Today I'm sharing a recap of my trip to Vancouver. I got there Sunday afternoon and left Friday morning, so I had four full days there. I managed to get in quite a few different activities while at the same time getting in some relaxing down time each day as well.
Just a warning, this is a long I post!
Once I arrived in Vancouver I took a cab from the airport to the hotel. I stayed at the Sheraton Wall Centre, right in the middle of downtown. The location was perfect as I was planning on walking being my main mode of transportation. Vancouver is a really pedestrian friendly city so I wanted to take advantage of it. It was a gorgeous room, and I'd definitely stay here again.
I then headed down to the water. My last trip to Vancouver I spent quite a bit of time by the water, and I knew I wanted to get back to it first thing. Because it was a Sunday it was really crowded with everyone taking advantage of the gorgeous weather. Vancouver tends to be cloudy and rainy, but I lucked out and didn't see any rain while I was there. After I'd walked along the beach for awhile I started to get hungry, so I headed to Davie Street to find somewhere to eat.
I'd gotten a recommendation for a Thai restaurant so when I came across it I figured I'd give it a try. I wasn't disappointed because the food was amazing. The portion was generous and I got a table by the window so I could people watch as they walked by outside. I then headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime. I was wiped out from travelling and I knew I had an early morning the next day.
Victoria and Butchart Gardens
I'd booked a tour on Monday to go to Victoria. To get to Victoria you either have to fly or take a ferry. Both ferry terminals are outside of Vancouver and Victoria, so I figured it would be easier and a better use of my time to do a tour and have all the transportation arrangements done for me. I went with Landsea Adventures and took the Victoria and Butchart Gardens tour. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed right off the bat when the guide and bus were close to 20 minutes late picking me up from my hotel. Once we picked up a few other people at different hotels we started the drive out to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, which took about 30 minutes. Because the guide was late picking everyone up we just missed the 9 am sailing and instead had to wait for the 10 am one, which was a bit of a bummer.
Once we drove onto the ferry I headed to the upper decks to find something for breakfast. I settled on a sandwich and some apple juice. Once I'd eaten I headed to the outdoor decks to take in the beautiful scenery. The ferry rice takes about 90 minutes so I had lots of time to wander around before I had to be back at the bus. Once we were off the ferry we drove about 30 minutes south to Victoria. We got dropped off Chinatown where I picked up a few things to take home as gifts before finding a pub to have lunch at.
I knew I wanted to check out the Empress Hotel and the Legislature building while I was in Victoria. They were both down by the harbor so I spent some time walking around there. I found that area to be super touristy which I was a little disappointed about. I felt like it took away from what a beautiful place it is. The Empress has beautiful gardens outside of it, so I found a bench in a shady spot and took in everything until it was time to meet up with the bus again to head to Butchart Gardens.
I was really looking forward to Butchart Gardens because I'm a huge plant person. It was absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you looked there were more and more plants and flowers. The only thing I didn't like were how many people were there. I don't like crowds, but there were lots of them at the gardens. Honestly now that I've seen it, I don't think I'd want to go back just because of how many people were there.
After spending a few hours at the gardens it was time to head back to the bus to head to the ferry terminal again. While we were heading back to Vancouver the sun was starting to set so I spent most of my time outside taking it in. It was absolutely gorgeous. I didn't get back to my hotel room til 10 pm, so it was a pretty long day. I had a lot of fun though so it was definitely worth it.
Howe Sound Boat Tour
Tuesday morning I slept in and headed to a little hole in the wall bistro for breakfast. I'd eaten there the last time I was in Vancouver and it was delicious. I ordered the eggs benedict. Afterwards I went back to the hotel to wait for a shuttle to pick me up to go to West Vancouver where I'd booked a boat tour of Howe Sound with Sewell's Marina.
Howe Sound was probably the thing that was my favorite to do while I was in Vancouver. I spent two hours out on the water checking out the beautiful houses right on the water (which sell for between $25 and $30 million), seeing lots and lots of seals, as well as birds. I was a little worried that there would be fog and low cloud, but the weather cooperated and was perfect. I wish I could have spent several more hours on the boat.
By the time I got back to downtown Vancouver it was dinner time, so I ate at a little Malaysian place called Banana Leaf. I ordered a curry which was pretty tasty. Afterwards I decided to head over to Robson Street to check out some of the shopping. Within a block of two I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and twisted my ankle. Thankfully it didn't hurt too much right away and I still able to check out Robson Street, but by the time I got back to my hotel it was throbbing and starting to swell up.
Vancouver Art Gallery
When I woke up the next morning my ankle was pretty sore. I knew I wanted to take it easy, but still see more of Vancouver. I decided on going to the Vancouver Art Gallery which was only a few blocks from my hotel. They had a Picasso exhibit on so I was pretty excited to see that. I also checked out a few other exhibits before my ankle told me I had to get off it for awhile. I decided to get a cold drink at a Starbucks and hang out on the patio. I then headed to my hotel room to put my foot up for a bit.
Wednesday night was the Adele concert. I walked over to Rogers Arena and had to wait in line for about 15 minutes before they opened the doors. My seat was in the lower bowl at the opposite end from the main stage. There was a B stage closer to me though, so I ended up having some pretty good views. The show started just after 8 pm and she was on stage for two hours. Just like her other dates on this tour she started off with Hello. While I know she has a massive amount of talent, it didn't really hit me until she started singing.
She actually talked quite a bit between songs, which was kind of cool. She sang a good variety from all three of her albums, as well as Skyfall. The very last song she did was Rolling in the Deep, and she did a great job with it, but I was still a little sad that it was over. If you have the chance to see Adele live I'd definitely recommend it – I know I didn't really understand her talent til I saw her in person.
Museum of Anthropology
Thursday I decided to head to the Museum of Anthropology on the UBC campus. The museum is quite a distance outside of downtown, so I opted for a 20 minute cap ride instead of walking. If you're only going to do one museum in Vancouver, I'd recommend this one. There was so much First Nations artwork. Even the canoes were beautiful, let along the totem poles. The second part of the museum houses artifacts from First Nations people around the world. I particularly liked the saris and kimonos – they were so pretty with such delicate stitching on them. I could have stayed there another hour or two checking everything out, but my ankle was starting to get sore, so I caught another cab back downtown to Chinatown.
Chinese Gardens and Chinatown
I'm so glad I got to check out the Chinese gardens this time, because I missed out on it during my last trip to Vancouver. I did a guided tour of the gardens which was great because I learned so much about how the gardens were designed. Every little detail – from the patterns on the floor to the design of the windows – had so much thought go into it. The plants and flowers were also beautiful. I found out that bamboo only blooms once in it's lifetime and then it dies.
Afterwards I wandered around Chinatown for awhile. I went into a few shops and got some tea for my mom. Apparently the Vancouver Chinatown is one of the oldest ones in North America, which I didn't know. It makes sense though since it's on the west coast.
Walking Tour of Gastown
Later that night I headed to Gastown for a The Lost Souls of Vancouver walking tour. Before I booked it I knew it was going to be different from typical walking tours. This one was lead by an actor, and while the character he played was fictional, all the places and went and events that happened there were all real. He talked about everything from the fire to the small pox outbreak. It was a really fun way to learn about some of the history of Gastown.
Friday morning I was up bright and early to head to the airport for my flight home. Even though I managed to fit quite a bit into my trip I still felt like it went by way too quick. There's so much to do there, there's no way you can fit it all into one trip.
Where was the last place you traveled to?