I have been putting off writing this post for ages and actually, I’m glad I did. By delaying it, I get another chance to go through all my notes, scribbles and pictures that I put together while I was there and relive the funny little moments I would completely forget if I didn’t write them all down somewhere.
Despite being a wee bit sad about turning 30 this year, I was incredibly lucky; AJ and my family all clubbed together to give me enough money to buy a return flight to Canada, so I could visit one of my best friends who moved there last year with her boyfriend.
I usually handle long haul flights fairly well, probably something to do with two solo trips to New Zealand (hello 37 hours of travelling). So practised am I these days that I didn’t even suffer with jet lag once I arrived. I was recently lucky enough to be included in Travelbag’s recent article with lots of tips on handling long haul flights from bloggers – you can take a peek here – its full of good ways to deal with long haul flights, wherever you’re going! Even with no jet lag, by the time I arrived and got through the airport there was just enough time to have amazing sushi from a local restaurant, have a quick catch up and get an early night!
The next few days in Vancouver were really relaxed; we pottered around doing bits and bobs including walking around the sea wall to Stanley Park, checking out the waterfront, Gastown, aimlessly wandering around the art gallery, visiting Bowen island and walking the Killarney lake trail, all in beautiful sunshine. We had a barbecue, I ate all sorts of yummy food, including the infamous double big mac, pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, poutine, zugo juice, sushi, Wendy’s, Denny’s, the list goes on!
Laura had even planned for the two of us to take a mini road trip to Seattle – so I got to tick two places off of my list in one! I’ve never been to Canada or the States before so to be able to do (a very small part of) both in one trip was amazing. Seattle is around a 2 hour drive from Vancouver and we booked into a hostel to keep the cost down.
Seattle is definitely the city of coffee shops and bars! There is a brilliant and relaxed cafe culture and you can even go and visit the first ever Starbucks! We walked around Pikes Place Market sampling and smelling an amazing range of foods and stopped to watch the famous fish market. Its difficult to describe.. but involves lots of harmonised singing and throwing fish..! We visited the sculpture park, fed the seagulls (apparently this is the done thing) and on the second day, we took the bus to Alki beach and spent the day reading our books in the sun, looking back on Seattle. Absolute bliss. Until we got sunburned.. but the rest was bliss.
We had dinner at a vegan fast food chain, Veggie Grill, which was a m a z i n g! Everything on the menu is vegan and the refillable drinks are a variety of iced teas. We had vegan chik’n buffalo wings, beyond meat beef burgers and lots of fries! In fact, it was so good, we went back there the second night! I would never usually eat at the same place twice when visiting somewhere new, but I just had to have those buffalo wings in my life! On the way home from Seattle I got to experience my first ever Walmart visited Steveston and went to the loveliest mini donut shop.
After getting back from Seattle and back into Canada, we spent a few days visiting Jericho beach, eating my way around Granville Island (crepes and sushi in one sitting.. I have eclectic taste), playing in the arcades, traipsing up Main Street and going to a thrift store; where I picked up a lovely big old Vancouver jumper, tried a Nanaimo bar, met some very odd people on the bus, including an “author” and topped off the last of our spare time with an absolutely incredible sunset harbour cruise around Vancouver. Laura arranged it for us and it was really amazing. We had dinner on board and the boat went all the way round Vancouver harbour, coming back under Lionsgate bridge just in time for the sun to set behind us. The Captain even let Laura and I drive the boat!! Bad idea.
We topped off the weekend with a night of camping in Squamish with friends, where I tried my first ever s’mores, spent the night worrying about bears coming into the tent to eat me and ate barbecued burgers and drank beers. The following morning, after breakfast of croissants and fresh melon, we went on the sea to sky gondola which had incredible views of the mountains and then spent some time at Alice Lake sunning ourselves by the beach and walking around the lake, before I put my sunburned bum (literally) on the plane to fly home.
I had such an amazing time and honestly, Canadians are some of the nicest people I have ever met! Everyone was super friendly, generous and I completely fell in love with the way of life. I will 100% be going back again at some point – I’d love to go in winter to go skiing and snowboarding.
Has anyone else visited Vancouver? Have you got any recommendations for my next trip?