Vacation Diaries: Vancouver 2019

I can hardly believe we’re in the last month of 2019. This year went by so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time. Some months felt like eternities, and some were over before I could even blink. But I guess that’s life, right? I’m literally describing every year. Time isn’t real!!! It’s all just a Jeremy Bearimy!!!

Existential crisis aside, there were so many things this year that I meant to do but just never got around to. Blogging about the adventures I had was one of those things that I meant to do. Whoops. But I’m a busy lady, okay! Still, I wanted to share about the places I went and the things I saw, so here we are.

In August of this year, I visited Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Spoiler: it was amazing and I would love to go back again. To be honest, I kinda want to move there. Who wants to help me look into the process of immigrating to Canada from the US? Anybody?

Anyway, here’s what I did, saw, and ate while I was there!

Vancouver, BC

Back in February of this year, one of my friends from college sent me a text that said I just found cheap flights to Vancouver. Wanna go? Considering it was a city that I hadn’t visited yet and I wouldn’t have to spend too much money to get there, my immediate answer was Hell yeah. So we booked our tickets for a trip that wouldn’t happen until six months later and excitedly counted down the days.

It was going to be the first vacation I’d taken in over a year. The last time I actually took time off from work was in July of 2018, when I went on a delightful road trip from Las Vegas to Disneyland with three amazing girls I’d become friends with thanks to Wattpad. And as it turned out, I was going to get to see them on this trip too! Nothing better than hanging out with friends while on vacation.

When August finally rolled around, my friend and I started off on our journey. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vancouver immediately added itself to the list of cities that I love.

 

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GETTING & STAYING THERE

We started our trek from LaGuardia and flew to Toronto for our first leg of the trip, then from Toronto straight to Vancouver. When we landed, we made our way to the SkyTrain and headed off to our AirBnB.

For our 5-day trip, we rented an apartment in Burnaby, which is a little bit east of Vancouver. Staying in the city proper would have been a heck of a lot more expensive, and the rental we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous, well priced, and located right across the street from a SkyTrain station. It was pretty much perfect.

Speaking of the SkyTrain… Vancouver’s public transportation? Spectacular! Loved it! Things ran on time (at least, more so than they ever do in D.C.), the system was easy to figure out, and we managed to get everywhere we wanted to go with no difficulty. This was a very good thing considering Uber and other ride sharing apps weren’t available there at that time.

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EXPLORING & EATING

I’m just gonna come out and say it: when I travel, my main priority is trying as much amazing food as I can. And boy, Vancouver did not disappoint on the food front!

Since our flight got in during the late afternoon/early evening, we decided to have dinner delivered and just relax. We also ordered ourselves a nice bottle of wine, because why not. Vacation, baby!

The next morning, however, we really got started on our foodie trip. It was Saturday, which to both of us meant one thing: brunch.

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We hit up Chambar and sat outside on the lovely patio, which was delightful. Well, minus the bees that kept going after my kombucha, but I can’t really blame them, it was delicious. Bless the server who kept bringing me a fresh glass each time one of those pesky bees landed in it.

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Brunch paella and the bee attracting kombucha

Minus the bee intrusion, brunch was the perfect way to start off a lovely Saturday morning.

From there, we walked down to Creekside Park and strolled around Science World, although we didn’t go inside.

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At this point, the weather was starting to get… warm. Since we were relatively far north, I was expecting slightly cooler temperatures despite it being early August, because that’s the typical climate. However, we seemed to have brought a heatwave with us, because it was inching into the mid-80s in no time. But considering we were both used to the swampy summer heat of D.C., it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle.

Chinatown was the next stop, where we visited the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an idyllic space in the middle of a busy city.

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By the time we left, we were both in need of a beverage. So after quickly researching a few bubble tea places, we set off to International Village Mall for a drink and a break from the heat. As we were searching for the bubble tea place inside, we stumbled upon the Catfe!

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Unfortunately, they were closed (and they suggest a reservation as well) but we said hello to a sleepy kitty in the window before resuming our bubble tea quest.

Sustenance in hand, we continued on our adventure to Gastown where we saw the famous Steam Clock. All of my photos were blurry and full of people, so here’s one from Unsplash.

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We had a light lunch (and, okay, a couple of glasses of rosé) at The Charles Bar, did a bit of shopping, and popped in a few galleries, spending a decent amount of time in the neighborhood.

For an early dinner that night, we headed over to TAKO, a Korean taco restaurant that I’d discovered on Pinterest while doing some Vancouver research. And I’m so glad I found it.

I’m not kidding when I say that my friend and I tried just about everything on the menu at TAKO, including every taco available and nearly every version of poutine that they had. (In our defense, we went here more than once during our trip!!) But even the things we missed, I’m sure they would have been just as great—and they’re definitely on my list to try the next time I visit Vancouver. And there will be a next time, I’m putting that into the universe now.

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All of the TAKO tacos!

Stuffed from dinner, we hopped back on the SkyTrain and headed back to our AirBnb.

