Canada, North America, Vancouver

What a Day in Vancouver Might Look Like … If You Were Me.

August 6, 2014
Vancouver Sea Wall

Forgive me dear readers, for I have sinned. I’m a very bad Canadian.

I’ve travelled extensively around the world but until recently had never been to Vancouver. With mostly warm weather (by Canadian standards anyway), its oceanside position and mountain surroundings, Vancouver is considered by some as my country’s most beautiful city.

Sunset Beach in Vancouver
Why had I never been to Vancouver? Well, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, but with the price of a flight from Toronto to Vancouver typically being the same price as a flight to somewhere in Europe, for me the romance of Europe wins every time.

So err … yeah, I also spent what amounted to just over 24 hours in Vancouver. Another travel faux pas!

Now before you slam me, I obviously know that one day is not enough. One day is never enough, anywhere. I know that I need to go back, spend more time there and get to know the city better.

Though, it’s with extremely-nonsensical pride that I can now finally say that I’ve travelled Canada from coast-to-coast. I think (hope) that counts for something as a serious traveller.

So I simply consider my visit a mere sneak peak. And what I saw, I loved.

A Day in Vancouver, If You Were … Me.

What does a day in Vancouver look like, if you were me?  It looks something like this.

Sunset Beach in Vancouver

1) Share a cramped 6-bed dorm room with 5 other people, 3 of whom are smelly French boys.

I’m not a baller, so I usually end up staying at hostels. I chose SameSun Backpackers Hostel as it’s located in downtown Vancouver, close to the hotel that I’d be checking into the next day.

I ended up in a teeny-tiny dorm room with 3 boys from France who came to Canada on a working holiday visa. This is how I made my first year in Germany possible, by the way!

The boys were nice, even hilarious – just needed to take a shower to soften the blow of their odour.

Their impressions of Canada were cute. They apologized for liking Vancouver better than Toronto and told me that Montrealers speak a very peculiar form of French.

One of them sported a very tight hot pink T-shirt and asked me if I thought it made him look gay, all the while reassuring me that he reeeeeally loves women. I told him that it looked very European and he should wear it with pride. After all, some women like a man who is not afraid to wear pink.

2) Indulge in cheap eats.

The hostel bar and restaurant (aka The Beaver Lounge and Restaurant) offers up super cheap food and better yet, booze. I ate a $5 spaghetti bolognese for dinner and got slightly buzzed from a beer and cocktail.

3) Watch sunset over the city.

Sunset Beach in Vancouver
A little drunk, I headed to the appropriately named Sunset Beach park to watch sunset over the ocean and mountains. I walked barefoot through the sand, took 5,000 photos and floated in an alcohol – induced cloud of glee.

Sunset Beach in Vancouver

Sunset Beach in Vancouver

Sunset Beach in Vancouver I thought to myself, if I did nothing else in Vancouver, I’d be happy.

4) Walk along Bute Street.

Not only will you get a great workout walking up and down the steep hill, you can check out all sorts of really cute apartments decked out with pretty flowers.

You’ll get even more of a workout if you spy a skunk and need to run away to avoid being sprayed and end up smelling like Pepé Le Pew. I thank the lovely couple who warned me of the impending danger.

I was impressed by these cute bird feeders and pride -themed cross walks.

Bute Street Vancouver Pride Colours in Vancouver

5) Drink even more cheap drinks at the hostel bar.

With nothing else to do that night, I went back to the hostel and enjoyed another round (or two) of beer and went to bed early.

6) Ditch hostel for accommodations that suit your refined ladylike tastes.

It was time to check into a proper hotel sans smelly French boys. As I was in Vancouver to partake in a Rocky Mountaineer train journey from Vancouver to Banff, I was able to switch to the rather swanky Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

It’s a beautiful property, decked out in art deco glory. The stunning lobby is home to several stores like Louis Vuitton where there are handbags, for pocket dogs like Yorkies, that would cost several months of my salary to purchase.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver 1= Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Upon checking in, I donned the fuzzy hotel robe and slipped into the glorious king sized bed to read Bridget Jones, Mad About a Boy that tells you all about what happens after she marries Mark Darcy.

7) Have an awkward encounter.

While lying in bed, have your friend (who’s accompanying with you on the train journey) burst into the room with one of her local friends.

Now, imagine meeting someone for the first time while you’re in bed, cloaked in the fuzzy hotel robe reading a book that any good woman should be embarrassed to read in public.

Note to self: carry a copy of War and Peace on me at all times so I look more academic and intelligent!

8) Get a massage at the hotel spa.

The Absolute Spa is where it’s at, folks. As you can tell by now, I’m clearly a broke writer and photographer type. I can’t exactly afford to indulge in hedonistic experiences like facials and mud-wraps on a regular basis unless I chose to take on a sugar daddy.

However, I have a geeky day job as an IT project manager that comes with benefits coverage, so I’m allowed to expense a few massages throughout the year!

That meant a 45-minute deep tissue massage with a man who has the hands of a god, performing miracles on my sore back and shoulders.

9) Have lunch at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

There’s a nice café at the Vancouver Art Gallery filled with fancy people and fancy food. There’s even a lovely patio which you might be able to use if it’s not raining (and it rains a lot in Vancouver).

I met my friend Jai from Savoir There for lunch. We originally met in Portugal where we experienced a motorcycle ride and walking tour together through Lisbon.

And here we were, two years later, seeing one another in Vancouver of all places! A perk of being involved in the travel blogging community is having friends all around the world.

10) Meet Gumhead.

Douglas Copeland Gumhead

There’s a seriously weird, not to mention gross, interactive sculpture of Douglas Coupland outside the museum. It has gum all over it and you’re encouraged to add a wad of your own. It smells and bees are buzzing all around it for the free sugar rush.

