I have no idea how to make this post short so I’m not even gonna try! Once you see the photos from that flight to (and from) Whistler, you’ll understand why it was a struggle to stop taking photos – that place is gorgeous.
Suffice to say, your obligatory tea and biscuits (oh, what the heck – it’s Christmas time, swap that tea for mulled wine) start now. 🙂
All settled? Right, let’s get started.
As soon as we were done with breakfast, after our lazy day in Vancouver, the sunshine was starting to peek out from behind the clouds and by the time, we were done with breakfast at the Shangri La and down by the harbour, it was clear that the rain had properly disappeared.
Suffice to say, the flight we couldn’t catch the day before was all fine for this day and before long, we were off to Whistler!
That flight to Whistler is one of the most scenic flights though as impressed as I was with it on the way out (and boy, was I impressed), the view on the way back totally trumped this already incredible sight.
Before long, we’d arrived at Green Lake which is where our seaplane (akin to the ones you’d find in the Maldives) would be landing for Whistler.
By the way, this whole day (flights, activities and all) is one we booked with the Shangri La (*anyone can do it when you stay there) – it’s a great way to squeeze in some more Canadian sightseeing on your holiday and I thoroughly recommend it! I’d always been fascinated with Whistler so for me it was a no-brainer.
The thing about Whistler though is that it’s a ski destination so I was a tad sceptical about what it would be like in summer. Our flight arrived early enough for us to make the most of the day though that, of course, meant that we arrived before the town had started to get really busy (which didn’t help that niggling worry at the back of my mind).
Turns out, my worries were all for nothing. Whistler thrives in summer (in fact, by afternoon, we struggled to find seats at a local bar – it was that busy).
After a bit of panic shopping (I still hadn’t gotten my Canadian souvenir yet), we headed over to a much-recommended place for lunch – Bar Oso. We arrived super keen (i.e. a few minutes before it had even opened) and were one of the first to get in there and get stuck into lunch and cocktails (and yes, I did get a sneaky espresso in to fight that jetlag – there’s a huge time difference between Vancouver and London 🙂 ).
The cocktails here are absolutely delicious (après-ski anyone? 😉 ) and the lunch (also pretty good) is very much tapas style i.e. made for sharing.
And share we did! Tortillas, bocadillos, charcuterie, soups and even chorizo. Suffice to say, you won’t be leaving here hungry. 🙂
Done with lunch and totally fuelled for the day, we headed over to Alta Lake where we would be canoeing that afternoon with towards Green Lake – all part of our plan for the day organized with the Shangri La(I say “towards” rather than “to” as the plan for today wasn’t to go all the way to Green Lake).
For the canoeing, Lloyd and I had to canoe together and due to our rather equally irrational fears, we must have spent the first 5 minutes or so just arguing about the other person not canoeing right. I was in charge of the “power” and Lloyd in charge of “direction”. I would go on and on about how Lloyd wasn’t taking us in the right direction and he would retort with how I wasn’t steering enough (or sometimes, steering too much).
Oh and our fear – well mine was that I would fall into the lake and I just wanted to try every way I could, not to (stupid because if I fell in, all I had to do was just climb back into the canoe). Lloyd’s was that he would get smack in the face by – get this – branches of the bushes. We both realised the other person’s fear’s as being stupid but somehow, didn’t realise ours were. (So silly, right?)
Eventually, we settled down into the swing of things and by the time we hit the river, you’d have sworn we’d had proper experience in doing this a while. 😄
Thing is, the river turns and curves and so you have to steer in a way that lets you negotiate the curve well. It’s a lot easier than it sounds and fair play to us, we did pretty well at this and didn’t fall in once.
I did however (due to some enthusiastic rowing on my part) drench Lloyd in water at one point. I didn’t actually do it on purpose but couldn’t stop laughing when it happened (you should have seen the look on his face) and so, he was still convenience for days after that I did it intentionally.
The views were absolutely stunning and the whole experience was incredible (again, totally recommend this if you visit Whistler in summer).
