Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vancouver, Victoria & Seattle

I left Ottawa in the morning of the 18th February to go to the airport and take the plane to Vancouver. I had already seen that our flight was canceled due to a snowstorm in Toronto but they rescheduled us on another flight a few hours later. We even got a $10 food voucher that we spent at Tim Hortons - like true Canadians ;)
A friend of Natacha and her friend met us in Vancouver and we rented bikes on the first day in Vancouver to take a ride through and around Stanley Park. I really, really like Vancouver!! We had such nice views and I loved how you can see the mountains right behind the big city. The weather was really great as well so it was a great day to do that. Later we passed Gastown and went to Chinatown for lunch. In the evening we went to a Open Mic Stand-up Comedy Show which was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't as nice the following days so we had to manage sightseeing while holding our umbrellas. We took the Sea Bus to North Vancouver and went to Lynn Valley to hike in the park. There's a suspension bridge that we crossed which was pretty cool. After lunch back in the hostel we went to Granville Island. I bet this place is fantastic during summer time. It was nice anyways despite the rain but there was no outdoor stuff going on. There's a market area and lot's of caf├ęs and art places.
On thursday we did the long journey (about 4 hours) to Victoria on Vancouver Island. We were not sure if it was really worth the trip cause it's also quite expensive (around $50) but we've heard only good things about the city. The city is pretty beautiful but there's not really that much to see so we were a little disappointed. We walked along the shore which did offer a great view and the houseboats were really neat.
The next morning it was time to say bye bye to Canada as we boarded the bus to Seattle. We got there around late noon and after checking in at the hostel we went to an amazing Mexican restaurant for lunch. Afterwards we started sightseeing at the Olympic Park where you can see interesting sculpture art work. Then we went to the Pike Place Market where we saw the first Starbucks and people selling all kinds of stuff in the market area. Just nearby there's the bubblegum wall. It's pretty gross to see all that chewed gum up on that wall but also fascinating with what ideas people come up with. Later a friend of Natacha's friend's friend drove us around in her car and we got to see different neighborhoods of Seatlle by car. We had a lovely fish dinner in a restaurant by the water.
The next morning it was only Natacha and me left and we wanted to see the Space Needle. We didn't go up cause it was too expensive for us. Next we checked out a convention hall or something next to the Space Needle after we realized that everything in that area costs way too much money to enter and there was a sign that said there was 'entertainment' in that hall. AND YES THERE WAS. There were tons of people playing yo-yo. They had a competition going on and while we were watching it was the children's turn and all those little boys (8-14 years I guess) went up on the stage and did a spectacular yo-yo routine. We watched for a while until they took a two hour lunch break. We decided to go to the Fremont district which is supposed to be a hipster part of the city. We really liked it; not because it's hipster though ;) They had an incredible vintage store where we spent more than an hour. We found a nice place for lunch there as well and afterwards walked back to the city center and the mall for some shopping. Before going back to the hostel we went to the Space Needle once again to get a picture at night :D
The next morning we took the ferry to Bainbrdige Island. Apparently that's the ferry they take in Grey's Anatomy (which I never watch so I didn't know about it). There was a bike race going on that day so there were hundreds of bikers with us on the ferry and the island. We followed the Waterfront trail and saw some nice places on the island. Later we went back to the shopping area and the cheesecake factory for lunch and desert!! :)
In the evening we had to go to the airport and I said bye to the last person I know from Ottawa.
I had a long and uncomfortable night with no sleep at the airport ahead of me but a few hours later I arrived at San Francisco airport ready to visit my hostfamily...but that's another story ;)
I might post some pics later but now I'm too lazy ....