109 – Vancouver

201011_10_02 - Somewhere Over Alberta

201011_10_07 - P A R K

201011_11_07 - Flag Bearer

201011_11_17 - 4OZ Beers

201011_11_23 - Olympic Cauldron

201011_12_02 - Pedestrian

201011_12_17 - Hike Self-Portrait

201011_12_27 - Outdoors

201011_12_33 - Ducks Relaxing

201011_12_44 - Reflection

201011_13_19 - German Friendship Globe

201011_14_05 - Wake

201011_15_22 - Haida

201011_15_24 - Bowen Queen

More pictures here: Flickr Vancouver Set

Ignore the fact for a moment that I went to Vancouver in November and it’s now the following February. Time passes quickly, and everything you want to do always seems to get bypassed for all the things you have to do. That makes making the time for the important things in life that much more of a priority. It’s for this reason that I’m finally sitting down to write about my trip.

It’s also for this reason that I was extremely excited that my friend Cat invited me all the way to the other end of the country for a week mostly to hang out and see and do a bunch of the things that I’ve only heard about. Granville Island, Stanley Park, Cypress Mountain, ferry, Mickey’s cache, Skytrain.

Before this trip, the farthest West I had travelled was a weekend camping trip to Banff, on a month-long french program in Saskatoon (interestingly, where I met Cat to begin with). Travelling to both Saskatoon and Banff was all done by bus. Slow, but an awesome way to see a large swath of the country. Flying over the Rocky Mountains was a spectacular sight. Many of the peaks had just got snow, which really reinforces that snow-capped mountain stereotype. I was amazed that nobody in the plane was taking in such beauty.

The “Skytrain” I took went mostly underground. And I relinquished my seat for a little boy and his mother – the boy kept asking his mom what my luggage was. The plane in was so early that it left me with a fair amount of time to kill before Cat’s class ended. Thankfully, I had my trusty iPhone that directed me all over downtown. I managed to find streets and shops and bathrooms and, eventually, Cat’s campus, luggage in tow. How did people live without Google Maps in their pockets?

I have to say that Vancouver is stunning. I was expecting it to be nice, but wasn’t expecting to be blown away every time there was a mountain in the distance. The view of the city from the house makes me want to live closer to downtown (and at a higher elevation that really doesn’t exist here). One day, we did a geocaching-inspired coastal tour, and despite the overcast weather, I could barely take it all in, there’s so much to see! I’ve always had a hard time grasping the idea that people can make homes out of trees, but that was made easier by the massiveness of some of the trees (and stumps) at Lynn Canyon, where yes, I did stand on a suspension bridge perilously high above rock and water. I was in a parade, saw an Olympic cauldron, celebrated a birthday, went to the original Old Spaghetti Factory (closest one is in Toronto, they have good lasagna), learned boardgames, and even made it to Victoria (the ferry at Swartz Bay is now officially the most West I’ve been).

Every time I’ve goon anywhere, I’ve been blessed with amazing hosts. Cat’s family and friends raised that bar. I ate incredibly well (had Yorkshire pudding for the first time. It was great, even the day after despite warnings from the locals), was taken care of being on the verge of being sick, and putting up with my tiredness that kicked in surprisingly early. And wine. And putting a whole wagon wheel in my mouth. And my kidnapping a blanket by mistake.

The six days blew by so incredibly fast – you think “six days? I can do everything!” It doesn’t work that way. I would have loved to find time to meet up with a couple of friends I made in high school that live out there, or sneak into Bridge Studios and steal a glimpse of a stargate (we did drive by though!), or run into 3 famous people, or see the former Olympic Village, or find whales… Six weeks might have made most of that possible. But for the six days that were, I had an incredible time and my senses were overwhelmed and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!