by Srishti Khemani.
This piece is very personal to me, and my first for that reason. I was a little girl growing up in India when I first read about Canada. I always thought how incredible it would be to actually visit this place I’d seen in photographs. I remember typing British Columbia in google images and just looking at the pictures for hours.Canada was one such dream come true for the child in me!
I will write this in parts taking you through my whole experience step by step!! My trip happened in October, 2018, Fall season! The trees were mostly orange everywhere we went. We took an Air Canada flight from Brisbane, Australia where I live with my life and travel partner. The flight was about 13 hours (no stops) and pretty tiring. The best part about the flight was as soon as we got irritated being cooped up in a plane for that long, we realised around the last hour that we started to see Mount Baker. It’s so gorgeous. I was amazed how before even touching down, my trip was scenic already! Imagine being miles above in the air and flying towards white mountains that tower above the clouds. It is a view to cherish.
Being typical nerds we had written an itinerary for each day of the 2-week long trip. See the thing is, Canada is HUGE! So if you want to see the most of this magnificent beast in a short time, you have to plan in advance. It helps in figuring out commute as well. There are free services run by the state to get you to major tourist places and there are tour agencies that organise trips that need advance booking.
The ride to the hotel was easy. There are many taxis right outside the airport with a meter. There is a culture of tipping for all services you receive. We checked the visitor guide by the government and they recommend tips around 10-15%.
The hotel we picked was absolutely gorgeous. It is located in the English Bay area. English Bay beach is a top attraction for this suburb. It's a busy beach being so close to downtown Vancouver. Also, being a foodie I want to share this tip, must try the hotdog stall here by the beach.
The first thing we did after organising our room and a quick shower. Then we got out and walked to a local store and bought sim cards from the nearby convenience store. Then it was time for beach walking. The beach was full of tourists and locals, some walking, and many cycling. It was one lucky sunny day for Vancouver, and it looked like the locals wanted to fully enjoy that. It usually rains about 1163mm annually. So this was a special day. Since this trip was close to winter, it was about 11-12 degrees outside so we did not go near the water but the beach has a gorgeous landscape around it. With very Instagram - worthy rocks and lush grass around, this beach is the ideal picnic spot.
The next day in this gorgeous place we got up early and made our way to the iconic Queen Elizabeth park. It is 152 meters above sea level, making it the highest point in Vancouver with breathtaking views of the park, the city and mountains on the north shore. The 52-hectare park is home to the stunning Bloedel Conservatory.
There is also a gorgeously landscaped quarry garden, the arboretum with its collection of exotic and native trees, sculptures including one by internationally renowned artist Henry Moore, and diverse recreational offerings such as tennis, lawn bowling and pitch & putt.
Getting here is easy, about 15 minutes by public transport from downtown. We spent about 2-3 hours here, taking pictures, appreciating the beauty of this horticultural paradise.
Moving forward from the park we spent the rest of the day walking around downtown, taking in the city vibe. The people are nice and friendly, the streets are bustling with heaps to look at, the shops are open till late, WHAT MORE DO WE WANT :D We managed to walk to the most iconic streets around downtown, actually saw the super famous steam clock in Gastown district.
After some window shopping we finally got back to the hotel, super tired. We stayed in Vancouver for two more days in, the adventures of which are going to be in my next post. Stay Tuned!!!