's got some and she'll probably put them up on Facebook or Instagram soon if she hasn't already.