I’m back from vacation in Vancouver! We spent six days in the northwest city that hosted the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Traveling is amazing and I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to do it so they can see other cities, countries, and how other cultures operate. This is going to be a long, picture heavy blog post – thanks to our friend on the trip that had a camera on him the whole time and took some of these amazing pictures.
Our trip started very early the Sunday we departed – 3:15am wake up call and the flight out was before 7am. We had a five hour layover in Seattle before a short 30 minute flight over the bay to Vancouver. When we arrived, we checked into our hotel, took a nap, and had a quick dinner before an early bedtime. On Monday, we got up bright and early – thank you jet lag – and went straight to Stanley Park for some urban hiking. The park is located right next to their downtown, which is built of mostly tall, glass buildings – condos and business buildings.
That evening we ate an amazing sushi bistro bar – Shuraku Sake Bar and Bistro. The restaurant had vegetarian friendly sushi and dishes, as well as an extensive sake menu – something Jake enjoys more than I. The service was wonderful and it was the price we normally pay for a sushi date at home – highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the area or native to the city.
On Tuesday we wanted to have a semi-relaxed day since we knew Wednesday was going to be busy. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as it was Monday, we spent most of our day was spent indoors at Metropolis at Metrotown shopping center. Before heading to the mall, we dined at The Naam, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver. Even though I’m no longer a vegetarian, my diet is largely plant based and I find an interest in it. The restaurant had a weekday breakfast deal for a great price – two pancakes, two eggs, and two veggie sausages. At the shopping center I made a point to buy a piece of the clothing from Zara since it’s not as readily available in the U.S. I also picked up a flannel because the weather had changed since we arrived and was going to be chilly later in the week.
On Wednesday, our day was packed with two outdoor activities, spending the first half of the morning at Capilano Suspension Bridge park then zipling in the mountains. The weather also turned out to be perfect for the day, a bit on the cooler side which was nice since we were active the whole day. The bridge park is a fairly popular tourist attraction, and for good reason. Part of why we picked Vancouver was for the outdoor/nature elements that the city offered. Just outside the mainland are mountains with forests – in this case a kind of rain forest of North America. The main suspension bridge goes over the Capilano River at the park is the length of two 747 wingspans and nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty – thanks to the placards at the park for that information. We then made our way through the forest across a number of other bridges throughout the park including tree top bridges and a set of walkways that are anchored to cliffs in the park.
Our next adventure led us further north to Grouse Mountain to zip line. We had planned this a month before our trip and I was super excited for it, until I saw that there was a gondola ride to get up to 4,000 feet where the zip lines were. I was under the impression it was only a short ski lift ride to the zip lines – wrong. There’s a pretty priceless picture of me as we start going up on the gondola that shows how questionable I was at that moment.
Once we were on top of the mountain and got geared up, zip lining turned out to be my favorite part of the trip! We were going over trees 1,500 feet below us and hit some fast speeds on a few lines. I’m really happy that we decided to do the 5-line tour that let us get the peak of the mountain and see Vancouver from a bird’s eye view. This is definitely worth the money if you’re visiting Vancouver or even live in the area.
Thursday was spent at sea for a few hours doing whale watching which left from Vancouver’s famous Granville Island. The morning was rather rainy, but it cleared us almost as soon as we were on the water. On the day we did the tour, we saw a number of killer whales or orcas, which are surprisingly smaller than you would imagine. I was hoping to also see humpback whales to compare the size, but unfortunately we missed them that day. We spent the rest of our Thursday walking through the city and nearly beat my 33,000 step record I set in Los Angeles. We eventually made our way to a game shop Strategies Games and Hobbies and purchased the extended version of Machi Koro. Friday was another rainy day which made our planned day of hiking short, though it worked out nice because we had to return our rental car in the afternoon. Since Friday evening was our last night in Vancouver and we had an early flight out Saturday, we kept the evening short with another walk through downtown to the store Roots Canada for some Canadian gear and a quiet dinner. We returned to a very hot, humid, windy Minnesota before noon on Saturday and got back to reality.
Something that I didn’t do while I was on vacation was spend a lot of time updating social media. Aside from updating social media to promote my blog, I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook or constantly add photos to Instagram. I’ve kind of warmed up to the idea of not sharing my entire life on the internet – kind of ironic since I’m sharing life updates on a blog. Anyways, when I went to Los Angeles back in April I made a point to have scheduled blog posts and well planned out Instagram posts. I even shared some updates of my trip on my blog’s social media accounts. This time around, I didn’t schedule posts or Instagram images, and even stayed off Facebook for most of my trip. It was refreshing to disconnect from social media life and get out and enjoy life in the moment.
Overall, this was a great trip! The public transportation in Vancouver was amazing and got us to downtown from our airport based hotel in 20 minutes. I’m happy we got to do zip lining, even as scared as I was at first. I would recommend traveling to Vancouver if you love the outdoors, but also want to be in a bustling city. Can’t wait for our next trip!