You know that feeling of anxiousness and nervousness before finally arriving at a destination you’ve imagined so long? That insecurity which begs the question of if your high expectations of a certain destination would in the end render you disappointed. That the experience you’re going to have in a place would be nothing like you imagined? This feeling is what best describes the days before my departure for YVR a.k.a. Vancouver, British Columbia.
As an Austrian-ette, I am, of course, an avid snowboarder (I started skiing when I was three years old and actually won a few medals in some minor races. Then, at about 14 years old, I switched to snowboarding and never looked back). Hence, with my love for winter sports, it was only natural that British Columbia was always a dream destination for me. With Whistler just over 100km from downtown Vancouver, what better place could there be in this world, I often said to myself!
So there it was. The problem: For years I had been daydreaming of British Columbia and built up an imagination of how amazing and perfect it must be there.
So now, as the day of my departure was coming closer, I got nervous and started wondering: Would my high expectations leave me disappointed in the end? (Spoiler alert: Not in Vancouver, not in British Columbia. All my expectations were exceeded.)
August 25, 2015: Arrival
After a dreadful hot summer in my hometown of Vienna (Vienna made it to the top of a list: the hottest city in Europe. Nothing to be proud of in my humble opinion!), I found true bliss in our rainy morning commutes across the Lions Gate Bridge. We were spoiled with melancholic views of foggy treetops peaking out from Stanley Park. Simultaneously, a blanket of white veil covered the sea which so gracefully pitched and tossed the boats in the harbor.
And then, when the skies cleared up for a few precious hours a day and the sun peaked out, we set out to explore V-town and the beautiful nature surrounding it.
Downtown and Gastown
Lighthouse Park (West Vancouver)
Here are just a few impressions. To read the entire post on this amazing place, click here. Let me tell you, it got quite epic.
University of British Columbia Campus
Did you know that the University of British Columbia Campus has its own beaches with amazing views. Probably the most amazing campus I have seen so far. Sign me up, y’all!
Lyne Valley Suspension Bridge
With the Capilano Suspension Bridge usually being crowded and quite expensive, we were thinking of skipping this sight and going somewhere more calm instead. Our Airbnb hosts suggested the Lyne Valley Park. While the Lyne Valley Suspension Bridge is not nearly as long as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, it gave me just a big enough thrill walking over it. It was very windy and it was very very wobbly. And I was very very psyched.
My absolute favorite neighborhood was Kitsilano (and North Vancouver). I just adored walking the streets and imagining Yaël and myself buying one of those beautiful old houses, fixing it up and making it our dream home. Then, waking up on a rainy day and taking a stroll down Arbutus Lane to get coffee at that beautiful little neighborhood cafe on weekends.
A girl can dream, right?
To sum up the experience: Most amazing to me was the fact that we were able to venture out just about 30 minutes from downtown and find ourselves surrounded by the lush green of a national park, the salty breeze of one of the neighborhood beaches, or even the seclusion of an island sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s not far to find great spots for surfing and superb mountains for snowboarding, too. Everything just the way I like it.
This impeccable diversity and richness, to me, illustrates why Vancouver often ranks on top of the most livable cities. It explains why so many people aspire to visit or relocate to Vancouver.
However, everything comes at a price – and in Vancouver, it seems that, the price you pay is the high cost of living. As we were only visiting though (at least this time), we were lucky: the Euro was strong and the Canadian Dollar weak. So in the end, my Hunter-ing for Boots was quite the steal.
To find out about all the places we ate at, you can visit my blog post “A Foodie’s Guide to Vancouver, British Columbia”.
Should you have any questions on my trip to Vancouver, BC, or would want to have some recommendations, leave me a message in the comment section below.