Vibrant Vancouver

January 1, 2019

So as a culmination to a year that had me away from home an incredible amount of the time – much of it out of the country, it was only fitting to conclude 2018 outside of the United States!  Handsome Hubby and I decided to make the two and a half hour drive to Vancouver, British Columbia to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Canada.  The weather at home and north had been blustery, cold and rainy this past week, yet as we crossed our Northern neighbor’s border, the sun shone boldly, the sky was as blue as could be and the brilliance of the conditions continued to flirt with us our entire three day getaway!  We still had to bundle up, however, joining throngs of the rosy cheeked as we opted outdoors to enjoy the last days of December!

And throngs there were!!  We were literally AMAZED at all of the people everywhere we went, out enjoying the sunshine and holiday.  I have been to Stanley Park and the beaches in Vancouver many times and I can honestly say I have NEVER seen so many people as I did this trip – even in the summer!! img_0041

Since the Seahawks were playing, we made a quick drive through Stanley Park stopped for a wonderful late breakfast at Earl’s and then found a sports bar to catch the game.  We had never been to Score on Davie yet I am sure we will be back as the staff was very friendly and the bar food looked amazing.  We are not always in the mood for that fare, though sometimes its just the ticket.  Even though we had just eaten, we still had some delicious onion rings and watched from our seat at the bar as they cranked out their Caesar drinks with incredible adornments of burgers or corndogs or cheese sandwiches – plus onion rings.  According to Wikipedia, “a Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada. It typically contains vodka, a caesar mix, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and is served with ice in a large, celery salt-rimmed glass, typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime”.  They have a $64 one that has on top of the drink, a whole, deep-fried chicken into which many wooden skewers are poked to balance a hamburger, a mac ’n cheese stuffed hotdog, onion rings, chicken wings, a pulled pork slider and a brownie with a shot of whipped cream! I know, gross, right?!?!?  They look funky and fun though!!

 

After the game we went over to the Very Beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia and walked down some 300 stairs to the beach at Pacific Spirit Regional Park (Wreck Beach is clothing optional, in case you are interested).  Everyone had clothes on and we basically turned around and walked back up since it was a “super high tide” and what little room there was to walk was boggy.  Eventually we checked into our Coast Coal Harbour Hotel which is nothing special other than its great location a couple of blocks from the harbor, near Canada Place and Gas Town and minutes away from Stanley Park.  Vancouver is a vibrant, varied, cultural and beautiful city with great ethnic diversity and a million things to do!  One negative though is that the parking meters are in effect seven days of the week from 9:00 to 10:00! We met a very dear friend of mine who we have not seen in over a decade  and her Honey for a splendid dinner at Blue Water Cafe in Yale Town.  The experience was top notch from every perspective!

 

December 31st we waited in line to get into the Medina Cafe for breakfast and it was well worth the wait – for the waffles alone!  I don’t normally eat pancakes or waffles, but we were sitting at the bar right next to the waffle prep station and they were impossible to resist!  There are several toppings and we chose white chocolate pistachio and passion fruit – yum!

We then headed to the ferry, which we just missed and and hour later caught the next one to Bowen Island.  What a great day for a ferry ride!!  The mountains in and around Vancouver are incredible and spectacular and we visually enjoyed everything about getting out of town.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time to spend there so we just walked around a bit.   After we were back on the mainland, we took some of the trails in Stanley Park to specifically seek out some of the bigger trees.  

Really, tons of the trees are enormous and their majesty and immenseness are mind boggling!  We were able to see a Douglas Fir thought to be 600 years old and some other incredibly monstrous and towering redwoods!  So many of the trees had their roots growing back up the trunks and there was even one in which two faces were carved, called “Two Spirits”.  All of the moss and ferns were very intoxicating to our senses to be among as well.

We are pretty lame when in comes to celebrating New Year’s Eve, choosing to have a nice dinner out and maybe catch some music.  We enjoyed and early meal at Brix and Mortar, a caviar “dessert” back at Blue Water Cafe and caught some of the 9:00 fireworks on the waterfront before saying “good-bye” to 2018.

 
Both on our way from the border crossing to downtown Vancouver and back again we saw SO MANY Bald Eagles along the highway – as may as twenty sometimes in one tree!!  We see eagles often around where we live and honestly, I NEVER tire of the sightings.  It is truly “Awesome” to see so many of this majestic creature at one time!  As we continued our lovely drive home, and reflecting on this Vancouver visit, I couldn’t help but smile and count myself happy and blessed to live in the “Pacific Northwest”.  Even though Canada is a separate country from the United States, Vancouver is still considered a part of the PNW and Washington (and Oregon) share many of the same physical characteristics and natural beauty.  I have been so fortunate this year to visit, walk and hike in many places – some new and some familiar.  This year we went to New Orleans where we wandered the historic streets.  Our return visits to Zihuatanejo Mexico, Las Vegas, Nevada and Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona had us walking miles on beaches, trails in McDowell Mountain Regional Park and Granite Mountain in Arizona, hiking in Valley of the Fire and the Red Rocks in Vegas and we also had the opportunity to tool around Houston, Texas and Branson, Missouri.  I was grateful to see centuries old castles, churches, Roman roads, monuments and natural wonders in London, England, Lisbon, Portugal the towns of Séte, LaSalle, Toulouse and Paris in  France and the Spanish towns of A Coruña, Seville, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona, Granada and Valencia.  I walked hundreds of miles through villages, hamlets, towns and cities across Spain on two pilgrimages, climbing the Cantabrian, Pyrenees and O’Cebreiro mountains.  And still – AND STILL, I have to say that the Pacific Northwest cannot be beat in my mind and heart for its natural beauty.  Our old growth forests, the many beautiful bodies of water including the Pacific Ocean, the breathtaking mountains – flora fauna, farms, blue skies, cloud formations – parks and hiking trails – even the culinary scene!  We may not have the centuries old history, I’ll concede that.  In the end, I truly grow to appreciate how good I have it every trip I take!!  2019, I’m coming for you!!! img_0006

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ted Van Geest says:

    Happy New Year to you and your hubby! You have had an incredible year of adventures! I’m glad that Canada was part of it again! Looking forward to Zihau. See you then.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. robbidenman says:

      And Happy New Year to you two as well!! So looking forward to meeting you under sunny Mexican skies!!! Stay tuned for my back journaling of our time together in Seattle!

      Like

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