I’ve been travelling for most of the year by now and I’ve visited so many incredible places and I can happily say I’ve loved every single city I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, that is unil now. My feelings towards Vancouver are questionable. It might be a little harsh to say I hated the city because there were parts of it that I loved! My ill feelings towards Vancouver are more linked to a series of unfortunate events that unfolded while I was in the city rather than the city itself. So before I make my final judgement I’m going to make a list of pros and cons from my visit to Vancouver.
1. My amazing friend Georgia lives there
Of course I wanted to visit Vancouver because it looked absolutley amazing but another draw card was the fact that one of my very good friends was living there at this time. I left Ryan back at his place when I went to Vancouver because he had a bucks weekend to attend. He would be meeting me in Vancouver a few days later. Until then I had time to explore this wonderful city and catch up with my friend Georgia! Georgia is a circus artist and she is amazing! I first met her when we were both working for Asics on the Gold Coast in 2013 and we bonded straight away because at the time we were both training at a circus school. She as a professional/ instructor and me as a complete amateur dabbling in a little bit of silks and lyra. Anyway I’m getting side tracked, we became fast friends and stayed in touch even when she moved to Canada then Adelaide and then Canada again. So I was so excited when I realised we would both be in the same place at the same time and I went out of my way to make sure I had some time to spend with her in Vancouver. Catching up with her was amazing as always and it was so great having a local to show me around!
2. Lynn Canyon Park
Close to where Georgia is living lies a slice of nature like nowhere else. It’s called Lynn Canyon and we stumbled accross it when we got a little lost hiking in the woods just behind Georgia’s house. When we were trying find our way out we spotted Lynn Canyon on the map and decided we should definitly visit because WATERFALLS! When we got back to her place we jumped in the car and found our way Lynn Canyon Park. All I can say is wow, Mother Nature really went to town on this gem! And theres a suspension bridge which makes it really awesome too!
3. The Chief
Known as “The Chief” to locals Stawamus Chief is a prominent mountain located 50 minutes out of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway. And she is a beaut and extremely tough! There are three different peaks you can chose from or I guess you could try and do them all but that would be one hell of a task! Georgia and I opted for the First Peak trail 1.5 km in length with an elevation gain of 540m. Now Georgia is probably one of the strongest people I know but cardio is definitely not a strong point for her! She might have complained almost the whole way to the top and it was totally warranted this hike was a mission and boy did it make my legs burn! When we finally made it to the top we were blown away with the 360 degree views that surrounded us! Canada has definitely got the goods!
4. Whistler is just one beautiful drive away
Whistler is 1.5 hours away from Vancouver and the road to reach it is considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the World! The Sea to Sky Highway is lined with soaring mountains, ocean views and some of the most incredible scenery you’ll ever see! And waiting for you at the end is the beautiful ski town of Whistler. It was too early for snow when we visited so we enjoyed a drink at the bottom of one of the slopes and watched as the mountain bikers sped down the slopes. This has always been something I think I’d love to try but considering my lack of confidence while biking and my track record of bike stacks I think soaring down a mountain on a bike would be a very bad idea for me!
5. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a green oasis in the middle of a big city! Just a short stroll from downtown Vancouver I managed to spend hours and hours exploring this beautiful place! On foot and by bike I tried to explore as much of it as I possibly could! Notable landmrks are the First Nation Totem Poles, the Brockton Point Lighthouse, incredible views of the Lions Gate Bridge and the Siwash rock AND I spotted a seal playing in the harbour, cute!!!
1. It rains… alot
According to the trusty source of Wikipedia Vancouver is the THIRD MOST RAINY CITY in Canada! And it certainly lives up to its title it rained 4 out of the 4 days I was there. I’m not usually one to let rain dampen my spirits but read on to see why the rain in Vancouver sucks!…
2. The rain wet my phone and ruined it!!!!
Like I said I don’t usually let the rain stop me so when I woke up one morning and it was raining non stop I decided to head out to Stanley Park anyway! I didn’t have a lot of time in Vancouver and I had to make the most of it! I donned my raincoat, wrapped my camera in plastic and threw it in my backpack, put my phone in my pocket and headed off. I may have underestimated just how much it was raining and it wasn’t showing any signs of easing up. By the time I got to the park and found myself a bit of shelter, my phone that I had stupidly put in my pocket was showing some pretty serious signs of water damage. I did what everyone says to do, I rushed to the supermarket in my soaking wet state, bought a bag of rice and stuck my phone in it. 24 hours later when I pulled it out it was completely dead and I was forced to replace it with a new one… definitely not something that was in my travel budget!
3. My hostel had bed bugs…
Before arriving in Vancouver I had spent months surviving dodgy accomodation in Asia, I was constantly questioning the cleanliness of some of the $8 hostels I stayed in and so when I came to North America I thought these places would be a thing of my past… I was so very wrong! As I mentioned my friend Georgia was living in Vancouver, due to her living arrangements I wasn’t able to stay with her which was totally ok and so I booked myself into a hostel and didn’t think twice about it. On first arrival I did think the place looked a bit dodgy but it’s not like I was in a 3rd world country so how bad could it really be?
I realised just how bad it could be when I was hanging out with Georgia one afternoon. We’d hiked the Chief the day before and I’d had a few itchy bites pop up on my arms, I figured we’d been out in nature, I’m sure they were just mozzie bites. Georgia didn’t have any… she said “wouldn’t it be funny if they were bed bugs?” They were just so damn itchy that we decided to google bed bug bites just to check and the images looked suspiciously like the bites on my arms. We did some further research on detecting bed bugs and I headed back to my dorm in the evening to do some investigating. What did I find? A big dirty bed bug in the bunk below mine that had been vacated the day before. I’d always imagined bed bugs as small little mites but they’re big and gross and about the size of a tick.
I scooped up the sheets and stormed down to reception at about 11:30 pm! I let the guy at the counter know of my dilemma, it was only his second week on the job and he really had no idea how to deal with the situation but he was very apologetic and got onto the phone with someone to find out what to do with me. He alocated me a new room but I wasn’t allowed to go in there until I had fumigated all of my belongings. This meant putting every thing I owned through the dryer. I had to do 2 loads and this took me until well after 1 am. I was not a happy camper and this was all on the same day that my phone got wet!
So now I’ve got all of that off of my chest you can probably understand why I have mixed feelings about the city of Vancouver. But even after everything that happened to me during my stay I can’t take my anger out on Vancouver, it was awesome, despite the bed bugs and rain, and that means its just another city I have to add to my never ending list of cities that I love!
Despit my series of unfortunate events I still managed to throw together a video of the time I spent there, check it out below!