I love to travel. I mean who doesn't? You get out of your box and get to escape into this space of complete unfamiliarity.
Oh wait, I do that pretty much daily in LA.
But, it's a new kind of new. Vancouver, BC! It's Labor Day Weekend, and I left my vacation-destination-city to see a northern part of the continent. In the training program in Minneapolis, I was lucky to gain a ton of friends who are now spread across the country(ies--Canada as well). One of which was relocated to Vancouver. Hence the trip! Since coming here two months ago, I've frequented the Los Angeles area including Malibu (not a far sprint) and Palm Springs, Seattle, and now Vancouver.
Vancouver has a new special place in my heart. Of course never having been to Canada before, it didn't have a place at all, but now it does. Amazing how four days can completely warp and create opinions.
My stars. I loved this place. The trees, the air, the cleanliness of the city. This place has money. And it gives the whole area an aura. There are parks everywhere you turn, and the city wraps around the coast. It's on a sound similar to Seattle. The same one I believe, actually. Just further north a bit and obviously across the border, which I crossed with my friend who graciously picked me up at 1:30AM from the Seattle airport... Funny story, the Canadian border patrol asked us the usual questions, and I made him stamp my Passport. It was my first time into Canada, after all! Duh. He had to literally find a stamp...Am I the only one insists on this? Surely not.
It's a very metropolitan area, and so there were people walking around everywhere. I was fascinated by them...everyone, and I mean everyone literally, was looking very put together. I was digging their outfits--they were rocking the fall attire already. Boots, scarves, coats, even... Everyone was decked out. And I soon learned it's because it chills down to the 50's at night. It's September, and they're pretty up there in terms of longitude, it only makes sense. I was interested because even though it was warm during the day (my Californian self was wearing shorts and a tank), they were wearing their cold-weather clothes...Eric (my Canadian friend) and I decided it was like California in the sense where everyone wears shorts unless it's cold, and in Vancouver they wear scarves/boots/flannels unless it's hot. Hey, I could get behind that. I was loving it. The culture was very coffee shop meets folk band meets flannel shirts meets hiking trails. I could eat that up for days! Years! I want to live there. Too bad I'm American.
HA just kidding you all know I absolutely would never actually feel bad about that. But truly it was a beautiful place. I'd venture to say it's way better than Seattle. Actually I wouldn't even venture, I'd straight up say it.
So what did we do with four days...what did we not do! Hiking, coffee, all those things I mentioned were the culture of Vancouver, we did.
1. Capilano Suspension Bridges Park
We've discussed my fear of flying. It's closely linked with my fear of heights. However, Eric dragged me out onto these suspended structures of doom, and I actually had a great time! I was extremely hesitant, but after a couple of steps and getting used to the fluid feeling of the floor bouncing beneath you with yours (and everyone else hanging on the bridge) it feels normal-ish. It's worth the view.
Seafood was a must. We went to a little place near Richmond which had this little local pier full of guys sitting on their boats selling the fish they caught that morning. WOW. You know how fish has that...fishy taste? That's such a strange way to describe it...maybe like a lake-water kind of taste? This fish didn't have that. We got salmon tacos and my. gosh. They were so good. I'm tasting them just thinking about it. Plus the little place was so cool. Virtually everything I had in Vancouver was amazing. We also brunched with Eric's sister at El Camino. They had the most incredible pulled pork eggs benedict over cornbread with jalapeños. I know, I went to Canada and had Mexican food. My love for Mexican food transcends borders. One night we walked along Commercial Ave., I loved all the restaurants with open patios. Comes with the eternal-fall weather and no bugs I suppose. Absolutely beautiful environment.
3. The Chief
The chief. Named so because it literally dominates anyone and everyone. An hour hike up an eternal staircase that doesn't make it all the way to Heaven, but sure comes close. We had to take a couple breaks (I did...), but it was well worth it. The view of Squamish (love the names of towns up there!) was so clear and the water was such an interesting color. It had strange contrasts where it abruptly changed shades of blue-greens, and the port was fascinating as well. We sat up on the hill for 30 minutes and watched logs float down and tried to understand the scale of the huge valley. It was relaxing and nice to slow down and sit down and breathe and just watch. Also spotted while on the trail...chipmunks crawling all over some woman. Yes...I was glad that wasn't happening to me, but was glad that it was happening to her! The most bizarre thing I've seen in a long time... They were very bold.
I think the things that resonated most were the smiles of the people there. Everyone was in a good mood, I felt no negative vibes the entire weekend. It was relaxing and I told my friend "this place feels like home." The fall weather, the outdoor atmosphere, and the importance placed on wellness brings together this nice healthy living space. I love LA, but I'm jealous of Eric!
We took one last walk in Stanley Park, saw some cool rock sculptures, talked about life, and said our goodbyes as we crossed back into the US so Eric could return me to my homeland. I hope life brings me back to Canada someday, from what I saw, it was a pretty cool place with really awesome people. Maybe maritime-Canada next. Who's with me (Eric???)?
Stroll around/through Stanley Park; check out those rock sculptures! The guy spends all day stacking up rocks and sells pictures of it. We bought a postcard, so I didn't feel so bad taking this picture free of charge. Not pictured, but just to the right of where this pic ends and across the bay is North Vancouver.
This post is dedicated to Eric. Thank you for being such a supportive and great friend, and an even more excellent host than I could ever imagine! You're the best!