Posts filed under ‘Vancouver’

Photo Post: West Coast Dream (Vancouver, Part 2)

Kitsilano (“Kits”) Beach on a beautiful warm Saturday, with the saltwater pool in the foreground

More Kits Beach

Downtown Vancouver from Kits Beach

Panoramic view of Kits Beach, click to see this a bit bigger

Stop #2 on Saturday (along with everyone else in Vancouver) was Stanley Park, a peninsula on the west end of downtown (also a peninsula).

Seawall and a whole bunch of shells of some sort along the beach…clearly I am well in tune with marine nature.

Almost the very western point of the seawall

Stanley Park, overlooking Burrard Inlet, with the super-creepy Lions Gate Bridge visible in the upper left corner


June 18, 2010 at 9:58 pm 1 comment

Beautiful BC

So I’m a bit behind in blogging…this is the usual for me. I was actually surprising myself by how well I was keeping up the first few days! But on about day 5, I started getting tired, and now I’m doing a lot more driving most days, so staring at a computer screen isn’t the best rest for my tired eyes. However, I’m currently experiencing some unpleasant weather in the Rockies, so I thought I’d warm up with a coffee for a few moments and blog. Of course, I picked a coffee shop stuck in the dark ages with no wi-fi, but what can you do?

I think I left off in Vancouver, so to pick things up, Sunday was my last day there. I went to Stanley Park for a picnic lunch with a bunch of friends. It was so great to meet up with Jenny, one of my good friends from undergrad, and her husband Sam, along with various members of the family. Jenny & Sam, Tori (Jenny’s sister) & Cameron & Austin, and Jenny & Tori’s parents had all just docked that morning from an Alaskan cruise, and Cameron’s parents had also met them to help transport luggage from the ship. Unfortunately, Jenny & Sam didn’t have much time before they had to catch their bus to the airport, but we had a nice lunch and had enough time to hover around Austin while he played on the swings. Tori, Cameron, & Austin were my Kelowna hosts, so I made plans with them to leave Vancouver later in the day, around the same time that they were, so we could meet up on the road. Then they went off to spend time with family in Vancouver, and I had coffee with another friend, Aaron, and then went back to Port Moody for just a bit more time with my fabulous hosts.

I have to mention how wonderful my time staying with the Edwards family was, and not just because I know they’re following my blog! They were incredibly kind and a ton of fun. We had so much to chat about that I had a hard time leaving their house to go sightseeing a time or two! I only met them last year through figure skating—their daughter is an ice dancer and my friends Megan & Aaron coach her—but they treated me like they’d known me for years. I’m really glad that I had the chance to get to know the whole family better, and I’m looking forward to seeing the ladies again in Ottawa in 6 weeks for the first competition of the season.

Sunday evening, it was onward to the Okanagan via the Coquihalla Pass. It was my first time driving up a mountain like that, and I was a little terrified since I was alone, but it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I have vague memories of hiding in the backseat while driving in the Appalachians with my parents when I was 9, and either the roads in the Appalachians are a lot steeper, or my stepdad drove a lot faster than I did. I’m going to guess option #2.

On Monday morning, Cameron played tour guide for me and drove me around Kelowna while Tori stayed home with Austin, who wasn’t feeling well. Cameron had a ton of fun facts about the area, and I love a good fun fact, plus he knew a lot of great spots, since he really loves the area and drives a lot for work. I was glad to have an insider’s perspective. We stopped at the Father Padosy Mission, at Okanagan Lake Park, and on Knox Mountain, but while we were on the mountain, Cameron got a call from Tori—now she wasn’t feeling well either, so we headed back right away.

With Cameron, Tori, and Austin all getting checked out at the hospital, I was on my own for a few hours in the afternoon. Cameron recommended a drive up the highway along Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake, and I was really glad that he did! National Geographic has apparently rated Kalamalka Lake the 6th most beautiful lake in the world, and if it’s only #6, I’m really going to have to start travelling to see the top five.

Everyone came home for dinner and things were fine, thank goodness, so Cameron ended up taking me to downtown Kelowna to see the waterfront. The city has done a great job with public space and even though it was a touch chilly, there were plenty of people out, enjoying the evening. We also stopped at Moo-Lix, a local ice cream spot. Two thumbs up for the mint chip, which didn’t taste over-the-top, even though it was OTT green.

Well, this is probably enough catch-up for tonight…I’ll get to Alberta tomorrow!

June 16, 2010 at 9:20 pm 3 comments

Vancouver: Photo Post

First, I drove from Victoria to Nanaimo and found one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen from Malahat Mountain.

Leaving Departure Bay on the ferry

Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver…I had to scramble up on some boulders to get this shot, but I didn’t break any bones, so it was worth it.

So no one forgets what I look like…

View of downtown Vancouver from Lighthouse Park

Waterfall in Lynn Canyon Park

Worth it to conquer the scary suspension bridge for some shots by the creek…

…until I realized I had to walk back across it, too.

