Vancouver, Canada

CITY: Vancouver

HOW LONG: 2 NIGHTS

ACCOMMODATION:

While in Vancouver, my mom and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency. It was a very nice hotel and the location couldn’t have been better. It was very central and close to the waterfront. Plenty of good restaurants were within a 15 minute walk. Definitely would stay here again.

WHERE TO EAT:

After landing in Vancouver, we headed into an area of Vancouver called Kitsilano. It had a hippie-ish vibe and it was very low-key. No towering skyscrapers to be found here. We were hungry and trying to eat healthy so when we found The Naam, it seemed like the perfect match! It was a vegan restaurant and apparently very popular for UBC students as it is open 24 hours. I got sesame-honey fried tofu and it was delicious!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Looking at downtown Vancouver from Kitsilano

That night we headed to Pacifico pizzeria for dinner. It did not disappoint! My mom had a yummy caesar salad with prawns on it, and I had a butternut squash ravioli dish. The atmosphere was great and this place is centrally located in downtown Vancouver. Definitely recommend this place.

IMG_2467

Mama!

IMG_2470

Enjoying our meal

My favorite restaurant of the trip was Vancouver Urban Winery. One of my good friends from while I was studying in Barcelona lives in Vancouver so he took my mom and me to this restaurant on our last night here. THIS PLACE WAS AWESOME! Great atmosphere. Great open floor plan where the kitchen was exposed. Tons of great alcohol. The food was fantastic. I can’t recommend this place enough.

IMG_2559

The waterfront with Ryan after going to the Vancouver Urban Winery

Our last meal was lunch at Cactus Club right on English Bay Beach. It was a great location and had a really diverse menu, which is great for a group that has varying tastes! I had a yummy frozen cocktail called a Frosé!

IMG_2589

Frosé all day 🙂

WHAT TO DO:

Other than just stroll along the beautiful waterfront pedestrian path, the highlight of our time in Vancouver was renting bikes and exploring Stanley Park. Stanley Park has 27 km of forest trails and a 8.8 km seawall path. THIS PARK WAS INCREDIBLE!! It was such a great place to go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, or just a snooze in the sun. There were beautiful views and play structures for kids. There was something for everyone!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Vancouver on a beautiful day

IMG_2560

Mom struggling on her bike

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Taken from the bike path around Stanley Park

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Vancouver was incredible!! My mom and I were just about ready to move here! The sun was shining the whole time and it was 75 degrees +, however, everyone was all too happy to inform us that we happened upon the best weather they have had in months and it wasn’t normal. The normal weather is gray and rainy– which put a damper in our plan to move here. We just couldn’t get past leaving sunny California. Overall, my mom and I couldn’t get over how awesome Vancouver is. There is a modern, beautiful skyline and bike paths all over the city. Stanley Park offers a nature refuge in the middle of an urban environment. Public transport seemed to be everyone and there were beautiful waterfront walking paths. All in all, Vancouver is a must!!!

IMG_2608

Drinks with Leanne, who I met while I was traveling in Porto, Portugal!

After Vancouver we headed up to Whistler for a night! After dabbling in some hitchhiking in Europe, I made my mom stop for 3 hitchhikers on our way to Whistler. Two Germans and one Italian!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

German, German, American, Italian

CITY: Whistler

HOW LONG: 1 NIGHT

ACCOMMODATION:

We stayed in the Hilton while in Whistler. Again, this was a nice hotel, but what made it super special was its location. You could exit the back of the hotel onto the village stroll, which is the pedestrian street through Whistler village. Definitely would recommend this hotel.

WHERE TO EAT:

The standout meal in Whistler was at La Bocca. We sat outside on a beautiful, warm night and were able to enjoy people watching while enjoying our meal. It was bustling on the Saturday night we were there with plenty of bachelor/bachelorette parties along with families, couples and groups of friends. The food was delicious and I had a yummy cocktail as well. Would 100% go back here.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Life is good

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

WHAT TO DO:

Our stay in Whistler was short, but we managed to pack a lot in! Our first stop was at Scandinavia Spa, which offers a traditional Scandinavian baths experience in a peaceful and natural environment. We enjoyed the many pools and solariums before our 60 minute massage. Unfortunately there are no phones allowed (although it was great to unplug) so I don’t have any pictures, but this place was magical!!

IMG_2606

The entrance

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Beautiful walk to the spa

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The spa itself (they have done a nice job of keeping it private and integrated into the nature!)

