Vancouver, BC, Canada
Traveling to Canada has never been on my radar, yet it's such a cool place and its so close! As soon as I set my sights on the destination I create a Pinterest board. I pin everything from itinerary's, where to eat, customs, and what to wear.
When we set on Canada, I compared flights + driving. For some reason flights are extremely expensive for our Northern neighbors and it was a fraction of the cost to drive. We decided to make a road trip out of it and that it was! The total drive time from Layton, Utah to Vancouver, BC, Canada is approx. 17 hours.
We stayed in an adorable Airbnb suite. It was private, close to everything, and cheap! One thing that is nice about Canada is their dollar is weaker than ours, so the US $ goes quite a bit further. One thing we like to do when traveling through different countries (different currencies), is just use your debit/credit card! Just be sure to let your bank know before your travel. If you ever need cash an ATM charge will be so much less than a conversion charge!
The night we arrived, we went to dinner at this great Irish pub called Doolins Irish Pub. Something that is foreign to Americans are these pubs, the closest thing I can relate them to is a sports bar. We must have come at prime time because it was packed!. We found ourselves a seat in a little corner and ordered a couple beers and Poutine. Now Poutine is a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Quebec, made with French fries, cheese curds and topped with brown gravy. Actually really delicious, we ate so much we had stomach aches!
The next day we woke up bright and early to check out this little cafe I found during my Pinterest research. Parking can be difficult but many times we found parking right in front of the location we wanted. You will also be downloading 2 or more apps because each part of town uses a different app to pay for parking. Anyway, we parked about a block away and walked to this adorable cafe, I wish I had taken more photos but it was bright and clean and the Chocolate Almond Croissant was sent from the heavens. Beaucoup Bakery & Café was everything I read it would be. I highly reccommend visiting this place if you are ever in Vancouver, I seriously might go back just to buy a dozen of these croissants!
Once we finished we headed the the Granville Island Public Market. If you've ever been to Seattle, its basically like Pikes Place. We sat on the pier and watched the boats charter in and out, while we listened to live music. We walked around to all the little shops, we walked through the actual market with fruit stands, handmade items, etc. The one place that caught my eye was the adorable Pet Treatery, we bought Lilly a Canadian handkerchief and some handmade, organic treats.
We then went back for a nap, yes you read right. I scheduled us time each day for a nap because when we were in Europe earlier this year we seriously did not sleep at all! Jet lag + early morning flights + uncomfortable beds, it was a disaster. So I made sure we actually relaxed on this vacation!
After our nap, we went out for sushi. As we went to leave, I found out that the place I had researched and planned for dinner, was closed! We were on a tight schedule so I hurried and pulled up Yelp - best thing ever. Found this delicious little place (Green Leaf Sushi), it was adorable, cheap, (and the one thing I love about being so close to the coast) REAL CRAB. It really changes the flavors and makes it 100x better!
After we had stuffed ourselves, yet again, we headed to the park. We decided we were going to camp out for a few hours to make sure we got front row seats to the Celebration of Light - which is an annual fireworks competition held in Vancouver, also the longest running off-shore firework competition in the world. The night we were there was the first time the Netherlands had competed in the event, definitely something to see once in your lifetime!
Our last day of our anniversary trip started at Jam Cafe on Beatty - I kept reading "get there early if you want a seat!" so we arrived 2 minutes after they opened, and they were FULL! Can you believe that? We got the last open table! It was delicious though, I had eggs Benedict and Alec enjoyed his sausage/pancake deliciousness. As soon as we left there was a line down the block waiting to get in, needless to say if you want to have breakfast here BE EARLY!
We then drove across the bay to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, it was an expensive park to get in but it was one of the reasons we wanted to visit Vancouver! Be prepared to pay $39.95 CA ($30.62 USD) per adult. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a bridge that crosses the Capilano River, the bridge is about 459 feet long and 229 feet above the river. Its terrifying to say the least, it sways, it bounces, and its FULL of people. I thought we had gotten there early enough to beat the crowd but there were so many people! They also have a few other attractions, they have mini suspension bridges where you can walk around in the trees and a really cool cliff walk, which is literally you walk along the cliff. I don't know if it was worth the money, just because it was so crowded, but it was an experience I'll remember forever.
Next we found some pizza! It was this trendy little place in Gastown, Vancouver. I mean we had to cut pizza with scissors! It was pretty good, nothing to rave about.
Now this next piece is kind of crazy - no we didn't just pull up to a tattoo shop and say "this looks good". I did thorough research via Instagram, I looked through SO many different artists and their styles and I contacted multiple of them to find availability and pricing. I found this awesome guy - Jay - he just moved to Vancouver from New Zealand and he used to be a graphic designer and decided that he wanted to be a tattoo artist about 2 years ago! He was really cool and professional!
From walking on bridges hundreds of feet in the air to tattoos, we had an exciting, adrenaline filled day!
After our tattoos, we were sore, tired, and SO HUNGRY. Yet again the place I had found didn't open for another 2 hours and we were seriously starving, something about sitting in pain for 1.5 hours makes your metabolism speed up or something! So we found another place, which i'm glad we did because I fell in love with this little restaurant. Six Acres - okay it might have just been that it was so adorable, because the food portions were tiny, plus expensive but the service and atmosphere made it worth it! We sat and had a couple of tall glasses of beer *please note the legal drinking age in Canada is 19* it was just the perfect end to the day! Plus on our way home we found this AMAZING wall! I yelled "ALEC PULL OVER" now, normally Alec would be like "Oh sorry we missed it" but no, Alec skipped across traffic just so I could take a picture in front of this wall. Now thats true love.
On road trips we tend to do this thing where we leave in the middle of the night, just so that we can get home at a decent hour.. So after a good nap we hit the road, at midnight! It was a long drive and Alec had to stop at 3 different "24 Hour" McDonalds to find that they actually aren't open 24 hours. We actually spent MORE on gas because we filled up in Vancouver - rookie mistake - Vancouver has expensive gas prices and we should've/could've waited until the Washington border.
We did the full drive all the way home - 17 hours. We took turns sleeping, which was mostly me sleeping but I'm not complaining! Traveling with your best friend is one of the most epic things in life, and i'll leave you with "the only trip you will regret is the one you don't take".