Before ever setting foot in Vancouver, I knew I was going to love it. Not just because of the rave reviews we’ve heard from others (thanks Marilyn, Buchanans, and the Herriotts!), but something about it just spoke to me.
How can you not LOVE a city by the sea with stunning mountains as a backdrop? I mean, come on now!
So while we researched Vancouver months ago, life took a very busy turn recently, which meant we never really made a plan for what to see. That’s fine by us, we’re just as happy to be the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants-type as the planning-type.
And for this trip, I’m thankful we didn’t plan because Mother Nature had a different opinion. That’s right, kids…
R-A-I-N. (Phew, glad we threw in our umbrella and rain jackets at the last minute!)
Funny, that had never really come into my vision of Vancouver (my rose-colored glasses pictured it all sunny and bright!), but of course it would rain. It’s the Pacific Northwest. That’s what it does here.
And yep, after checking trusty wikipedia, I learned that from October to April you can expect about 15 days of rain per month. That’s 1 in every 2 days. Good to know.
All that being said, hopefully you don’t take away that Vancouver made a bad first impression on us. Quite the opposite.
The flight in was amazing—sailing over the stunning Canadian Rockies, salivating over how gorgeous they were. And then when we landed and couldn’t see them (read: low-lying cloud), we were teased by their presence/absence. Bloody Mother Nature!
But seriously, we were hooked on Vancouver from our first drive from the airport to West End, where we were staying. Picture driving down Granville Street, a 6-lane thoroughfare that felt like a cozy 2-lane neighborhood road with its gorgeous old houses and well-manicured lawns lining both sides of the street.
The large variety of conifers, cherry blossoms, almost-in-bloom rhododendrons, striking Japanese maples, tulips galore, and evergreen hedges used for privacy provided us with a gorgeous entry into the city. And this, my friends, is the first impression Vancouver made on me. It’s so lush here!
And as we crested the hill and Granville Street turned from residential to commercial, we viewed the downtown skyline for the first time. I’m not a fan of cities (concrete jungles aren’t my gig), but this drive felt right.
From old and manicured, to newer and bustling, with a skyline that had some new features but instinctively looked older and more established—Vancouver felt welcoming. Something for everyone.
Over the bridge and then a left turn onto Davie Street, with it’s vibrancy and energy—rainbow flags lining the streetposts and sidewalks, people all abustle. Electric buses moving people from one place to another. A large community garden on the corner. I fell in love.
[If you can't tell, I'm rapidly becoming a gardening geek---not only for landscaping but even more so for sustainable foods. Vancouver has this in spades. I am intrigued by this fascinating city!]
Still glowing from this community garden find, we continue down Davie Street and turn right into the heart of West End where we are staying in a tiny suite in the oldest residential heritage building in the area. The tree-lined streets were gorgeous in bloom, and the area had a distinctly European feel.
I’m in love already and we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet–
The reason we’re in Vancouver is to see friends. Jeff’s best friend from New Zealand (and our best man) Faron and his wife and daughter are here to visit family for a month, and our friends Natalie and Andrew (a Canadian/Australian couple) live here but this is the first time we’ve gotten to visit.
Oh, the fun we are going to have this week!
Rain or not, bring on Vancouver and all it has to offer!! I can’t wait!