After the heli-boarding I began my journey back to Toronto. There was a couple of places to visit along the way, the first of which was Summerland, and Uncle Phil and Nadine’s house! It was the first time I’d seen the Okanagan in winter time and it was pretty nice.
Penticton and Summerland are pretty quiet in the winter, so the pace was pretty relaxed as we pottered around catching up and seeing a few places from holidays past. The area is famous in Canada for it’s fruit, so on the weekend we did a tour of some of the local distilleries, sampling some of the fruit based liquors, and a maple one (because this is Canada of course). The highlight was visiting Duhb Glas, a micro distillery in Oliver where we were treated to a tour and explanation of the process by the owner. I picked up my next newmake to put in the barrel at home and Phil and Nadine topped up their supply of gin!
After a few relaxed days in the Okanagan I made my way to Vancouver. My time here had been cut short because of having to re-arrange the heli-skiing, so despite being tired from the early morning bus ride I made the effort to get out into the city and see some people. The first stop was the Vancouver Lookout. It’s sort of like the Calgary or CN Tower..
The view over the city was great though, I hung out on the observation deck and took in the view for a while as it got dark.
That evening I met up with Tyson and Georgia, a couple of friends that I’d made in Lake Louise. They’re spending the rest of their visa in Vancouver, and knew all the good little places to eat near my hostel. That outing lasted until 2am, and conveniently finished a short stumble from my hostel! The next day I made a lazy start and headed to Stanley Park, probably one of Vancouver’s biggest tourist attractions. The huge park sits on a peninsula between downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver and was an important area for the First Nations in times past. I took public transport to get there, but misread the bus route and ended up taking the bus right through to the other side of the park, over the Lionsgate Bridge, and beyond to North Vancouver! I had nothing else to do that afternoon so I decided to walk back over the bridge, around the park, and back into the city and take in the views of the bay.
I made my way around the park and eventually reached the park’s collection of totem poles, which are unique to the nations of BC and Southern Alaska.
That evening after getting back into the city I met up with my old uni mate Dan. Dan is attempting to cycle around the world, a trip that makes my travels look like a Canadian package holiday! Me and Dan caught up over our primary shared past time – Scotch.
After that Dan took me to one of the restaurants he works for and introduced me to Sushi (yes that’s right at 29 I’ve never tried sushi). It was pretty good! Apparently this place was the best in Vancouver!
It was great to see Dan, who I hadn’t seen since before either of us left on our journeys. If you want to read more about Dan’s trip have a look here.
This had technically been the 3rd time I’d set foot in Vancouver, and the longest time I’d been there for, yet it never seems like I’ve spent enough time there. Its quite a place. I boarded my flight the next day feeling like it deserved more of my time, but as my plane glided towards my next destination those feelings changed to something different. I could see a familiar shape out the window. A tall object…. Taller than anything for miles around, changing colour above all the other lights….. It marks a city I know very well, a place I have come to love, filled with very special people. A little cheeky part of me felt like it was coming home…