This past May I spent a month in one of my favorite places in the world: Vancouver, Canada. What started as a trip solely to run my first marathon (still can’t believe I did it!) turned into a much-needed extended getaway to relax, refresh my spirit, and refocus my mind. I spent the first week with my parents and my best friend and running buddy, Teresa. After they returned to Florida, I still had three weeks of solo adventures to enjoy! 🙂
Speaking of running, I’m writing this while watching the Olympics and more specifically, track. Um, are these athletes even human? I have some serious doubts…
Anyway, I’ve dedicated quite a few posts to Vancouver so I thought I would just highlight a few of my favorite experiences while I was there by myself. There were quite a few “favorites”, however, so this will most likely turn into multiple posts, anyway. Oh well.
Okay, so I know most people would not consider Whole Foods to be a highlight of a month spent in Vancouver. But I do. Because this isn’t just any Whole Foods – this is North America’s largest Whole Foods. I work across the street from a Whole Foods in Orlando. It’s one of my favorite places and you can find me there multiple times per week. But when I walked into this Whole Foods in West Vancouver, I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing.
The first time I visited I had no idea it carried the distinction of being the largest in North America – I just knew there were some groceries I needed to run in really quick to buy. As I walked in the door, my mouth fell open. I was completely beside myself because I already had other groceries sitting in my car and couldn’t spend three hours exploring all of the aisles. But I returned numerous times and can now add one more thing to the list of reasons I need to live in Vancouver.
One thing I loved during my three weeks on my own in Vancouver was the freedom to really do and go wherever I wanted, anytime I wanted. I would read about a place, or someone would recommend a must-see or must-do, and I would just go! I got to explore so many new places I had never been before and I loved it!
One of those places was Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver. I packed a picnic lunch and drove here on a Monday afternoon. I had no idea what to do or where to go once I got there so I just parked my car and started wandering. I ended up wandering to a perfect, secluded spot with a picnic table and a gorgeous view. Such a lovely, peaceful lunch!
From there I walked up to a rocky overlook and sat for nearly an hour enjoying the view, the weather, and the sea lion that was playing in the water below! A sea lion!!! I later found out that this park was one of the first marine protected areas in Canada and is home to more than 200 marine animal species. I meant to come back here and explore some more (and hopefully spot a few more of the 200 marine species) but I never made it back. 😦
Spanish Banks Beach
This became my go-to beach. My initial reasoning for this was because parking there is free, but I left absolutely loving this wide, sandy expanse with amazing views of the mountains, the city and the sea. I would come here with a picnic lunch or dinner and a book and spend countless hours laying out (or wrapped up in a towel) reading, napping and taking countless photos of some amazing sunsets. Loved it!
I will say that Vancouver beaches are quite different from Florida beaches, though. My first trip there was a day warm enough to merit wearing my swimsuit under my clothes. But once I arrived and saw that everyone else was perfectly content to sit on the sand fully clothed, I was a bit self-conscious about disrobing. I guess sunbathing isn’t quite as big of a “thing” in Vancouver as it is in Florida. 😛
If I had a dollar for every time I said, thought or wrote in my journal, “WHY doesn’t Orlando have the health food options that Vancouver does???”, I would be rich. Well, a few dollars richer. 😉
Some of my favorite places to get healthier food in Vancouver were: The Green Moustache, MELU Juice & Health Bar, Tao Organics, Anchor Eatery, BluHouse Cafe, and Heirloom Juice Co. Sooo good and sooo wish we had ALL of these restaurants/cafes in Orlando!
Sunset at Sunset Beach
Fresh bought French pastries. Book. Beach. Sunset. Need I say more?
Another place I intended to return to but never did. I drove here from North Vancouver one Saturday evening, parked my car, and walked through the small village.
Horseshoe Bay is home to the BC Ferries terminal but offers very beautiful and peaceful surroundings for pedestrians as well. I picked up fish ‘n’ chips from the takeaway window at Troll’s Restaurant, walked down to the water, and claimed one of the adirondack chairs perfectly situated with a view of the bay, wharf and mountains.
It was so, so lovely and I could have sat there for hours! And if I had brought a book with me I probably would have! I really enjoyed the peacefulness I felt there and the beautiful views.
I have so many more highlights to “highlight” but think I will save them for another post. 🙂 Stay tuned!