The other awesome thing we did while in Whistler was take the gondola up and hike on Whistler Mountain. There was so much snow still, it was incredible! After our hike we took the peak-to-peak gondola to Blackcomb before taking the gondola back down to the village! Super fun experience with amazing views!

IMG_2513

On our way up! (Mom was talking to a nice Iranian couple)

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Up and up we go

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Mid mountain views

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

CANADA

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The lift up to the peak

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The lift

IMG_2595

Starting our hike!

IMG_2594

Plenty of snow

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

!!!!!! SNOW !!!!!!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Cant’ get over the views

IMG_2549

On our descent towards greenery

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

Whistler was incredible!! We were blown away at how dialed in Whistler was for both winter and summer. They know what they are doing!! Between mountain biking, skiing, hiking, swimming, and all the great restaurants and shops, you will never be bored in Whistler- no matter what season you are in!!

IMG_2508

From the Vancouver Olympics

Advertisements

London + Cambridge

Sadly, this is my last stop on my trip! BUT I made the most of it with a final visit with my favorite British people. (You may remember them because I stayed with them all the way back in June 2016 and then again in February 2017.) Originally I had met them at a hostel in Barcelona in May 2015 and have visited them 4 or 5 times since then. So without further adieu…

CITY: london

HOW LONG: 3 NIGHTS

ACCOMMODATION:

I stayed at Astor Hyde Park while in London for the final time. I booked super late so there weren’t many options left, but I ended up getting one of the last beds at this hostel. This place had large under the bed lockers and an en suite bathroom. There’s a large guest kitchen and two great common areas for socializing. Also the hostel is right next to Hyde Park!! Definitely recommend a stay here.

WHERE TO EAT:

The main thing I did while in England was go to Cambridge for the day with my British friends! To start off the adventure we went to Copper Kettle for a full English breakfast. This was the first time I had one, and while I can’t get on board with beans for breakfast, the rest was delicious!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Enjoying brunch

IMG_2342

Full English

After a full day of exploring Cambridge, we all went to Bill’s for dinner + drinks. It had a good vibe and could seat all 6 of us. I got a tomato soup because I wasn’t super hungry, but AJ and his gf, Chloe, split a halloumi burger and it looked great!

I went to Nandos, a staple in the UK, for the first time on my last night in Europe. I met Henry and one of his high school friends for dinner. It’s a Portuguese chicken chain and it’s pretty good, although I was surprised by how spicy it was! There are tons of different menu options. Definitely recommend a visit here if you have the time.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The most perfect hot chocolate I got while Henry and I were waiting for the rest of the crew to show up

WHAT TO DO:

As I mentioned, the main activity of my visit to London was a day trip to Cambridge. Henry and I met up at the train station in London and headed to Cambridge, while AJ & Chloe and Tony met us there as they drove. After getting brunch, we walked around the town before finding a grassy spot to enjoy the sun. Around 2pm we loaded into a boat to go punting, which is very popular in Cambridge.

IMG_2340

Meeting Henry at the train station on our way to Cambridge

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Cambridge

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Enjoying the sun!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The crew

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Busy day for punting

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Aj, Chloe, Tony, & Henry

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We made it on the boat

IMG_2417

The bridge of sighs

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

On the boat!

After punting we again found a grassy spot and just enjoyed the rare sunny day.

IMG_2379

Sitting in a park

IMG_2378

Henry planting a garden on AJ

IMG_2382

My fav’s

IMG_2383

The most exquisite roses I have ever seen

Other than Cambridge, I did spend a day at Hyde Park reading my book. A wonderfully relaxing day.

IMG_2407

Hyde Park

My last day on this wonderful trip I spent hanging at my hostel, meeting some people, and working on my blog 🙂 That night I grabbed dinner with Henry and his friend and we were some of the last people to leave the restaurant.

It was really, really hard to say goodbye to my friends because they ended up being such a big part of this trip!! Each time I visited before, we knew there would be at least one more visit ahead. This time, we knew it would be an indefinite goodbye. HOWEVER, I am trying my hardest to convince them to come to CA to visit me sometime in the future.

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in England, and it is has furthered cemented my dream of moving here. I hope to eventually find a path to living in London, even if it’s just for a few years.

See ya soon California! While I will miss Europe with all my heart, I am excited to go home and sleep in my own bed for the first time in a while 🙂