Seriously, WTF? I don’t get it. Is this what’s art these days? It scared me, so we left.

11) Walk along the sea wall.

Vancouver Sea Wall

It’s a nice walk, filled with pretty sites and there’re all sorts of attractions along the way like the Vancouver Aquarium, a place that no travel blogger in their right mind would ever frequent as we all oppose animal captivity of any kind even when that aquarium rescues dolphins not fit to be released into the wild.

All jokes and sarcasm aside, you just have to do this walk. There’re some classic views of Vancouver that will make your heart swoon.

Vancouver Sea Wall Vancouver Sea Wall

Seriously, why have I not been here before? Why do I live in Toronto? Perhaps, I’ve been living in the wrong Canadian city all along.

12) Get Japadog.

Jai and I met up with another travel blogging friend, Henry, from Fotoeins Fotopress. I met Henry while I lived in Berlin!

We opted for street food and decided to have Japadog, a chain in Vancouver where you can eat a bizarre but very tasty assortment of Japanese -themed hot dogs. I had a bratwurst, because having a Japanese and German blended hot dog always makes sense.

Japadogs in Vancouver

This photo was taken by a German tourist who had just spent some time touring across Canada. Notice her finger made an appearance in the photo as well.

The tourists enjoyed Henry’s ability to speak to them in German while I listened in, silently accessing whether or not I could understand some of their dialogue. I mean, I did have to put all those months of German class over the past year to the test. I managed to belt out a pathetic “Guten flug” as we left (they were flying home to Germany the next day).

13) Drink local beer at a random pub.

We then had beer at pub. I don’t remember its name, location or even what form of local brew I drank.

I’m a horrible with details, which doesn’t make for a good travel blogger. Don’t tell anyone!

14) Have drinks at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver’s rooftop bar.

Balling it, Henry and I went for drinks here, meeting up again with my friend and yet another one of her friends, a Canadian who happens to live in Berlin and was visiting Vancouver.

Seriously, am I a magnet for all things German (no matter how weak the tie) or what?

15) Embark on a Rocky Mountaineer journey.

Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver

Have you heard of this legendary train ride? I took this train from Vancouver all the way to Banff, Alberta!

Imagine travelling in first class style – comfortable seating, domed double-decker car, open bar, private chefs cooking you breakfast and dinner – all the while enjoying scenic views of the Rockies.

It turned out to be an incredible experience, which I’ll be writing more about here later on.

A Vancouver Travel Guide

There you have it – my day or so in Vancouver. My gift to you is this use this absurdly weird and hardly useful travel guide for what you could do if you were to spend a day in Vancouver.

Enjoy responsibly!

Disclosure – My night at the Fairmont Downtown Vancouver was complimentary courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer. My aquarium visit was made possible by Tourism Vancouver.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Gillian August 6, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I ADORE Vancouver and I think you got all the important bits in – extra points for the Japadog! The Coupland sculpture (?) must be new – I haven’t seen (smelled) it yet.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 6, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Ha ha! It was thanks to Henry and Jai, that I was able to sample the Japadog. 🙂

      The sculpture is there until September. I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like on a really hot summer day. Ewww.

  • Reply Gran Canaria Local August 6, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Looks like you had a blast, Cheryl. You’ve captured Vancouver perfectly. And great to see you met up with the legendary Henry Lee.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 6, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Yes, it was really fun! Jai and Henry made my brief visit even better. 🙂

  • Reply Henry | @fotoeins August 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Cheryl, it’s always a pleasure seeing you, whether it’s in Berlin or in Vancouver, though it may be “my” turn the next time, perhaps in Toronto. And as with all good things: “Dir Daumen gedrückt!”

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      I’m sure that we’ll run into one another again! Better in Berlin than Toronto though. 🙂

  • Reply Shannon August 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I used to live 30 minutes way from Vancouver (I’m in the UK now), so this post made me slightly homesick–in a good way! I felt mega spoiled living near such a great city and I’m counting down the days until I can go back and visit. Thanks for sharing (kinda jealous you did the Rocky Mountaineer–it’s on the bucket list!).

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks Shannon. Vancouver is amazing! Hope to return someday. Also, I highly recommend the Rocky Mountaineer trip – the Vancouver to Banff route is impressive.

  • Reply Mindy August 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hello Cheryl! Came across your post via the Tourism Vancouver page, as I’m currently planning my own 24 hours in Vancouver for next week. Thanks for the ideas!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard August 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

      Hey Mindy –

      I’m so glad that I was able to give you some ideas. Enjoy Vancouver! 🙂

      Cheryl

  • Reply Charles McCool September 11, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Action packed visit to Vancouver. Love how you tell it like it is and find some quirkiness.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard September 11, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      Hey Charles,

      Vancouver was such a fun time! The best part was seeing my friends. I’d missed them! Hope to spend more time in Vancouver later on.

      Cheryl

  • Reply Helen September 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Hey, girl! Thanks for the entertainment. And I can’t believe I missed the gumhead…

    • Reply Cheryl Howard September 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Ha ha, thanks Helen! Gumhead is certainly an odd and interesting piece. 🙂

  • Reply Alouise September 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Your time in Vancouver sounds pretty lovely, although with the mention of smell and bees I’d likely skip seeing that gumhead statue.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard September 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Alouise – Vancouver was really fun! Yes, the gum-head was simultaneously gross and fascinating.

  • Reply Sharon Mendelaoui September 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    That gum head is really gross! Wow you packed a lot in to a 24 hour period. Of course as always your photos are awesome!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard September 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Ha ha. Seems to be the overwhelming theme here in the comments. And thanks so much for your kind comment.

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