Unbelievable, but it is almost 3 weeks since I sat on top of Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, totally amazed at how pretty the city looked at night. I have never seen anything like it. If you think of New York, or even San Francisco (where we just came from), skyscrapers are normally packed with offices, so at night, whole floors are lit up.
Not in Vancouver…
Vancouver’s skyscrapers seem to be made just for people to live in them. In return, that means every window has a different glow and it looks stunning.
The whole city seems to be made for people to enjoy themselves.
Vancouver is also the only city I can think of, where you can go hiking up a mountain in the morning, sit at the beach, or do whale watching at lunchtime, and go skiing in the afternoon.
This is heaven for me!!!
And apparently, that’s what “Vancouverites” do in winter. They go skiing after work! And this is what they see when they ski down Cypress Mountain:
I am jealous!
Besides the unbelievable variety of leisure activities, the city has a lot more to offer. We spent 9 days there. So compared to the “fast food tourism style” of our “Pacific Coast” part of the trip – we really had time to get to know Vancouver. And we had time to fall in love with this beautiful, clean and green city, where everything is walkable, and everyone seems soo active…
The most memorable, and our most recommended things to do in Vancouver are as follows:
- Have breakfast at “The Templeton” and order the “big ass breakfast” and one of their coffee milkshakes!
- Have a glass of BC Gewürztraminer while creating your next art piece in “Raw Canvas” – a Tapas lounge, wine bar, art studio… in Yaletown (www.raw-canvas.com)
- Take an “Aquabus” (www.theaquabus.com) to Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com) and have breakfast or lunch or both on The Farmers Market – you can do some shopping there too
Another highlight was the day we went on an Orca Watching excursion with “Whales Vancouver” http://www.whalesvancouver.com. The tour started from Granville Island and went right into the Gulf of Georgia and beyond in search of the resident orca pods. If you ever do that, be prepared to be on the open ocean for a full day, since the trips can last up to 7 hours. It took us about 2.5 hours only to get to the whales. For me the best part of this whale watching excursion where actually not the orcas themselves, even though hearing their sounds was pretty impressive. They basically just swam along in the distance with their babies and did not want to do any tricks for us. In contrast, the sea lions we saw on some small islands along the way were so much cooler – laying there, chilling in the sun. B-)
As I said earlier, Vancouver and the people that live there care a lot about sports. Everywhere you go you see people jogging, cycling, kayaking, playing tennis, rugby, etc. So we got infected, too. We went kayaking on False Creek, cycling through Stanley Park and I went jogging along English Bay in the mornings.
The highlight in terms of sporty excursions was definitely doing “The Grouse Grind”. It is a 2.9-kilometre trail with an approximate 56 percent slope up to the face of Grouse Mountain (www.grousemountain.com), commonly referred to by Vancouverites as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster – basically, it’s just a million slippery stairs. They even have a Grind Timer Program, as well as an annual Grouse Grind Mountain Run. They constantly document the course records about who did the climb fastest, and how many times in a single day. I think the current record is 15 times in one day!
And as a little reward for all the girls when coming down after an exhausting grind – hot Starbucks Mocca is already waiting. 🙂
Being very active makes you hungry, so of course, we also found some really delicious places to make our tummies happy:
- For the best cheesecake, definitely, go to EARLS. (www.earls.ca)
- The best seafood is at “A Kettle of Fish” (www.akettleoffish.net) Mmmh I can still taste it!!
- The best view while eating delicious steaks and drinking more of the lovely BC Gewürztraminer – is definitely the rooftop terrace of “THE KEG” (www.kegsteakhouse.com)
On our last day, we went up Cypress Mountain again to do some light graffiti and enjoyed the beautiful city lights.
Vancouver, you will definitely see me again, and I am now in search of BC Gewürztraminer on the island!