Back and Better Than Ever!

October 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The beach by my hostel. Its name? Sunset Beach.

The beach by my hostel. Its name? Sunset Beach.

Well, my vacation was fantastic.  Another amazing adventure for the books!

If I were to go into each and every reason this was an awesome trip, you’d be here reading all night.  Instead, I’ll shove all the highlights of the things I did into a couple of lists and leave them for your perusal!

Vancouver, B.C. (four nights, five days)

  • Spent lots of time walking along the English Bay, as there was a nice little beach about 3 minutes from my hostel.
  • Hiked around a lake in Stanley Park and tried to hike more but accidentally exhausted myself instead.
  • Took the ferry to shop on Granville Island and ate delicious olives, cheese and cannoli at the Granville Public Market.
  • Braved the one rainy day I encountered by taking a bus to the University of British Columbia Campus, where I pretended I was a student for a bit and then poked around the Museum of Anthropology for three hours.
  • Stood in awe in the Vancouver Public Library, which was seven stories tall and full of some of my favorite things.  Books.  Duh.
  • Went to the top of the Vancouver Tower, which is a lookout sort of like the Sears Tower (only way smaller.  Sorry, Vancouver).  Still had a great view and took of pictures.
  • Bared my tourist status by going to Canada Place and taking lots of photos there too.  It was sort of like Navy Pier and also smaller, however not as annoyingly full of children and overpriced beer.  Point = Vancouver.
  • Wandered through Gastown and saw the famous Gastown Steam Clock, which was unsurprisingly unexciting.  Also wandered through Yorktown, Chinatown (the oldest in North America!) and the gay district, where I happened to be staying.
  • Somehow stumbled through what is probably the worst section of Vancouver, as evidenced by the needle depots on the sides of buildings and the people living on the sidewalks.  Didn’t get mugged!
  • Found a guy who hemmed my jeans for $10 while I waited in the changing room – took less than 5 minutes!
  • Talked to a couple who met 52 years ago from the day I met them, and they were on a six-week road trip through Canada and the United States.  They were seeing more of North America than I ever have and I found them inspirational.  I may or may not have taken their picture.
  • Indulged in WAY too much delicious food, including but not limited to a couple of chocolate éclairs nearly the size of Subway sandwiches.  These came from a Transylvanian Bakery that was dangerously close to my hostel.  I may or may not have stopped by there multiple nights.
  • Got fantastic sleep, which was surprising considering I was on the top bunk in a four person room of a hostel.
Told you.

Told you.

San Diego, CA (three nights, two days):

  • Caught up with an old friend of mine, who was kind enough to let me crash at her place and play tour guide while driving my ass around.
  • Saw seals at La Jolla Beach and climbed through a cave on the beach.

    I see a seal!

    I see a seal!

  • Ordered a Manhattan at this dive type whiskey bar that had over 200 bottles of whiskey.  Just whiskey.  And my drink was delicious.
  • Toured the Gaslamp Quarter, which was cool but didn’t have the unexciting clock like Gastown in Vancouver.
  • Crossed the Coronado Bridge and sampled a flight from the Coronado Brewery.
  • Walked through Balboa Park where we went to a couple of museums, a botanical garden and generally saw pretty things.
  • Tried to get into the San Diego Zoo but my friend’s pass was expired (we technically knew this but tried anyway).  Wound up getting photos of the San Diego Zoo sign instead.
  • Spent one late night watching Frozen, which I’d been wanting to watch for a while.  Was not disappointed.
  • Again ate WAY too much food, including an obscene amount of avocado.  Just obscene.  No regrets.
  • Went to Old Town, which was described to me as a kind of Mexican Disneyland.  This was fairly accurate and the tacos were delicious.
Pretty church in Balboa Park

Pretty church in Balboa Park

  • Absorbed as much sunshine and heat as I could, since it was 95 when I left CA and snowing at that time in Chicago.  Yuck.  YUCK I say!
  • Got minimal sleep, which was unsurprising given all of the catching up we did and the fact that my friend didn’t have AC (see above).

The Pros:  Seeing my old friend was fantastic but ultimately (and of course this has nothing to do with her) I think I enjoyed my time in Vancouver more.  Maybe it was because I actually walked around it more thoroughly (i.e. 6-10 miles every day), maybe because it was so freaking gorgeous or maybe it was the pure freedom of not having any place specific to go or thing to do, but I fell in love with that city.  So much so that I kind of felt like I was cheating on Chicago.  Whatever, the affair was worth it and I plan on going back!

The Cons:  My flight home was delayed and I spent almost two hours sitting on the runway in Denver, CO.  Not ideal.  But if that’s the worst thing that happened to me on my trip, I’ll consider myself a damn lucky girl indeed!


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