Our final full day in Vancouver started with a leisurely breakfast and a “go” time to Granville Market of 945AM, our latest morning on the trip. We had already explored the overview of Granville Market as part of our Vancouver city tour on our first full day (blog here). We already briefly walked through the market previously, but now we had several hours to enjoy it at a more leisurely pace. We sampled some chocolate and some cheeses as our appetite grew, but we of course wanted to stay hungry for dim-sum afterwards (our final chance to try it in Vancouver). After Granville Market itself which we thoroughly enjoyed, the second best part was just browsing the art galleries and shops on the outside, as well as the thrill of finding free, open WiFi at the Cats Socialhouse (which we also thought was a cat cafe, but wasn’t – turns out there’s one in Gastown though!). I bought a pair of chic blue plaid leather gloves from a boutique, and Brendan bought some First Nation orca whale magnets. While we didn’t find any art, we would spend the afternoon in Gastown continuing the search. The harbor was lovely as well,….
The next day was our uber long day where we’d head from downtown Vancouver to the mountains for Whistler day-tripping. It was about a 2 hour drive, so we got started early and met in the hotel lobby at 8AM to depart. We were both really excited for a day that consisted of all sorts of awesomeness – getting to the top of Whistler by gondola; lunch at the top; extreme zip-lining; drinks and dinner of the lead Star Award planner’s favorite Whistler restaurant. I promptly fell asleep on the bus while Brendan enjoyed the beautiful mountain scenery. We were dropped off as a large group and had a short walk to the center of town as we enjoyed our first few moments Whistler day-tripping. Since this wasn’t ski season quite yet, they carved the mountain in to some pretty intense mountain biking tracks. It was packed! At the bottom of the mountain, we waited for a few minutes while our guides collected our gondola passes, and then we queued into the special group line to get right to the front. It was like the Fast Pass at Disneyland. We hopped on to the gondola and slowly inched our way to the….
The next morning, Saturday, was our Vancouver City Tour departing at a more reasonable 830AM, coupled with our spa visit in the afternoon. This was probably the most leisurely day we had – this was not a relax kind of vacay. This morning, since we were on an early schedule, we actually woke up with a little time for breakfast before we headed out. Discovered some nice yogurt to put with the incredible and copious array of fruit. We then piled in a luxury bus to tour the city. This was the sample platter, the Vancouver tour overview if you will. Our first stop was Stanley Park where we walked around, viewed the real totem poles made by Canada’s First Nations (the people Americans would call Native Americans) for the park. The city was very proud of its cultural diversity and especially of the last 20 years of efforts to incorporate the First Nations people perspective into their retelling of history and in to the cultural fabric. The view from the Stanley Park waterfront looking back at downtown Vancouver was also stunning. We also got to learn more about our guide’s upbringing, having been brought to Vancouver as a child….
The next morning we were up at 6AM for a 745AM departure time to head to Victoria whale watching, after partaking in the daily breakfast buffet (breakfasts were also the same every day, but since I’m not a huge breakfast for breakfast person, this was no problem at all). The first stop was the Vancouver sea plane airport on the harbor, where we were able to admire some art the beautiful view of the sound prior to boarding. We particularly liked the orca sculpture (right-hand side of the below photo. That was our guide Maika from Rare Indigo in the front of the picture. Also in this picture, you can see where the Olympic flame was held during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. We got sorted in to groups for flights over to Victoria island (the BC capital city). We were surprised to learn that sea planing was a common and necessary means of transport in the northwest, and even was used for business commutes/visits. The airport experience was super easy – no security, no wait – you checked in with an ID and were issued a color coded boarding pass that eventually you turned back in upon boarding. We were….
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend Brendan and I enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to Vancouver for 5 nights for the Travelport Star Awards trip. My employer, Travelport, selected me as one of the top performers of 2016 along with 31 other people, and this trip was the reward for all of us. I have to say – it was pretty rad. First of all, I’ve never been rewarded like this through work ever before (previously, I had thought that working hard never got noticed or rewarded). Secondly, it was white-glove, first-class treatment and it was easy to get used to. I only hope that Brendan and I can deign to stay at 3-star hotels again when we take our next trip 😉 We departed from DEN Thursday afternoon (Oct 5, 2017) on non-stop United flight 323 to Vancouver at 1140AM. We left a little early to check our bags and to have a nice pre-trip breakfast at Elways in the United terminal (Terminal B). PS: if you want a good review of the DEN airport with #layovertips, check out our sister blog tripchi here! The flight was easy despite not having an empty middle seat and having to shuffle….