June 16, 2010 at 12:39 am Leave a comment

Vancouver Again

This road trip marks my fourth trip to Vancouver, and I’m still so captivated by this city. My guidebook touts it as the most picturesque city in North America, and it’s hard for me to disagree. With a canvas of mountains to the north, no matter where you look, a downtown peninsula that juts out into seawater, and one of the world’s largest urban parks, Vancouver is indeed picture-perfect.

I’ve also been unbelievably lucky with weather on all of my visits, so I always say that I can’t move here, just visit, because I’ve never had to deal with multiple days of rain here. I hate rain.

When I left Victoria, I drove up the Trans-Can to Nanaimo, so I took the ferry from Nanaimo to Vancouver, which dropped me off at Horseshoe Bay, located in West Vancouver, on the “north shore” of the city. I’d never been to that part of town, so after consulting my guidebooks, I programmed the GPS for Lighthouse Park. Dear Mom: Thank you very much for the GPS for my birthday. Without it, I would absolutely never have found Lighthouse Park among all of West Vancouver’s twisted, mountainous residential areas. Love, Mel.

Fortunately, my Garmin did not fail me and I arrived in Lighthouse Park expecting, you know, a lighthouse. Instead, I got a gravel parking area and a trail map posted at the gate. Um, trails? I don’t really…hike. But at least I was wearing gym shoes, so off I went, armed with a trail map. It was just a bit of a walk to the lighthouse viewing area (there’s no public access to the lighthouse itself), but when I arrived at the viewing area, all I saw was a giant boulder. Possibly two giant boulders. It took a few minutes before I realized that I had to climb a crude “staircase” chiseled into the boulder in order to see the lighthouse. I almost broke my ankle, but it was worth it. I climbed around on the rocks, trying to get the best shots, and I think I got some good ones. After the lighthouse viewing, I went to another area where the city was visible, but it was a bit too far to get great shots.

Next on my agenda was Lynn Canyon Park. I’d wanted to go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and park, but my guidebook tipped me off that Capilano is a privately-owned park that charges $25 for admission. I hate tourist traps. Instead, I opted for Lynn Canyon, which is free, less crowded, and has a suspension bridge that is almost as impressive. I even crossed it, despite my irrational fears of bridges and heights, and while I almost vomited on the way back because some kids were making it sway too much, I think the trek was worth it to take the trail down to the creekside for photos and pretty scenery.

I even had time last night to catch up with some friends that live here, which was good times of course! I had coffee with Raul, then met Aaron and some of his friends downtown later. Apparently, there was a night market going on in Chinatown, but I had to decline a trip to that, since I’d been awake since 4am!

Today, I had a relaxing morning (since no one was sleeping above me in a creaky bunk bed) and then set out this afternoon for the outdoors…along with all of Metro Vancouver, it seemed! I hit Kits Beach first, which was new to me, and loved it, and then crossed the bridge into downtown and spent some time strolling the seawall at Stanley Park. While I was there, I played photographer for 3 different families/tourists…I actually love it when people stop me and ask me to take a photo of them. It’s like my good deeds for the day.

Besides a little headache from the traffic, I also left downtown with a sunburn on my left shoulder only (I guess it happened while sitting in the traffic), but no complaints on such a gorgeous day. Thanks again for another great one, West Coast!

June 12, 2010 at 9:17 pm 1 comment

Vancouver, Part 1

The last time in Vancouver, it looked quite different. Without all of the turquoise Olympic banners and red-and-white mayhem in the streets, I barely recognized the city when I arrived downtown last night. It wasn’t until I’d already parked my car and walked out of the parking garage that I realized I had parked right across the street from The Bay, where I stood in line many times during the Olympics, waiting to get inside the Olympic Superstore.

Last night was just a quick trip downtown for dinner with a friend. Fortunately, she’s a sushi fan and there was a new place near her work that she had been wanting to try, so I had my first taste of west coast sushi for the trip. I’m hopeful that it will not be my last! Last Saturday, my mom took me to my favourite sushi restaurant in Chicago for my birthday. Cost of my half of the four maki that we split, a house salad, and half of a green tea ice cream: something like $30. Last night, in downtown Vancouver, cost for a special that included 5 sushi, 2 sashimi, 3 pieces of maki, rice, salad, miso soup, green tea, and fruit: $6.95.

If only I didn’t hate rain so much, I think I would love living here! I’m excited to get back and spend the weekend discovering some new corners of the area.

First, though, I’m en route to Victoria! I’m writing this from the ferry and plan to post it sometime this afternoon. During this whole trip, I’m conquering my fear of boats, one ferry at a time. This is actually my first time on a car ferry, so driving my car onto the skinny lanes on the boat was a little terrifying, but I’m coping well so far. The ferry is actually so large that it barely feels like we’re moving. The ship houses various lounges, a café, a restaurant, a gift shop, plenty of passenger seating, and an area outside that I have not explored yet, all on three passenger decks.

And speaking of exploring, I’m going to head upstairs and see what else there is to see. I plan to check in again tonight with tales of today’s Victoria adventures.

June 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment


A serial road tripper chronicles her adventures.


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