It was going to take roughly 3.5 hours to get to Vancouver, depending on Northbound traffic and customs, so I wanted to start early. We left my place at 5am Friday, July 26th, for the trek north. I had never crossed the border as an adult so I was super nervous, but everything turned out fine. Our first stop of the day was trying to find an ATM machine to exchange currency/find a Tim Horton's to have breakfast. We were already getting frustrated. The first place we checked turned out to be a 7-Eleven with a Tim Horton's express and a broken ATM. Next stop was an actual Tim Horton's but no ATM machine. At least we got breakfast. On the plus side, our debit cards worked fine; it would charge us CAD but our bank amount was in USD, so it ended up being less. So our next stop was actually going to be Wal-Mart. Patrick needed some flip-flops for a future activity and I wanted to find this hair Gelee called Girls with Curls. Apparently it's not sold in the US and it's Bianca Renee's favorite curly girl gel.
Wal-Mart 1 was completely out of stock. That was fine. We managed to get money out of an ATM to use for the remainder of our trip.
[Side note: In order to change my vehicle to Kph, I also had to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius. I kept complaining that I didn't know how hot it was outside. And Patrick joked about Canadian time being in Kila-hours and Milli-minutes. I love this man.]
Lynn Canyon Park
Google research originally sent me to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which admittedly looked really cool, however it would cost a pretty penny to go to, so I looked for other options. Turns out, Lynn Canyon was free and also had a
Anyway, so it took us 30 minutes to get there, and parking was atrocious as well. It was over 80 degrees outside and we had no idea that this park had not only trails and a bridge, but a freaking awesome swimming hole with seriously inviting water. Patrick wanted to jump in - clothes and all.
I am also very proud of my sweetie for crossing the bridge; he's got a fear of heights and he had no idea what was in store for the rest of our trip.
Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours
The next stop on my list was Stanley Park. This place is massive - larger than Central Park - so I had decided that the best way to explore it would be not by foot, but by carriage. Again, the traffic getting there was a nightmare, and the roads are a bit weird; so still super glad I wasn't driving. We paid to park and found the tour. Although it was relaxing, I found it a tad boring. Plus, Patrick and I were running on fumes - especially him because he got way less sleep last night than I had. It being 85+ degrees out didn't help either. We walked through the garden on the way back to our car and were glad that it was time to head to the hotel.
After our trip to Stanley Park, it was time to check into our hotel. Okay, this place was pretty sweet. It's a mix between a hotel and a hostel - so you get a private room, but the bathroom is shared on each floor. There were 12 floors and some had laundry or a kitchen, and some were just rooms (like ours). It saved me a ton staying here because Vancouver, in summer, is not cheap. We're talking $200-$400 a night. This place was $120 (plus $20 to park in their garage). The YWCA was right in the heart of downtown and only a mile walk to the Vancouver Lookout and the Convention Center, where LTX was being held. The room itself was modern and nice. It still had A/C, a sink and a mini-fridge, and unfortunately two twin beds instead of a queen, but you make do with what you get! I highly recommend this place if you need to stay in Vancouver proper.
|view from the hotel|
I had discovered this place in my google searches and made a reservation for 5:45pm. So this place is pretty cool. Basically, there are a few of these restaurants in the world, and you eat in complete darkness. The waiters are all blind. You order before you go in, and they lead you to your table. We opted for the Dinner/Dessert combo. I ordered the mushroom risotto, and Patrick had the lamb rigatoni. The desserts were to be a surprise. It wasn't too difficult to eat and drink in the dark. You know where your mouth is, and you kind of remember where you placed your water. I do feel as
though the pleasure of eating your food can be heightened if you take away your sense of sight. I also think that people felt as if they needed to talk louder because they couldn't see. It was disturbingly loud in that place. I would have been much happier with some sound dampened walls or something.
That risotto though - wow. It was amazingly delicious. I was excited for dessert. It was reminding me of a blind taste test where you had to guess what you're eating. It ended up being way too easy, though. I got a cheesecake, and Patrick got a chocolate ganache cake. We switched. He loves cheesecake. All in all, a really cool experience.
The last stop of my list for the day was the Vancouver Lookout. They have a tall, spaceship-like tower just like Seattle's own Space Needle. It was getting close to sunset, and I was suddenly excited at the prospect of going up there to watch the sunset because I had missed out last week on Patrick's trip to Seattle with his family. We parked back at the hotel and walked to it. Although the views were very nice, it didn't seem as impressive as the Space Needle because Vancouver is riddled with high rises. They have 3 high rise skylines, even. The view of the sunset was marred with buildings blocking the bay, which was certainly unfortunate. I still managed to get some decent sunset pictures, but I was having more fun doing tilt-sift and city nightscapes. Those turned out really well considering I didn't have my tripod on me.
|I so love the tilt-shift effect!|
|Vancouver [east] Convention Center, where LTX was held|
So that was all we managed to get done that day. It turned out very well and I'm glad I hadn't overbooked us. On to LTX tomorrow!