To be honest, I wish I had not put this post off for so long. I used to be so good at writing about a trip right when I came home but life is crazy this year and that has not been the case recently. Now I feel like the immediate hype of a place is gone and makes my writers block even harder (I don’t look at myself as a natural when it comes to writing at all). But if this blog has taught me anything I like to get these thoughts onto paper to look back at. It has turned a bit into my diary, and I am ok with that. Without further ado here are my thoughts on Vancouver and Victoria.
Since my mom moved to the west coast 4 years ago I have been begging her to go to Vancouver with me. Finally last Christmas I said in passing that I should come visit over MDW and we should head to Vancouver. She said sure. Good thing she said sure because I had booked my ticket about 20 minutes before asking her. Like I said above 2018 has been a hectic one, so when the end of April came creeping up I finally decided to get the show on the road with planning. I have never thrown together a trip so quickly but it was exhilarating. Short and sweet itinerary below.
We took the ferry from Seattle to Victoria which is a short, sweet, and easy way to cross the border. Victoria was dainty and cute with European architecture. I wish I had an extra day here to peruse around. It is definitely a town for perusing.
If Victoria was the sweet dainty city of British Columbia. Vancouver is her rebellious younger brother. A little grittier (I mean how gritty can Canada really get?), and if you are a regular reader of the blog you know a little dirt is right up my alley.
Every night we would talk about the high and lows of the day, and then on our last night we talked about the high and lows of the trip. I seriously could not land on my high. I went back and forth from my morning walk through Victoria to my first experience in a sea plane to walking around on a beautiful day in Stanley Park. In the end I landed on a more controversial high which was staying in Chinatown.
You will read in any travel book/blog that is that there is on Vancouver (and if it is not mentioned I think that is a major miss) that homelessness is everywhere in Vancouver, but especially in the trendy areas of Chinatown and Gastown. Since I have lived in NYC my whole adult life I honestly did not think much about it. When reading about where to stay I was very adamant in staying in an Airbnb (my mom and step dad’s first time) in Chinatown. I knew we were not going to have a ton of time in Vancouver so I wanted to at least stay in an area I was interested in exploring. When we first got to the Airbnb we all were a little in shock really about how much apparent drug use was around us. I felt a lot of guilt when seeing what was going on outside while I sit at Juniper sipping on my third cocktail of the night. I don’t know if this is ignorant of me to say, but if you are not comfortable with homeless people and some recreational drug use then you will not be comfortable in certain parts of Vancouver. Safety was never an issue (never once felt unsafe in the slightest), it is really about if you can handle seeing it or not. I on the other hand was able to put that behind me (I like to think that makes me a realist, some may think it makes me just stone cold) and really dove into what Chinatown has to offer. Eastern pharmacies and Chinese Gardens next to mixologist and nouveau Chinese food. I really enjoyed my time in the neighborhood catching up with family and drinking A LOT of West Coat Sours.
Tell me, have you ever been to Vancouver? What were your thoughts?
Where We Stayed-
Vancouver- minimalist airbnb in the heart of Chinatown. Our host had amazing recommendation on where to eat and drink!
Victoria- good hotel in the heart of downtown. We just stayed a night and it fit our basic needs.
How We Traveled-
From Seattle- highly recommend. Super easy and beats an airport any day.
From Victoria- getting from Victoria to Vancouver is actually a logistical nightmare. If you are in the position to spend a couple extra dollars I suggest taking a seaplane. 35 mins from downtown to downtown. And the views are amazing
Where We Ate-
As I said, our host gave great recs on coffee/ bars/ dinner around the apartment. I am going to list the few places we were able to get to, but you gotta stay there to get the rest of the recommendations (they all seemed pretty outstanding) :)
Matchstick- delicious coffee and savory scones right next to the apartment
Juniper- food is great but the cocktails are king. Get the West Coast Sour and pour one out for me.
Boa Bei- my favorite food of the trip. Old time Chinese food with a millennial twist.