Saturday, July 2, 2016

North by Northwest- Oh Canada

* Disclaimer- Chris and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest and a cruise to Alaska in June 2016 as a 10 year anniversary trip. This will be a multiple entry blog that will highlight our activities, our reflections and of course pictures of these gorgeous locations! I have highlighted the tips and tricks of each post in red. I hope this helps in planning trips to Vancouver, Seattle or Alaska! Thanks again for following along! 

Day 2- June 17, 2016
Vancouver, B.C.

We love Vancouver! 

The sun came through the window around 5AM and it was bright! Despite our lack of sleep we were wide awake so we went for a morning jog... in another country! It was a brisk 48* jog up and down the hills around the hotel. It was AWESOME to be able to jog in another country and I was able to cross off yet another thing on my bucket list! This trip was already turning out to be AMAZING!

1.5 miles in CANADA! Heck yeah! 

We left the hotel just after 7 and faced the Friday rush-hour traffic to get to downtown Vancouver. The hotel did not offer a free breakfast so we were already hungry but fortunately as soon as we got parked we saw a food truck and got some very tasty poached egg sandwiches.

A view of Hastings St. in the morning... it was even more apparent how sad these people have it! 

I think you haven't seen a city until you've eaten from a food truck! 

We then went to Canada Place on the Vancouver Harbor to walk around and decided to rent a few electrical bikes to tour the city. We traveled all around the harbor and into Stanley Park. Stanley Park was absolutely beautiful and really green! Plus it is a FREE attraction and well worth at least a walk-thru while in Vancouver! We saw several totem poles and even a light house. We only had an hour on these bikes as we had purchased a tour of the Vancouver Harbor for 11AM. As the time lapsed we had to hurry to get back to turn in the bikes and we were lost. Somehow we ended up on Lions Gate Bridge and rode our bikes as fast as we could down the "somewhat" protected bike lanes of the busy streets of Vancouver! It was so exhilarating and just incredible! We ended up turning in the bikes 1 minute late but we were still able to get to the Harbor Tour with time to spare! Renting bikes in Vancouver is the way to go if you are wanting to see the entire city as it is really spread out! Bikes averaged about $6-10 per hour compared to the $50-60 official tours. 

We've got our bikes and we are ready to go explore! 

We found a Totem Pole sanctuary during our exploring! 

The Harbor Tour was incredible and very fascinating as we learned all kinds of information and history about this gorgeous city! We even saw a few harbor seals and even a bald eagle. This would be the first of MANY bald eagles seen on this overall trip to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. This tour cost $33 per person and lasted over 90 minutes. I think it was worth the money paid and an over very good tour of this city; however, the narration was hard to hear (especially since the group of Asians were talking non-stop right beside us) but Chris and I both enjoyed it very much! 

We are ready for the Harbor Cruise! 

Oh Canada! 

Vancouver had a HUGE harbor and lots of SeaPlanes!
It was fascinating to see them land and take-off! 

A view of downtown Vancouver from the Harbor Tour.
Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas was in port for embarkation to Alaska!

The Sisters mountain in North Vancouver! 

This was "North Vancouver" a town that created their own housing district and downtown to compete with the REAL Vancouver! We later learned that Vancouver is so foreign now that the cost of living has skyrocketed to over $5,000 a month for a small apartment downtown. This North Vancouver was tired of that so they built their own city! 

The Canadian JELLO factory! Remind me to never eat Jello again! 

Bald Eagle #1!

On the Harbor Tour coming back to the pier! 

My traditional life preserver picture! 

After the Harbor Tour we were getting hungry so we walked over 10 city blocks back to Canada Place to see what restaurants were there but most of them were crammed with office people eating during the lunch rush. I had read about Meat & Bread in downtown so we headed that way. This turned out to be a FANTASTIC find. It was a simple menu of just 5 options and all fully loaded with delicious meat options! It was less than $20 for both of us which included 2 sandwiches, soup and even a salad. If you are ever in the Vancouver area you really need to eat here! It was delicious! 

