Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Vancouver Travel Diaries

Telus world of science

As you can probably tell by the title of my post I was in Vancouver for a little R&R, which kinda of explains my absence from the blogsphere.  I had an invitation to visit one of my dearest friend combined with the fact that I was long over due for a vacation, I finally bit the bullet and bought a plane ticket to Vancouver.

I decided to split my vacation into several posts, otherwise you would be scrolling though hundreds of pics.

Welcome to my Vancouver travel diaries, first up, exploring Van City.

Warning this is a picture heavy post.

As you fly over Vancouver, you immediately notice the contrast between Montreal and Vancouver. Vancouver, is a sea of trees compared to Montreal's concert jungle.

I was in Vancouver for 2 weeks, the first week B and I acted like tourist, Although, she's been living here for 3 years, she didn't have time to fully explore Vancouver. The second week, I was flying solo.

I've always associated Vancouver with rain, nature lovers,  more rain, and hippies until the Real Housewives of Vancouver aired. Which kind of portrayed Vancouver as quite a glamorous city. But when B first moved there, she quickly informed me that she has no idea where these housewives are because all she sees is people dressed in their lululemon gear. Apparently, the housewives most likely stay in North Van or West Vancouver. Although we did spot a real housewife in Nordstorms.

After spending 2 weeks there you realize that Vancouver is really more about the nature life rather than a city life. No matter where you live, you're surrounded by mountain views and can access a beach within 30 minutes.  Vancourites are very outdoorsy people, no matter what time of day, you will spot people  jogging, kayaking, hiking, and when the weather is gorgeous they're playing beach volley ball or wind surfing.

The first place B brought me to was the English Bay (AKA the First Beach). The English Bay is literally located in downtown Vancouver. Only if Montreal had a natural beach located in it's down core. The closes thing Montreal has to the beach in the city is the clock tour beach in the old port. And I can guarantee that it doesn't even come close to the beaches in Vancouver.

English Bay Vancouver

I happen to visit during the Japanese cherry blossom season, and it was breath taking. Vancouver is just filled with Japanese cherry blossom trees. B brought me to a Japanese cherry blossom lighting festival, which ended up being cancelled due to potential rain. Boo, because it actually didn't even rain. Hundreds of people showed up for the event, only to find out it was cancelled via a Facebook post around 3:45. Big fail.

For some reason we noticed that the cherry blossoms were mostly white instead of pink, if anyone knows why, please let me know down in the comments. Does it have to temperature? or it just the species?

Japanese Cherry Blossom-Vancouver

The next beach we hit up with the Spanish Banks.  At the Spanish Banks, B and I kept seeing people walking towards cargo ships. Out of curiosity, I had also ventured out into the waters. Turns out when the tide is low, people just walk in the ocean.

Spanish Banks-Vancouver
 Does it not look like people are walking in the ocean towards the cargo ships?

At the Spanish Banks, we also spotted people digging for clams and crab fishing.  We were quite perplexed when we noticed that people were tossing the crabs back into the ocean. We both, thought it was a little strange to go through all this effort to catch crabs only to toss them back into the ocean. Turns out, that the crab population has been diminished by overfishing and in order to preserve them, Vancouver had put in restrictions. If you catch a female crab, it must meet a certain size in order for you to keep, if it's too small, you gotta toss it back. FYI stay clear of the people crab fishing, because B and I both were splattered with bait juices as the fishermen casted their traps into the ocean.

Crab fishing-Vancouver

Obviously, I had to see the steam clock in Gas town.  To me, Gas town is  the equivalent to Monteral's Old Port. Van city has a steam clock, we have a clock tower.

Steam Clock-Gastown Vancouver

Then B brought me by the Telus Science centre, which is gorgeous at night.

Telus Science center Vancouver night

A hike was definitely on my list of things to do in Vancouver, but unfortunately the opening of Grouse mountain was delayed due to the wet trails. But we did manage to squeeze in a small hike at Deep Cove. Vancourites are definitely nature people, we hiked Deep Cove in the middle of the week and the trail was packed with people.

Deep Cove look at point Vancouver

We also explored Stephenson point in Nanamio.
Stephenson point Nanamio

Spotted the "Giants" at Grainville Island. Grainville Island, is the equivalent to Montreal's Atwater and Jean Talon market.  Everything just looked so tasty in the Grainville market. I definitely recommend the hand made pasta stand in there.

Giants Granville Island

And of course the "Olympic legacy" at Canada Place. This was like a photographer magnet, I've never seen so many photographers taking pictures in one place.  How many photographers can you spot?

Olympic legacy vancouver

Obviously, a trip to Vancouver wouldn't be complete without a visit to Whistler. Whistler is breath taking. Just seeing all the people skiing/snowboarding definitely lit the fire for me to finish learning how to snow board.  Hitting the slopes on Whistler is definitely on my bucket list. 

FYI, if you don't want to make the drive up to Whistler, you can easily get to Whistler via Epic rides. Epic rides is a bus services that has multiple pick up locations throughout the city and it only cost $35 for a round trip. Bonus, you can actually bring your ski/snowboard equipment.  B and I spotted a lot of skiers just hopping on with their gear.

Whistler Bristish Columbia

As you can tell, I was definitely not dressed for a Whistler outing. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me to bring my snow gear. Next visit out to B, will definitely involve some skiing/snowboarding. I will earn my Asian fit snow goggles! If you don't have any winter gear with you, you can still experience Whistler via the "Peak to Peak" gondola ride. Surprisingly, it wasn't that cold at an elevation of 6000 ft. I definitely recommend bringing sunglasses, the sun is bright!

And of course, we had to had our cheesy tourist moment at the olympic rings. A sweet lady offered to take our picture, and basically turned into a photographer for all other tourist, until her kids dragged her away.

Olympic rings-Whistler

I managed to learn the public transit system pretty well during my vacation, which made getting around Van city pretty easy.  It's not a convenient as Montreal's public transit system, but the fact that you can track their buses via GPS makes it a little less painful. Although during my next trip, I will definitely sign up for Car 2 go, a car sharing service that is very popular in Vancouver.

On  the first day of my solo week, I visited the VanDusen botanical garden. I can only imagine how beautiful the VanDusen botanical when it is in full bloom. You can practically spend the whole day here.

VanDusen Botanical gardens

On day 2, I visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge. A complete tourist trap, but well worth it. It's breath taking,  it's basically rainforest in the middle of a city.  If you have a CAA membership, you can save $4 off the admission price.  Not sure how to get there without a car, not to worry, the Capilano Suspension Bridge offers a free shuttle bus. There are multiple pickup stops throughout the downtown core. Best part is, a pickup happens every 15 minutes and they bring you back into the downtown core.

Capliano Suspension bridge

Of course, a trip to Vancouver would not be complete without a bike ride through Stanley park. Spokes bicycle rentals had the lowest rates, and is conveniently located in front of Stanley park. I actually wanted to bike some of the trails throughout Stanley park, but I actually couldn't find the trails into park directly. Instead, I basically biked across Vancouver.  So next trip, B we're definitely redoing biking in Stanley park!

Stanley Park-bike ride

The famous sea wall

Stanley park sea wall

If you opt to do the leisure bike ride along the sea wall, you actually see a lot of the public art work located through out Vancouver.

Such as the "Engagement" by Dennis Oppenheim.

Engagement by dennis oppenheim

 or the "Human Structures" by Jonathan Borofsky.

human structures jonathan borofsky

Hoped you enjoyed a little taste of my Vancouver Diaries.

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