The next morning we got up bright and early, had a traditional Canadian breakfast of Tim Hortons (I ate too many timbits), and then hopped on the Aquabus to head over to Granville Island.

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On the way to Granville Island. I was totally checking out several yachts. A girl can dream!

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What an amazing little place! All the shops were so cute (yes, I spent too much money, you don’t even have to ask) and the food. The food!!!

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The food hall had pretty much every type of cuisine you could ever want. It took me ages just to decide what to get, but the bratwurst I went with was delicious. Very busy place, though, so be prepared to wait in pretty long lines if you go!

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One of the many things I bought there: an apron with my personal life motto on it

I didn’t take too many pictures, but I loved Granville Island. It was a great place to spend the morning/afternoon and eat until I nearly burst. We headed back to the AirBnb after a few hours to rest up before we headed off to the Richmond Night Market.

Sadly, my friend wasn’t feeling well, so I made the trek there from Burnaby on my own. But that was okay, because I was meeting up with my Wattpad buddies!

Thank goodness I was up for a day full of crowds because wow. This was wild. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes just to get in, we had to work our way through massive crowds as we went from food stall to food stall. But it was worth it. Definitely worth it.

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The dinosaur at the gates who greeted us. A very kind fellow.

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Sushi tacos from Nori Express. Amaaaaazing.

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What a fun night. Nothing like good food and even better company.

The friend I was traveling with was thankfully feeling better the next morning, so we once again set out. When we were booking the trip, we didn’t realize that the Monday we were going to be there was British Columbia Day, and since it was a holiday, restaurants were serving brunch. And if you know me, I never turn down an opportunity for an extra brunch.

I will say, I enjoyed Homer Street Cafe & Bar‘s brunch, but it wasn’t in my top rankings of this trip. Good, yes, but there was definitely better. Still, I had this teensy tiny cup of espresso, which made it worth it.

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So tiny!!!

We wandered the surrounding neighborhood for a bit, then made our way over to the Vancouver Lookout and Canada Place. From there, we walked around the Seawall, alllll the way up to the Aquarium and Totem Poles, then back again. We did so much walking this day, I thought my legs were going to fall off. According to my fitness tracker, we walked 15 miles that day. Not to mention it was pretty dang hot too. Whew.

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Sea planes! We got to watch them take off and land as we walked around the Seawall.

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Señor Cinco, the blind seal at the Vancouver Aquarium. He did a lot of yelling and I loved him very much.

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Totem poles

We went to TAKO again for dinner that night and hung out with the friends I went to the night market with. After that, we were absolutely exhausted and headed back to the apartment to crash.

Despite the tiring previous day, we got up and made our way to Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe for breakfast with the same friends. And wow, I loved this place. It was kitchy and eclectic and our waitress was practically a stand-up comedian, she was fab. And the food! THE FOOD. The portions were enormous and literally everything I tried was incredibly good. I would go back to this place every week if I could.

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A young Queen Elizabeth watched over us as we dined.

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The pancakes… be still my heart!

After the best breakfast, we took a stroll down to Kitsilano Beach and sat by the water for a while as our food digested. We couldn’t manage to do much else, to be honest! I dipped my toes in the water, but hoo boy, that cold Pacific water is not for me.

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We said goodbye to my friends after that and then we wandered around a bit more. Eventually we ended up at the JW Marriott, where we went to the spa and had fantastic massages. Man, if I could have lived in that spa, I would have moved there in a heartbeat. Such a wonderful, soothing place.

Once we were sufficiently relaxed, we went to dinner at The Flying Pig in Yaletown. Yet another spectacular meal. We ordered way too much food and one of the best bottles of wine I’ve had in ages. The perfect end to an amazing vacation.

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The next morning, we packed our bags and began our journey home. It was supposed to be a simple trip, the same route back that we had come, but long story short, we ended up stuck in Toronto for 36 hours thanks to bad weather in New York.

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Thankfully, I finally made it back to New York and then to D.C., but there’s nothing like travel delays to leave a sour taste in your mouth after a vacation.

Despite that setback, I had a fantastic time in Vancouver. I think one of the things I loved the most about it (other than the food, of course) was how diverse it was. As a woman of color, sometimes I’m acutely aware of the fact that I stick out in certain places because of my skin tone. But here, I was just another face in the crowd. It was a nice feeling.

Also, it was Pride weekend while we were there! So the sense of inclusiveness was extra strong. We love love.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! It’s a little different than my usual writing-related stuff, but it’s nice to share something from my personal life.

Have you ever been to Vancouver? If not, is it on your list of places to visit? Where else are you interested in visiting? Are you as into eating great food on vacation as I am? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Vacation Diaries: Vancouver 2019

  1. just saw this post! ugh, i’ve never been to canada, though i’ve always wanted to!! i’m a bit wary of airports now though, since in my last two vacation experiences, i’ve been stuck in the chicago airport for more than 24 hours. hella afraid to travel through chicago now lol

    Like

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