Original Oregon

There are few places where I’ve managed to encounter a city’s mayor, live band karaoke, really bad stand up comedy and a post midnight doughnut all in one evening. It started off quietly enough in the Davis Street bar, one of the huge, converted old buildings which is now embracing one of Oregon’s biggest industries…

Lift off

It’s certainly the most touristy thing I’ve done so far in this trip, but you can’t visit Seattle and not go up the Space Needle. Built in the early Sixties, the landmark dominates the skyline, and greets you as you arrive by that other notable sixties development, the Monorail. The guidebook tells me I can…

Bed and border

If hardly anyone in the United States travels by train, even fewer take the Thruway buses which connect the network when the trains aren’t running. This 1130 from Vancouver to Seattle has fewer than a dozen passengers, though annoyingly one is a small child, frequently screaming loudly. The journey begins at Vancouver’s Pacific Central station,…

At the hop

The Steamworks is Gastown’s showpiece brew pub, and at 7.30pm the atmosphere is a happy mix of after work drinkers and visitors. Steamworks itself does an impressive list of in house beers and it’s a good starting point for a bar hop around Vancover’s oldest neighbourhood. There are dozens of places to choose from here,…

A walk in the woods

Shopping in downtown Vancouver is just like any other Western city, with grand chain stores and big brands. Yet I’ve also noticed a thriving independent trade. If Robson Street is like London’s West End, Main Street takes you back in time – literally. John’s Jukes is a wondrous collection of bar entertainment from a different…

What the puck?

i know nothing about hockey, or ice hockey as only the English call it. But I know that the guy winning the interval competition shouldn’t really be scoring more goals than the home team. In fairness, I should have warned the Vancouver Canucks that I was coming. Whenever I casually book a ticket for any…

Off my trolley 

I dislike being labelled a tourist. I’ve always preferred the term “traveller” or – if I’m feeling especially smug – “explorer”. I enjoy drifting off the main guide book pages and wandering down a backstreet to finding out where the locals go. So it’s somewhat disturbing to find myself buying a ticket for the Vancouver…

A touch of class

I’d been hoping that, for some bizarre reason, nobody would want to travel between London and Vancouver on Easter Monday, and I’d be offered a cheap, if not free, upgrade from Air Canada. Business class had been available – but at more than ¬£800 I didn’t think I could justify the cost versus the amount…

Taking the biscuit

There was a time when a First Class ticket meant absolute luxury, personal service, gourmet dining and immense comfort. Unfortunately that time is not at weekends or Bank Holidays on East Midlands Trains. Take the 0805 from Nottingham to London on a regular weekday and your ticket buys you a cooked breakfast, at seat service…