Sunday, June 3, 2012

Beautiful BC, Part 1 - Vancouver

Whenever I drop off the face of the blogging planet it usually means one of two things: (1) I've been swallowed up by school, or (2) I'm traveling.

I'm happy to say it's the latter in this case. The days of Med 2 are behind me and I'm traveling my way to clerkship! In the last 2 weeks I've jetted to the west coast of Canada (Vancouver and Victoria) and then to the other side of the world in Paris, France!

If I were smart I would have been blogging along the way so as to avoid a giant post...but sometimes you just need a break from life altogether! So instead I'm dedicating the next 3 posts to highlighting some of my favourite moments in each location. First up: Vancouver!

I had the fun of exploring the city with my roomie, Marion, for 3 1/2 days and during that time we packed in as much as humanly possible!! The first 2 nights were spent at the HI Downtown Vancouver which ended up being a very positive first hostel experience. We did get a bit of the street noise but overall the staff were very pleasant, the place was clean and we even got a free room upgrade!

So in chronological order, my top 10 for Vancouver would have to be:

1. Granville Island market - one of my favourite places! It has a lively atmosphere and is bustling with activity. It also has the best granola that I've tried in my life at Stuart's Bakery. I feel like I say that about every single new granola I try but I'm serious about this one :).

2. Bike Ride @ Stanley Park - We rented bikes from the Denman Bike Shop which was $9 each for 2 hours with a student discount (cheaper than Spokes which was on one of the busier city corners). I swear that my roomie and I had the most foolish grins on our faces the whole time we were biking around! It was a perfect day for it. We even took a 20 minute break for a snack on the beach.

3. Chinatown Night Market - this was actually a bit of a disappointment for me because I went to the Richmond Night Market several years ago which was amazing!! The downtown Vancouver night market is at least 1/5th of the size but still gave me my fill of taro bubble tea :).

4. Gastown and the Lamplighter Public House - this area was absolutely beautiful at nighttime and I wish I had more time to explore while shops were open. We headed to the Lamplighter which was recommended by a friend for some fun dancing :). We even ended up in the photos section of their website...eek! :P

5. The FOOD - there are no words to describe how good the food is in Vancouver! While Halifax is getting better with selection the prices are still a bit ridiculous (i.e. sushi usually costs me at $20-$25 in Hali vs. $10 in Vancouver)

6. Steveston - Unfortunately it was raining the day we went to Steveston but the town still had a quaint air to it. Usually the docks are swarming with people and you can buy fish straight off the boats.

7. Rick Hansen spotting - The Man in Motion himself was at the Richmond Olympic Oval and it was completely by chance that we caught the final leg of the 25th anniversary relay. Being in the crowd of supporters and recognizing the legacy of Rick Hansen was absolutely incredible!

8. Hiking Grouse Grind - If you hike a mountain in the pouring rain, does that officially make you hardcore? I hope it does because there were literally waterfalls coming down the trail! We were sopping wet by the end of the hike but it was definitely worth it!

9. Erik's tour - If you are in Vancouver on a Tuesday, then do this tour! It only costs $12.50 per person and is worth every penny (much of the cost goes to transport). Erik has been doing this tour as a volunteer for the past 17 years with Hostelling International and has such an indepth knowledge of the area. The tour crosses through the city and then heads up to Lynn Canyon where we got to cross the suspension bridge. Then it was back to the city where we unfortunately had to leave early for Victoria.

10. Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria - I admit that I added this as an afterthought because I needed a 10th highlight but when looking back I actually really enjoyed the ferry! The ride was very relaxing and passing all the islands was breathtaking. We even passed by 2 killer whales!

So there you have it. The Top 10 highlights for Vancouver! I feel like this post doesn't do the trip nearly enough justice but I hope it captured the beauty and adventure of the area.

Next up...Victoria :)

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