We’ve arrived in Canada, the fourth and final country on our travels! 15 days to explore the beauty of Vancouver, Seattle, Victoria, Okanagan, Toronto and Niagara Falls. Since four of these destinations are located in British Columbia alone, we knew we’d have a busy 10 days ahead of us!
Our flight from Vegas departed at 6:05am meaning we were very sleep deprived for our first taste of Canada. We landed in Vancouver late morning and were unable to check in to our hotel until 2pm which meant no afternoon nap for us 👎🏻! We headed straight to the centre of downtown to get some food and of course some much needed coffee! Not wanting to veer too far from the hotel, we managed to find a Nando’s and a Starbucks a few blocks away. We fuelled up, and did some planning for the rest of our stay, before heading back to the hotel to check in. That evening we got our first taste of a true Canadian sport – Ice Hockey! The Vancouver Canucks vs The Las Vegas Golden Knights who went on to win. The game was absolutely brilliant. It was the penultimate game of the season and the atmosphere was electric! We loved it!!!
Day two in Vancouver, and we woke up to find that our hotel was surrounded by police and tv cameras?! At first we thought maybe a famous person was nearby but we quickly found out that a situation was occurring further down the road and the police were using our hotel as a base… not the nicest feeling to know you have lots of tv crews waiting outside your hotel room window. Maybe this is what it feels like to be a celeb…! After laying low for most of the morning, we decided our best bet was to head out and do some more exploring of Vancouver. We walked to the opposite side of downtown, Canada Place, to catch the shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The rain was coming down thick and fast but being English, this did not faze us! We arrived at the park early afternoon and went straight across the main bridge, surprising us both with how much it wobbles!! Quite daunting and definitely not the place for those who don’t like heights… after working our way around the tree top adventure and the lower walkways around the forest, we made our way back across the main bridge to find the cliff walk, a short walkway that curves round the cliff face… After spending a few hours at the park, it was time to head back to downtown. Visiting the park and walking round downtown for most of the day had really tired us out and we all know the best way to regain some energy is to visit a bar during happy hour!! A few g&t’s and a couple of sangrias later, we were ready to head back for dinner. Upon arrival back at the hotel, the police presence was still high but it was clear things would be wrapping up shortly (well we hoped). A few hours later everything was over and we were finally able to relax again.
Our first stop in Vancouver was very short and sweet. The following day we got the bus to Bellingham, in Washington, to pick up our hire car for our Canadian road trip. Whilst you may be a little confused as to why we headed back to the states to hire our car, we actually saved loads of money doing it this way as it is virtually impossible and extremely expensive for under 25’s to hire a car in Canada. Our stop in Bellingham was very short as we had planned to go to Seattle for the evening, before catching the ferry to Vancouver Island . We arrived in Seattle late afternoon and as our time was limited, we decided to head straight for the pier. The evening consisted of a visit to Pikes Place market, and gum wall which is a bizarre and ultimately revolting tourist attraction (pictures below…). We would have liked to have visited the Space Needle but we ran out of time – oh well… I guess it’s an excuse to come back!
The next stop on our road trip was Vancouver Island. We left Seattle early to ensure we’d make our 2pm departure. We got to the ferry terminal just in time and boarded the hour and a half long trip to the island. We heard that the journey is beautiful however due to the fog and low lying cloud we didn’t get to see much of this beauty… After a short drive slightly north of the ferry terminal, we arrived at our home for the next two days – Lucy and Nick’s house. They were so welcoming and it was absolutely lovely to have some home comforts, including a lovely cup of tea! Many conversations were had about the comparisons between Canada and England. It’s amazing how similar but also how different they are. The following day, we enjoyed exploring downtown Victoria (the parliament buildings, Chinatown and the harbour) with a lovely lunch at a harbour side restaurant, before a delicious dinner and a film back at Lucy’s.
Sunday was the biggest travel day of our road trip, we were driving from Victoria all the way to Vernon (the Okanagan). It was quite a hefty journey but when you’re surroundings are so beautiful, you’ve got a good music playlist and some decent snacks, the time does pass by – it’s not like driving down the m25 that’s for sure! We arrived in Vernon around 6pm, just in time for a quick food shop before watching a beautiful sunset over swan lake in front of our hotel. Our only full day in Vernon was spent exploring the near by Kalamalka and the Okanagan lakes. We did a couple of really lovely walks before finding a spot for Mar to swim but unfortunately all the best spots were private land. We left Vernon early Wednesday morning as we had to be back in Bellingham to drop off the hire car and catch the bus back to Vancouver. After crossing the border for the fourth time in four days, we were ready to head back to Canada for the final part of our trip.
Our final few days in the Vancouver area were spent in Richmond, closer to the airport and also nearer to the port from which some of the whale watching tours departed. However, due to the strong winds and bad weather, our tour was cancelled and unfortunately we didn’t have long enough in Vancouver to book another. Again, it’s just an excuse to come back!
We are now into week 12, the final week of our trip… boooo 😦 after 10 days in British Columbia, we were ready to head over to the other side of Canada to explore Toronto… updates to follow 🇨🇦🌆