Vancouver has so much to see and do that a handful of days cannot possibly be enough, especially in this weather… Whoever said it never snows in Vancouver is a liar! But even with just a few days and bad weather, we were able to explore most of the Downtown Vancouver area and drive through Burnaby, Langley and Aldergrove. We even accidentally ended up in America! So here is what we got to see.
Driving through Langley, Burnaby and Aldergrove
I know you are dying to know how we accidentally ended up in the United States so here is the full story! I was officially in Vancouver for training purposes and our training ended at noon on Friday the 3rd of February. So, after training, we had lunch at the Warehouse and joined one of my friends from Vancouver who was going to the Bates Motel and Once Upon a Time sets as both are filmed in Vancouver. We started by driving all the way to Aldergrove, where the set of Bates Motel is. As I said earlier, it was snowing, pretty heavily. The roads were slippery and visibility was almost none existent. We looked for it for hours and never found it. After a while, we gave up and decided to just head to Richmond for the set of Once Upon a Time. We put the address in the GPS and started driving. After a few minutes, we saw a Duty Free shop and realized we are going into the USA customs, but by the time we figured it out, we couldn’t turn around and the “Return to Canada” gate was closed so we had to go through customs. Neither of us had passports and my friend’s driver’s license is getting renewed so her only photo ID was her Costco card. They pulled us over and we had to go inside to explain the whole story, trying not to laugh. They finally gave us a letter that said, “lost without identification” and we could return to Canada with an escort. (The custom officers in the US were super nice and understanding so kudos to you guys! Keep up the good work in this hard time) We ended up not even going to Richmond as it was getting late and we were all just tired of driving. So that was the story of how we drove for hours and ended up going absolutely nowhere and how my friend entered the United States with a Costco card. It was a fun day all the same!
Walking Through Downtown Vancouver
The next day, we went to Downtown Vancouver. We started in Canada Place and saw the Vancouver 2010 Olympics podium, torches and medals. They looked beautiful on TV, but they are so much better in real life! I wish I could have taken one in my hands to feel how heavy they are.
After Canada Place, we walked to Gastown to explore the tourist shops and take some pictures. Gastown is so pretty and different from the high buildings, metal and glass. I took some more pictures of the steam clock (still trying to figure out how it works) before we made our way to Chinatown.
The Chinatown gate on West Pender is just as beautiful as I remembered and, the Chinese Garden, even more beautiful! Last time I was there, it was too early and I could only access the park while the official garden was closed. This time, we saw the whole thing. It costs 12$ for adults and 9$ for students, but it is worth the cost. We did the guided tour and got some tea and Chinese candies and snacks. There were lanterns everywhere for the Lunar New Year and we learned so much about Chinese customs and traditions. We wrote wishes on the wishing tree and took so many pictures.
After visiting the garden, we went to Yaletown for lunch and hot chocolate. Did you know there was a Hot Chocolate Festival in Vancouver? It takes place from January 19th to February 14th. There are 29 participating restaurants and coffee shops and over 60 different recipes. We went to Bella Gelatoria and decided on the Hot Chocolato. It is regular hot chocolate with a scoop of gelato in it and it is exquisite. The mix of flavors, the hot and the cold are just so good I can’t even explain it. We left the restaurant completely full with our stomachs bursting. We then walked to Pacific Center for some shopping and called it a day at about 5 PM as we were both freezing in our wet boots.
The weather made it very difficult to find motivation to walk through the city, but we still had an amazing day
The next day, we had to take the ferry at 12:30 as it was snowing again and I was starting to get sick and didn’t want to get home too late. It was also snowing in Nanaimo, but luckily the highway was plowed and it wasn’t too slippery. My friend got stuck in Comox with me as my car was stuck in the snow and I couldn’t drive her to the ferry, but we all made it home safe.
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