Last weekend was my first personal, as opposed to work, outing into Oh Canada, our home and native land (Who out there can here the sweet notes of Terrence and Philip ringing through their minds? but that is irrelevant). Vancouver introduced me to outstanding food, outstanding scenery, ice hockey, 51-9 to the Maori All Blacks and the challenges of inappropriate attire.
The original travel to Vancouver occurred due to me booking tickets to my annual North American decent rugby match – this year Maori All Blacks V Canada. The Haka was outstanding the match wasn’t really a competition at 51-9 to the All Blacks but it was still fantastic as ever.
Having introduced my Canadian friend to Rugby he returned the favour by taking me to my first ice hockey match. Since so far I have sadly (don’t be angry at me America) been dissapointed with all North American sports in comparison to the pace and aggression of rugby I held out little hope of enjoying it. Although I have seen they allow fights so was excited by that! That said despite all apprehension I absolutely loved it! Yes they annoyingly still stop for commercial breaks but the pace and aggression is amazing! And the way they swap players mid play is mind blowing – so smooth. One second there, next second scone. Wait that’s another thing but you get me. So ice hockey is my American sport!
In terms of food Vancouver is all over it with Pour House and Jam Cafe being top of the list. Jam cafe we saw on day one for breakfast but the queue was so long that I wouldn’t even entertain it (don’t get me started on the random Australian at the airport lecturing me about the Brits use of the word queue whilst referring to me as American). So I said we’d have to get up early our final morning and be there for opening at 8am. Final morning comes and my persuasive powers are not to their usual strength and we make it there a bit late at 8.30am. Or did we?
So it turns out the clocks changed and we both forgot. So we were actually there 7.30am and my dearest friend who was already a little upset at having to get up on a vacation day was far from impressed, except…. within 5 mins there was a queue of about 8 people and by the time doors opened at 8am the queue was so long that not everyone could get in for the first sitting. And was it worth it? Without question of doubt yes! I had pancake style pigs in blanket, there was baileys coffee, amazing mimosa’s and the best traditional and unusual breakfast options of the best quality all in an amazing setting.
Pour House – simply the best steak and best burger ever. Again amazing atmosphere – cosy, relaxed, intimate, good music , great cocktails. It all hit the spot and the cherry on top was the company.
We also explored the amazing nature of Vancouver with a trip to the Capilano suspension bridge and up the grouse mountain gondola.
The gondola is where we suffered inappropriate clothes since it was set as a ski resort and we were in converse and leather knee high boots and a dress (a few other items too but doubt you need a full breakdown). The views were spectacular though.
The Capilano suspension bridge was beautiful. So green and set up with twinkling Christmas lights it was really magical. Looking down into the river even from about 100ft up you could see salmon swimming. The sad fact we learnt is they come to this area to die apparently and they start rotting before they die. I like to think the guy hated us for some reason and that is why he made up this ‘fact’ to share and shatter my excitement at seeing all the fush. At the Capilano Park we also did a cliff walk which was equally beautiful.
I’d like t say it was later I discovered my friend disliked heights but I knew before all of it which I guess makes me an ass and him brave. Certainly explains why he bought a large baileys coffee which due to dairy I couldn’t have but which meant we had to stand outside for a prolonged period with me freezing .
All in all I can’t recommend Vancouver enough especially for foodies and those with a penchant for the outdoors. You can even practice your French in some restaurants – mine was tip top if not totally basic.