Part two of our Canada Roadtrip starts with our way to Ucluelet. After leaving Seattle, our next stop was Victoria/ Vancouver Island and from there we were off to Ucluelet, a small town at the pacific coast. The distance between those two towns is not that far but with the speed limit, lunch and several stops to admire the scenery it took us a couple of hours to get there. Vancouver Island is exactly how everyone pictures Canada – very green, very beautiful and with amazing views. I am still convinced that I saw a bear on our way. At least there was something dark and very large standing down by the river, I am sure it was a bear eating his lunch. We were too fast though too double check.
In Ucluelet we stayed at this lovely little Cottage. We just had time to get our groceries and check out the beach, then we all went to bed early to get enough energy for the next day.
Wild berries at the roadside.
We were allowed to feed the birds in front of our house. They loved the peanuts.
One of our crew member celebrated his birthday during our trip so of course there was cake.
Ucluelet is lovely. It´s a cute little town, right next to the Pacific Rim National Reserve and apparantly a big spot for surfers. We didn´t know this beforehand but half of our crew was immediately excited and decided to give it a try. With wetsuits (apparently the water is really cold), surfboards and a coach they headed to the beach.
Meanwhile, the rest of us went hiking the Wild Pacific Trail, admired the landscape and contemplated which remedy would be the most effective in case a bear or a cougar would cross our road. (Spoiler alert: nothing happened)
Vancouver Island was sort of a mini-vacation within our vacation. Since we had a house and no pressure to get up early and explore a city, we could relax a little, sleep in, have a great breakfast and an even bigger barbecue. Unfortunately, we only had one day to enjoy this, even though we all wished we could have stayed longer. Our next and last stop of the trip was Vancouver.
Vancouver was…well, Vancouver was intense. In its contrasts. On the one hand you got this amazing countryside around you. There is water and access to the beach everywhere and you can see the snow-covered mountains in the background. Just half an hour and you are out of the city, deep in the forest and close to nature. On the other hand you got Downtown, which is not always extremely pretty (architecturally speaking), loud, dirty and full of homeless people. So many homeless people and a lot of them seemed fairly young. I didn´t expect that at all and it was very hard to watch. Other parts of the city are very trendy, hip, with cute little shops and lots of bars and restaurants. And then you got the urban districts of Vancouver, with its pretty houses and neat gardens.
I needed a little time to let that all sink in and get an idea of this city. In contrast to Seattle, my immediately response to Vancouver wasn´t “wow, this city is amazing, I could really see myself living here one day”. Vancouver is an exciting, interesting, intense city with a lot to offer but something just felt weird for me. I don´t know what it was and I am being very subjective here so I am just going to accept it. There are a lot of things that I liked about the city though and regarding the countryside, Vancouver is winning big time. I don´t have the sea in front of my house and a ski region one hour away so maybe I shouldn’t be the one to say anything.
I really liked Gastown, Stanley Park (see above) and I absolutely loved Granville Island. Partly because of it´s shops and everything-is-home-made-philosophy, partly because I fell in love with the Granville Island Public Market. Amazing!
But the definitive highlight of our stay in Vancouver was the trip to the Lynn Canyon Park. We had a lot of tips from locals that we used during the whole trip and Lynn Canyon Park was something a lot of them recommended. So after a quick trip to Kitsilano and its beach we made our way up to North Vancouver. They were right, the Park is absolutely gorgeous. That´s what I call a forest. Our trees here in Germany are not even half as big and we don´t have that many waterfalls or crystal clear rivers to offer either. Just look at it, it´s beautiful.
It was a great trip! It was exhausting, exciting, beautiful, fascinating and a lot more. I´m slowly transitioning to my daily life, Bachelor thesis and a lot more things are coming up. But a bit of the Canadian spirit will be part of the next recipes and until then I´ll just keep reminiscing.