Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oh, Canada!

Way back in March, Dillon, Natalie, and I ditched Seattle for a couple of days of exploring in Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver is a beautiful city and similar to Seattle in a lot of ways (except it's a lot cheaper and Trump's not president there), and I almost immediately added it to my list of Cities I Would Happily Move To.



Dillon made us pancakes when we woke up, and then we packed his little blue car and hit the road–only to immediately turn around to retrieve Dillon's passport. The drive up there was uneventful as far as car rides go until we realized we were at the Canadian border and completely panicked. Dillon drove straight through the curving lanes leading up to the crossing and we all started yelling and laughing. Quick–turn your phones to airplane mode! Turn off your data! Wait, do we need a customs form?! Get your passports ready!!!

When the border agent asked how we met, Dillon said, "we actually met on Instagram," which isn't actually true, so the irrational part of me that slows down every time I see a cop even though I'm never speeding was for sure we were about to be detained. Luckily, the border agent didn't catch onto the lie or the three undeclared clementines sitting in the backseat and allowed us entry into Canada.

We didn't have very much planned for our trip beyond just getting to Vancouver, figuring we would just wing it, which we never do and our first hour in Canada was a good reminder as to why. Aside from our panic at the border, we also didn't fully consider things like how much we rely on our phones to get around or that we didn't have any change for street parking.

Luckily and inexplicably, Dillon had six dollars worth of Canadian coins in his console so we were able to park on a side street in Gastown and wander into the cozy Six Acres Cafe where we were plied with mulled wine and poutine. Shortly after, we made our way to our AirBnb where we rested, recharged, and reconnected to wifi. We all laid in the same bed while Natalie read Canada's Wikipedia page aloud and I googled the various questions we'd had since losing Internet connection, like "Why do the green traffic lights blink in Canada?" and "Where does Justin Trudeau live?"



After getting our bearings, the next day went much smoother. We started with breakfast at Medina Cafe, which I would definitely recommend if you're ever in Vancouver. I had a great raspberry caramel latte and the Harissa "Burger," and both were delicious. Since we were already in the Library District, we decided to explore the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library before heading over to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Libraries, galleries, and museums are my favorite places to visit in new cities, and Vancouver didn't disappoint.

We headed back to Gastown for lunch at MeeT and wandered the neighborhood, browsing all the shops. Highlights of the afternoon (for me, at least) was meeting a French bulldog in Old Faithful Shop and another dog named Stella walking down the street who was so tiny that I literally stopped speaking mid-sentence and nearly fell to the ground. Her owner saw my reaction and said, "Hold on, Stella, somebody saw you," and led her over to me so I could pet her. (Canadians are so great, guys.)

We ventured out to see the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver, which was gorgeous (and free, unlike the Capilano Suspension Bridge). We couldn't walk any of the trails (because I'm from Texas and don't have proper boots and slipped almost immediately), but it was worth the short drive from where we stayed in Davie Village anyway. Afterwards we witnessed an absolutely spectacular sunset before driving back to Gastown for dinner at Tacofino, which was surprisingly (to me, a Texan who is pretentious about tacos) my favorite meal of the trip. I had a refreshing hibiscus margarita and a fish taco that was so delicious I actually said, "I wish I was still hungry so I could order another fish taco."



We headed back to Seattle the next morning, but not before stopping at 49th Parallel Roasters on West 4th. The colors and light in the cafe were gorgeous, and our coffee and pastries (two each–we were on vacation, dammit!) were delicious.

Fat snowflakes were falling outside as we talked and ate (and Instagrammed). It was pretty magical as mornings go, which made it that much harder to leave. I had such a fun time with Natalie and Dillon (as always) and really loved Vancouver. I can't wait to go back. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

-Maggie

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