Tag Archives: vancouver

Grounds for Coffee…and cake!

Putting one cafe’s claim to fame to the test

This sign enticed me into the café

Strolling down Commercial Drive in East Van recently, I was looking for a cool place to park myself with a coffee and do some writing when I came across this sign on the sidewalk. I felt a pull to go in but ignored it (I think I was trying to be healthy) and continued walking up and down the length of Commercial Drive in search of my café for the day. After nearly an hour of walking, I ended back up at the sign and decided to go in and taste these cinnamon buns.

I’m glad I did. I’m not a cinnamon bun connoisseur by any means, in fact I can’t remember the last time I had one, but the ones at Grounds for Coffee are delicious! Made fresh on the premises, I ordered one with cream cheese icing along with a coffee and devoured the delicious treat in minutes…warm, soft, fresh and naughty – for $4.05, it was the perfect afternoon delight.

Americano and cinnamon bun with cream cheese icing

The coffee was also excellent and my senses appreciated the simple ambience and cinnamon-infused aroma of the café. With free Wi-Fi, I was able to sit down, relax and enjoy an hour to myself writing before heading to pick up my daughter.

I highly recommend this place and can’t stop thinking about that bun; I suspect I will be back here again for another one before too long.


The Grouse Grind

Hiking up Grouse Mountain

A popular tourist attraction in North Vancouver is the hiking trail known as Grouse Grind, a steep walk up Grouse Mountain featuring a climb of about 850m and covering a distance of 2.9km to the top of trail. It is also a local past time to regularly do the Grouse Grind to keep fit and try to better your time for getting to the top.

So I decided to give it a go one morning along with a lot of other people and was thinking it would be similar to climbing Mt Warning back in Northern NSW, which I had done a couple of times. While I would consider myself reasonably fit, I haven’t done much hill walking of late and soon found myself puffing as I made my way up the steep incline with a million steps. The scenery was spectacular but it was hard to enjoy it while I was dripping sweat and silently cursing my decision to do the climb in the first place!

I made it to the top in an 1 hour 15 minutes, which wasn’t too bad for my first attempt. Once my mind forgets about the pain, I will attempt it again and see if I can get closer to completing the Grind in an hour next time!

I highly recommend taking a change of clothes for when you reach the top as I was covered in sweat and it was cold at the top of the mountain. You also have to catch the gondola back down, which is packed full of people, so best not to be dripping all over everyone else!

Getting back on the bike

Inaugural bike ride to Central Park

After coming to terms with the sad fact that my $20 helmet was NOT going to win me any fashion contests, I decided to venture out on my new second hand bike to check out Central Park.

Given I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike, the main purpose of today’s outing was to work out how to ride this bike and use its gears, hopefully without making too much of a fool out of myself or getting knocked over. After a shaky start, which included discovering clunky gears, slightly flat tyres and squeaky breaks, I’m off and cruising down the bikeway towards the park. Go speed racer!

Less than 1km later my bike chain comes off! Damn, I guess there were a few reasons why this bike was so cheap. Luckily, a bit of MacGyver action on my part somehow managed to get the chain back on again. Mental note – do not use the gears on the left hand side until further notice.

I make it to Central Park and discover another beautiful pocket of forest right in the middle of the city…yay! It’s pretty cool riding through the forest and a pity I can’t take photos on the go to show you what I see (I’m sure there is a way, I just don’t have the technical know how or inclination right now to work that out).

I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing these trees, they are so magestically straight and tall. There are squirrels everywhere, so much so, they are a bit of a traffic hazard and I almost ran over one – he stopped in the middle of the trail in front of me and it was like he just dared me to keep going…so I did. It was a close call but the squirrel is safe and well (they are way too cute to hurt!)

All in all, a good first outing on the bike, despite a few hiccups! It hasn’t put me off riding again and checking out more of the trails in and around Vancouver, however I do think the bike needs a bit of TLC before I venture out again!