We arrived in Vancouver in the most tired, sleepiest, jetlag-haze ever! (*Some of those may not be real words but you get my drift… 🙂 )
Here’s why – we started our journey almost 48 hours before in Nepal where we flew from Kathmandu to Abu Dhabi. We stayed in Abu Dhabi for a few hours before catching our connection to London.
We were then in London for about 18 hours – jetlagged and trying to get ready for the next leg of our journey (which meant pretty much no sleep), then we hopped aboard our Air Transat flight to Vancouver – on which, and I know this is our fault (though the wine did enable us a bit too), we decided to catch up on all the episodes of the latest season House of Cards – which then meant that we didn’t sleep once the entire way to Vancouver.
All this hit once we hopped into the taxi and made our way downtown to our home for the next few days – the Shangri La Vancouver!
After travelling across Nepal for almost 2 weeks and staying in a myriad of different places, I have to admit, I was so looking forward to staying at the Shangri La.
It’s smack in the centre of the city (which is where we stayed last time) so is the perfect location to explore Vancouver (it also comes with valet parking – something you might struggle to find in most city-centre hotels across the world, so having a car here is super easy).
Once we got into the room, I figured I’d go a quick power nap (minimum of 2 – 3 hours 😉 ) and wake up in time for a little jaunt around the city (and for dinner)… This never happened.
Once I sunk into those sheets at the Shangri La, there was just no fighting them. I think I woke up once to let the bellboy into the room with welcome drinks and snacks but aside from that, we didn’t get up until about 6 am the next day! It was glorious!!!
There’s nothing quite like 14 hours of sleep to beat that jetlag. 🙂 (I didn’t even feel remotely guilty for sleeping through our first evening in the city – the Shangri La totally made it worth my while – Haha!)
The next morning, I quickly happened upon what would turn out to be one of my favourite times of the day – breakfast time at the Shangri La. Travelling as much as we do, breakfast can sometimes feel a bit perfunctory – something you have to do to get your day started.
In the Shangri La, breakfast is a feasting event in and of itself. I didn’t know this at the time so I didn’t bring my camera down with me of course (I think I did though on the days after this so I’ll hopefully show you what I mean).
For starters, there’s no buffet here – everything, from the freshly-baked granola to the eggs benedict, pancakes and even dim sum, is made to order for you. I feel like most people choose one thing for breakfast perhaps with a little something light (like fresh fruits or yoghurt…), I chose three things for breakfast – partly because I didn’t know which one to pick but mostly out of greed. Again, it was glorious! For this reason alone, I decided to spend at least 1 hour every day to properly enjoy breakfast here. But enough about breakfast – let’s get on with exploring the city!
Again, it was glorious! For this reason alone, I decided to spend at least 1 hour every day to properly enjoy breakfast here. But enough about breakfast – let’s get on with exploring the city!
Now, one of my favourite things about Vancouver (and a huge reason why I genuinely want to live in this city) is that it has the best of both worlds. It’s a city that is truly fun and exciting – the way most global cities are, to be fair but where it trumps most other cities is how within minutes, you can be lost in nature.
This, by and large, is the REAL reason why anyone would want to visit and indeed live in Vancouver! 😁
You never have to sacrifice one thing for the other – the balance here is truly incredible. (Yes, I know a lot of cities have parks but even with those parks you’re still very well aware that you’re in a park in a city – with Vancouver, even the city disappears once you step into nature).
To fully make the most of this – we went on a cycle tour of the city (we booked Cycle City Tours – they’re like 2 minutes away from our hotel).
For how huge the mountains are here in Canada (particularly so, in the British Columbia province where Vancouver is located), the city is surprisingly quite flat and easily cycle-able (I’m not a fan of uphill cycling so I was so pleased to find this out).
We stopped off every so often to check out some old historic buildings (and neighbourhoods) in the city but our real destination was Stanley Park.
In Stanley Park, you can see what I mean about not even realizing there’s a city nearby – everything just disappears!
There are trees here that are hundreds of years old and still have characteristic features from when they were being used by the First Nations people of Canada (the indigenous people of Canada).
We made our way over to the lake in the middle (a place I never knew existed last time we were here), where some of the beavers had to set to work building some seriously impressive dams.
Spending time here was amazing and was the perfect way to disconnect from the city. Not that I wanted to. I only just got here and I really love Vancouver but I live in London and as much as I love my home city, I can relate to getting to a stage where you just want to explore something different (even if just for a little while).
To be honest, isn’t that kinda why we all travel, to see and experience something different from our norm? (At least here, it’s right on your doorstep).
Anyway, enough rambling from me – long story short – cycling around Stanley Park was brilliant – we even got to find a 400-year-old tree (they’re huge). The oldest tree here is like 700 or 800 years old and that is just impressive in and of itself.
We made our way slowly back to the city, stopping to check out some art installations in the city before finally giving in to our rumbling tummies and heading back downtown to drop off our bikes and find ourselves some lunch!
Cycling was such a brilliant way to explore the natural part of the city – it’s just so much more efficient than walking around… and you still get that exercise that totally makes pigging out at lunch worth it. 🙂
See you for lunch (and grizzlies) in the next post!