Minivancouver

Last week I went international and traveled to Vancouver for the first time. It was also my first time out of the country. It was also my first time traveling anywhere with coworkers. Basically, a lot of firsts. This post is going to be a general trip overview and then I will have other posts about food and at least one additional post about brunch, maybe two, we’ll see how it goes. We hashtagged our trip #minivancouver2015 so if you don’t already follow me on Instagram you should, and you should also check out the photos via the hashtag because they are A. beautiful and B. somewhat hilarious.

BTW, I have purple hair now. #purplehairdontcare

Day 1: Travel and #SoloSeattle

I joined this trip 2 months after it was already planned so I was on different flights than my cohorts. My flight in was also significantly better because I got into Seattle 5 hours before them, direct, so I explored the city all by my lonesome. Let me tell you, I adulted real hard that first day. Not only did I have to get my first ever rental car, it was a minivan (hence minivancouver), plus I had to drive around a strange city, alone, I took public transit, my phone died, I was responsible for getting my friends from the airport AND I had to drive to Vancouver. So big shout-out to myself and many pats on the back because I didn’t die!

Like I said I had 5 hours to kill in Seattle so what did I do?

First and most important stop for me was the Chihuly Museum because his glass work is amazing. Check it out if you’re ever in Seattle it’s worth the cost. I walked into the museum and my heart fell in love.

Such amazing work and this is just a small sampling.

Since Chihuly is right next door to the Space Needle I bought the combo ticket because why not do both?

There are gorgeous views from the top of the Space Needle.

There was also an automatic photo machine that if you put your ticket in it takes your picture. No obvious selfie here. By the way, the Space Needle also has it’s own Instagram and it’s actually kinda cool.

After that I headed over to Pike’s Market via the monorail. The monorail basically only runs to Pike’s from the Space Needle, so easy public transit. Now, you do have to walk about 5 blocks down to the actual market but it’s a straight shot. The market is fun, so many things to look at and buy.

I’m cheap so I didn’t buy anything but this mac and cheese that I didn’t really need to eat but hey, cheese.

I also visited the original Starbucks because that’s a thing.

At Pike’s is where my phone died. So I wandered around for a little bit. Checked out the gum wall.

 

Eventually, I really needed to find a plug so I headed back to the Space Needle to bunker down by a plug in the gift shop, on the floor, right next to the elevator doors, to try to get just enough battery to be able to make at least 2 phone calls. While disrupting traffic, I found out my girls got in a little early, so I had to map it (again, adulting, I used an actual map) back to the airport. When I got my friends they were all drunk so first stop, Burger King, second stop, Vancouver.

BTW, we spent an hour at the boarder. AN HOUR! And we became the most obnoxious people there. Kept jumping in and out of the car to take pictures. Not like we were going anywhere fast, or slow. At one point they closed the line after our car and I was positive we were about to be arrested. Thankfully we weren’t. We attempted to joke with boarder patrol (they do not like that), and then off to our Air B&B.

Our Air B&B was small. We knew it wasn’t large but “sleeps four” really meant “sleeps four if you don’t mind having absolutely zero space”. The bed was less than 6 inches from the wall so if you wanted to walk from one side to the other you had to spider-man crawl the wall. Vancouver also doesn’t believe in AC, or fans, so the air was stagnant even with the windows open. But the view was amazing, if you ignored the cranes.

After the drive we all just chilled out and game planned our next day.

Day 2: Granville Island

Jamie and I woke up at 6:00 AM because we were still on Dallas time internally. We went for a walk to see if we could find things. Our first thing to find was China Town. We knew the general direction, we just didn’t know how far we needed to go. We did find it though, and rather quickly. So we looked around there, because nothing was open yet, then walked back to Science World. We walked around the water, found a film crew for Continuum (on Syfy channel), was told it was cool to check out the set, found out from the actual film crew it wasn’t as cool as we were told, asked if they needed extras (they didn’t), found cops that we thought were film extras carrying a camera, asked what they were doing, they were actual detectives gathering evidence for a crime, asked if they needed extras (they didn’t), broke into Science World and played around on some things before being told we needed to leave, then headed back to the room. That was like 3 hours of bullshitting around.

We then all piled into the car and headed to Granville Island.

