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Vancouver

After our magical time in Whistler, we decided to explore Vancouver for 5 nights, which we had heard so much about! (By the way we booked our journey one bit at a time, before we left the UK we had Iceland and Whistler pre-booked and everything else was just what we fancied doing next; we wanted the freedom to choose when and where whilst travelling as well as getting settled into the country and setting ourselves up for the 2 years we had on our visa). The journey back down to Vancouver was just as gorgeous as the way up but unfortunately it rained that whole day which ruined the visibility from the bus window; I still managed to snap some of it though.

We decided to stay in a hostel for our 5 nights due to the expense however, I don’t think we would return to this hostel again- yes it was fine for those 5 nights on the cheap but I don’t personally think I would or could do it again. And that’s all I’m going to say on that lol. I will also mention that, it rained 4 out of the 5 days we were in there, so I feel my opinion and time spent there does not reflect the true experience of Van- we were restricted to what we could do. We would like to return though, preferably in the summer when we know there could be less rain. If anyone has been to Vancouver and can recommend their favourite things to do in the summer, I would love to hear them.

So what did we do with our time in Vancouver? In Canada? What’s something I feel you have to do in Canada? Well there are lots, but yes we went to a hockey game! Vancouver Canucks against Minnesota wild! We caught the bus there, and it seemed the majority of the bus were going to the game too- but it was such a great atmosphere, you could tell everyone was hyped for the game and of course there’s always one major fan, chanting for the Canucks to win; it was great, I loved the spirit. We had possibly the cheapest seats so we were up in the stands but I could still see all the ants playing and I could definitely hear the music. The whole arena is full of great atmosphere and they love to get the crowd going… unfortunately Canucks lost that night, but it was a great experience.

On the day we finally didn’t have any rain we decided to go to Stanley Park, which is huge park along the ocean, close to downtown Vancouver. It’s so airy and spacious- a great place to get away from the city. There are lots of things to see and do in Stanley Park including the aquarium (which we didn’t go to unfortunately as the queue was so too big for our liking). We just decided to have a nice long walk and see what was to offer. It wasn’t too busy either which was nice (probably because of the weather) but there was one point where there was literally no-one around, it was like we had gone of the beaten track- but we hadn’t, and we came to a large pond that was really murky and had a shivery fog over the top of it and was a little creepy. Now we aren’t chickens but when you’re unfamiliar with a place, it can be quite un-nerving, we would prefer it if people were around so we know we haven’t wondered off into the forbidden. We soon saw someone after that but we tried to get back onto the trail everyone else was walking on. I can imagine Stanley Park is the place to go in the summer as it’s a great place to escape and I’m sure that pond livens up as well, once the fog disappears lol.

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Of course, whilst in Vancouver we looked around the malls, ate out (as well as in our hostel- we asked the locals who recommended ‘No Frills’ for our groceries). We went to Gastown that was pretty cool, lots of historic buildings and I also must mentioned we experienced our first ever Tim Horton‘s in Vancouver! I was told about Tim’s coffee (double double etc.) before we came to Canada however, I am not a coffee drinker and neither is Jamie so it was never really an interest to us. IF I WAS TOLD THERE WERE DONUTS, then I would have gone there sooner. Our first meal was the pulled pork sandwich, with a Canadian maple donut and a peppermint tea, Jamie had the Boston cream and green tea and ever since then we were hooked!!! Even to the extent that I now own a Tim Horton’s credit card, where I earn Tim’s cash lol- not that I eat donuts that regular as I haven’t had one for a while- I’m hooked on chicken noodle soup at the moment for some reason (call me crazy, I only first had it for the first time like a week ago).

That concludes our visit to Vancouver, like I say there are so many more things we want to do in Vancouver and have a list for when we return- let me know what your favourite things are to do!

Jollietravels xxx

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Snowboarding in Whistler 🏂

Our first real adventure when we got to Canada was Whistler- we did stay in Vancouver for one night beforehand as our flight came in late (around 9/10) so if you are planning on going to whistler after a late flight beware that it is a bit of a drive (around 1.5-2 hours); I would recommend staying in Van for the night and heading up in the morning, because also- it is an amazing drive, great roads and breathtaking scenery so best seen in daylight. We got there by bus and was taken away by the scenery on the way up, if we were to do it again we would 100% drive it. Just so you can stop off at points and take in the views and explore the little villages along the way.

When we got there we checked into our hotel which was in a great location, literally a 2 minute walk to the main village and about a 10 minute walk to slopes. So of course, we dropped our bags and went to explore. The village caters to everyone/everything; there is a supermarket, lots of places to eat/drink (alcohol or coffee/tea etc), shops, tobogganing and the Olympic sign; and it is so soo cute!!!

Now onto the slopes- Jamie and I decided to try snowboarding, I had skied in the past but Jamie had done neither so this was going to be interesting (because I’m better). I will tell you now, we absolutely loved it– it is (personally) so much harder than skiing, but challenging, fun and rewarding. You feel like you have done a fully body workout by the end of the day. We had great weather while we was there, we was fully wrapped up and actually ended up being too hot and just wearing our under layers up the mountains.

We had 3 days of lessons and 4 days of snowboard hire for our week there (through Affinity Sports that was connected to our hotel; very handy); I felt this was the perfect amount of time. We got to learn the basics and gain confidence in the 3 days and then try out our new skills on the final day. What adds even more to the experience is the views- WOW, they are truly amazing. Not only was I blown away by the views on the way to Whistler but when you get up the mountains it’s truly magical. See for yourself…

Up in the mountains, there are great places to eat with good atmosphere. Or you can go back down to the village where there are a few restaurants, bars surrounding the slopes that are good too- most of them that we went too had heating methods, including a fire place which was so nice to sit besides and dry our clothes off whilst eating a big hearty lunch (BURGER). As for the evenings, we quite often cooked ourselves- this was because of two reasons, one- because we had just begun our travels and wanted to save money where we could and two because our room was like a studio and had the amenities to cook etc. Which was great- this was also the start of our ‘adult’ life as well as the first time we were fending for ourselves- not that our parents did everything for us because we did cook at home etc- but we didn’t have the flexibility to ring mum and ask how to turn the cooker on (JAMIE). Other than eating out for lunch, I think we only ate out in the evening twice- both at the same place, El Furniture Warehouse which had $4.95 meals all day every day- EVEN BETTER!!! And to be honest, the food was delicious and not small (which you would expect at that price).

Overall Whistler was amazing, a great adventure and somewhere that we would definitely visit again- in the summer or winter. All hotels and other details are linked in this post- if you click on the word it will take you directly to the website we booked it through. 

As I am new to this, please tell me if you want me to write more and what you want to hear about in my posts- I have been told I can go around the houses when telling a story (SAMMY) so don’t want to bore people and let my pictures and videos do the talking. However, if you would like me to continue talking let me know in the comments below- I would love to hear if anyone else has been to whistler and if they recommend anything that we didn’t do, as we were pretty much tourists and didn’t venture out doing anything other than eating, snowboarding and sleeping.

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Until next time…

Jollietravels xxx