Hello everyone! Hope you are having an awesome August! Our August has been great. We just returned from a fun one week summer family holiday in Vancouver, Canada. This holiday is exactly what the family wanted for a summer vacation this year. The twins had already been on a itinerary-packed school trip to Italy, Sri and I had already been on a fun Yoga and Art inspired trip to Paris, and Hitesh had been on a couple of international business trips this summer as well – we were all looking forward to a family vacation that was going to be relaxing while giving us enough things to do to keep it interesting and fun. Vancouver fit this criteria perfectly!! A short 2-hour flight from San Francisco to Vancouver made this our fastest airplane ride for a family vacation.
Vancouver, Canada in the Pacific Northwest is an awesome destination for anyone looking for a low-key, relaxing, nature-inspired, not-crowded, foodie -laden, fun-packed vacation with the most amazing weather to boot. Beautiful majestic mountains and hills in the horizon with glistening blue waters of the bay and the Pacific Ocean make Vancouver a picturesque destination for a lovely holiday. Vancouver in the summer is spectacular.
First off the weather – OMG! The weather is unbelievably wonderful here. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s make vacationing in Vancouver a dream. Secondly, it’s about the nature. Tall giant redwoods, flowering gardens, whale watching, kayaking, biking, sailing, hiking, everything nature-oriented can be found in this city.
We were on holiday in Vancouver for one week which gave us just the right amount of time to explore Vancouver, make a couple of day drips to Victoria and Whistler, a whale watching excursion, and a day or two to relax and explore all that the city has to offer. So let me start with a few photos of the harbor area where our hotel was located in downtown Vancouver, perfect location to walk to swank restaurants and shopping districts, and also to sit at the seawall and watch the boats and seaplanes take off and land on the docks.
Day 1: Sunday, August 12th. A walk through downtown Vancouver.
The kids wanted to start off our holiday on a relaxing note with a walk around downtown Vancouver. Trademark shopping districts, lots of local boutiques, plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges can be found in this neck of the woods.
Day 2: Monday, August 13th. Day trip to Whistler.
The road to Whistler from Vancouver is a must see for any tourist visiting Vancouver. It is touted as one of the most scenic in the area and the drive did not disappoint. I will share a lot more photos of the gorgeous scenery and the gondola ride we went on this fun road trip in my next post.
Day 3: Tuesday, August 14th. Day trip to Victoria and the Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens in Victoria has to be the most spectacular flower garden we have ever seen in the world! We chose to head to Victoria in a sea plane rather than go on a ferry so we could spend more time in Victoria and at the gardens. Our seaplane flight was a fun-filled 30 minute air-ride rather than a 4-hour ferry ride. More on this most beautiful garden in my subsequent post to come.
Day 4: Wednesday, August 15th. Whale watching excursion & dinner at friends John and Lorrain’s home.
Hitesh had booked us all on a 5-hour whale watching excursion to see killer whales also known as orcas that swim up and down towards Alaska and back in the summer months.
We were on the water for 4 hours and our patience was wearing thin when we were finally rewarded when came across a couple of pods of killer whales. We learnt there are two types of killer whales called Transient Whales and Resident Whales. Transient orcas move north and south along the coast from Southeast Alaska and British Columbia and as far south as Southern California. Transients feed only on marine mammals such as harbor seals. A transient whale needs at least one harbor seal a day.
Resident Whales on the other hand eat fresh salmon. Resident killer whales inhabit the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia and as the name implies resident whales linger around where the salmons can be found inland or nearby coastal waters. Resident whales are what gets captured and transported around the world to marine show centers like Seaworld. Today there is a mere population of just 75 resident killer whales in the British Columbia area.
Dinner at John and Lorraine’s home.
After our whale watching excursion we came back to the hotel to freshen up while Sri left to fly back home as she had to get back to work. On this evening we were invited to dinner at Hitesh’s long time friend John who lives in Vancouver. What an awesome evening we all had at John and wife Lorraine’s home! John is Hitesh’s elementary school friend from Kenya who now lives in Vancouver, Canada. When John heard we were coming to Vancouver for a holiday he invited us for diner at his place and how could we not go? We had a wonderful time with John and Lorraine and their kids Meghan and Mathew. More on this fun filled gormant and gourmet experience in another post.
Day 5: Thursday, August 16th. Visit to Granville Island.
We learnt about Granville Island from John and Lorraine and their kids Meghan and Mathew. We were asking them where we could find artisanal foods and art galleries and maybe even a framer’s market to check out and they unanimously told us to head to Granville Island. What a fun day this was! This is a small island dedicated to all things food, art, artisanal. More on the cool and fun finds we discovered on this awesome island in my next post.
Day 6: Friday, August 17th. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park & Bike ride around the harbor and seaplane watching on the bay.
Capilano suspension bridge is one miraculous footbridge that looks positively magical. To get a feeling of how it is to walk among the top most branches of 100 feet redwoods, this park will surely satisfy that craving.
Bike ride around the bay. Everywhere one looks there are big wide bike lanes for folks to bike around the city. Lots and lots of bike rental kiosks make it easy for anyone to hop on a bike and leisurely explore Vancouver especially on the 9-mile seawall that runs through the crown jewel of the city – Stanley Park with gorgeous views of the bay, the mountains and the city beyond.
Bay watching at the harbor.
The harbor area is an awesome place to sit and enjoy the gorgeous scenery that is Vancouver. Sea planes, ferries, bicyclists, the ripples of the blue ocean waters, the majestic mountains, one can sit and read a book or sip a glass of wine or just sit and enjoy this scenery for hours on end just as my daughter Anjali and I did while Hitesh and Rani went bike riding.
Lions Gate Bridge:
Lastly let me share these photos of a landmark bridge called Lions Gate Bridge that is teal in color! It looks like the Golden Gate Bridge except smaller and in a gorgeous teal color. In fact this bridge is a muse for many local artists and postcards. Take a look.
The views of the city from Lions Gate Bridge.
Day 7. Saturday, August 18th. 11am return flight home.
After a perfect holiday in Vancouver, Canada we were not ready to head back home. We will definitely be going back to this beautiful city; maybe in the winter next time to see the snow capped mountains beyond the bay and appreciate the city through a winter wonderland lens.
Next post: Road trip to Whistler, Shannon Falls, and Gondola ride.