I went to Vancouver, BC because there was a gnawing in the back of my mind, a need to get out of Dallas and forget about work for just a few days. So, I went. The trip started with me worrying about whether or not I’d locked my apartment (I did) and wishing I’d brought my cat with me because a tiny bit of fear was creeping up the side of my neck—the type of fear you feel right before you do something new, something you didn’t put a lot of thought into but figured would be a good idea: like a trip to Vancouver.
What surprised me the most about Vancouver was how metropolitan it was at the center. Yes, the city is surrounded by sea and mountains, and the air is crisp and clear, but when you’re walking down Howe street you can’t see the mountains. You can’t see the water. The buildings tower over you, encasing you in the doom and gloom of a city like Houston, Texas or New York City, New York. Not a horrible feeling, but I stayed out of downtown as much as I could, lingering around the harbor/waterfront instead. Vancouver didn’t feel like Rome, or Edinburgh, cities built upon myth and legend, with the layers of the past buried beneath the cobble stones. No, Vancouver is a metropolis surrounded by nature.
The 24 miles I walked between Friday and Saturday allowed me to see most of the big sites, such as the Olympic Torch, the Gastown steam clock, the Public Library that’s modeled after the Colosseum, whilst also experiencing one of the most beautiful areas in the world during its best season: Spring. I didn’t talk to many people while I was in Vancouver, just the receptionist at my hotel, a few Asian tourists who assumed I knew my way around, and my hair stylist. Everyone I encountered was nice, helpful. The Canadian accent is like the American accent, but more fun, jovial even. Both the stylist and the receptionist suggested ideas for what I should do in Vancouver: Ride around Stanley Park, Hike through Queen Elizabeth Park, Go Whale Watching. All things I’d also thought of doing, but didn’t.
The main touristy thing I did whilst I was in Canada was get donuts at Tim Hortons, and though the donuts were fresh, and looked delicious, the dough was too dense, and there were way too many sprinkles on top (this coming from someone who at low points would chug sprinkles to get sugar). On Friday, I walked to Canada Place, aiming to get a bike to ride around Stanley Park, but then I remembered how much I don’t like biking, and decided I didn’t want to spend money on something I didn’t really want to do. On Saturday, I rode the train from Waterfront to King Edward’s Station, and meant to go through Queen Elizabeth Park, but I didn’t turn at the correct light, so I ended up walking around it, through the neighborhoods. Whale Watching, I completely forgot about. Though, to be fair, I did take the ferry from Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay, so I did go on a boat.
The main reason why I didn’t do much in Vancouver is because I didn’t want to. Walking was enough for me. I didn’t need to take a scenic seaplane ride. I didn’t need to go skiing on Grouse Mountain. All I wanted to do was walk, so that’s what I did. I also ate a surprising amount of Chinese Food, good Chinese food too, some of the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t think about how big of an Asian population Vancouver would have, until I arrived. It makes sense though, seeing as it is one of the Western most cities in North America.
I got what I needed out of Vancouver, nice walks and lots of sleep. Sometimes trips aren’t all hustle and bustle. There’s no need to force oneself to do exciting things just to prove you’ve done something. A laid back adventure is just as good as an adrenaline-filled one.
I really want to go back to Canada, so if you’ve ever been and have some cool spots you think I should visit, let me know in the comments below!
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