Back in the centre of Whistler, over beers and poutine in that aforementioned jam-packed bar, Lloyd and I watch the mountain-bikers come down the (you guessed it) mountains – some with stunts, others who a bit more focused on just getting down to the finish line.
*Random, I swear saw one of the guys from The Hunger Games (the blonde one), washing his bike here. Turns out he’s from Vancouver (he’s the one who plays Cato in the first film) so I could very well be correct. 🙂 Also, random on top on random – his wiki page says he’s a competitive skier so Whistler would definitely be a place he’d have loved visiting – you know, just saying. 😉 😀
Eventually, we headed back to the “airport” (i.e. Green Lake) – you get free transfers by the way, to and fro. It’s only like 5 – 10 minutes down the road so it’s not far but saves having to figure out how to get there when you’ve flown in.
This time, after missing his opportunity on the way in, Lloyd went straight for the seat next to the pilot (someone else had bagged the seat earlier in the morning – Lloyd didn’t even think to ask that morning because you never get the chance to do that normally). Lloyd always wanted to be a pilot but he’s colourblind (hence why he can’t) so his excitement was understandably through the roof.
Going over Whistler, I had my camera out with me, not really expecting to use it that much as I’d taken loads of photos that morning and it wasn’t until the pilot said we would be going a different route over the mountains that I finally reached for my camera.
The views, by the way, are incredible!!! Even in summer – we’re talking mountain lakes, forests that span for ages and ages, snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes and part of Canada you’d never be able to see on foot!
Like seriously, you’re constantly turning from left to right to left to right and back over and over again with all these incredible views!
I genuinely did my best to whittle down the photos as we flew over with the scenery changing every minute but still ended up with hundreds of photos from up here. You can probably now see why that’s the case.
By the time we arrive in Vancouver, Lloyd and I were almost speechless thanks to the awe and adrenaline from the amazing views. So different from this morning’s views, right?
It was all we could talk about for the next couple of hours right up until it was to go out for dinner.
FYI, Cactus Club Café is not anything like what it sounds! It is busy, lively, loud and full of quite the eclectic crowd. It’s the kind of place to start a proper night out in town – it’s like a bar, restaurant and club all rolled into one.
We dove straight into mains, brilliantly accompanied by cocktails (Moscow Mule for Lloyd and something tart and lemony for me – can’t remember what it was now).
Cocktails were soon switched with wine once our entrees arrived – chicken for Lloyd and steak for me, both of which were absolutely delicious and further re-affirmed my decision to do my best to research a restaurant before visiting (even if it’s just a quick look online). I’m too impulsive to naturally just check restaurants long before eating but after a long spell of being disappointed by restaurants in my early days of travelling, I just make a conscious choice not to pay to be disappointed by food. 🙂 It’s as simple as that really… 😀
Anyhooooo, long story short – food was delicious, drinks were amazing, would have loved to have stayed out longer but the jetlag got the best of me and I was in bed by 1am!
The next morning, after our final breakfast at the Shangri La for that trip, I decided we had to squeeze in a bit of culture before leaving the city and with that, we headed over to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
I’d actually had plans to visit this on that day when it rained but face with the choice of an art gallery or a day spent being pampered at the Shangri La, I went for the obvious choice – the pampering! 😀
And so off we went, roaming through the hallways of the Art Gallery, amazed at quite a lot of the art here, feeling a bit “Meh!” at a few of them and carrying on with my long-running boring joke about how I could personally “have done any of the art here” (which if you have seen my atrocious drawings, you would know to be far from the truth).
Done with the gallery, it was time to finally big Vancouver farewell!
It’d been an amazing week exploring not just the city but the wider British Columbia are and a re-affirmation of why Vancouver is one of my favourite cities and why I would still very much like to move to this city to live for, at the very least, a few months.
Vancouver is incredible and you absolutely have to visit when you get the chance – trust me, if you haven’t visited yet, you’ll see exactly what I mean once you do (and if you have visited, then you already know exactly what I’m talking about 😀 ).
See ya later Van-city!