After ten months in sunny and humid Brisbane I had to say goodbye to my home Down Under. But it was not a farewell to adventures yet. On the 30thof November I flew from one side of the planet to the other: the Great Ocean def made it feel that way. With a suitcase full of summer clothes I arrived in the heart of winter in Vancouver, Canada. Throughout my year I made some amazing Canadian friends, Dylan, Katrina and Justin, and I was fortunate enough to have a home with them on the West Coast of Canada.
Whenever I arrive somewhere my eyes catch certain things. Vancouver is a beautiful huge city on the coast of the Great Ocean. Mountains with white tips of the December snow surround it. The entire city and surrounding parks were filled with fairy lights and Christmas decorations. This time of year makes any place more magical and ‘jolly’. There is so much to do in and around the city. A bunch of museums to choose from, beautiful hikes and walks, different events and a whole lot of places to try good international food.
We walked around Stanley Park, ran away from enormous seagulls when we bought some delicious seafood at Granville Island
The first thing I had to do was to buy an extra sweater, a scarf and a ‘toque’ a.k.a. beanie. And looking stupid when my friend asked me for a Toonie, which is a Canadian two-dollar coin. The Loonies keep them company. Which one is that?
One of the shocking things to me was the amount of homeless people on the streets. A friend already told me Vancouver has a lot of homelessness due to the mild climate. Lots of other places in Canada are too cold to live on the streets during winter. It was very overwhelming to see entire tent camps on the street in the middle of the city, but I must say even though it is a huge problem I still felt safe at any time of the day and nobody did anything to make me feel uncomfortable. I do wonder what the situation is like in the summer.
My American friend Maddie came over from Colorado to see me in Vancouver. We both studied at Griffith University in Australia and became close friends. Together we travelled around Bali and now we would explore a tiny piece of Canada. Our hostel SameSun is located in the middle of the city. It is always a blast to stay in such places because you get to meet so many fun people from all over the world. We walked around Stanley Park, ran away from enormous seagulls when we bought some delicious seafood at Granville Island and Maddie’s mom treated us to go on a brewery tour around Vancouver. I highly recommend doing this tour with Vancouver Brewery Tours. We got a little taste of Brassneck brewery, Bridge brewery and Doan’s Craft brewery.
Fun fact of the day: did you know there are actually only two types of beers? Do you know which ones?
It is such a comfort when public transport is developed enough to take you anywhere. The ferry trip from the mainland to the island is a treat for your eyes. Even though my trip was a disaster (waited in the terminal for over three hours due to powerful winds and rain), the sun peaked through at the end and it showed the calm and tiny green islands before I arrived at Swartz Bay. Victoria is a cute city. Besides it being surrounded by green and little harbours it has the Royal BC Museum and Craigdarroch Castle. Learning about the history of a certain place always gives it so much more feel and understanding. In the summer it is the place for surfing and hikes. Of course these are winter activities as well, but I just went for the hikes this time. (Still adjusting to the freezing air after a year of sunshine and 30 Celcius).
THIS IS ..
One of the things on my bucket list was to go to a Hockey Game. After reading the sequel of Beartown written by Frederik Backman (must read!) I had to see a game with my own eyes. Cheering for the Vancouver Canucks definitely was a night to remember. When we arrived in the arena I was spoiled with green and blue necklaces; the colours of the Canucks, a certificate and a pin for my first Hockey game. I can’t think of a better way to be welcomed at a sports game.
Besides that I got to see the talented and amazing artist CHILDISH GAMBINO at the same hockey arena. One crazy night. What can’t he do?
I hiked around Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Both days I was treated with a sunny clear day and an amazing sunset over Vancouver. I saw dolphins, sea lions and walruses at the Vancouver aquarium. It was such a blast to be in this city. Everyone made me feel welcomed and I had no hard time adjusting to a different country because of that. I can’t wait to come back around summertime. I bet it has a totally new and gorgeous vibe to it when the sun, flowers and trees are blooming.