I started my trip planning by heading to Central Market the night before, for cookie supplies and our required two bottles of wine. While visiting Central Market, I said Hi to Peter the Fish Guy, and Rick helped me choose the correct wines.
I started making cookies at about eight, and finished them by one a.m. I made almond sandwich cookies, and I thought it would be cute to color some of the dough pink, and it ended up looking like uncooked hamburger. I used three different fillings: sauteed bananas with brown sugar, blackberry jam, and chocolate. They were yummy! I love my new mixer!
After my fabulous few hours of sleep, we were ready to go until we realized we couldn't find Sean's green card, which is to say I was hyperventilating while dumping out numerous papers on the floor. Ten minutes later, we found it.
Joe gave us a ride to the station at 7 a.m. and I found the whole group already there. Julie and Scott were on their way out to get coffees so I gave her my order. Jon was there - alone - Amy was sick and couldn't make it. We were now a party of nine.
We watched the sun rise over the Puget Sound, and it was a beautiful trip all the way up - the train runs along the water. The movie shown was Sweet Home Alabama, which we all watched sparingly and completely understood without headsets for sound. We were all punchy and we laughed most of the way there, although I don't remember what we were talking about. I remember we saw a naked guy running along the beach and we ate a lot of cookies.
The train ride was over four hours long, and this poor woman had to sit right in the middle of our group for most of the way up. She never said anything but she laughed a lot. She wore purple from head to toe, and purple rings, and bright purple nail polish. She knows what she likes.
The Amtrak announcer kept encouraging riders to get Canadian change right away at "McDonald's Hamburgers."
Our rooms were nice, but I was surprised at how little they provided for guests. Although the rooms had full kitchens, they had no silverware, pots and pans, dishes, anything. When I called Housekeeping and asked if there was a charge for them, she replied "It depends on what rate you paid for your room." Huh. So if you got a great deal on your room, don't plan on getting anything else. We went to the grocery store down the street to get mixers, fruit, bread, and cheese, so we just stocked up on some plastic silverware and bowls from the salad bar there. That aspect of the hotel really stuck with me. (But the view was nice!)
Once we settled in for the afternoon, some of the group went to the Art Museum. Sean and I finally slept.
Later, a few of us went swimming in the indoor pool at the hotel, but after about 20 minutes we'd had enough.
That night we all trekked down to Macaroni Grill, a chain restaurant that is in an old mansion with opera singing servers. We had many glasses of wine and tons of food. It was a long, cold walk back to the room.
We taught the whole gang how to play euchre and we got a lot of practice in while drinking even more.
Sean, Jon, and I accidentally overslept, so we missed breakfast with the group the next morning. We met up with everyone later at the Granville Island Market. The map made it look like a simple jaunt across the bridge, so we skipped the water taxi and walked instead. Bad idea. It took about 45 minutes in the cold windy rain.
Alexandra bought some bread and got attacked by seagulls. They flew right onto her.
The market is beautiful - next time I go up, I want to buy groceries there and make a great dinner. We saw fruits and vegetables that we've never seen before!
Jon stocked up on limes for that night.

Josh at the Market

Thankfully, we took the water taxi back!
Next stop was Cactus Club Cafe, my favorite restaurant in Vancouver. Every time I go to Vancouver I insist that we eat at Cactus Club. Some day I will work for them (I even met the owners in 2001 and told them that!)
Shane, Shan, Debra, and Uncle Pete showed up just as we were finishing - I hadn't seen Pete since we lived in London.
After this the group broke up to hit Robson for shopping. Some went shopping for shoes, others went to the three-story Virgin Records store. From there, the gang got their bags and headed to the train station, as they left a day earlier than us.
We had more euchre and gin and wine with the family that night at our room (Debra not pictured). I took a bath with my bath bomb from Lush which was filled with glitter, and I got glitter all over the room. And all over me, and Sean, and Jon, and our luggage, and.... and....
Oh, and some advice - don't shave your legs when you're covered in glitter.
The next morning we checked out and Shane picked us up. I bought a few books at Chapters (Penny Vincenzi's new book in a series, which I can't find in the states, Douglas Coupland's "Souvenir of Canada", and a good cookbook), then we headed to Debra's for breakfast.
After breakfast the boys went to Pitch n' Putt while Debra and I cruised 4th Avenue. (I did a lot of walking that weekend!) We headed to the train station at 4:30 and customs took Jon's last three inches of gin and gave it a customs label. We settled in with a table and played cards and read our new books. Then an hour later one of the train employees walked by and plunked Jon's gin on the table and kept walking. It was weird.
Amy picked us up at the Edmonds station and gave us a ride home. Joe couldn't find the cat food so the cats were starving, and he never took my cookies to Starbucks, and Jason Lajeunesse towed his truck to our house and managed to park it right smack in front of our mailbox. We always come home to things like this.
It's hard to find good help these days.
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