Welcome to Vancouver, British Columbia!
It’s been a whirlwind 24-48 hours and I’m already completely worn out… but in a good way. My flight arrived at around 9:30 pm local time, and once I got through customs and figured out how to get to my AirBnB apartment, it was almost 11. After I got the keys to the joint, I immediately headed to the nearest grocery store, a Safeway, and bought some essentials for my stay – milk, cream, seltzer water, and poutine-flavored Ruffles potato chips. I’m not usually an eat-the-whole-bag-in-one-sitting type of gal when it comes to chips, but man, these poutine ones are like crack!
I had a rough go of sleeping last night, simply because I was in a new place. I was awake by 6 am, so I got up, called my parents via Skype (thank goodness for free wifi!), and made a couple cappuccinos. One of the perks of this apartment is a Breville espresso machine, which I wasn’t aware of before I booked it. I was very happy for it first thing this morning, especially when coupled with my oatmeal. To save some cash, I brought a few baggies of oatmeal and raisins with me from home to tide me over for a few days of the trip. With some rare exceptions, breakfast is the same in Vancouver as it is in Pittsburgh, so why waste $15 on a breakfast I can make on my own at home? 🙂
I decided to start the day with a walk Downtown, and I ended up reaching my 10,000 Fitbit steps by 10 am. I found some cool food stores, though, and I got the lay of the land. Eventually I made my way over to Granville Island and their Public Market and I stayed there for a long while. It was insanely busy, but I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a Saturday morning. I grabbed a delicious honey-dipped donut from Lee’s stand in the market, plus the most enormous cinnamon roll I’ve ever seen for tomorrow’s breakfast. For a snack, I snagged a roasted tomato & pesto focaccia thing from Terra Breads, and holy moly was it tasty! I washed it down with a tasting flight of beer at Granville Island Brewing (don’t judge me, it was noon by this time! And on EST time, it was after 3pm).
After a few hours on the island, I made my way back to the Downtown area, and walked the rest of the way back to the apartment. Stopped in a few more shops, checked out a few more areas. After I dropped some things off, I took off on the adventure of the day – The Grouse Grind. I have to admit, before doing it, I thought the warnings about how difficult the hike up the Grouse Grind was were overkill. I’m a reasonably in-shape person, I usually go to the gym six or seven days a week, and I like challenges. But WHOA. I was totally wrong. The Grouse Grind is no joke. You’d think the liability warning at the bottom of the trail would have been enough for me to think twice, but you’d be wrong.
Before I got to the bottom of the trail, though, I was able to hang with a real wolf! I plan to send this picture as a text to my parents some day when the timing’s right with the caption “hungry like the wolf.”
Anyway, back to the mountain. This picture was taken towards the beginning of the trail. I know this because I was already getting tired and I was nowhere near the 1/4 way mark.
I can walk uphill all day like, like it ain’t no thang, but steps? Thousands of steps, an inordinate amount of which were > 2 feet tall? Not great for those of us in the 5’2″ – 5’3″ range. My poor little legs.
I mean, really. These steps were no joke.
“HOW IS THIS EVEN A TRAIL?!” I might have yelled out at one point. That straight up elevation you see? THE ENTIRE TRAIL.
After an intense nearly two hours, I was done. I have never been so happy to see a building in my life as I was to see the Visitor’s Centre at the top of the mountain.
The crazy thing about doing this is that once you get to the top, you have to pay to get back down! You’re not allowed to go down the trail, so you have to pay $10 to take the Skyride back down the mountain. At least there was a nice view…
By the time I took a land bus and a sea bus back to Downtown and then walked the 1.5 miles back to the apartment, I was beat and it was starting to get dark. I was nauseous because I hadn’t eaten in 9-10 hours and had expended way more energy than I’m used to, and I just kind of felt like crap. But, I had to eat dinner. So I put on my comfiest flip-flops and jeans and walked down the street to a nearby ramen joint – Motomachi Shokudo. I considered getting charcoal ramen since I’ve never seen it before, but I really just wanted some comfort food… so I went with the spicy miso ramen with chicken.
I’ve had better ramen, but after the long day, it was just what I needed. I finished about half and brought the rest back to the apartment. I have a feeling I’ll wake up in the middle of the night starving.
Time to get a shower and rest up for another long (but fun!) day! 🙂