German FanFest & Gastown – Vancouver
Having never been to the beer-swilling, sausage-eating extravaganza that is Germany’s Oktoberfest, I was keen to try its replica - German FanFest in Gastown, Vancouver. Set up for the 2010 Winter Games, this 600-capacity tent features big screens, long tables and several barbeques serving up tasty Bratwurst and Thuringian sausages with sauerkraut. Perfect washed down with a pitcher (or ‘stein’) of beer!
Just steps away is historic Gastown. Once the heart of Vancouver it’s named after a chatty Yorkshireman called ‘Gassy’ Jack Deighton who had a statue and even a pub named after him. You can stroll along cobbled streets that have undergone a recent revival, with local designer-owned boutiques, restaurants and bars.
My favourites include Spanish restaurant Cobre, sampling cheeses and meats at the eclectic Salt Tasting Room, unusual cocktails at the uber-hip Black Diamond – and a pint of Guinness at the Irish Heather pub.
Halfway along Water Street is the much-photographed steam clock, built in 1977 to look like London’s Big Ben. Every 15 minutes it belches steam and lets out a piercing whistle.