Canada part 3 – Vancouver

The fact that I’m writing part 3 and final post of my Canada series means it’s already been a whole week since I arrived home! That’s completely insane, this past week has flown by and it’s almost as if I never went away. Almost, but not quite! I’ve got so many fabulous memories from the past 2 months overall, and I am so very grateful to have experienced so much and visited amazing places.

So to round up my Canada adventures, here’s the lowdown on my time in the very beautiful city of Vancouver.

After spending 6 days in Toronto and loving it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in Vancouver. I think I was probably just thinking it would be very similar to Toronto so because of that, I was really quite looking forward to it. It would be another new adventure and experience after all, plus heading to Vancouver would be the furthest west I’d ever been! Before that the furthest place west I’d been to was Cancun in Mexico.

The first thing that struck me as we were coming into land was that Vancouver was basically surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. I hadn’t realised that would be the case but it was so beautiful! At the time we landed the airport was super quiet, our luggage arrive dead quick and soon enough we were on our way into the city to find the hotel.

Getting from the hotel to the city was so incredibly easy. There’s a train that goes directly from the airport right into downtown Vancouver. It takes about 26 minutes, costs something like $9CAD, and leaves every few minutes. It’s one of the best connections between an airport and a city that I have ever experienced! It was actually built for the Winter Olympics in 2010 but is one of those fabulous legacies from such an event, it’s a brilliant service!

On the journey into the city, I knew straight away that I was going to fall in love with this place. The scenery you could see from the train as soon as we left the airport was amazing. Mountains, rivers, harbours, docks, everything! And the sun was just starting to go down and it had obviously been a stunner of a day weather wise.

When we got to the hotel, I was actually rather surprised. In Toronto we’d stayed at the Chelsea Hotel which is the biggest hotel in Canada apparently and was really excellent. In Vancouver we stayed at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront and oh my goodness, this place was exceptional! The room they gave us they promised had one of the top 5 views of the harbour in the whole hotel. And to be honest, I thought they were just saying that to sound good, but they were really not exaggerating. This was the view we were greeted with as we entered the room:

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It took my breath away the first time I saw it, and every time we opened the door to the room over the next 4 days it put a massive smile on my face! I’d highly recommend this place to stay if you’re ever in Vancouver. It is ideally located for everything – a few minutes walk from the Waterfront area, the shopping area and the Harbour. I couldn’t have booked a better hotel if I’d tried!

So, what did we get up to in Vancouver? Well naturally, we did another hop on hop off bus tour, just like we had done in Toronto! And again it was a great way to get a first look at the city. Over the next few days we went to the aquarium in Stanley Park, shopping in the Pacific Centre and up Granville Street and we took a trip to Granville Island.

The highlight of the whole holiday was while we were in Vancouver, when we did the one thing that I’ve been hoping and longing to do for as long as I can remember – whale watching. We were picked up by the company in a shuttle bus, driven the 40 minutes or so to the super pituresque fishing village of Steveston where we got on a boat and spent about 3 hours out in the ocean searching for whales.

Obviously you never know whether you’ll actually see anything on a trip like this, because quite frankly no one can predict where a whale is going to be at any given time! So I’d prepared myself for the possibility that we wouldn’t see anything. But not long into the trip, we saw the most wonderful thing – hump back whales. It actually made me want to cry, it was truly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. We spent a good 45 minutes just watching them, keeping a respectful distance but being close enough to be completely awed by them. It reminds you that nature is the most wonderful thing about this earth.

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I was really hoping we’d see some orca whales but sadly that wasn’t to be. But as we’d be so lucky to spot hump back whales, I couldn’t be disappointed at all. It was the most wonderful day and one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did we see the whales, we such some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen – gorgeous blue ocean set against lush green scenery, with a beautiful blue sky backdrop and the most brilliant bright sunshine with not a cloud in the sky. The whole day and experience just warmed the cockles of my heart! It will be a memory I will treasure forever.

After I’d visited New York this summer and I fell in love with it, I honestly didn’t think I’d be lucky enough to find another place that I would love as much or even more. But I’ve found it in Vancouver. Even after only being there for 4 days, I am absolutely in love with it. It is now my favourite place in the whole world and I look forward to the day I’m able to go back again. There is still so much to see and do there that I didn’t get to do and I’d really love to visit more of British Columbia in general. I don’t think I can properly express how beautiful it is! Hopefully in the not too distant future I can take another trip.

So there we have it, my AMAZING trip to Canada summed up in three *relatively* short posts! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my thoughts about the country and what I got up to. I’m so grateful and incredibly lucky that I’m in the fortunate enough position to be able to visit amazing places like this, places that are on my bucket list, and I absolutely will never take any of these experiences for granted. In fact I intend to do as much as I can while I have the ability to do so.

My motto in life is to grab every opportunity that comes along, never regret anything and life live to the fullest. I’ve definitely done that over the past few months that’s for sure! I’m a very lucky girl.

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And happy birthday Canada! 150 years, exceptionally beautiful and my new favourite place.

Much love to you all! x

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