I fled the country!
Not really, but you know that joke about heading to Canada amid the current domestic climate? I probably made that one at least twice on the drive from Seattle to Vancouver and about ten more times in my head. I amuse myself, at least. I suppose the part that keeps it funny to me is that my Canadian long weekend meant a three-day break from news alerts on my phone. That, at least, felt good.
I was chatting with my friends Susan and Christiana about a long-weekend trip somewhere this summer, and we got the brilliant idea to go to Alaska. But, as it turns out, Alaska is crazy expensive to travel to in the summertime, and so we settled on Canada instead! Christiana and I could fly from the Bay Area to meet up with Susan in Seattle and drive the rest of the way, providing us with a car during the trip and eliminating the need to pay for international flights. Yay!
We decided on staying in the Vancouver area and doing a day trip by ferry to Victoria, and it was so lovely I can't even really say enough. Canadians are actually really that nice, Tim Horton's > Dunkin' Donuts, and the weather was sunny and warm for us the entire weekend, with clear skies showing off breathtaking views of the city.
We stayed in Steveston, a little historic fishing village, that was not 20 minutes outside Vancouver proper as advertised, but did turn out to be the real life shooting location of Once Upon a Time, which meant that we actually stayed in Storybrooke for the weekend! It turns out I'm the only one of the three of us to have ever watched an episode of OUAT, and since I was too busy roadtripping in Oregon to take part in the planning, I missed the part where our Airbnb was called the "Once Upon a Time Suite" with reviews full of diehard fans rhapsodizing about staying above Granny's diner.
It was a reminder that most of TV is filmed in Vancouver now, to the point where you can accidentally stay on a set. We also walked by a crew setting a scene for The Flash in Stanley Park, so obviously I'm excitedly waiting for the moment this fall where I can point at my TV and loudly proclaim, "I was there five hours before they shot this!" I know my walls will be happy for me.
Our trip wasn't all Hollywood glamour, though. We took the gondola up Grouse Mountain to sweatily take in the previously mentioned stunning views, watch a delightfully cheesy lumberjack show, ride the chairlift, and not do any hiking, as apparently even in July the backcountry trails still have snow on them??
We walked around Stanley Park, visited the Totem Poles, walked around Gastown, saw the Steam Clock, drank cocktails with gummy worms in them, and marveled at all the touristy maple or moose-themed things for sale. We drank Caesars and learned the hard way not to plan on a late dinner in Steveston, but the midnight Korean fried chicken we found in Richmond was A+ so I like to think the universe was looking out for us. Richmond is also home to the Summer Night Market, where you can walk endless rows of food stalls selling everything from more KFC to poutine to neon colored "fruit" drinks served in strobing light bulbs. This is also where your friends might convince you to tuck yourself into a giant plastic ball and roll around in a pool filled with water like a human hamster.
We also took the leisurely, 90 minute ferry ride to Victoria, where we walked around the harbour, stuffed ourselves at the most relaxed, lovely high tea at the Pendray Tea House (we made and cancelled a reservation at the Empress; it may be more famous but the staff was infinitely less welcoming and the crowded room was deafening), and walked through the dreamy Butchart Gardens. It was only on the ferry ride back that I remembered Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, and I spent the rest of the day wondering at the logic of putting your capital city so far away from the mainland and the rest of the province. It's fine now, with airplanes and everything, but how did that work 100 years ago?
I give Canada a 10/10 and would for sure go back for the prolonged media diet and a maple dip.