First Time to Canada

The New Year came and went, along with my attitude towards work. I don’t know what changed, but things started to get tensed and my team began to notice my change in attitude. I was requested (told) to take a mini vacation, re-group/re-center and I jumped at it (without hesitation). It was a much needed vacation and with so much free time, I knew EXACTLY where I needed to go.

Vancouver, BC, Canada was on my radar since I decided to move up to the PNW. I was, however, unaware of ALL the things Vancouver had to offer, but that didn’t matter. I was up for the challenge and learning experience. I haven’t done a fully spontaneous, book the night before, just leave, type of an adventure since I lived and traveled throughout Italy. Gosh, did it feel amazing. Have you ever had that heart pumping, feel like a kid in a candy story, giddiness rush of happiness, feeling upon doing something? If you haven’t, I highly suggest going out and doing something wild and crazy, and that doesn’t have satan’s grasp over you.  As the border began to appear in my line of site and as I inched closer and closer until finally crossing over, those feelings (plus more) hit me like the hurricane wind. All the stress in my heart, my soul and my head, dissipated into thin air.

Forty-five minutes later, I arrived. Downtown Vancouver became my home for the next three days and the unknown slowly unraveled into reality.

I did have one thing planned before leaving- sleeping arrangements. I decided on a popular hostel, Samesun Backpacker Lodges, located in the heart of downtown that not only offered decently priced accommodations, they offered daily excursions or events, and a bar/restaurant easily located on the first floor of the building. Hostels are quite entertaining and wonderful places to meet people from all over the world; reason I love staying at them.

Once I found the hostel, parked my car, and got settled, I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. What better way to explore the unknown then by simply walking; no map in had, no final destination. That night, I managed to wonder downtown, strolling alongside the art museum, and ending up at the waterfront; home to the Olympic Torch from the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Convention Center, and Canada Place (Canada’s Icon and hub for activity). The weather was a bit chilly, but it was a crystal clear evening and just the peaceful environment I needed to de-stress and unwind.

Saturday wasn’t as unplanned as Friday night. The hostel hosted an excursion to 1 of the 2 suspension bridges located within Vancouver that afternoon, and I wasn’t going to pass up that adventure. Before the trip, I wanted to venture back to the waterfront for a daylight view of the water and mountains to the north. Unfortunately, mother nature had another plan- clouds. It wasn’t the rain clouds I’ve gotten accustomed too here in Washington, but those light-weight, low level, perfect to block a view type clouds. I wasn’t too heart-broken, however. The clouds ended up creating picturesque, majestic view of the Vancouver Skyline. A perfect setting for a morning stroll. By afternoon, I was eager to travel to Lynn Canyon Park with 10 of my fellow hostel goers and experience my first ever suspension bridge. It took approximately 1 hour from the hostel to reach our final destination, and included walking, a water taxi, a bus, and a little bit of hiking.

The bridge itself is not very long (compared to the other one), but once you’re standing in the middle looking strait down onto a canyon, you realize the power a bridge like this holds. Connecting one side to the other, without the bridge parts of the park would be a mystery to the human eye. I might not have seen the green water hole, a location of a lost plane that crashed, or a semi-frozen lake with a mountain skyline. Granted it helped that the group of travelers I was with, were all up for the adventure of hiking (and getting a little lost in the process).

By Sunday morning, I had a list of “Must See” places within Vancouver. I knew that this was going to be my last full day of exploration and wanted to check off as much as I could (regardless of the Superbowl or not). The hostel hosted another adventure that included exploring Granville Island public market and brewery. In the AM, before joining other hostel goers, I ventured to the other waterfront (southside of downtown) for a stroll with views of Granville Island, English Bay, and second and third beaches. By that afternoon, I was wandering around an amazing market place filled with fresh fruit, homemade bakery items, and LOTS of MAPLE SYRUP (yes, I did buy some). Shortly following, I was tasting delicious island brewed beer, including a maple ale, and organic saki. Talk about living life to the fullest! As nighttime came around, I was exhausted and decided to find a quite bar to enjoy some good food and good beer (it was easier than it sounds).

Monday was more of a bittersweet day as it was time for me to rejoin the real world. I may not have done everything I would have liked to up in Vancouver, BC, Canada, I can give you with 100% certainty, I will be back (hopefully sooner rather than later)!  Click here for pictures

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