Despite the fact that Vancouver is not that far from the border, it’s more different that I would have thought. I’d never been to Vancouver before, and I absolutely loved it (although rarely do I visit a new place that I don’t fall a little bit in love with!)
I came to visit my friend Sydney from college and her boyfriend, Alex. There are a lot of Alex’s in my life! They moved to Vancouver so Alex could attend graduate school and now Sydney is attending culinary school, so next time I come, she’ll have a chef’s hat!
My visit to Vancouver was the perfect start to the trip – ultra mellow and relaxing. I definitely got into “trip mode” and out of “stress mode.” Sydney belongs to a yoga studio, so I got a week pass and we went almost every day I was here – including a class with the most incredible yoga teacher. If you’re ever in Vancouver, to go a Semperviva Yoga class with Reno – he’s amazing! All of his readings were exactly what I needed to hear and his teaching style is patient but encouraging.
We also did a bunch of walking – we walked everywhere we could! We explored Sydney’s neighborhood on foot and had samples at a delicious place called “Cob’s Bread.” We checked out some of the cute shops and got a chai to warm our hands because let me tell you, Vancouver is chilly!
Friday night, we went to a jazz club for dinner and drinks and, of course, jazz. The food was tasty and the jazz was great. The acoustics in the small venue were perfect. Somehow, jazz is expansive – it fills every corner of the room and gets under your skin.
Saturday, I went for a long run along the water and realized that Vancouver has so many dogs! And they are mostly off leash when they are running around the parks so they are really happy. Running along the water was beautiful and I remembered that running is a great way to explore a new city. I almost got lost a few times, but I managed to find my way home!
After yoga, Sydney and I went to Granville Island and got some food and walked around into some of the art stores and such. Granville Island used to be 100% industrial, and it still houses a cement factory, but also a ton of art studios and shops, and Granville Market which is a bunch of eateries and farmers’ market stands.
Sunday, we went to brunch at this cute place called “Cafe Zen” that is known for it’s benedicts – they have several different kinds and you can mix and match. Alex (my Alex, not Sydney’s!) would have loved it. He loves himself some hollandaise sauce. After eating, Sydney and I went downtown and walked through Stanley Park which was super cool. It has a lot going on – different art sculptures, an aquarium, a rose garden, a petting zoo – a whole mess of things. We only hit up a part of it before walking on to Canada Place and Gastown.
We stopped in Gastown at Trees Organic for a chai latte and a cookie and a much needed rest. We walked through Chinatown and took the bus home. We were going to go to yoga, but we were both pretty beat so we reheated some chili and just hung out and watched a movie instead.
We watched three movies this weekend – Green Street Hooligans, The Tourist, and Red Dragon. I had never see Green Street Hooligans and it’s a great movie! It’s about soccer “firms” in the UK that basically fight each other to represent their times. Apparently this is a worldwide phenomenon but I had no idea. I had seen Red Dragon before – also fabulous – but The Tourist definitely deserved it’s 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely a skip.
I also learned three new board games this weekend! Ticket to Ride which is a train strategy game, Kwirkle, which is like scrabble with shapes and colors instead of letters, and Sequence, where you try to line up five cards in a row. We also played Family Guy Monopoly and let me tell you, Alex knows a lot about Family Guy!
I was also happy that Sydney and Alex were with me on not eating out the whole time I was there. One of my goals (that I forgot to add to my list) was to be a frugal traveler and cooking at home makes that easier! We made a huge pot of chili one night and it fed us for three meals.
Now that I’m in Seattle, I plan on cooking for Ashley and Derrick a bunch as well – especially since Ashley is at work, I’m hoping to make her life a little easier by cooking for her.
Since this post was so ridiculously long, I am going to try and post each day in Seattle instead of one long one at the end. Until tomorrow!