Before I start I just want to say a big thank you to my readers and new followers! Yay I’m kind of interesting or at least the places I go to are! This post is especially for emandwillowtakecanada who is in the process of moving to Vancouver so I hope I do a good job of selling this wonderful place to you!
Vancouver is my most recent destination and I fell in love instantly, I took the cheapest flight (WestJet) from Toronto to Vancouver and after 5 hours I was so ready to be out of that flying tin can, talk about nooo leg room! However, having awaken from an uncomfortable sleep, I glanced out of the window to see snow-capped mountains and I instantly sit up straighter. Flying into Vancouver is beautiful, you see downtown Vancouver surrounded by an abundance of green and an outer layer of mountains as if they are guarding the city within.
Everything about Vancouver is fresh. The air, the people, the sights and sounds – the food I will get to!
I get picked up by one of my friends I made back when I lived in South Korea (I will get there in my blog I promise!) and she tells me that yeah in general Canadians are super friendly but Vancouverites are something extra. I laugh because I think she’s trying to tell me how nice a person she is but as I enter Starbucks, Tim Horton’s or any café or restaurant everyone is extra nice.
When using public transport aka the bus or the Sky Train (basically an over ground subway train) you need a compass card, which can be purchased at any Sky Train station and you top it up and go, tap on and off buses, the trains and anything really. With this card whenever you tap on and off you get one free transfer so take the bus tap on – you pay a fair, tap off as you leave and tap onto the Sky Train – it’s free! So if you’re visiting or staying definitely pick one of these up and you can even register the card online to top it that way.
So my friend hands me this card without knowing how much is on it, turns out not enough for the bus but instead of waiting for me to fumble with change the bus drivers waves me on and tells me to top up before taking the Sky Train! The Sky Train is a great way to get around and is super simple to use, because it is over ground you get a great view of the city as the train glides through bridges, over water and between sky scrapers.
Down town Vancouver is amazing. Peaking between the tall buildings are glimpses of the ocean and those stoic mountains, I think I picked out 10 rooftop apartments that I want to own when I’m a rich girl *cue Gwen Stafani* Vancouver/Canada is expensive I feel but it just represents the high standard of living the country has so in downtown the apartments are flashy, the streets are lined with Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Mercedes Benzes, BMWs…not a car fan in the slightest *cough* So not only am I gawking at the scenery but at the cars and very soon the amount of food that is available! However, to ensure my posts don’t get too long I will make a separate Vancouver food post so worry not! So for amazing food, cafes, bars, night life, shopping and beaches Down town is where to go!
Within Down town you have English Bay – a beach on one side of down town where there is always a huge crowd of people enjoying the views, the water and all along that area are rooftop cafes and restaurants so definitely wander down there! On the other side is Canada Place which is a coastal view looking out toward Northern Vancouver, here you can see huge cruise ships, water landing airplanes taking off and landing and an array of boats playing in the deep blue ocean. It’s this closeness to water, the mountains and the beach that makes Vancouver not feel like a traditional city because there are so many places where you can escape that busy city feeling without having to travel anywhere and I think it’s because of this balance Vancouver fits so well with me.
However, an amazing way to see down town is to go cycling around Stanley Park. Parking can be tricky and expensive so plan ahead to find somewhere cheaper to leave the car but the Sky Train will take you into the heart of the city. Bike rentals are everywhere and operate on a pick your type of bike and pay when you get back system. Don’t worry about sifting through each one the prices are roughly the same and the rental shops will point you in the right direction for the park. My friend and I cycled around the Sea Wall trail which is the most popular with great views of the ocean, the city and hidden beaches! We had mountain bikes for around 4 hours and it was $25 per person but it was worth it just to take your time and see everything from a different perspective. There’s even a swimming pool if you don’t fancy swimming in the warm sea and a café for fish and chips!
Deep Cove – is a quaint wee town in Northern Vancouver with some killer views over-looking the lake and some pretty hiking trails. Activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, taking ferries out on the water and hiking, I really wanted to go kayaking but my friend wasn’t ready – whatever that means haha so make sure to take a change of clothes/swimsuit a towel when you head there so you can jump in and try everything. Deep Cove is harder to get to by public transport, my friend drove us, but I did see buses every now and again heading back into Down town so it’s not impossible! So because we didn’t do kayaking we hit up the Baden Powell Trail which is advertised as a beginner trail…such lies! Or maybe I’m just out of shape haha! Anyway it’s an upward hike that is manageable with a good amount of grumbling and it takes you through a wooded area, over natural streams and up out onto a huge rock face looking over the water. We may have been sweaty and red faced but the crisp air and the even cooler views were worth it. What I found a lot in Vancouver was I would sit down and think yes this feels right with me and to be able to recognise that is important because not every place you visit will give you that. Sure the place could be cool, fun and different but it doesn’t mean it’ll ring true for you but I had this feeling a lot in Vancouver.
I’m going to split up my Vancouver love story because there’s a lot more I have to say, but for now I hope you can get a sense of what Vancouver means to me.
Until the next post!