You've gotta try this!

The menu at Meat & Bread! So simple and yet so amazing! 

By this time we were feeling the lack of sleep for 2 nights in a row so we were needing some coffee. I expected to see Starbucks but instead we found JJ Bean which turned out to be the best coffee either of us have had. We then went to walk around Canada Place. We walked the Canadian Trail and learned about the history of the beautiful country and we even played some Canadian trivia. I have been to Toronto and Montreal and now Vancouver and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these unique cities. We decided to try out FlyOver Canada as Chris's uncle recommend it. It was a 3/4D simulated ride that took you all over the country of Canada and at less than $17 per person it was a great attraction. The ride lasted approximately 15 minutes and we really enjoyed it. In fact we think it was the surprise of the Vancouver portion of our trip. I would highly recommend it! 

Canada Place was really neat and FREE! Be sure to check it out when in Vancouver! 

It was mid afternoon and we were going to head back to the good ol' "US of A" soon so we made our way to Gastown to buy some souvenirs before we headed back.
The famous Gastown Clock in Gastown near downtown Vancouver B.C..

We saw this type of thing all over Vancouver. Even in the "nicer" Gastwon touristy area! 

We had to go back through Surrey as we left our bags at the front desk. After seeing the craziness of Hastings St. in Vancouver we thought leaving all of our belongs in a car in downtown was not smart. This added a little time to our trip but we were still able to make it back to Seattle around 7pm.

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free! 

We got checked into our room at Embassy Suites in Lynnwood, WAThis was a standard Embassy Suites room that was very large and sufficient for the 2 of us. And it was 50% of what the downtown hotels were costing and in a very nice suburb of Seattle. The daily commute was about 15-25 minutes and just gorgeous when "the mountain was out". If you are willing to commute each day I would recommend staying in Lynnwood and especially the Embassy Suites. 

Our 1 room King suite at Embassy Suites... Sorry I forgot to take pictures until the end! 
After we got settled in we then went out to dinner at the famous Old Spaghetti Warehouse. It was just like I remembered it with the train in the middle of restaurant and everything. The food was just average but we were so tired we didn't care.
2 days down and we are already exhausted! 

We ventured into Walmart to get a few things we had forgot and then back to our hotel. As we were pulling back into what we thought was the hotel driveway a homeless person with a "HELP ME" sign started yelling at us "Whoa Whoa bro you can't do this". After just getting back from Hasting St. in Vancouver we thought "Wow these homeless people are aggressive. Geez". Well it turns out that Chris was turning into one-way traffic on an interstate exit. He had to put it into reverse and get back on the main road to go 100 yards to our actual hotel driveway. We laughed about this for hours and days and days! We were cruising the glacier in Alaska and still cracking up about it! 

We made it to our room and almost immediately crashed as we were SO tired from 2 very long and exhausting days! The best of our land vacation in the Pacific Northwest was yet to come so we needed a good night's sleep. Despite the beautiful weather of 55* outside, the AC was not working our room so it got very hot really fast and unfortunately it never improved during our stay at Embassy Suites. I was now regretting not bring the camping fan I use on most of my cruises... Dang you airline baggage fees!  

These 2 days in Vancouver were awesome and we loved EVERY minute of it! We were surprised by how much we enjoyed this city and are already "planning" another trip back! Day 3 would start our adventures in Seattle! Be sure to check back for tips and tricks for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest! Thanks for following along! 

God is Good... All the time! 

Missed a day?

Day 1/ Vancouver- No Rest for the Weary


  1. Oh yeah, I'm lovin' it, Brenda and I both are. Can't wait for day three. It brings back so many wonderful memories. After finishing day two we sat here at the computer for a long time enjoying your excellent narrative, pictures, and our memories.

  2. Your pictures are beautiful in and of themselves, but as well, in the pictures ya'll's eyes are sparkling with happiness, and that is a beautiful sight.

  3. Thanks! It was a pure joy to be able to do all of this! As I post I relive the past week and I am just in awe! God is so good!