It’s a cool little place.

Lots of shops. There’s Granville Market where you can buy produce and things.

It’s right on the water so it’s a nice place to go to to check out the water scene, and the house boats, while grabbing a couple drinks.

To be honest we probably spent a little too much time there but whatever. It wasn’t awful, I just know we could have fit something else into the day.

I forced more things into my day though. Adriana and I headed over to the Chinese Gardens. It’s this little, well, Chinese garden.

We were lucky enough to get into the last tour of the day. We learned all about Chinese culture surrounding the home and the garden.

All about Yin-Yang and how it’s shown in the water and rocks and plants. It was actually really interesting and informative. Our tour group was also predominately Asian so they translated scriptures on the wall for us. They also seemed to teach our tour guide a thing or two. He was so cute too. Like puppy cute.

That night my friend Emily picked me up and I went to her place so we could hang out the next day. Emily moved to Vancouver about 4 years ago and I haven’t seen her since the move. She actually created and birthed a human since the last time I’ve seen here to give you some real idea of how long it’s been.


Day 3: Exploring with Emily

The girls all went to Victoria Island, which I did really want to see, but sacrifices had to be made and Emily is more important to me than an island. She took me to a mountain.

And some beaches.

She would know better than I where we went, but it was pretty. I learned how to crab fish (crab hunt? crab-whatever) by creeping a guy that was doing it. We also went on a little hike to a beach. We climbed down some rocks and trees to get there only to learn if we walked 5 more minutes there were stairs.

It wasn’t that big of a deal, but Emily had her baby strapped to her. She hit those rocks faster than I did though so more power to her.

We murdered a lot of baby crabs too because they were EVERYWHERE. Seriously, couldn’t take one step without stepping on a handful of tiny infant crabs.

There are baby crabs in that water I promise.

 

That evening her husband took the baby and her and I went to New Westminster Quay.

Cute little area. We ate right off the water. I also tried poutine for the first time. I was super hesitant to try that but quickly realized why it was a thing and I already miss it. I miss that gravy cheese deliciousness so much. I no longer want a birthday cake I want poutine!

We then just hung around a little while.

Around this time is when I found out the girls kinda changed the plans on me and we were no longer staying the next night in Whistler. Basically, we had a mini communication breakdown but at the end of the day I ended up staying another night at Emily’s and we had another day with each other while they did a 8 mile, high intensity, hike that I was not interested in.

Day 4: More Emily time

Today we took the baby and rode the rail over to downtown Vancouver and explored it a little bit. This is also where I ran into Yolk’s food truck. Yolk’s was recommended to me via Instagram and it was a good recommendation too. Chicken and waffles AND a twist on eggs Benedict. But food post is coming after this.

We then dropped baby off with the hubs again so Emily and I could have a day of adventure. Today we went to Deep Cove so we could kayak.

I love kayaking. So much.

While we were waiting to kayak we found another show filming. This one was Cedar Point. They also didn’t need extras.

Emily and I kayaked to Grey Rock, which, as the name sounds, is a big grey rock. We sang some Pocahontas songs, we watched two bald eagles snatch a seagull out of the air, drown it, and carry it off right over our heads. Straight NatGeo shit right there. I was actually afraid a dead bird was going to fall on my head for a second.

We climbed around Grey Rock. We kayaked. We enjoyed the sunshine that Dallas wasn’t getting.

We then ate some pizza and headed home. After that we said goodbye and I went back to our cozy Air B&B.

Day 5: Zip Lining Fun Times

Today we woke up bright and early so we could drive to Whistler for zip lining. Our guides Hanley and Freddie were super chill guys.

The view both driving up to Whistler and zip lining around it were breathtaking. I will admit, my zip lining time in ATX was a little more exciting. Here we were zip lining over the same spot just back and forth, in Austin I went over various spots over Lake Travis.

Afterwards I tried to talk the girls into white water rafting but that didn’t happen (bucket list item still not crossed off). We were going to go kayaking but we kept hearing storms were rolling in so we didn’t and just headed back. Then we all basically crashed because we were going hard for 3 days in a row. It was bound to happen. I literally don’t think we did anything after that. If we did I don’t remember.

