Blue Skies and Sunshine

I’ve been exploring the great outdoors of Vancouver over the past week. You can literally step out into any neighbourhood and find a pleasant time to yourself, because of the beautiful sunshine and the fresh air. It’s hot, but not humid, and the second you step into shade, you’ll feel a cool breeze. There’s pollution in every city, of course, but it’s not like the smog you see in Hong Kong. I’ve lovin’ it!

So… what have I been up to? Well, I’ve been trying to check out the public exhibits that people put up around Vancouver every year, but I only managed to catch the Robson Street furniture that they have at Robson Square. They’re a bunch of wooden benches, but the design is pretty interesting. I like how Vancouver always has these kinds of things.

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I also wanted to check out the public pianos, which they call “Keys to the Street”. I thought there was one at Robson Square, but turns out it was Robson Park. I didn’t feel like going all the way to Waterfront either on that day, so I just went back to Richmond. If I had known that they were taking them down on the 25th, I would have definitely headed over to see them! I went to check them out again today, and they were already gone 😦

Then last Friday, I went to hike the Stawamus Chief, which is in Squamish – a bit less than a 2 hour drive from home. I went with just one other person, and we made it up to the top in 95 minutes! Last year, I went with two other people, and it took us closer to 2 hours to make it up. Good to know that we’re making progress.

Most people simply call this mountain “The Chief”, and it is definitely not a walk in the park. The first half of it is all stairs, and the elevation of each step is different. It takes a lot of strength to get up some of the larger steps! After about fourty minutes, you reach an emergency helicopter pad, where most people take a good rest. Then, you start to hit the rocky parts, where you actually have to climb. Some of the sections have chains to make it easier for hikers, because they are really steep hikes! But for the most part, it’s manageable – you just have to be careful, and skipping out this hike on a rainy day would be wise. The rocky parts don’t go well with the rain; I already did it last year, and it’s really slippery at the top.

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There are three peaks of the Chief, and we made it to the Second Peak. From here, you can see Howe sound to your left, and the city of Squamish to your right. After enjoying this view, we also tried to hike to the Third Peak… except we didn’t know the way. I found another lookout spot, took some pictures, and then called it a day.

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On our way back, we had a beautiful sunset view along the Sea to Sky Highway. Isn’t Vancouver beautiful?!

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Sunday was another nice day, where I went to check out the Ladner Village Market – yes, once again! – but this time with a friend. As a Vancouverite, it’s always nice to stroll through these kinds of markets and support your local economy. Yeah, it’s a bit more expensive, but at least you know your money is going back into this community to help it continue to grow.

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In the end, the Village Market stroll always turns into a food fest. I saw a cart that wasn’t there two weeks ago when I came… Johnny’s Pops! Actually, I’ve never seen this cart before, but I read about it on Vancity Buzz, and I’ve heard good things about it. To be honest, I’m not huge on popsicles, but when I saw other people having a taste, and partially also because of that Vancity Buzz article, I decided to try it. No regrets! It really was the best and creamiest popsicle I ever had! If you ever see Johnny on the streets of Vancouver, definitely give it a try! We actually wanted to try another flavour after a round of food, but he already sold out.

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We also shared an order of chili from the Chili Tank, and their cart is actually a tank! I’m not the type to usually eat chili, so it was a nice step out of my comfort zone, and it was surprisingly good!

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After checking out the market, we hit up Centennial Beach for some chill time. When the tide is out, you can walk really really far out! But we caught it during high-tide, and we only walked a bit into the water. Still, the pictures turned out well!

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Monday – I decided to go biking with two friends around the Stanley Park seawall, and we went all the way to English Bay. The seawall is a really easy 10 km biking route. There are literally no ups and downs, and it will feel like a breeze once you finish. In fact, you can probably do two laps in 2 hours of rentals! But we didn’t do that. Instead, we rewarded ourselves with Marble Slab ice cream after one lap, and hung around for some pictures.

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Oh yeah, I saw these really cute water bottles for sale around downtown. I had to get one! And they’re BPA free too, so I can reuse them as my hometown pride water bottle while I’m in Toronto. 🙂

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Today was a lovely day. I had lunch in Gastown, which gave me a good reason to walk around that neighbourhood for a while. To be honest, I’ve been a Vancouverite for so long, and every time I go downtown, it’s always just to Pacific Centre to shop. Gastown is that area that we all know where it is, but nobody really goes there. I didn’t even know where the steam clock was!

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I got out of Gastown, and headed over to the Convention Centre. It was so pretty… I feel like I could’ve stayed there forever! The sun was shining, and you had an infinite view of blue skies and sunshine. I remember I was at the top of the Peak last December in Hong Kong, and even though theoretically it should be a nice view, the smog covered everything. I’m so glad we don’t have that here! That being said, we also need to preserve our city well to prevent it from happening.

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I was looking for a cafe to sit down and write, and finally stopped at a place called Giovane. They sell baked goods and coffee on one side, cooked foods and alcohol on the other side, then there’s a small grocery shop and candy aisle. It’s a pretty cute place, but I wasn’t too impressed with the matcha latte I ordered. It felt like nothing more than heated milk :/

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While I was looking for a coffee shop, I actually walked past this gelato parlour once already with the crazy long line, and ignored it. I didn’t feel like spending that much time, just to satisfy my curiosity. But after I came out of the coffee shop, I saw the long line still there, and I had no idea where to go next, so I finally stood in line as well. It was a good 15 minutes of waiting before I finally got to the counter, and then you have to order your sizes first. The prices aren’t cheap! It starts at $5.50 for one flavour in a cup, and goes up to something like $8 for three flavours in a cup. Cones are slightly more expensive, but that’s because you get more ice cream in a cone. I opted for 2 flavours in a cup for $6.75, because I like variety 🙂

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Their gelato is made right in front of you! I also saw a Vancouver Foodie Tour making a stop at this place, which I found pretty cool. Apparently they won a lot of gelato competitions as well?

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Their gelato is smooth, and the flavours really taste like what they say they are. I got salted caramel (my favourite flavour for anything!), and also lavender earl grey. The only thing I have against it is that it’s a bit too sweet for my liking. Cut down on the sugar, and it would be perfect for me.

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So that’s it for my week. It’s a lot to taken in, even for me! But who knows… maybe the next time I blog, I’ll be in a different city 🙂

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