Whistler & Vancouver – Canada
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It seems like me and Laurence only ever do trips that involve us going to multiple locations in one holiday! I need to remember this when booking our next trip. Moving around to different places is such a great way to explore lots of places in a short amount of time, but it can get tiring. I think our next trip will be a beach holiday to just one place! Anyway, not that I’m complaining at all! I can’t believe the number of places we’ve seen this year already.
We decided to do a trip to Canada for two reasons. My dad was already taking us to Vegas as a 21st birthday present for me (I managed to rope him into this when I was about 14, making him promise to take me as soon as I got to the legal drinking age – not bad work I think…) and a good friend of Laurence and I had just moved out to Vancouver. So while we were in the (sort’ve) area, we decided to make a big trip of it and visit Whistler, Vancouver, Seattle and Vegas.
Although I had been to Canada a number of times before, I had never been to Whistler or Vancouver and the whole Canada experience was brand new to Laurence. I love Canada, it’s a massive generalisation but the people are always so welcoming, happy and friendly. I’ve always seen Canada as a more relaxed, less try hard version of the US.
We arrived in Whistler and the first night was a straight away right off. Plans to go and explore the town and get some dinner soon demolished as the jet lag got the better of us and we ended up going straight to sleep. One of the most annoying things about traveling around the world, I hate to think the things I’ve missed out on from being too tired with jet lag.
Our first morning and we were determined to start off the holiday with a classic Canadian breakfast, and we succeeded! We were staying in a lovely hotel called The Summit Lodge, that was around a 10 minute walk from the ski lifts (okay, maybe 15 when you’re waddling down in your ski boots). Although our hotel room had a kitchenette, we decided to venture out for some Canadian bacon and maple syrup.
We didn’t have to go far, attached to our hotel was a restaurant called Elements Urban Tapas, I know what you’re thinking – not that traditional huh? We weren’t sure on first glances either, however after reading the menu – we were convinced.
If you want some of the best eggs benidict, you NEED to come here! The combinations of how you can have your eggs was insane, from tomato and avocado to crab meat and citrus hollandaise. Yeah, the menu was pretty special, and there was one dish that was top of the list for me, honey ham and brie stuffed french toast – thick sliced french bread (and they’re not kidding when they say thick – IT WAS HALF A LOAF) with honey ham and double cream brie with Canadian syrup. AMAZBALLS. Talk about setting you up for a day on the slopes!
Next on our to do list, ski equipment. I’m a keen skier and would love to spend every year on the slopes, but it just costs so much money, so there’s no need to have my own skis – renting each time does me fine. I think the slopes in Whistler were some of the best I’ve skied on. There were so many different runs to take and everyone had great skiing courtesy, I don’t think I was cut up one time.
It still amazes me how some people go on week long skiing trips! After two days of skiing I was ready to sleep for a week, the fresh mountain air, using muscles in your body you haven’t in months – it’s pretty incense.
We caught a Greyhound bus that went straight from Whistler to Vancouver (at a bargain price of $30 each) it was such an easy trip and took around 4 hours.
We arrived in Vancouver and Joe took us straight out to explore the city. Our first stop, Granville Island Public Market, an amazing place that pretty much has the most amazing selection of food stands. The variety, quality and amount of fresh fish at this market too – as Joes a chef I could understand the appeal in living here. I think you have to try pretty hard to get a bad hotdog when anywhere near to Canada or America, and this market was no exception, here’s a pretty impressive snap of one we demolished in minutes.
I can remember a couple of places we went to that were pretty amazing. We had dinner at a great little Korean restaurant called Damso, it’s a tiny place that probably only sits about 20 people, however it was filled with Koreans and in my books if you go somewhere and it’s filled with people of that nationality then it will be great food. And it was! Extremely authentic and delicious – I could eat this food every day. The rest of the night was pretty much a haze… we ended up going to another bar then onto the main clubbing area, all I can tell you was that it was a great night.
With our heads banging and desperately needing something to refuel our bodies, Joe took us to a little place down the road from his apartment. A really cool place that did great brunch called Chewies, I didn’t get a chance to check out the dinner menu but if the brunch was anything to go for then I would say check it out. Fried chicken and waffles – yes please. The first thing I read on the menu and the last, I didn’t need to see any more. It was banging, combined with a bloody Mary and we were pretty much sorted.
Another thing that amazed me about this place (and quite a few others in Canada) was the fact that they do your bill based on your seat not your table. So if you’re going out for dinner with friends, they give you your individual bill at the end of the night – HOORAH! No more awkward people saying “I didn’t have any garlic bread so I shouldn’t pay my 50p cut” – it’s genius and more places should do it! No wonder Canada and America tip more – the waiters actually work for it and it’s things like that which make me want to tip more.
Our last night was spent having a good old English roast (with a ridiculous cut of beef), some good wine and a game of Monopoly. Doesn’t sound too rock ’n’ roll but it was brilliant and a lovely way to finish of our Canadian Venture.
One last stop before we left Canada and headed to our next destination, to get some poutine! We should really have had this while we were on the slopes as it’s great for keeping your energy up, but I think the excitement of everything combined with the jet lag made it slip our mind. It was Laurence’s first time having poutine and it definitely made an impression, if you’ve never had it before you NEED to try it. It’s chips with curd cheese and gravy (any northerner would LOVE it). So we went to a little place called Mean Poutine, we actually tried going there for a drunken snack the night before, however the line was down the street – it has the name for being one of the best places for Poutine so that was definitely a good sign. It was amazing, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a chips, cheese and gravy combination.
We had such a lovely time in Vancouver. It’s a beautiful city full of amazing bars and restaurants with a pretty cool vibe. I was pretty happy that our next stop was Seattle, because if it wasn’t somewhere as cool as Vancouver I don’t think I would have wanted to leave!