Day 6: Losing Steam

Saturday we went significantly lighter. Jamie went for a run, so Mindee, Adriana and I went brunching (duh) and then shopping downtown a little. We went to Catch 122, another Instagram recommended location. I forced the girls to have poutine, but this one had duck confit with brie. I could have just eaten that but no, obviously I didn’t. Also, I swear there was a Christian Grey look-a-like at the table across from me. Somewhere around mimosa number three I just stared at him, even though he clearly had his entire family, baby included, with him.

Yeah, I snuck a picture

 

Afterwards we headed back to the room. Mindee passed out, Adriana still wanted to explore and Jamie and I went to the brewery next door to grab a drink and some dinner. Steal Toad. Go there. That food though. Seriously speaking, I don’t know if it was because I was in a new place or what but every single thing I ate in Vancouver was the best thing I’d ever eaten.

Saturday night was supposed to be the designated night out. I spent $120 on a kick ass jumpsuit. Went full makeup. Kim Kardashianed my face. I. Was. Ready.

Two girls bailed. One wasn’t feeling well and the other got tired. So myself and the last girl standing went out without them. We didn’t get to Granville Street (the “happening spot”) till around 10:30 and all we saw were lines. Lines everywhere. We headed over to Gas Town to see the same thing. Our cab driver told us if you head out after 10:00 you should expect to wait at least an hour to get into anywhere. That was something not told to us at any point in time prior. After 30 minutes waiting outside one bar we said screw it and headed back. I’m still real angry. I was ready to be seen. I just wanted to be seen. I also wanted to dance, I wanted to have my circle of purses and just dance. I also wanted a singular drink bought for me because I was looking fine. And instead I got a cab ride home. What a waste.

Day 7: Basic Brunching

Sunday we went brunching. This was also something we learned. People brunch HARD in Vancouver. We called a couple places and were told the waits were close to 2 hours. This was at 10:00 AM. Two hours at 10:00 AM. Seriously? Here was one exchange I had:

“Hi, I’m not from here and I just wanted to know what the wait was like.”

“Around an hour and a half. Unless you have a big party then ha probably never. How big is your party?”

“Four.”

“Oh, that’s not big. About an hour and a half to two hours.”

“Do you take reservations or call aheads?”

“No.”

“Kthnxbye”

We found one place that told us if we arrived when they open at 10:30 we would probably be sat pretty quickly but sometimes they fill up in 20 minutes. So we hauled it over to Fable and lucked into a table because yeah, about 15 mins later they were full. Again, another amazing restaurant with delicious food. This one I will post a brunch review about later.

After that we attempted to find a spa but that wasn’t happening. So Mindee and Adriana went on a hop on/hop off bus tour. Jamie and I headed back to the room and cleaned up and started to pack. Then we headed back to Steal Toad to waste what was left of our Canadian money.

Day 8: ET Phone Home

Our last moments in Vancouver. We woke up early to clean, pack, and head out. The drive to Seattle was quicker than the drive to Vancouver. We got to the airport about 4 hours before our flights. Again, we were on different flights so they went to their gate and I hung out in the cafeteria. I was also told when I was just checking my bag I might not even be flying home because Dallas was under a weather advisory. Thankfully, my flight was only delayed 2 hours. Conveniently, I ended up offering the seats at my table to random pilots that ended up being my random pilots. I hung out with them up until it was time to board our flight. Allen and Tom are the shit! They calmed my down about my flight anxiety and this was the first flight in a while I didn’t need any anxiety pills, nor did I freak out during the turbulence. Also, since it was Memorial Day, we all got a singular free alcoholic beverage on our flight which I absolutely took advantage of. But then I was given another that I did not order. And then I found out from the flight attendants that the pilots told them to take care of me and give me whatever I wanted ssssoooo drink number 3 happened. I was a little drunk by the end of that flight but I just wanted to sleep. I’m gonna miss Tom and Allen. I gave them hugs while I was leaving.

And that was my week long excursion to Vancouver. It was a blast. More importantly, I don’t think words can explain how absolutely beautiful and breathtaking the scenery is. I would go back in a minute. Hell, coming back to work sucked because Dallas. And rain. And work. I was also almost famous three times while I was there so there’s that.

Please, go to Vancouver. If you need suggestions of things to do, places to go, things/places to eat, I’ve got em.

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