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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Hello Canada!

CANADA | Tuesday, 12 March 2013 | Views [359]

I know I've been a bit silent (and slack!) ever since leaving Alaska. I can't believe how swiftly time flies - I'm at the end of my week in Vancouver

This time around, I'm staying at my aunt's. It's been a lot more than ten years since I first and last saw her and prior to this visit, I had never met her husband! It's been a really comfortable stay and even better, I actually have had the chance and time to get to know and spend time with the family I haven't really seen all my life.
Vancouver has lived up to all the good rap I've heard about it. I like that it is truly multicultural and is as environmentally conscious as it is green. What I hadn't and wish I had known is how much of an outdoor city it is. I would've organized a few snowboarding days had I known that   the ski hills were less than 30 minutes away from downtown! But alas, it probably was for the better as I've been sick this whole week.
Here are some of my favourite places in Vancouver:
1. Stanley Park and English Bay 
The park is a major attraction for Vancouver and it's not hard to see why. It's a large span of full-on nature within the city. Biking the Seawall that surrounds it, you get beautiful views of the city, mountains and bay. Walking/biking within the park, you're among the century-old trees that make up a thriving temperate rainforest. 
Prospect point which is at the top of the park is the place to take photos, especially of the Lions Gate Bridge. After seeing the Golden Gate bridge in SF, I couldn't help but think I was seeing its green twin!
A walk along the beach at English Bay is really pretty, especially if the weather is on your side. You come across the funny man statues when you get onto Denman St. 
There's an abundance of food options coming out of the park onto Denman St. Ramen is fantastically authentic and should be a highlight of its own :)
2. Granville Island
Granville isn't really an island but is an area you'll like if you enjoy art and food. Going through the galleries and shops is one way to have an overview of and purchase art (mainly ceramic) by British Columbians. If you're more food-inclined, enter the public market and be greeted by the plethora of food porn! Best chai (in the world!) is from the tea company centrally located in the market.
3. Whistler
Whistler is around a 2 hours' drive north from Vancouver. The scenery from the drive itself is reason enough to make a trip up. 
I didn't really know what to expect from Whistler but it greatly exceeded whatever I had in mind, even though I didn't get to ski/board. It is so beautiful and I'm incredibly jealous of a friend who is living there at the moment. 
I really like how the village is actually quite big and offers a lot of options for food, shopping and living. The best part for me though, is that the gondola going up the mountain is within it.
Thanks to my lovely aunt, we got to take in more stunning views by riding on the new  Peak2Peak gondolas. They take you between Whistler and Blackcomb and hang around 1.8km above in the middle. Luckily, I'm ok with heights.
4. North Shore
I can only say that I wish I had done more up here because it is really beautiful! The North Shore has a lot for those who love the outdoors. With three mountains within easy distance and some pretty cool hiking trails, you can really feel like you're far from the city.
A lot of tour advice would tell you to see the Capilano suspension bridge near Grouse. I took the locals' advice and went to try the bridge at the Lynn Canyon National Park instead. The bridge is possibly higher than Capilano and the best part is that entry is free. The park itself is a very beautiful area to explore.
I'm off to Calgary tomorrow to see two of my best friends! Very excited :)

Tags: canada, cities, family, nature, sick, sightseeing, snow, snowboarding, winter

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